Washington man to fly 75 year old plane across Atlantic to honor his dad on D-Day

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EVERETT, Washington — Just a last minute check of oil pressure on the starboard engine and this World War II C-47 / DC-3 restored plane is ready to cross the pond.

“It’s unusual for a plane over 75 years old to still be in service,” said John Sessions, head of the Historic Flight Foundation.

Sessions guided the plane’s restoration at the Historic Flight Foundation and is one of three pilots set to fly it across the Atlantic Ocean for one of the largest gatherings of a World War II aircraft since the night of June 5, 1944.

“It makes you remember your parents,” he said.

John’s dad, Sgt. Myron Guy Sessions, was there on D-Day.

“His summary of the day was we won because we made three mistakes in the Germans,” Sessions said.

A squad leader in the 101st Airborne Division, weighing about 165 pounds, he had a jump weight of 300, carrying extra gear for his troops.

On D-Day they were dropped far off the mark, so Sgt. Sessions formed an ad-hoc unit to carry out orders.

“Their objective was to preserve a bridge and keep the Germans from blowing it up,” Sessions said.

John knows his dad’s story well.

“He was wounded once and had 35 days of combat — a shot to the leg. It didn’t strike a bone so he continued and was relieved 35 days after D-Day,” he explained.

The fight did not end on day 36.

John’s dad eventually ended up in Holland where he got shot a second time.

“Very serious, the second time,” he said. “He had 16 months of hospitalization and my mom was his last nurse.”

Pausing to let the tears welling up in his eyes recede, John went on with the rest of the story.

“He was in a rehab hospital and she was a Canadian who joined the U.S. Army for the war. When he could walk again and started chasing her,” he said with a smile.

The rest is history.

While John flies planes, he said his brother got the airborne gene.

A Marine paratrooper, retired Major Michael Sessions is flying with his brother to retrace their father’s steps.

“So yeah, it’s a big deal,” he said.

Sessions said they’re leaving the Historic Flight Foundation at Paine Field, picking up the Blue Spruce route, with stops in New York for a commemorative fly over on the way. After D-Day they’ll fly to Berlin for the 70th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, the first “battle” of the Cold War.

This story was first published by fellow CNN affiliate KOMO. It is used here with permission.