'Lots of memories:' 96-year-old veteran enjoys special ride in restored WWII plane

MILWAUKEE -- Memorial Day is all about remembering and honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and a World War II veteran was honored in a very special way on Saturday, May 25. Chuck Franzke won a ride in a restored airplane used during World War II -- and one last flight meant the world to the 96-year-old former pilot.

The Commemorative Air Force Wisconsin Wing honored a WWII veteran as part of the Warbirds event at the Waukesha County Airport.

Chuck Franzke served as a Navy pilot in WWII, and hadn't flown since 1945. The 96-year-old didn't let his age stop him. The vet won a ride in a restored aircraft used in WWII -- with bullet holes still noticeable from the war. Seventy-five years later, Franzke stepped back into that plane -- this time in the passenger's seat.

"I wouldn't fly by myself anymore, because I don't know what any of those dials are anymore," said Franzke.

Chuck Franzke

Chuck Franzke

Franzke described the aircraft as a hard-working, good flying airplane.

"Just the way it flies, the way you control it, the way it reacts to your controls," said Franzke.

As he rode in a neat piece of history, he remembered the history he made sitting in the pilot's seat so many years ago.

"Lot of memories," said Franzke. "But you know, it's been 75 years."

Franzke said the ride was probably his last, but it's a flight he'll never forget.

"It was a great ride," said Franzke. "I've always liked the torpedo bomber, and I like it even more now."