Veteran services

WWII Nebraska veteran celebrates 100th birthday with helicopter ride | Local News

On his 100th birthday on Saturday, Bob Reisser took flight.

Lifting off from the grounds of the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in a helicopter, Reisser returned home to Elk Ridge Village, where he has been a beloved resident since the seniors’ community opened in 2007 in the Elkhorn area. .

The helicopter, piloted by Larry Geiger of Lincoln Helicopter Services, came after Reisser gave a tour of the SAC Museum. The B-17, B-29 and B-36 planes there brought back memories for Reisser, a pilot who flew 28 combat missions over Germany during World War II.

The Omaha native can still vividly recall his career and crew members and where each of them sat as they ran errands to help end the war , including twice striking the capital of Nazi Germany, Berlin.

“It was a treat,” Reisser said with a chuckle.

Reisser and his crew also carried out humanitarian missions by airlifting food to starving people in the Netherlands who were victims of armed flooding. He then served in the Korean War.

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But it was during World War II that Reisser married his first wife, Katherine Poole, in May 1944. They had two children, Craig and Kurt, and were married for 57 years until his death. Around the age of 85, he married Kathryn Wozny, who has since died.

Kurt described his father as a loving father who took an active role in organizations such as Boy Scouts and supported his children’s aspirations. During his civilian career, Bob Reisser worked at the Nebraska Tractor and Equipment Co., rising from sweeping floors as a teenager to serving as vice president of the company upon his retirement.

“He’s got a great sense of humor, he’s a good sportsman and he’s in incredible shape for 100,” Kurt said.

Indeed, Bob Reisser walks around with little help and maintains an active lifestyle that includes three Nintendo Wii bowling sessions a week. He once launched a 300 on the video game console. Reisser still sings weekly with other residents of the Elkhorn senior community.

“It’s hard not to like the guy,” said Tony Damewood, executive director at Elk Ridge Village. “Everyone knows Bob, and everyone is a friend of his.”

On Friday, Reisser was recognized as Admiral of Nebraska, the state’s highest civic honor. Damewood said residents nominated Reisser for the honor, which is bestowed by the governor.