Veterans, State Police reflect on Honor Flight

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Several veterans from our area had the chance to take part in the Honor Flight this past weekend.

Some who took the trip to Washington are reflecting back on that experience, including Corporal B.W. Claypool from West Virginia State Police. Claypool told 5 News he hit a bit of a bump in the road on the way back to West Virginia - but he isn't focused on that. He said it's worth the trip to see the look on the faces of our veterans.

"There was a problem with TSA security there, and I don't want to focus on that," Claypool said. "This day was for our veterans and for veterans only. So I want to focus on the good things that happened for them that day. It was a very positive experience for them."

We also spoke with a Korean War veteran from Harrison County, who said the trip made him feel like royalty.

"I couldn't believe it," said Cecil Maxwell. "And the same way in Washington. People there greeting us, waving flags, hollering."

According to officials, this year's flight filled up in less than a month. While it costs close to $70,000 and the main part of the cost is the rental of the airplane, it is free for veterans.

Many of the veterans who went on the trip have never seen their monuments and most of them never received a welcome home. This is an opportunity for them to get just that.

5 News reached out to TSA for their comment regarding firearms on board aircrafts. This is part of what we received via e-mail:

"Travelers are not permitted to carry firearms on their flights, this includes law enforcement officers. With that said, travelers can travel with firearms if they are packed properly and if they are placed in the belly of the plane with the other checked baggage. The proper way to travel with a firearm is to have it unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided case. The traveler then is to take the firearm to the airline check-in counter to declare that they want to travel with it. The traveler fills out a form and the airline representative makes sure that the gun is transported in the belly of the plane, never in the cabin of the plane."

CLARIFICATION: Since the TSA sent 5 News their statement, we have learned more information relevant to the story. Apparently, a law enforcement officer acting in an official capacity are allowed to carry a firearm when going on an airplane. When a law enforcement officer is traveling on leisure, an officer is not allowed a firearm.

RETRACTION: A previous version of the story had a sentence that was inaccurate involving the TSA that our reporter attributed to Corporal Claypool. That sentence was not said by Corporal Claypool, and has been removed. We deeply apologize for this error.