World War II veterans meet for first time after serving together more than 70 years ago
FREDERICK, Okla. (KTUL) – Imagine jumping airborne out of a plane in honor of those who have served our country.
Those who want to have this experience take a nine day course and will complete written and practical exams and five jumps out of a plane at 1500 feet just like in the World War II era.
One man traveled from Portland, Oregon to take part in the training and be a part of the experience with World War II vets.
“It’s really indescribable, especially since I served,” said Dan Reichman. “I’m a combat vet and hearing the stories of what those guys had to go through before me that sort of laid down the railroad tracks for what I have done today, I can’t even describe it.”
Daniel McBride traveled from New Mexico. Norwood Thomas from Virginia.
“I was in the 502nd Parachute Infantry,” said McBride. “We jumped in Normandy.”
“I joined the paratroopers in September of ’43,” said Thomas.
Both made the trip to see the jump school training.
“I like to see them go to jump school now compared to what it was like in 1942,” said McBride.
Taking them back to the days.
“It brought back a lot of memories, seeing them suited up and getting in the plane,” said Thomas.
The biggest surprise?
“We both went through jump school at the same time,” said McBride. “We were both on the same boat going overseas and we went to all the same places at the same time and we never met until yesterday. That’s quite a coincidence.”
“This to me was the epitome of my trip,” said Thomas. “He is the first man that I have met that was on that ship going to England.”
Connecting more than 70 years later at a hanger now so special to them.
Anyone can sign up to be a part of the World War II Airborne Demonstration Team as long as they are in good physical health. No military experience is necessary.
There is a list of criteria here.
This Saturday they are having an Open Hangar Day to end the Fall 2017 Jump School training. Anyone is welcome to stop by and see their new team’s graduation.
World War II veterans will pin gold wings to the chest of those who graduate from the course.
The men and women of the World War II Airborne Demonstration Team participate in air shows, veteran reunions and events to educate people on what it is like to jump from real World War II era aircrafts.