Bob S., 92,a resident at the Sterling House of Emporia in Kansas. Serving as a mechanic in the Air Force during the Second World War, Bob became fascinated with the Bombers that he maintained. During the war, he always dreamed of being able to take flight in one of the planes he worked on. His Wish of a Lifetime was to fly in a WWII-era Bomber.
Bob joined the Air Force in 1941, and underwent intense training to become a mechanic on the bomber planes. Bob was able to witness the 450 planes that flew over the U.S.S Missouri, which signified the end of WWII. He was very proud to witness the hard work he endured while making the planes work, and from that moment on he wanted to know what it would be like to fly one.
Bob would also like to fly in an old World War II plane so he can pay respects to his younger brother, who was executed during the war at the age of 19. For four years, Bob had no idea the whereabouts of his brother. A Japanese officer trial in 1946 uncovered that Harold Spatz, Bob’s brother, and 2 other Airmen were executed during the Tokyo Raid, conducted by Colonel Doolittle. This operation was top secret, and therefore the Raiders had no idea where they were heading until they were dropped off in Japan. Being able to fly in a plane would give Bob a sense of accomplishment, but will also help him reconnect with his brother he lost so many years ago.
Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale Senior Living made Bob’s wish a reality by sending him and his son-in-law to the McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, KS. McConnell Air Force Base has a memorial for Bob’s brother Harold, where Bob paid his respects prior to his flight. He took his flight on July 14, 2012 – which happened to be his fallen brother’s birthday. Bob visited Spatz Hall, a dormitory on base that was named for his brother, before traveling to Colonel Jabara’s Airport to take flight in a B-24 bomber. When Bob first boarded the plane, his eyes lit up as if this were the moment he had been waiting for. Bob was also accompanied by around 25 family members and friends that wanted to send Bob off on his adventure. This truly was a wish of a lifetime for Bob and his step son-in-law!