100-year-old South Jersey World War II veteran takes flight of a lifetime

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Monday, April 24, 2023
100-year-old World War II veteran takes flight of a lifetime
It was an unforgettable moment as U.S. Army veteran Carl May climbed back in the pilot's seat for his 100th birthday.

MEDFORD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- World War II Army veteran Carl May celebrated his 100th birthday by climbing back in the pilot's seat.

"I flew B-26s for 32 missions and then I flew light airplanes out of Orly field in Paris," he said. "I enjoyed it very much."

Once May returned home from the Army, he started a life with his wife that blossomed into 13 children, 31 grandchildren, and 40 great grandchildren. They were married for 65 years before her passing. Still, May lives a self-sufficient life, drives every day, and works on crafting magnificent bowls in his cellar.

His extended family decided to celebrate with a massive 100th birthday party on March 25, 2023. The Honor Guard even presented him with a flag. But absent from the festivities was a planned airplane flight, which had been canceled due to inclement weather.

Despite the pushback from Mother Nature, May did not give up on his goal. He arranged to later visit Flying W Airport & Resort in Medford, New Jersey, to finally take to the skies.

Many of his family members returned for a second celebration to see the centenarian take off and land in style.

"He's just got a great attitude about life," said May's son, Richard. "He goes to church every day, too, by the way. Probably prays for all of us."

Richard wasn't surprised to see his dad flying again. In fact, he thinks it won't be the last time.

"Some of the relatives sent him up on a plane five years ago," he mentioned. "Being 100... I think he's trying to, maybe, he wants to set an example for the family."

His accomplishments seem to be ringing loud and clear for the younger generation.

"My family comes from a long line of people and he is the one that inspires me the most," said great grandson AJ Perez.

Despite the amazing experience Carl May had in the sky, his biggest prize awaited him much closer to the ground.

"It's an excitement just to see all the family here. I'm glad to be here for them," he said. "Usually, families don't get along like this one does. And I thank God for that."

RELATED: South Jersey veteran brings therapy ducks to senior living facilities

Jeremy Piatt and his therapy ducks, "Carmel" and "Peepers," are bringing smiles to senior citizens in South Jersey.