In September, Honor Flight Northeast Indiana took 87 veterans to Washington D.C. It’s always a special day for the veterans, but for the Bandor brothers, it was a little extra special by having their family of service all together.
Max, Roy, Franklin, Daniel and Randy Bandor were brothers who all served in the Navy.
“My oldest brother served in the second World War and we followed him in. When they went in and I was last one,” Dan Bandor said.
The sense of service, and the call to duty, for the Bandors, is a tradition with deep roots. The brothers’ father was in the service and their uncle was killed in World War I.
“Going back to the Civil War, we have veterans. Their dad was in the Coastal Artillery before World War I and we still have service members generations later,” Michael Bandor, Dan’s son, said.
Michael, who retired from the Air Force in 2005, served our country for 22 years.
Max passed away in 2008 and Roy in 2000. Max served in the U.S. Navy from January 1942 to August 1944 and Roy served in the U.S. Navy from May 1951 to May 1955.
Frank, Dan and Randy, along with next generation Bandor veterans, Michael and John, who retired from the U.S. Navy, embarked on a day to Washington D.C. to see the memorials built in their honor.
“I think it’s great,” Frank said of the WWII Memorial. “It’s a nice tribute the government has done for us and we appreciate it. And it’s nice to have all the kids [here].”
Frank served in the U.S. Navy from February 1946 to December 1947 on the USS Spector and USS Hamul.
Randy served in the U.S. Navy from April 1955 to March 1959 on the USS Orleck and USS Seiverling.
Dan served in the U.S. Navy from August 1957 to July 1961 on the USS Valley Forge.
“It’s amazing. They did a good job laying it out and it’s a good tribute to veterans,” Randy said of the Korean War Memorial.
World War II Veteran Frank, along with his sons John and Bob, also had the honor of laying a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier.
“That’s the chance of a lifetime to be selected for that. It was a very proud moment for me,” John Bandor said.
John joined the Navy after high school and worked on Navy aircraft during his career from 1975-2007.
“It started at the beginning growing up. My father was in the Navy and my uncles were mostly Navy. They were all an influence in my life enlisting. They were inspirational,” John said.
When strangers on the sidewalks stopped to thank them, the Bandors, saluted back.
“I don’t think I’m that big a hero, but I’m seeing a lot of them and I think they’re all great,” Frank said.
“I’m glad to see all the fellows get honored like they should have been, especially the guys in Korea and Vietnam who didn’t get the recognition they should have,” Dan said.
Through the trees and between the memorials in our nation’s capital, the bond of the Bandor brotherhood – grew even stronger.
“It gives us great pride and honor to be here to support them and honor them and having that togetherness is very special. Honoring the time they served and all the veterans here it’s an awesome experience to thank them,” John said.
The Bandor brothers didn’t just serve their country, they also served their community. Frank, Randy and Dan were also all Fort Wayne police officers. Frank was on the department from 1959-1979, Randy was on from 1962-1984 and earned the rank of Deputy Chief and Dan was on the department from 1972 to 2005.