Korean War vet enjoys flight

Korean War veteran Stanley Servia of Bessemer and his daughter Carol Schuster stop for a photo while on the Upper Peninsula Honor Flight, Mission 14, Wednesday. (Journal photo by Renee Prusi)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — It’s a safe bet to say no one enjoyed Wednesday’s Upper Peninsula Honor Flight trip to our nation’s capital more than Korean War veteran Stanley Servia of Bessemer.

He was all smiles at the various stops through the day, and was gleeful while watching the UPHF’s National Park Service escorts cut through Washington, D.C., traffic jams like Moses parting the Red Sea.

Servia was born in Norway, Michigan, but his family moved to Bessemer when he was 16 in 1946.

“The mines opened up there and my father was a miner so he had to move to where the work was,” Servia said. “But it was tough to move when you’re a teenager.”

He was also a teen when he entered the military at age 18 in 1948.

“I was in an Army Special Forces helicopter outfit,” he said. “In fact, we were the second helicopter outfit in Korea.”

Servia was crew chief for a Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw helicopter.

“I was fortunate as I was able to go to the peace talks and would watch North Korea come down for the sessions,” he said. “I also had the opportunity to fly Secretary of State (John Foster) Dulles to the peace talks. That was quite an experience.”

Another interesting experience during his years in the Army was when he discovered he was being sent overseas.

“I hitchhiked all the way home from North Carolina so Loretta, my Bessemer High School sweetheart, and I could get married before I was sent off,” he said. “Luckily back then, people would pick up a guy in a uniform who was hitchhiking.”

After his Army days, Servia returned to his hometown and went into business.

“Stan’s Big Dollar Supermarket,” he said. “I very much enjoyed it. We had profit sharing, so everyone who worked there benefited.”

He operated the store for 23 years, while he and Loretta raised children Michael, Danny and Carol. Another son died at age 10.

“I heard about Honor Flight through the Veterans Administration,” he said. “My daughter Carol volunteered to take care of me.”

Daughter Carol Schuster, his guardian on the UPHF, said her dad is humble.

“What he didn’t tell you is his job was to go in as a medic and pick up wounded soldiers,” she said. “He saved lives.”

Servia said before the trip he was a bit nervous.

“It brings back a lot of memories,” he said. “But I am sure I will enjoy it.”

Judging by his delight at the traffic police and his smiles as he visited the various stops along the Honor Flight way, enjoy the day like Servia did.