World War II pilot shares story ahead of his 100th birthday

A World War II pilot who shot down several planes never thought he would live to be 25. In just a few days, he’ll be turning 100.

Edward Feightner now struggles with dementia and has a hard time hearing, but the memories of his service are still with him. He says he can’t believe he’s still here.

4 News Now spoke with Feightner’s nephew, James McBride, who helped retell his story.

“He said I think three times he thought it was all over, he was going to be killed” said McBride.

Though Feightner may be questioning how he’s still here, his stories make it apparent it was his bravery that helped him stay alive- and his ability to land a plane in any condition.

“Ship said ‘well what do you want to do?’ You want to ditch alongside or do you want to bail out?’ He said ‘request permission to come aboard.'”

McBride tells the story well.

Then there was the time he was on mission over Japan, taking photos of an airbase.

“He got hit with probably a 75mm before he was even out of the clouds,” said McBride. “He came out inverted and he recovered but he was only about 15 feet off the ground but the runway was right in front of him.”

Feightner’s nephew does most of the talking now. He’s heard the stories spanning his uncle’s 33-year Navy career. He’s credited with shooting down several enemy planes- even a 44,000 ton ship.

“He has a great influence on our family. I became a Navy pilot because of his influence and my son became a marine pilot,” said McBride.