Dick Sinclair joined 81 fellow veterans on the Midwest Honor Flight to Washington D.C. to visit some of the war monuments in our nation’s capital.

Sinclair and his fellow vets were recognized at a banquet in Sioux Falls before flying out to D.C. at 6 a.m. May 15. 

“They had a turn out of folks that was just tremendous,” Sinclair said. “Kristi Noem happened to be there shaking hands with all of us.”

Each of the veterans on the trip was accompanied by a trip guardian, a family member or a good friend who travels with them to provide moral support. The veterans and their guardians were chauffeured around D.C. in busses with a police escort to five monuments including the Korean War monument. They even attended the changing of the guard at Arlington Cemetery.

“The highlight for me happened to be the changing of the guard,” Sinclair said. “The other highlight was the Korean monument; 19 different, larger than life size infantry (statues) out in the field with all their equipment. It was really quite touching, the way it was displayed.”

Sinclair joined the Navy in 1951 and after completing bootcamp, spent three and a half years as a sonarman on in a World War II fleete diesel submarine. While Sinclair said there were no active battles involving submarines during the Korean War, he and his crew worked along side civilian technicians to test new electronic technology, which would be used in many encounters since.

Sinclair recalled his first time seeing a submarine was in 1940 while his father was working as a civil engineer. His family was living on Waller Air Force base in Trinidad, when he spotted a German submarine that had washed up on the shoals of the beach they were on.

“It was a German submarine that had been sunk right out there,” he said. 

Sinclair said that after Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941 he, his mother, and his younger brother were relocated to Florida while his father finished construction on the air strip. Once construction was complete the family moved back to Arizona. It was the movie “Crash Dive” that first inspired Sinclair to join the Navy when he was a junior in high school. After getting out of the Navy in 1955 he graduated from Arizona State University in 1959 with a bachelor’s degree. He worked a string of jobs including teaching, running a men’s club, and selling cars. He retired from the McGraw-Hill Book Company after selling educational books to schools for over 20 years. He and his wife Connie moved to Spearfish in 2005 where they live with their puppy, Penny III.

Sinclair is an active member of the Polaris Submarine Base out of Rapid City, which sponsor a float in various Veteran’s Day celebrations and special occasions.

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