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100-Year-Old WWII Vet Recalls Berlin Airlift, Training Pilots in Gliders, Biplanes

As a boy growing up in Southern California in the 1920s, Ed Reeder didn’t have a clue that his fascination with aviation would one day find him flying over occupied Germany with a Soviet fighter jet on his tail. “That was scary as hell,” he said as he recalled the Russian fighter pilot that buzzed his Douglas C-47 Dakota transport plane during the Berlin Airlift in 1947 in the aftermath of the Second World War. Born in Capistrano Beach on Sept. 5, 1921, Reeder celebrated his 100th birthday over the Labor Day weekend. His First Flight Reeder recalled how he felt after his first flight when he was still in grade school. “I took a ride in an old tri-engine aircraft with an old famous guy flying it.” Though the name of the pilot escapes him, he’ll never forget how he felt being “in the air” over Santa Ana. “It …

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