America is celebrating its 244th birthday Saturday and it’s a time to pause and remember the men and women who protected our freedom.
A veteran in Charlotte will be celebrating his 100th birthday on July 31.
“I was born at the old St. Peter’s Hospital in Charlotte,” John Dellinger said.
He is still going strong leading up to the centennial celebration.
“I hope I can make it,” Dellinger said laughing.
The Charlotte native still has the uniform he wore when he joined the Army Air Force in 1942 as an airplane mechanic.
He married a woman he met in Charlotte one year after basic training.
After that, he was deployed to the Pacific Ocean theater during World War II.
Dellinger found himself at an airbase the U.S. Navy carved out of coral and jungle.
“The enemy was still in the jungle, but you don’t think about it,” the veteran said. “You just go and do what’s necessary.”
He said his duty was to give his service to the country and mankind.
Dellinger fixed bombers and logged missions if they returned.
“I lost some of my buddies,” said Dellinger, who is most likely the last surviving member of that unit.
The 99-year-old Charlottean has been living in Derita since he and his wife bought it in 1965.
His wife died in 2004, but he is surviving on his own.
“I clean my own house and do everything,” Dellinger said.
There is a secret to a long life, he said.
“I think a lot of good sleep is medicine, as well as take care of your body,” Dellinger said. “Do the best thing to take care of your body.”
His son and daughter will be with Dellinger to celebrate his birthday at the end of this month.
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