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Valley WWII veteran marks 100th birthday with special flight

3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago Tuesday, September 28 2021 Sep 28, 2021 September 28, 2021 8:42 AM September 28, 2021 in News - Local

Hidalgo County honored a World War II veteran who turned 100 years old this week by taking him on the flight of his life.

With the help of a nonprofit organization called Dream Flights, Eugene Gutierrez received a one-of-a-kind birthday gift: the chance to fly in a 1942 World War II aircraft.

Gutierrez said the trip went great, but the feeling of being in the air was nothing new to him and brought back memories from his time in the military.

"Well, you feel that cold wind on your face and your ears are fluttering and it's like being suspended a thousand feet with a parachute," Gutierrez said. "And I've been through that."

Gutierrez's daughter Elizabeth said that seeing her father on a plane made her so happy.

"I'm very proud of him. I know that he was very excited about coming today and it's nice that he is on a World War II plane as well," Elizabeth said. "It's preserving history."

Eugene was a part of the first special service force called the "Devil's Brigade." A patch dedicated to his special service force was added to the plane in his honor.

He was asked to sign his name on it and forever leave his mark.

"I feel very fortunate to have so many good people wishing me the best luck in my age and in my service to my country," Gutierrez said. 

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