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Clearwater WWII Veteran celebrates 103rd birthday during pandemic

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PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA)- Clearwater resident and World War II veteran, George McInally, celebrated his 103rd birthday on Wednesday.

“I’ve had a good long life,” said McInally.

The Michigan native was stationed in the Pacific and flew airplanes for the United States Army Air Forces. 

“I signed in the Air Force in April of 1941. I went to school at New York University Guggenheim School of Aeronautics. I went through pilot training and spent a total of five years in the Air Force. It was a tremendous experience but I don’t recommend it…War for experience,” said McInally.

McInally also recalls bravely operating gliders over enemy territories. 

“That was an experience. I had to learn to fly one and just in addition to towing them. That was a tremendous experience and something that I will remember.” 

But the 103-year-old tells WFLA.com his best memories in life include his wife of nearly 70 years, Hazel and their three children. McInally also fondly remembers going to school in New York City and he remembers the day the war ended.

“One of my best experiences was going to school in Newark, New York City. Subways were a nickel. The ferry to Staten Island was the nickel,” said McInally. “Another tremendous memory was flying into Tokyo, knowing the war was over.”

Now, McInally says in his 103 years of life, he thought he saw just about everything until the recent coronavirus pandemic.

“I can’t imagine what’s happening today could ever happen but it has. It’s crazy and so many aspects of it.”

One thing that has not changed throughout the WWII vet’s life, is his sense of humor. McInally says before he dies, he wants to see one last thing, the upcoming election.  

“I have to be here until November 2,” said McInally. “After the election, I will die happily or poorly.” 

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