WATCH – WWII Veteran Gifted Dream Flight: ‘History Is Being Made Right Now’

1943: Grumman F6F Hellcats of the American Airforce in WW II. Hellcats were developed in direct response to the Japanese Zero. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)
MPI/Getty Images

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…

Posted by BIG AIR – Midway on Tuesday, September 14, 2021

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.

“Oh it’s a biplane,” he commented, adding, “History, history is being made right now.”

Volution Media captured video footage of the veteran’s flight:

According to its Facebook page, Dream Flights is a nonprofit group honoring the service and sacrifice of the nation’s senior veterans by giving them an open-air flight in one of its WW-II era biplanes.

Facebook user Charles Leonard II shared additional photos of the event:

99 yr old, soon to be 100 yr old, WWII veteran Robert Cwiak had his flight this morning, it was amazing thank you Elmcroft of Mountain Home & Dream Flights for making this happen!! #dreamflight #elmcroft

Posted by Charles Leonard II on Monday, September 13, 2021

“Being a Dreams Flight pilot is the best way I’ve ever found to say thank you to the men and women who have provided the life that I get to live every day,” James Sims noted.

“My favorite part of flying with them is the moment we land and I jump out of my cockpit and swing up to the front, because nobody has gotten to see their reaction yet and they’re always excited and ecstatic,” he concluded.


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