PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- A World War II veteran received a big birthday surprise on Wednesday, all thanks to a local pilot.
Gene Metcalfe is 95 years old. On Wednesday, one pilot took him to the skies to celebrate. Metcalfe said this birthday is one he will never forget.
"Wow, I won't sleep for a week," said Metcalfe.
Metcalfe, a WWII veteran and prisoner of war, took to the skies on a historic plane, all thanks to the Grounded No More Veteran Flight Lift organization. .
"The plane is a 1943 Fairchild PT26 Mk. 1 Cornell," said Tony Anger with the Grounded No More Veteran Flight Lift. "It's one of the only flying PT26's that I know of that's never been rebuilt. It's all original."
Anger, who was in the Air National Guard, gives free rides on the plane to american heroes like Metcalfe.
"I never missed a meal, I was never away from my family, I never suffered, I was never shot at, and this is kind of my way to give back to my brothers and sisters that actually had to go out in the field and do things," said Anger.
Metcalfe, who was a paratrooper, says it was nice to see how the plane actually lands. He promised Anger he wouldn't jump out.
"The times we had, looking at the prospects of dying in a foreign country with no body around, by yourself, that's all washed away with this. It makes it worthwhile," said Metcalfe.