RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- Honor Flight Nevada's first trip to the U.S. Naval Academy wasn't just a treat for our veterans, but also for the officers and midshipmen.
"We don't get veterans coming here all that often," said Lieutenant J.T. Kadz.
Lt. Kadz is a graduate of Reno High School, so he was thrilled to be tour guide for the northern Nevada veterans.
"I teach American Naval History here, so I spend my day talking to students, the midshipmen, telling them about all the stories especially when it comes to World War II," Lt. Kadz said.
He got to hear some of the stories behind his lessons firsthand.
"It just makes it a true education and it makes it a true experience that you can't get anywhere else," he said.
Several of the midshipmen are from the Silver State too.
"You guys are the example that I look to," said Midshipman Travis Williams, a Galena High School graduate. "Thank you all very much for your service. It's an honor."
We got a tour of the chapel where Navy veteran chaplain Robert Stover had a chance to chat with the current naval academy chaplain. From there, we headed below deck for a look at the crypt and the tomb of John
Then it was back into the sun for a special dedication parade at Worden Field, and it started with a thank you from the superintendent of USNA.
"We're so honored that you could make the trip and join us," Vice Admiral Michael Miller said. "It's going to be a great Navy day."
Thousands of midshipmen marched, bagpipes played and canons fired.
Lt. Kadz said it wasn't just exciting for the veterans, but for the young sailors who were in the parade.
"When they find out that they're marching in front of World War II veterans and other special visitors that are here today, it's an opportunity to show the guests that we appreciate them coming here and we appreciate the sacrifices that they've made and to let them know that they're not forgotten," Lt. Kadz said. "It's a way to connect the past with the present."
It's a day our veterans and volunteers will cherish and Lt. Kadz said he'll never forget.
"Any time I'm around a veteran is a special opportunity, but it makes it even more special when they're coming here from the Battle Born state, from Nevada," he said.