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  Operation Hero Miles Operation Hero Miles Operation Hero Miles

Learn How Americans Use Frequent Flyer Miles to Support Our Troops

A Unique Way to Help the Troops

Operation Hero Miles was created by Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger in cooperation with close to a dozen United States Airlines in October, 2003. The program allows troops stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan to fly home on leave for free. It also gives family members of wounded servicemen and women free plane tickets to visit their loved ones recovering at military hospitals across the country. Operation Hero Miles gives ordinary citizens an opportunity to help our troops in a very direct way that makes a real difference in their lives.

The program is brilliant in its simplicity. Travelers donate their unused frequent flyer miles to the Pentagon and troopAugust 10, 2006lowing airlines are currently participating in Operation Hero Miles: AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Midwest Airlines, Northwest Airlines, United Air Lines, and US Airways.

Donations are currently being accepted from the following airlines: Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Midwest Airlines, Northwest Airlines, United Air Lines and US Airways.

Signed Into Law

Operation Hero Miles was signed into law by President Bush on October 28, 2004 as part of the 2005 Defense Appropriations Bill.

Operations Hero Miles Law


Soldiers who paid their own R & R travel expenses from 9/25/2003 through 12/18/2003 can qualify for reimbursement from the Pentagon.

Reimbursement Information

When Congressman Ruppersberger created Operation Hero Miles, the program awarded free tickets to servicemen and women stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan returning to the United States for their two weeks of Rest and Relaxation (R & R) Leave. In early 2004, the Department of Defense began paying for R & R leave. At that time, Operation Hero Miles began awarding free tickets to family members of wounded troops traveling to military hospitals to visit their injured loves ones. Sometimes the love and support of family is the best medicine to help a troop recover from a wound. Operation Hero Miles operates this program through a partnership with the Fisher House Foundation.

Since the war began, over 13,000 U.S. combat troops have returned ill or wounded to Andrews Air Force Base
Since the war began, over 13,000 U.S. combat troops have returned ill or wounded to Andrews Air Force Base. Photo courtesy of Michael Lutzky, The Washington Post

Are you eligible for a free ticket? Click here to find out:
Download Airline Fact Sheet (Acrobat PDF)

Click here for Rules and an Application:
Rules and APPLICATION for Free Airline Tickets (Acrobat PDF)

Help with Deployment- Related Travel

For more information about Operation Hero Miles, please see the Operation Hero Miles Story.

Alaska America West American Delta
Independence Northwest Pan-Am US Airways

This site is operated in conjunction with the Fisher House Foundation to promote the donation of airline miles for members of the US Armed Forces. Donated miles may be used by members on active duty deployed overseas for rest and recuperation travel, and to allow family members to visit soldiers injured in the line of duty. Page updated/reviewed on August 10, 2006

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