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Local WWII veterans honored in ‘dream flight’

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) – On Wednesday, a group of local WWII veterans were treated for a trip of a lifetime, taking a ride in a WWII biplane at Sarasota International Airport Bradenton.

The first was Peter Tominelli, also known as “Chip”. “I’m excited!” he said.

Next month, he will celebrate his 100th birthday. When ABC7 asked him what is the secret to being 100, he replied, “I would like to know! “

The army veteran served on the island of Espiritu Santo in the Gulf of California, and now he’s taking flight in a warplane.

Like him, his buddies Joe and Melvin took turns in the N2S-3 Stearman, the main American trainer during the war. All three live in Cypress Hills in Lakewood Ranch. “I’ve never been in a biplane,” Joe Abrams said.

However, before take off, there was a surprise. A Southwest Airline flight that was supposed to be done first, but the pilot of that plane let them pass to thank them for their service.

“We’re here to thank you in a unique way,” said Darryl Fisher, Founder and Pilot of Dream Flights.

This flight was part of Operation September Freedom. “This is the last nationwide mission to honor WWII veterans that will occur,” he said.

As for Chip, it’s an unforgettable birthday. “I’m excited, I never thought I would get this far in life,” he said.

For more information on Dream Flights, click here.

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