Local WWII vets honored with Dream Flights

OTTUMWA, I.A. – Three Ottumwa World War II veterans were honored for their service Monday by taking a step back in time.

Bill Jones, Chuck Osing and Allan Augustine took turns climbing into a Boeing Stearman World War II aircraft at the Ottumwa Regional Airport as part of the Dream Flights program. It’s the same type of aircraft used to train military aviators in the late 1930s and the early 1940s.

“The 1942 Boeing Stearman was used by both the Army Air Corps and the Navy,” said Mike Sommars, pilot with Dream Flights. “It was the principal, primary trainer for both of them. After they mastered the Stearman, they would get their wings, be commissioned as officers, and then they would go on in the advanced training, and then eventually the fighters and bombers of World War II.”

The program has been around since 2011, said Lynn Sommars, also with Dream Flights. She said since that time, they have flown more than 4,000 seniors across the country with 1,000 scheduled for this year. "To be able to thank them for giving us the lifestyle that we have is an incredible honor," she said.

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