99-year-old Granite Falls WWII Veteran Jessie Bowman receives early birthday present
LENOIR, NC (November 19, 2019) — Jessie Bowman of Granite Falls, a WWII Veteran, received an early birthday present from Wesley Parlier on Tuesday, November 19, 2019. Jessie will turn 100 next month on December 28th.
Jessie’s present was a plane ride in a beautifully restored 1941 Boeing PT-17 Stearman biplane – planes like this were used as trainers during WWII. The plane is owned by Granite Falls/Hickory native and South Caldwell High School graduate Wesley Parlier. Wesley has been flying for over 35 years. He took his first flying lesson at age 18 in a Cessna 152 and currently flies Boeing 757’s and 767’s for United Airlines. So needless to say, Jessie Bowman was in very good hands.
Wesley said it was a great honor to take Jessie for a plane ride.
Jessie said that he was a little apprehensive yet excited about a ride in the plane. After the flight, he said he enjoyed it very much and was glad to be back on the ground. He certainly has a new story to share.
Jessie was drafted into the army in 1944 and fought the Germans throughout the European campaign. He was a gunner operator of an 80mm mortar with company D, 345th infantry of the 87th division. He fought in the battle of Morcy and then went on to the Ardennes Forest and the Black Forest. He also fought in the Battle of the Bulge, St. Vith and then crossed the Moselle River into Koblentz on the Rhine River and finished up fighting to help liberate Plauen in Northern Germany.