“Sylvester ‘Sy' Becker served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as an engine mechanic on the Consolidated B-24 liberators in England during WWII,” KNXY-TV reported.
On Saturday, the nonprofit's founder and CEO, Tony Anger, took the 100-year-old for a flight aboard a Fairchild PT-26 WWII trainer called Amazing Grace, according to KNXY-TV. After departing from Falcon Field Airport in Mesa, Arizona, the pair flew past Weaver's Needle and above the Superstition Mountains.
“It was a nice flight,” Becker told KNXY-TV. “[Tony's] a good pilot.”
“It was fun watching his face,” Anger said. “He was smiling the whole time and looking around.”
Becker's joy ride was Grounded No More's 469th honorary flight. In December, Pearl Harbor survivor Jack Holder celebrated his 100th birthday a day early by taking a flight aboard the Amazing Grace with Anger, according to a previous KNXY-TV story.
“I thought it was great. It brought back all the memories,” Holder, a Navy veteran, told the outlet.
Following Pearl Harbor, he flew in more than 100 missions, including the Battle of Midway, the outlet reported.
On Saturday, Anger told KNXY-TV the flights often have a profound influence on veterans:
It brings back memories of good times. I actually had a gentleman call me up last year and told me he was on the verge of suicide until he came out and went for a ride, and when he saw all these people coming out and loving on him and caring about him and knowing that their service meant something to them, it totally changed his whole perspective on life.
The organization is six years old, and while it gives free flights to veterans of all ages aboard the Fairchild PT-26, it has begun offering flights to Gold Star families aboard an IAR-823, according to its website.