It's been more than 60 years since American forces fought in the South Pacific during World War II. Some soldiers never made it home, but their sacrifice has not been forgotten.
History Flight was founded eight years ago, with the mission to raise money for a team to travel to the South Pacific and find remains of those servicemen.
The non-profit organization sells flights in four historic plane models -- including an AT-6 Texan trainer presently at Anchorage's Merrill Field -- to fund the operation.
The group says it has identified the location of the remains of more than 200 servicemen in the South Pacific region. The group has recently expanded to include the European theater, as well as the Korean and Vietnam wars.
In 2011 the group focused on Tarawa, where more than 500 U.S. servicemen remain unaccounted for. Searchers used ground-penetrating radar, magnetometry, soil analysis and Buster, a cadaver dog, to locate remains.
The group provides the locations of bodies it finds to the military, which recovers them and returns them to the U.S.
Pilot John Makinson, a former Alaskan, will be giving rides in the AT-6 throughout the week.
"We sell flights in these airplanes to give people the chance to have an interactive flight experience, to actually get to fly the airplane and see what it was like to be in a World War II airplane," Makinson said.
Makinson helped start the organization eight years ago, largely out of his affinity towards World War II veterans.
"I've always felt an affinity for the servicemen from World War II. I don't know, sometimes I think I'm a reincarnated World War II aviator, but there's a connection there and the history, I just can't get enough of it," he said. "We can't forget what the people, especially World War II did for us. A lot of them paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we could enjoy the freedoms and liberties we enjoy today."
Flight packages are being offered from June 9 through June 16 in lengths of 15, 30 and 60 minutes. Pricing is available on History Flight's website.
Email Kortnie Horazdovsky