Green Country veteran trip derailed in North Carolina

TULSA, Okla. — A group of Green Country veterans were stuck in limbo, some for ten hours, after one member of their group was told his oxygen device was not safe to fly.

The veterans were on a Freedom Tour, which consists of a free three-day trip in Washington, D.C. It was on their way home that they found themselves stuck in Charlotte, N.C.

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Though they departed Washington D.C. on another plane without a hitch, it was in Charlotte, where American Airlines told a veteran that the battery for his oxygen device wouldn’t survive the duration of the trip, therefore it would not be safe for him to make the flight.

The rest of the group, who had already boarded, got off the airplane in solidarity with their fellow veteran, who was crying because of the embarrassment.

“I think he was heartbroken. It was something that was completely out his control and out of our control, and we wanted to reassure him that he didn’t do anything wrong. We were absolutely in the right with what we were doing,” said army veteran Clayton Sharp.

Gianna Urgo, an American Airlines spokesperson, said they got the group hotel rooms while they arranged for replacement batteries for the oxygen device to be delivered on the next available flight.

While everything was being sorted out, the veterans, were forced to wait hours in the terminal, some sleeping on benches.

Sharp said, “We got off the plane about 7:30 last night, and it wasn’t until 3:30 in the morning when they finally got us rooms and got us up leaving. And the last of the group didn’t get into the hotel until 5:30 this morning.”

The next day, American Airlines charted a flight just for the veterans to get back home. Family and friends waited, flags in hand.

A welcome home with more than the usual meaning after a long, trying journey.