WW2 pilot from Miller: "I'm one of the survivors." - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

WW2 pilot from Miller: "I'm one of the survivors."

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 Seven decades ago, a miller man was regularly behind the controls of a military fighter....serving in the thick of World War II. 
 His bravery earned him one of the military's top honors for his heroism.
 Today, he was recognized again and we were able to speak with him about his amazing bravery.
 Not many people can say they have been the target of cannons trying to blow their fighter out of the sky.
 Leo Istas of miller is one of the few who can. "I'm one of the survivors. I guess somebody upstairs was looking out for me." Leo is 90 years old and at the height of World War II, he was a Marine pilot in the very dangerous pacific theater of the war; fighting primarily against the Japanese.
 Any mission during a war is dangerous: But Leo's were especially hazardous. 
 They were over water and involving flying low and close to enemy warships. "I didn't do anything any other guy that was in the same position would have done."
 But Leo did do something few others have.
 His assignment was to sink a military supply ship near the Philipines.
 Philippinesn low...just above the waters of the Pacific....taking gunfire the entire time.
 He then released a bomb....which skipped along the water..and into the side of the ship. "A lot of things I forgot but one thing I do remember is that ship going down in the water after I dropped the bomb. That's indelible in my mind."
 Leo's bravery and skill were recognized; he received the Distinguihed FlDistinguished
Leo is humble, he says he's not a hero...that the real heroes died in the line of duty. But he does say that one day in the Pacific seven decades ago...has never left his mind. "Its a memory I will never forget. I wouldn't want to go through the experience again but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world."
 
 Leo says he's nothing special....that he was doing his job. That attitude.....during that time....is what makes him special. 
 Today, artist John Mollison presented Leo with a drawing of the F4U Corsair aircraft he flew during the war. 
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