On World War 2 Vet’s 99th Birthday, They Have Ultimate Surprise Planned That Blows His Eyebrows Back

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First, let’s wish a happy 99th birthday to Eugene Leonard. Although, truth be told, anything we say will pale in comparison to the warm wishes and recognition Leonard received on his birthday.

Leonard was given a rare gift. A trip in a time machine… of sorts.

Before we can get to that though, some background. Eugene Leonard spent 76 of his years as a mechanic — a good one too, by all accounts.

It was a trade he started in 1936, when he joined the United States Marines. From there, Staff Sergeant Eugene Leonard grew to love working on airplanes.

Pilots loved his work, too. His friend, Guy Coulombe, told Fox News 10, “I’d say indirectly, he saved about 40 lives with his maintenance on airplanes and preventing pilots from making mistakes.”

As a way to thank Leonard for his service — and just because he is a good friend — for this milestone occasion, Coulombe arranged for Leonard to take to the skies once again. The Pearl Harbor survivor would not be going first class, but he would be flying in style.

Leonard would be returning to the skies inside of a familiar space, a B-17 Bomber. The B-17 was known as the “Flying Fortress.”

During World War II, the plane played a pivotal role in the bombing of occupied Europe. At one point, there were nearly 13,000 B-17s produced.

For his part, Leonard told Fox News 10 there was nothing to it: “Flying would be just like driving, you never lose it.” His flying experience during the war wasn’t limited to just the B-17. He also recalled hours spent in R4Ds and C-46s.

As he looked back over his time in the air, Leonard recalled a particularly “hairy” situation. “There was combat. We had to fly into Guadalcanal. They had control over Guadalcanal and we had to slip in with fire protection,” he noted. Never a dull moment!

Again, happy birthday Sarge! We hope you enjoyed this opportunity to go back in time, and thank you for your service.

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