Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A World War II veteran takes up an opportunity to step back in history with a commemorative flight on a plane he learned to fly some 70 years ago.
John Rewey was trained on a B-25 and was a co-pilot on one for a short time before he was assigned on a B-24 crew.
He flew 35 bombing missions over France and Germany.
His family arranged for the 89 year old to take flight again.
“I mean to begin with, we thought ‘Nah. We won’t make it,’” Rewey said.
Rewey was 20 years old when he flew his first bombing mission over Europe. He says he had his reasons for wanting to fight the enemy from the air.
“I could not visualize standing face to face with the enemy, with each of us got a gun. I said ‘I’ll take my chances 20,000 feet in the air,’” he said.
Rewey was part of a crew of 10. They believed every mission would be their last.
The closer his crew got to their 35th and final mission, the more they believed they could survive the airborne ordeal.
“‘Hey, maybe we will make it,’” he said.
He did make it, and was able to marry his sweetheart, Louise, and have four sons.
Today those sons, their wives, his grand- and great-grandchildren brought him to Airlake Airport in Lakeville to bring his experience in the cockpit of a World War II plane full circle.
“I guess I’ve kept them up to date on what it was like,” Rewey said.
His family will get to experience what it was like to ride in an aircraft just like the one that took him to war and brought him back home.
“Just for the fun of it I guess,” he said.
For “Jack,” as his family calls him, this is a fun way to celebrate his upcoming 90th birthday.
But for his family, its re-living history, and connecting stories Jack has told for generations – stories that will now live on for generations to come.
Rewey credits exercise for the great shape he’s in at age 89.
He plays tennis so often that the courts at his retirement community are named after him.