It was a special day for Dave Hamilton. Not only was it his 99th birthday, but the World War II Airborne Demonstration Team (ADT) took him up on a flight in a C-47 for a parachute jump out on the Frederick Oklahoma drop zone.
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Hamilton flew the C-47 during World War II. The night prior to the beach landing at Normandy, Hamilton flew 18 pathfinders from the 82nd Airborne division and inserted them by parachute into Nazi-occupied France to pave the way for the larger invasion to come by air and sea.
Hamilton went on to fly during Operation Dragoon during the allied invasion of Southern France, flew five missions during Operation Market Garden, and did a re-supply drop for the 101st Airborne during the Battle of the Bulge.
As if Hamilton wasn't already a part of American history, he went back for more during the Korean War where he flew 51 combat missions in the RB-26. For his actions in Korea, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
So it was only July 20th, 2021 when Hamilton was treated to another trip in the aircraft that he flew into history. The pilot, Dave Prater, flew Hamilton as twenty jumpers stood up, hooked up, and shuffled their way out of the door to parachute safely to the ground.
"Mr. Hamilton was treated as royalty at ADT and he spent most of the day after the flight talking with many members that wanted to meet him and ask him questions about his time in the service," a spokesperson for ADT told Connecting Vets. "He never tired of telling of his experiences during World War II, Korea, and his remarkable life."
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