GREENSBORO, N.C. -- It started as an idea: Find a way to get all the Triad WWII veterans together to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. Along the way, we surprised even ourselves.
While talking with these heroes, we were so impressed by their personal and life-changing stories we had to share them. Here is Brig. Gen. Ted Crichton's story.
Brig. General Ted Crichton spent three decades in the military. And even after 34 years of retirement, he remembers every day like it was yesterday.
"I was 17. I guess there were two motivations. One that I wanted to be a pilot and fly. I had wanted to do that from the time I was a little kid. And the other was that my two older brothers were in, and I wanted to be part of the action."
It was right after D-Day, and for the General, it was just the beginning.
"I lived in three different countries: England, on Okinawa and Germany, and I think 21 other different places. My favorite assignment was flying the first operational multi-jet bomber- the B-45."
From WWII to Vietnam General Crichton worked his way up through the ranks. He took a lot of risks along the way including his missions from England to the Iron Curtain.
"We knew we were going to get in, we had a good horse to ride into combat. We just weren't going to get all the back. But we were motivated to go. We were in the Gulf of Tonkin [and] It was another case of doing what you have to do and meeting our goal, like we always have, of never leaving a fellow soldier behind."
When he retired, the general received the Distinguished Service Medal.
Through all of that, General Crichton still made time for a family. He and his wife moved to Greensboro 15 years ago. It was the 27th time they moved since taking their vows.
When asked if he would do anything differently during his time serving in WWII, he said, "Absolutely not. I was so fortunate. People have ups and downs in their life, I didn't have any- in my service life and my marriage. I wouldn't change a thing. I've been very, very fortunate."
General Crichton says his health is good, and he can still get around just fine. He still stays in touch with his crew and co-pilot, in fact, they have regular reunions.
He will be making the trip to the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion in Bedford, Virginia on June 6. You can get more information about the free trip for WWII veterans here. The deadline to apply is April 15.