(Lander, WY) – 96-year-old Veteran John Tribby soared over Lander Sunday morning in a World War II-era biplane piloted by Tim Gardner as part of Dream Flights’ Operation September Freedom.
John is a resident of Westward Heights, and served 29 months in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He was stationed in the Pacific for approximately nine months at the end of the war.
His daughter and son-in-law, Krista and David Guthridge, along with members of the American Legion Don Stough Post 33, Mayor Monte and Debbie Richardson, Westward Heights staff, and community members attended this special event.
Dream Flights is a nonprofit dedicated to honoring military veterans with a free memorable experience as a way to give back to those who gave. The organization was founded in 2011 by pilot Darryl Fisher, who was also there Sunday.
They work directly with senior care facilities to organize the flights. Rachel Velarde with Westward Heights helped set up this experience.
A Boeing Stearman PT-17, which was a primary pilot training plane used in World War II, according to Tim, carried the two about 1,000 feet over the Lander area for around 20 minutes.
“Where’s my pilot’s license?” John jokingly asked County 10 after landing.
This flight experience for John was actually with a famous aviator, Darryl shared. Tim set a high altitude record in Argentina for gliders at 76,000 feet.
John shared about his role with the U.S. Army Air Corps noting he was part of the plane refueling unit but never flew during his service. The majority of planes he refueled were bigger, primarily B-29s.
During his service, he was stationed at several locations in the U.S. and in Tinian from November 1944 until August 1945.
“We were lucky to get out of there alive,” he told County 10.
Among the approximately 30 attendees that celebrated this experience with John on Sunday were six American Legion members including: Post 33 First Vice Commander Keith Trouwborst, American Legion District 3 Commander Ken Persson, Jr., Post 33 Adjutant Ken Persson, Sr., U.S. Air Force Veteran Michael Tanner, U.S. Navy Veteran Dan Raith and Veteran Roger Murdock.
Tim and Darryl flew into Lander’s Hunt Field Sunday morning from Evanston. They are based in Carson City, Nevada, and currently operate one of six World War II-era biplanes across the U.S. between August 1st to September 30th as part of Operation September Freedom.
During these two months, Dream Flights is focused on celebrating World War II Veterans by providing these memorable flights for as many as possible.
Learn more about Dream Flights by clicking here.