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Rocket City Wing helps Korean War veteran return to the sky

(Huntsville, Al.) Mar 13, 2024 Duane Hoffman, a spirited 90-year-old Korean War veteran, took to the skies once again, this time aboard a historic L-17B Navion with the Rocket City Wing of the Commemorative Air Force. It was a flight filled with memories and gratitude, marking a special chapter in Hoffman's remarkable life. Unlike his previous airborne escapades where he parachuted out of planes, this flight was about honoring his service and reliving the glory days of American military aviation. Sponsored by the Air and Space Force Association, Hoffman's journey was a testament to the enduring spirit of our veterans.

The L-17B Navion, steeped in history from the Korean War era, held a special significance for Hoffman and his fellow veterans. It was a vessel not for war, but for carrying precious cargo – people and classified documents that played crucial roles during those tumultuous times. Guided by retired Lt. Col. Jim Burch, the flight offered Hoffman a chance to take the controls himself, a nostalgic nod to his days as a pilot after leaving the Navy. Despite less-than-ideal weather, the plane soared over Pryor Field Regional Airport, weaving through memories of bygone days for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

Reflecting on his naval service, Hoffman recounted tales of capturing dramatic aircraft landings on carrier decks, a job that demanded unwavering vigilance and quick reflexes. His experiences underscored the courage and resilience of those who served alongside him. In the wake of personal loss, Hoffman embarked on a quest to fulfill his bucket list, embracing adventure with gusto. From cruises to skydiving, he's seized every opportunity life presents, embodying a spirit of boundless exploration. As he contemplates future adventures, including the possibility of another skydiving escapade for his centenary, Hoffman's indomitable spirit serves as an inspiration to us all. His journey with the Commemorative Air Force reminds us to honor our heroes and cherish the freedom they've safeguarded.

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