SHREVEPORT, La (KTAL/KMSS) – Veterans’ Day may be a few weeks away, but it’s never too early to celebrate our veterans. This morning five veterans took the Dream Flight in Shreveport.
The Dream Flight is a plane ride for active duty or retired veterans in Stearman biplanes used during World War I and II. Molly Littlefield, a volunteer pilot, says the Dream Flight serves as a thank you for those putting their lives on the line for our freedom.
“Some of them came back from whatever wars they served in, and we’re honored. A lot of them were. To see the joy and the happiness that they get that seat in that airplane,” said Littlefield.
Littlefield’s father is a veteran, and honoring these veterans fills her heart with joy.
“It chokes me up when I think of some of the stories we’ve heard. It just brings so much joy and recollection and honor to the veterans.”
This flight can also bring back memories for those that flew during the wars. The U.S. Army Air Corps and Navy commonly used them as pilot training aircraft. That’s why the Stearman biplane plays a massive role in this event.
“This airplane was probably responsible for teaching 90% of the World War II pilots to fly. There were other trainers, but this was mass produced. Everybody who flew World War II airplanes has a history with the Sterman.”
For 84-year-old James Bissel, this event was a lot of fun. He was all smiles getting strapped in and throughout the whole plane ride. It also gave him a chance to reflect.
“It was cold. That wind was blowing off those fans up there, moving us around. It was a different flight this time. But I enjoyed every bit of it,” he said.
It’s been 54 years since air force veteran Bissell was on a plane like this.
“I was enjoying the flight because that was my first time since I had got on a plane. When I was going to the air force base down in Mississippi.”
Dream Flights has honored more than 5,000 veterans and seniors in long-term care facilities since 2011.
The veterans who took the Dream Flight were:
Betty Mercer Beasley, 73 years old, Army
James Bissell, 84 years old, Air Force
John Kidd, 65 years old, Army
Richard Moore, 61 years old, Air Force
Gene Myers, 88 years old, Air Force