In September 2003, Operation Hero Miles was created by Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (Maryland) to provide free airline tickets to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan to allow them to go home on R & R leave. In December 2003, Operation Hero Miles partnered with the Fisher House Foundation to provide free airline tickets to family members of injured troops so they could travel to military hospitals to provide comfort. The Fisher House Foundation has now expanded this program to provide free airline tickets for family members of OEF/OIF active duty personnel who are transferred to VHA facilities.
Operation Hero Miles depends on donations of frequent flyer miles and donations of money to purchase plane tickets. Several airlines are accepting the donations and providing free tickets to Operation Hero Miles and the Fisher House Foundation. For more information, please go to http://fisherhouse.org/programs/hero-miles/ and to http://www.fisherhouse.org.
The tickets will be available to families of OEF/OIF active duty service members who are inpatients in VHA facilities so the family members can travel to the facility. The active duty member will have to request the ticket from the Fisher House Foundation through their VA social worker or case manager. Requests should be faxed to the Director of Social Work Service in VA Central Office at 202-273-8385 using the VA Operation Hero Miles application form.
For more information regarding services available to returning Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve service members of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn and Freedom's Sentinel visit http://www.oefoif.va.gov/