Local veteran eyes return to Vietnam, wants others to join him

Keith Hess, in Vietnam in 2019, as part of an Old Glory Honor Flight
Keith Hess, in Vietnam in 2019, as part of an Old Glory Honor Flight(WBAY)
Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 2:52 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Two years after an emotional return to Vietnam as part of a historic Old Glory Honor Flight, a local veteran is trying to organize a similar trip and encouraging other Vietnam veterans to join him.

Like many of the 52 veterans who returned to Vietnam with Old Glory Honor Flight in 2019, Keith Hess was hesitant.

“I had real bad feelings about Vietnam, but once I got back to Vietnam the bad demons left my head, it changed my life,” recalls Hess.

Since that emotional journey back to where he served, Hess has had a desire to return.

“And then this spring I was talking to the wife a couple weeks ago and she said, ‘Go do it. You’re getting old, and now’s the time to do it,’ we’re 70-some years old,” says Hess.

So Hess contacted a military tour company and is now trying to round up 20 to 25 fellow Vietnam vets for a two-week trip back to Vietnam next February.

With a group that size, the cost per person would be just over $4,000.

“It includes everything: most of the meals, first class hotels, sightseeing in an air-conditioned bus, airfare, Vietnamese guides. It’s just a fantastic experience,” says Hess.

Hess, who lives in Berlin, says the deadline for him to organize the trip is mid-April, and so far he has six commitments.

As for the cost, Hess says it’s hard to put a price on peace of mind.

“It’d be a fantastic investment. You come home and you forget about your bad feelings you had from 50 years ago. I know a lot of these guys have demons in their heads yet that just won’t go away,” says Hess.

To learn more about the trip to Vietnam, you can contact Hess at (920) 509-9329 or email keithchess@yahoo.com.

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