The other day my ex-wife sent me an email reminding me about this great way to really support our men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Operation Hero Miles was created by Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger in cooperation with close to a dozen United States Airlines in October, 2003. The program allows troops stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan to fly home on leave for free. It also gives family members of wounded servicemen and women free plane tickets to visit their loved ones recovering at military hospitals across the country. Operation Hero Miles gives ordinary citizens an opportunity to help our troops in a very direct way that makes a real difference in their lives.
The program is brilliant in its simplicity. Travelers donate their unused frequent flyer miles to the Pentagon for our troops. The following airlines are currently participating in Operation Hero Miles: AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Midwest Airlines, Northwest Airlines, United Air Lines, and US Airways.
Through a partnership with the Fisher House Foundation and individual airlines, airline tickets are available for service men and women wounded or injured in Iraq or Afghanistan or for their families to visit them in the hospital.
At this time, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines, United Airlines, and US Airways accept donations from their passengers.
When Congressman Ruppersberger created Operation Hero Miles, the program awarded free tickets to servicemen and women stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan returning to the United States for their two weeks of Rest and Relaxation (R & R) Leave. In early 2004, the Department of Defense began paying for R & R leave. At that time, Operation Hero Miles began awarding free tickets to family members of wounded troops traveling to military hospitals to visit their injured loves ones. Sometimes the love and support of family is the best medicine to help a troop recover from a wound.