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Air Force veteran celebrates 100th birthday in the air

Jim Reynolds' special ride took off from Noblesville Saturday in an aircraft similar to one he flew in the 1940s.

It's never too late to carry out old passions. Just ask Jim Reynolds of Fishers.

Jim, who turns 100 later this year, was called to active duty in February 1943 as a navigation cadet for the United States Air Force.

He quickly become what he called a "very happy military pilot."

"The day I made 2nd Lieutenant, August 4, 1944 was the best day of my life," he said. "I didn't have to go back and milk cows at the farm anymore."

During his nearly 23 in the Air Force, Jim logged more than 10,000 flying hours.

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"I don't know how many different airplanes I flew," Jim said. "My biggest assignment was flying transports at the end after World War II."

Jim's family in Fishers decided there was no better way to celebrate his upcoming 100th birthday than in the air.

Credit: Mark Sheehan

Jim's brother, Jon, was in Noblesville Saturday when his brother took to the skies in a plane similar to the one he flew in the 1940s.

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"I am really glad they are recognizing my brother," said Jon. "He has had quite a life, including being a World War II veteran and the greatest generation. These kinds of things are just really inspiring to see it done for him, and all of us are glad to not only see it, but to participate in it."

Jon, 84, also served in the military during the Vietnam era.

Credit: WTHR/Samantha Johnson

"Although if I were still in active duty, I would be in the space force, because I was not an aviator. I worked primarily in the space side of the Air Force and logistics," John said.

The brothers are the only two remaining of nine siblings. Jim said having his family together to celebrate the big day means the world.

That's coming from a man who has seen 51 countries.

"It's nice to have this recognition," said Jim.

Jim retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel.

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