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Dusty In Here Right Now.

Frank Manchel

Manchel, 95, collapsed and died on his flight home to San Diego after a weekend seeing memorials and historic sights in Washington, D.C.

In the final moments of his life, Frank Manchel knew that many people honored him for his World War II service.

Manchel collapsed Sunday, on the final leg of a trip sponsored by Honor Flight San Diego, a nonprofit that gives World War II veterans all-expense-paid visits to Washington, D.C. Two physicians aboard the chartered American Airlines flight tried to resuscitate him, but he died before the plane landed at San Diego International Airport. He was 95.

Two physicians including his own son, Dr. Bruce Manchel, were unable to revive him.

“It was almost instantaneous,” said Dave Smith, founder of Honor Flight San Diego. “He was laughing, chatting, having a good time — and then he collapsed.”

Chaplains prayed over the body and it was covered with an American flag.

As the plane was descending to its destination, former San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, the daughter of a World War II veteran, asked Dr. Manchel if he was up for honoring his father with the song “God Bless America.”

He agreed, and the plane was filled with song, the newspaper reported.

Fellow veterans saluted as they passed by Frank Manchel’s body while exiting the plane. Medical personnel, firefighters and law enforcement officers also saluted as the body was taken from the plane.

A Michigan native, Frank Louis Manchel was an Army technical sergeant during the war. Last Friday, he flew from San Diego with 82 other veterans and their “guardians,” family members and other volunteers who help the elderly soldiers, sailors and fliers during their visit.

Last weekend’s trip was Honor Flight San Diego’s 14th journey, and it followed the by-now standard schedule. On Saturday, the veterans visited the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Air Force Memorial, the Navy Yard’s museum and other sites with historic significance.

On Sunday, the group toured a military electronics museum before taking a bus back to the airport for the flight home.

Although the days were packed, Manchel was able to enjoy a mini-family reunion. He was accompanied by his son, Dr. Bruce Manchel. Manchels’s 93-year-old brother, Jerome, came to D.C. from his home in Michigan with his son, David. Another of Frank Manchel’s son, Howard, came up from Atlanta.

Manchel is one of seven veterans who have passed away while on Honor Flights. The number passing can be expected, given the age of the people, but it is still sad.

RIP Mr. Manchel.

(Daggone it got dusty in here….)



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