A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

Air Force fighter pilot Frank Jacobs among veterans on 98th St. Louis Honor Flight


Frank and Michael Jacobs at the World War 2 Memorial Washington DC

Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

On July 12, a group of 60 war veterans headed east to Washington D.C. on board the 98th Greater St. Louis Honor Flight. Among the group was 14 Korean War-era veterans including Jewish Air Force veteran Frank Jacobs, 89.

Greater St. Louis Honor Flight

The Greater St. Louis Honor Flight honors St. Louis area veterans’ service to our country by providing an all-inclusive trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials built in their honor.

Highlights of the one-day trip include visits to the World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery and also the Lincoln Memorial.

Frank Jacobs

The flight took off from St. Louis Lambert International Airport early Tuesday morning, but Jacob’s journey to taking his Honor Flight began long before. As the Korean war went on, Jacobs, a student at the University of Illinois, joined the United States Air Force ROTC. The commitment meant Jacobs would graduate as a 2nd Lieutenant and serve two years.

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After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in economics, Jacobs joined the U.S. Air Force to become a pilot, and committed to serving 4 years.  He was in pilot training for service in Korea when the conflict ended in 1953. He spent 4-years on active duty from 1954 to 1958 as a fighter pilot flying a North American F-86 Sabre as a member of the 46th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. He was stationed at RAF Station Bentwaters in Ipswich, England.

In 1958 Jacobs left the Air Force and returned to St. Louis where he founded his company Falcon, to sell pedestal table bases to a food service market that was growing rapidly. But flying was still in his blood, so he joined and served in the Missouri Air National Guard from 1958 to 1964.

The Honor Flight

Jacobs, 89, and long-time member of both B’nai Amoona and CRC says his military career helped define his life, giving him a sense of confidence he did not have as a young man. But, even with that innate confidence, he says he was not sure what to expect or how this experience would affect him.

“I really did not know what to expect from this trip. Did I deserve this, was I worth it?” said Jacobs.

All honored veterans are accompanied by a chaperone. Jacobs’ was his son Michael Jacobs.  Upon arriving in Washington D.C. the two experienced something that Jacobs says made the trip one of the most incredible experiences of his life.

“The reason it was an incredible experience is that with all that is going on in the world, with everyone aggravated and angry, this trip showed me that despite our opinions, the one thing everybody loves is our veterans,” said Jacobs. “Everywhere we went, people stopped and cheered, shook our hands, and watched as made our way. Seeing the veterans made them feel patriotic and respectful and for a moment, we came together. It made me feel it was worth it.”

“I was very proud of my father and all of the veterans on the flight,” said Michael Jacobs. “We live in a divided society in America. However, when it comes to our veterans and members of the military. We all agree and come together as Americans. That is beautiful and it gives me hope that our democracy will continue to thrive and grow. Regardless of the daily nonsense, we live with.”

About the Contributor
Photo of Jordan Palmer
Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

Jordan worked at KSDK from 1995 to 2020. Jordan is a three-time Emmy award winner who produced every kind of show from news to specials during his tenure,...

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