ROUND ROCK, Texas - It was quite the "to do" in Round Rock on a Sunday morning.
Well-wishers in their cars, trucks, and motorcycles staged a procession to honor Robert P. Sanchez, a career Army and Air Force veteran. Most of them don't know Sanchez personally, but they do know he saw combat in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
"Well I always felt pretty good about what I did and felt pretty good about the way I was going," Sanchez said.
In 1943 he volunteered for the Army Air Corps, became a flight engineer, and wound up flying secret missions for the OSS into occupied France to aid the French Resistance.
"We supplied them with ammo, food, we supplied anything they needed, we flew in spies and flew them out..all the flying was at night, low level to get under the radar," he said.
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There's much more to his story. He also ferried gasoline to General Patton's tanks as they rolled into Europe, and his plane also flew pathfinder missions to find targets for allied bombers. "It was scary flying at night, low level with the instruments we had at the time, it was very dangerous," he said.
Amid all this, his plane was shot down and he bailed out in the dark over what he thought was enemy territory in Belgium. He made his way back by traveling at night, hiding by day, for three days. Sanchez finally flagged down friendly forces and that was the war for him.
But new wars started. Sanchez flew spy missions in a B-29 over far Eastern Russia in the Cold War and then flew bombing missions over North Korea. Then there was Vietnam and missions to resupply American firebases where, at times, his plane was being shot at during landings and takeoffs.
After countless operations, through four wars and dozens of medals and decorations, including the Distinguished Fly Cross, Sanchez received one last gift at his parade. Even though he'd already received the French Legion of Merit, the French Consul General gave him a bottle of Champagne.
It's a hundred years now for Robert Sanchez, much of it spent endangering his life to protect ours.