WWII Glider Pilot Remembered

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LOVES PARK (WIFR) --- Many people are honoring their loved ones who proudly served our country today, even if it wasn't battle that took their lives. One local woman is remembering her dad who escaped a risky mission during World War II.

"Their night vision goggles."

Gloriann Dawson looks at the glasses her father wore as an Army Air Corp glider pilot back in World War II.

"What (my dad) did was fly in at night behind enemy lines, land the plane, drop off what they were carrying and they had to get back out anyway they could, hitch a ride," said Dawson.

Flying back was not an option because the glider didn't have an engine. Another plane would tow the gliders close to their target and then let them glide the rest of the way.

"Most of the time the men didn't make it, they were caught and killed," said Dawson.

But Dawson's dad, nicknamed Wib, was one of the lucky ones.

Dawson said, "From what I understand there was only two that were glider pilots from Illinois that came back... and my dad was one of them."

Dawson's dad passed away from health complications back in 2002. She says she thinks about him often and especially on Memorial Day when so many other brave Americans who served our country are being remembered.

"It means a lot that these guys are out there risking their lives."

And when she thinks about these men, women, and her father, Dawson says she feels...

"Pride, one word, I'm very proud of him."

Wib also flew B-52 bombers during WWII. Gloriann says he loved to fly; he was even flying a small plane once he was out of the service, the day Gloriann was born.

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