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Atria Merrywood Veteran

Veteran Dwight W. Wait Jr., Atria Merrywood


Posted on April 8, 2014 by Taylor Rhea


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First Lt. Dwight W. Wait, Jr. is a decorated veteran of World War II and resident at Atria MerryWoodHe served as bombardier of a B-17G with the 94th Bomb Group in the 8th Air Force. Stationed out of Bury St. Edmonds, England, he flew 35 missions over enemy territory, including much of Germany. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with multiple oak leaf clusters, the highest decorations awarded by the U.S. Army Air Force. Although he was the oldest member of a 10-man crew, he is its last surviving member.

Ginnie & Dwight

Dwight with his wife, Ginnie.

He and his crew barely survived on several of their missions as their planes sustained heavy damage from enemy fire. On one occasion, Dwight had just left his post having been summoned by the pilot to come to the cockpit, when anti-aircraft fire destroyed the nose of the plane where he had just been sitting. On another occasion the navigator, who sat behind Dwight in the nose of the plane, sustained near life-threatening wounds of his arm due to 50-caliber fire from German fighter planes. Dwight was credited with administering critical first aid. The navigator survived and became a successful attorney in Boston.

Despite the ground crew's remarkable ability to repair almost any damaged B-17 heavy bomber, one of Dwight's planes, which barely completed the return flight to England, never flew again.  His greatest fear was flak (shrapnel coming from exploded anti-aircraft fire). He not only wore a flak jacket, but also placed one on the seat of his bombardier chair as well as one under his feet. To no one’s surprise, the crew named his plane “Flak Palace.”

Dwight flying

His pilot, John Winslett, has written a lengthy memoir of the experiences of these airmen. A close family friend has edited it. Dwight kept a diary of all his missions, listing many well-known European cities, especially in Germany.  He also kept all the letters between himself and his fiancé during these years.

Dwight, recent photoIt is fascinating to speak with Dwight as he recalls his World War II experiences. Once, when asked by someone as to how high they flew on a mission, he replied "Not high enough!” Dwight turns 96 years old this April.

– Dr. Dwight W. Wait, III (Son)


Category: Veteran Heroes Tags: ,

23 Comments

  • Beth Linn says:

    What an amazing and accomplished man!

  • David says:

    I am always so inspired by stories of our Greatest Generation. Dwight has accomplished so much in his life, and I am so glad he (and his family) is still able to tell his story going on 96.

  • Avery R. says:

    How amazing! Definitely honored to know him!

  • Another amazing resident at Atria MerryWood, we owe so much to the men and women from his generation. Thank you Mr. Wait for serving our country and defending our freedom.

  • Hemant Borkar says:

    I have never met this man, but I was amazed to learn of his life story. Because of people like Dwight this world is a better place today. Democracies survive when ordinary people turn out to be heroes and do what is the right thing to do. I, myself, have never been in any war and don’t even want to be close to one, but I have always wondered what drives people like Dwight to fight for the right principles and risk their lives knowing far well what fate might await them in the war. They look at their buddies maimed severely, some dead, some never be able to walk again or use their arms or see, but these “ordinary” individuals, again and again, return to the battlefield and that, to me, is the arduous process of turning an ordinary person into a hero. They do this only for all of us, so we all can live a peaceful and productive life. I feel that those who serve their country in a selfless manner are the ones who have mastered the art of living their life to the fullest extent, and I salute their life’s choices. Dwight is having his 96th birthday this April. I wish him a Very Happy birthday and a healthy life for the years ahead.
    – Hemant Borkar

  • Barbara Keller says:

    I have tremendous gratitude for Mr. Dwight Wait. Although recognized hero, I most admire that he was able to continue to live a heroic life in his everyday, supporting his wife and son.
    I don’t know that I will ever understand all that our military go through for us, yet I am so grateful for their willingness to do and have done it. Thank you, Mr. Wait. and Happy Birthday.

  • Jenny Rosenthal says:

    WOW!
    Happy Birthday Dwight.
    Best wishes from Jenny and Rich Rosenthal

  • John Ramsey says:

    As a Charlotte neighbor of Dwight, I have had the pleasure of many conversations with him over the past few years. Not one to talk a lot about his WWII experiences on a few occasions he did share a few. He let me read from the memoirs his pilot kept during 35 missions over the European theatre. A very special person and a true hero. Happy Birthday Dwight.

  • liz Stevenson says:

    It has been my privilege to know Dwight, his son Kip and Kip’s fiancée for many years. The love and support that they give to him is and always has been remarkable. it is a tribute to the senior Dwight to have lived a long and good life and been able to enjoy the company of Kip and Jeanette. May he continue to enjoy a good life and share his memories with the younger generation.

  • Jack Williams says:

    Dwight Jr. and son Kip, this is a beautiful commendation of a life that many, like me, would not otherwise have known about. My namesake, my uncle Jack was a bombardier in a B-17 that unfortunately went down over France in 1944. The feeling we who have benefited from these brave men and women who offered their lives to save their children is too immense to put into words. I can offer only a sacred silence……

  • Linda Tsibulsky says:

    I don’t know you personally Dwight but feel privileged to even write to you. I wish you myriads of blessings on this, your 96th birthday. May it be a day full of sunshine and flowers and peace and joy and love and hope. GREAT BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!:)

  • Colleen Gilbert says:

    Wow, what a story!! Happy 96th Birthday Dwight! Dwayne and I hope you have a great day!!!

    Colleen & Dwayne Gilbert

  • Heide Roland says:

    Dwight! What an amazing man you are! I hope that you have a wonderful birthday. We are all honored by your service to our country.
    Happy Birthday and Thank you!
    Heide Roland

  • Mr. Wait, Thank you for your service and happy 96th birthday. I went to high school with your son Kip and I see him in your photos.

  • Candace Flanagan says:

    Thank you for your service, bravery and legacy! What an adventurous life! Happy Creation Celebration!

  • Linda john Meyers says:

    We are so grateful for the times we have shared with Dwight,and thank him so much for letting Nanette being in his life–she loves this special man!! WE send our birthday wishes for all day and all year!!! Amazing accomplishments and Thank You for serving our country and giving us our freedoms! We will try to get some maple syrup down to you on our next trip. Xxoo

  • Pauline Niilend says:

    Dwight,

    I deeply admire your service to your country and mine, Britain.
    Jeanette and Kip have been good friends of mine for many years, and I am happy to have met you through them, visited you, and been able to listen to your stories.
    Many congratulations on your 96th birthday, and I wish you good health and much happiness inthe future!

    Your British friend,

    Pauline (Niilend)

  • Jill Garrigan says:

    Dwight – Your such an amazing man! Our family is blessed to have met you and learned from you. I see you and think how lucky my children are to have come to know you. – You are the great Grandfather they never got to meet – I love listening to the stories about your life and wish there were an award for such an honorable man as yourself. Thank you for being you! Otis, Gabby, Little Otis and I wish you the most wonderful birthday ever!!! Love and Hugs from the Garrigans

  • Dan Batliner says:

    Happy Birthday Uncle Dwight.
    You are a terrific guy!

  • Melissa Orrey says:

    Dwight – We are absolutely honored to know you! You are such an amazing man and we thank you for your dedication and service! We wish you a spectacular 96th birthday! Celebrate big!

  • Rebecca Benfield says:

    Dear Dwight: Thank you so much for your sacrifice to keep us free! I love seeing the photos of you and your wife together and you in the plane. Kip and Jeanette are dear friends and they keep me posted on you. 🙂 I pray for you often! Have a wonderful, joyous birthday!!! You are an inspiration!!! God bless you!!! A BIG HUG too!!! Rebecca

  • Nanette Nelmes says:

    OH words come to me… my heart says ~ That Dwight is a special someone (my grandpa here in NC) I do look up to & admire.. A true gentleman with values and morals I wish to always have.. He has been so truly in love with his wife I enjoy how he shares with me stories after stories about her.. I so treasure the wisdom he shares with me.. I always look forward to a coffee break with him time to time.. along with a treat usually something with ginger in it.. I love our walks and workout talks.. He makes me want to be a better person.. I can only be blessed to know I have motivated someone to keep moving/working out as you Dwight do everyday.. You are so strong! I pray at 96 I am going to workout classes and hitting the halls walking..

    THANKs Dwight for all we have shared with me and for what we will share in the future! *most of all thanks for your service and my freedom…

    😉 Happy Birthday… BIG HUG & Love ya so,
    Nanette plus my better half as you call him ha Dan

  • James Scott Mcgrath says:

    My father was a Co-Pilot on the “Flak Palace” flew 35 missions 8th Bomber Command
    1 st Lt R. T. Mcgrath Member “Lucky Bastard Club” Sept 1, 1944 Did you know him?