Navy Veteran gets 100 birthday parade surprise

Naval Aviation veteran Harold Sears turned 100-years-old Saturday and was surprised with friends and family, and a parade.
Updated: May. 29, 2021 at 4:19 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A Naval Aviation veteran who turned 100-years-old Saturday was surprised with friends and family, and a parade.

Harold Sears is a World War II veteran who served in the Navy, spending 1,200 hours flying during his time in battle -- looking for enemies at sea.

“We flew with up to 5,000 gallons of gasoline in them, they weighed about 65,000 pounds and they would fly about 200 miles an hour,” he said. “We went out towards the Philippines and Japan every year. A whole bunch of us flying like this, you know, looking for any kind of ship or submarines that we might see.”

Sears’ path to the navy may have been more rebellious than others.

“It’s kind of interesting, my dad didn’t want me to get in the service so he wouldn’t sign my papers. So the minute I was 21, I went to Kansas City on the train and got signed up for the Naval Aviation.” Saturday morning he, and his family, sat on chairs on the driveway patiently waiting for some sort of surprise for his 100th birthday. What he got was a drive-through parade from the VFW riders, the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, and Veteran Affairs staff members.

A picture book was displayed of Sears in uniform for people to check out as well, which sparked a memory of one night coming in for a night landing and had to adjust to the cross-wind.

“I landed normally, pulled the throttle back and she flipped, knocked the float off, so my crew chief -- we had a little hole to crawl out on top, you know, he jumped on top, got the whole crew on the other wing to hold it down. So I got a combination for saving the plane.”

He was honored to have his family come from all over the country to come to celebrate with him and appreciates the parade but doesn’t think he’ll be getting on a motorcycle himself anytime soon.

“I never rode a motorcycle much, I was afraid it might overcome me and I didn’t want to be run-down. They do a good job with them.”

When asked if he had any regrets or anything he could take back, he said, “I think I have loved my life.”

His advice for people is to love the lord, take your vitamins and listen to your body.

“Just happy that I was able to do my part.” He and his wife have been together for 72 years.

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