Murfreesboro veterans experience flying once again - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Murfreesboro veterans experience flying once again

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MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -

There have been numerous tributes this week to honor veterans and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. On Wednesday, in Murfreesboro, a group of veterans returned to the skies once again.

For 23 years, Will Tuttle jumped from planes as a paratrooper in the Korean and Vietnam wars. Now, he was one of three veterans from the Tennessee State Veterans Home who once again experienced the freedom of taking to the sky.

"He just lost his wife in the past three weeks, and I didn't think anything could perk him up. But if anything could perk him up, this should do it - get his adrenaline going. It should get him going," said daughter Sonja Tate.

This opportunity all started when Middle Tennessee State University professor Tony Johnston was visiting his mother at the veterans home and heard about another veteran's last wish.

"He was a pilot in World War II and had indicated a desire to fly again before he passed away," Johnston said.

So, Johnston turned to his colleague in the MTSU Aerospace Department with a big question.

"If we have an airplane in our inventory, that we could possibly load this person who was wheelchair bound into the plane to allow him to fly again," Johnston said.

It was no problem, once a few seats were removed. And word of the man's return to the skies even made the front page of the local paper.

"And he carried around that newspaper, I understand, for about two weeks, stopping everyone in the hallway to tell them about his flight and show them the pictures," Johnston said.

Now, other vets are getting the same special chance to soar again.

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