Wisconsin WWII vet prepares for honor flight

COLUMBUS, Wis. (WMTV) -- A World War II veteran, born and raised in Wisconsin, is getting ready to take an honor flight to Washington D.C., a trip he has always wanted to take.

Kenneth Ebbers grew up fishing and working in his grandfather's store in Gibbsville, Wisconsin.

"[I] grew up in a very small village of about 60 people," Ebbers said.

Years later, in college, he took a flying course and found his passion.

"I just enjoyed flying from the first time I did it," Ebbers remembered.

After Ebbers had been in college for two years, the U.S. had already entered World War II. At 19, Ebbers took his love of flying and joined the U.S. Navy.

"I didn't want to get drafted. I wanted to pick my own job," Ebbers said.

For the next three years, Ebbers flew planes off aircraft carriers, bombing enemy fleets in the South Pacific.

"I was in what was called the Second Battle of the Philippine Sea," Ebbers said.

Later, naval historians dubbed that battle "the greatest sea battle in naval history."

Ebbers also received several medals of recognition, including a Distinguished Flying Cross and an Air Medal.

Now 96, Ebbers said he is proud to have served his country, adding, "I figured it was the right thing to do."

Ebbers is getting ready for an honor flight to Washington D.C., excited to see the memorial recognizing the part he and his fellow veterans played in history.

"A lot of that stuff is engraved in that concrete, different battles and stuff," Ebbers said. "So I'll be looking forward to seeing it with all the fountains going and everything."

Ebbers' said he does not know what to expect, but he is excited to visit all the different memorials. The honor flight takes off on Saturday, Sep. 7, and Ebbers' grandson will come along as a guardian.