WWII Ranger finally gets airborne at 84

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RTO
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WWII Ranger finally gets airborne at 84

Post by RTO »

Lewis "Dutch" Haight has finally become an Airborne Ranger.

The Peekskill native already had the Ranger part covered, having received the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his heroics in Europe as an Army Ranger during World War II. Last week, at age 84, he got his airborne wings after he jumped 13,500 feet from a plane, strapped to another skydiver.

"Couldn't ask for better! Let's do it again!" he shouted, a huge smile on his face, after touching down at Skydive The Ranch in the Ulster County community of Gardiner where he made the jump and fulfilled a dream.

"The best part was when the main chute deployed and we just floated down," Haight said a few days later. "Not a sound in the world, it was so peaceful. I couldn't ask for a better feeling, looking down on Mother Earth. That's what heaven must be like."

So why would an octogenarian want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane?

"Well," Haight explained with a chuckle, "when I was with the Rangers we didn't get paratrooper training. We would infiltrate the enemy lines by foot. Nowadays, everybody talks about the 'airborne rangers' being the toughest guys. I figured that I'm still pretty tough, and I've always wanted to try it. The opportunity came, and I took it. It was great."

Describing Haight as tough might be an understatement.

He joined the Army in 1942 after graduating from Peekskill High School and volunteered for the toughest training available - that of an Army Ranger. Assigned to the 5th Ranger Battalion, Haight was wounded on Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion and taken back to England. He was patched up and sent back to France a few weeks later. He caught up with his unit and for the next several months served as a scout, sneaking up on the enemy in surprise attacks and gathering valuable intelligence for the larger Allied units behind him.


Full Story Here....

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Post by Ops NCO »

Looks like he even got master wings out of the deal. Good on him!

Every time I run into a WWII veteran, I thank them and remind them they they are true American heroes. And they are, each and every one.
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Post by Disinfertention »

I wanna be "that guy" if I make it to that age. Good story.
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