An Air Force veteran from Mountain Home, Arkansas, will turn 100 soon and on Monday he got to fly in the cockpit of a 1943 Boeing Stearman.
It has been a long time since 99-year-old Bob Cwiak rode in a plane but as a veteran who served his country in Italy during World War II, that was not always so, KY3 reported Monday.
When asked how often he flew, Cwiak said, “As often as it was necessary.”
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, BIG AIR – Midway, a transportation service in Arkansas, shared photos of Cwiak on his big day.
“We were proud to be able to help facilitate this great event in an effort to give back to our veterans,” the post read:
We had the pleasure of hosting Dream Flights yesterday! Dream Flights came out to the Baxter County Airport in order to…
In the military, Cwiak served as a bombardier during 62 missions across Europe.
“Over Austria, Hungary, Romania. Our mission was to bomb the facilities for making war,” he noted.
The veteran recalled a moment when the mechanism he operated opened the bomb bay doors, however, the bombs failed to release, the KY3 article continued:
He left his station in the nose of the plane and crept back to the cargo area, now wide open, and manually released the bombs. The plane was at 27,000 feet altitude and he had no oxygen mask. He passed out and was rescued before falling out of the plane when a crew member dragged him back into the oxygenated area, a very close call.
Now, he spends his time on the ground until Dream Flights gave him a free flight in thanks for everything he has done. Not surprisingly, Cwiak recognized the aircraft.