SAN DIEGO – On Sunday, May 5, Honor Flight San Diego flew from Baltimore Washington International airport to San Diego after spending the weekend in Washington, D.C. Enroute to San Diego, WWII veteran Frank Manchel, age 95, collapsed and passed away. Resuscitation was performed but he could not be revived.
Mr. Manchel was a Technical Sergeant in the U.S. Army during WWII. His son, Bruce was on the flight as his guardian. Bruce Manchel is the family spokesman and had this to say, “Frank Manchel was so excited to go on his Honor Flight. This trip was so special because he was able to be with both of his sons as well as his 93-year-old brother who met him in Washington, D.C. My father’s passing was the ending to the most amazing weekend, surrounded by his newest best friends. We thank all of you – Honor Flight San Diego, American Airlines, San Diego International Airport, friends, and supporters for your concern and for allowing the weekend to be so special for all of us to share together. Frank passed quickly and peacefully and the compassion and respect that that was shown to our family will always be treasured. May he rest in peace as he is now with his other beloved son Jimmy.”
After Mr. Manchel passed away, his body was draped in an American Flag that Honor Flight San Diego carries on every trip. There were two Chaplains on the flight as guardians who said prayers for him. Former Police Chief Shelly Zimmerman was a guardian for another veteran and was instrumental in helping with protocol once the flight landed. Medical personnel, firefighters and law enforcement saluted Mr. Manchel as paramedics escorted his from the plane.
American Airlines has expressed their deepest condolences to the entire Manchel family and has offered to fly Mr. Manchel to his final resting place in Michigan plus his family members at no cost to them. Services will be held in upcoming days.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the Manchel family,” said Honor Flight San Diego Chairman Julie Brightwell. “It was our privilege to honor this true American hero during his final hours.”
Honor Flight San Diego has taken more than 1,400 veterans on their Tour of Honor since it was founded in 2010. Veterans and guardians are required to complete medical questionnaires and if needed, to have a physician’s permission to fly.