By Tiffany Pelt - email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Dozens of World War II glider pilot veterans are in Lubbock celebrating their 40th reunion. Saturday the Silent Wings Museum unveiled a new historical marker dedicated to those pilots and their service to the country.
Veteran Otto Lyons was one of the 37 glider pilots that made it to Lubbock for the reunion. He traveled all the way from Tennessee to let his family get a glimpse of his history.
"I joined right into the glider program in 1942 when I was 19," said Otto. "You'd be surprised at the people who don't realize gliders were used in the war and those that do don't realize how big they were."
Otto learned to fly the WACO CG-4A Gliders, stretching 48 feet and used to transport equipment and personnel during WWII.
Another surprise, most of those glider pilots like Otto were trained right here in Lubbock. "This is where 80% or more were trained. We trained right here on this field. It was named South Plains Army Airfield at the time," said Otto.
In 1943 Otto came to Lubbock where he spent a year learning to cope with the weather. "No nothing like a wind storm out here, I can tell you that," he chuckled. And it was here in the Hub City where he found his wife.
"I guess one of the best memories I had was right here in Lubbock. I met my wife and we were married on November 10th 1943," he said. "Come this November 10th it will be 67 years."
Now more than have a century later Otto made it back to Lubbock visiting the Silent Wings Museum with several of his pilot buddies. "I think each year we try to see who can out do the other one when it comes to what happened, but that's normal you know we have a good time," he laughed.
For Otto, it's all about having his family take a little bit of his history home. "What's it like, Oh it's great. I'm fortunate to have my daughter, my grandson, and my great grandson here along with my grandson's wife," he said. "I'm very happy to have them here with me. That's four generations."
The Silent Wings Museum is the only one of its kind fully dedicated to the glider pilots of WWII.
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