By Justin Worland
April 26, 2015

A retired Air Force colonel who flew a combat plane on D-Day celebrated his 95th birthday last week perhaps one of the best ways he knew: by jumping out of an airplane at 12,000 feet.

Hal Shook of North Carolina was a combat pilot during the Allied invasion in June 1944, but after being shot down he continued to fly for the Air Force in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, according to WNCN. Though Shook gets around with the help of a walker, he’s still enthusiastic about being able to take a leap from a plane.

“It’s a joy,” he said. “You’re sitting there, and you can see everything below you. It’s beautiful.”

[WNCN]

Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com.

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