101-year-old WWII vet honored with surprise flight in vintage aircraft

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A 101-year-old Pensacola World War II veteran was gifted Tuesday with a bucket list flight in the aircraft he flew during the war.

Dick Pace, a Navy veteran born in 1919, took flight today in Pensacola, thanks to the GEICO Skytypers Air Show Team.

He flew in one of the Skytypers’ WWII SN-Js, the Navy’s equivalent of the T-6 Texan.

Pace was helped into the aircraft by family and the Skytypers team. He told WKRG News 5 before the flight he was excited to fly.

He smiled and waved back to his family as the plane began to roll down the runway.

Pace was a U.S. Navy fighter pilot, flying the Grumman F6F HELLCAT in WWII. His family said he was based in Saipan in 1944. Pace was a skilled pilot in the Navy and became an instructor pilot in the SN-J aircraft.

His daughter Marcia Lindstrom calls her father a “treasure.” At 101, Pace is still in great shape. He still drives his V-12 Mercedes 600SL every day to his office in downtown Pensacola, Lindstrom said.

After recently losing his wife of 77 years, Tuesday’s flight in Pensacola made Pace and his family smile.

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