On Friday, October 27, over forty Maine World War II Veterans, together with an individual to accompany each, referred to as the “Guardian” for each Veteran, will leave the Portland Jetport destined for the Washington, D.C. area.

Presque Isle Elks

There the Veterans and their Guardians will tour the World War II memorial, as well as other nearby  monuments and memorials on Saturday, October 28.

One of the World War II Veterans participating in this 2017 Honor Flight Maine will be Heber Umphrey of Presque Isle.  He will be accompanied by his son Peter of Presque Isle, acting as Mr. Umphrey’s Guardian. The Presque Isle Elks, Lodge #1954, is providing financial assistance for the Umphreys’ particitpation in Honor Flight Maine 2017.

Mr. Umphrey joined the United States Army in 1943 at the age of 17.  He volunteered to become a paratrooper and was assigned to the newly-formed 11th Airborne Division, which was deployed to the South Pacific theatre.

At the age of 18 years, while assigned to the elite 11th Airborne Division, Umphrey was involved in training jumps into the jungles of New Guinea and Manilla in the Philippines before jumping into combat in the Philippines.   The peace treaty signed with Japan forestalled his jumping in combat in an invasion of Japan, for which the 11th Airborne was being trained.

Following his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, Mr. Umphrey embarked upon a varied career involving Aroostook County’s potato and forestry industries.  At age 21, Mr. Umphrey worked as a guide for McNally’s Sporting Camps, where he learned to fly a float plane.  Mr. Umphrey worked for the Garfield Land Company, a predecessor of the Seven Islands Land Company, for whom he investigated timber thefts.  He later worked for PT Farms, Paul Tavilla, and Canada Packers, procuring and selling potatoes.  Before finally retiring, Mr. Umphrey worked for 15 years for the Maine Forest Service where he was the crew chief of the helicopter assigned to the Forest Service in central Aroostook.

Mr. Umphrey and his son Peter will be leaving Presque Isle at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 26, 2017, in order to join the other Maine Veterans in Portland, on Friday, October 27.

Well-wishers are invited to meet with Mr. Umphrey and his son at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 26, prior to their departure.

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