Those Who Serve: Fred Seals - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Those Who Serve: Fred Seals

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Air Force veteran Fred Seals, now 97, served in three wars. (KTEN) Air Force veteran Fred Seals, now 97, served in three wars. (KTEN)
Fred Seals points to himself in a World War II vintage photograph. (KTEN) Fred Seals points to himself in a World War II vintage photograph. (KTEN)
An undated file photo of Air Force veteran Fred Seals. (Courtesy) An undated file photo of Air Force veteran Fred Seals. (Courtesy)

ARDMORE, Okla. -- Texoma prides itself on having an extensive list of outstanding men and women who have served our country, but Ardmore veteran Fred Seals is raising the bar even higher.

"I talk to myself, I say: 'Old man, straighten up and fly right!' I've tried to do that all my life," he said.

And that's a fitting motto for this 97-year-old pilot who is one of the last remaining Air Force veterans to see action in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

"Very proud to have served my country for three wars," Seals said. "I am part of a fourth generation of military. My dad was in the Army, I was in the Air Force, and my son and grandson was in the Army."

And that heritage was an inspiration for Seals' son, David.

"I think I have patterned myself after him, and I'm proud of him," he said. "I think he's the only person to fall out of an aircraft and fall back into it."

It's a recounting of an April 1952 incident over Korea that Fred Seals felt he had to clarify.

"I didn't fall out; I was thrown out and brought back in," he explained. "And all of a sudden I am back in the airplane and I am confused; I am not supposed to be in an airplane... I am supposed to be on the ground."

And even this battle-tested airman shed a tear remembering one of his favorite gifts in life: His wife, Seal.

"We were married 65 years, and I can't imagine anyone putting up with me for 65 years," he said.

Despite giving up so much, serving his country was never a sacrifice for Fred Seals.

"It's a fulfillment," he said. "I never thought of it as a duty or a sacrifice; it was just part of living ... just hang on there and fly right."

And this pilot plans to extend his tour of duty into a second century.

"I am looking forward to several years...  about 10 of them, to be exact."

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If you would like to nominate someone in your community to be featured in KTEN's Those Who Serve series, send an e-mail to newsteam@kten.com.

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