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Three brothers among veterans on Honor Flight to D.C.

Marvin Dumdei of Waseca who will be taking the Honor Flight Saturday with his brothers Eugene Dumdei of North Mankato and Everrett Dumdei of Alexandria, pictured in old photo.

While serving in the Merchant Marines during World War II, Marvin Dumdei, 87, of Waseca traveled completely around the world once on a ship.

After unloading in Iran, which was then called Persia, he went onto Iraq, Australia, India, China, through the Mediterranean three times and to Murmansk, Russia, the deadliest of all shipping routes, he said.

Saturday, some 65 years after the end of WWII, will be his first time traveling to Washington, D.C., to see the WWII memorial thanks to the Southeastern Minnesota Honor Flight , one of more than 80 Honor Flight hubs in the country that bring WWII veterans to visit their memorial in Washington, D.C.

Joining him on the Honor Flight are his two brothers who served in the war simultaneously.

Everette Dumdei, 92, of Alexandria served in the Army from May 1942 to November 1945. During the Battle of the Bulge, Everette and one of his comrades captured 156 Germans, Dumdei said. Only recently did he find out that the Germans were so hungry by then that they gave up without a fight.


Their youngest brother, Eugene Dumdei, 85, of North Mankato joined the Navy and got in on the tail end of the war serving from January 1944 to May 1946, he said.

The Dumdei brothers are part of 114 WWII veterans, 61 guardians, two doctors, three Gold Cross paramedics, two MLT Group photographers, and 80 wheelchairs making the flight. All of the volunteers pay their own way and the veterans are sponsored through community donations.

This is the eighth Honor Flight to leave Rochester. After this flight, 803 WWII veterans will have been taken to Washington, D.C., to see their memorial and receive the thanks of a grateful nation.

"It's very emotional for the veterans and quite emotional for us as the guardians to see to response from the public," said Joe Connell, who helps coordinate the flights.

When the plane arrives at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, he said, the veterans are besieged by many well-wishers, including current duty military personnel as well as other veterans and civilians who want to shake their hands.

Upon their return to Rochester, they are welcomed home again by their families and the community.


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