Memorial Day flyby

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Mon, May 26 2014 at 3:18 PM, Updated: Mon, May 26 2014 at 9:21 PM

Klamath Falls, Ore. - Monday's Memorial Day observations in Klamath Falls featured a unique flyby.

86 year old Frank Kuonen served in the U.S. Navy in the South Pacific during World War II.

Pilot David Junker honored Kuonen in a special way today "Today I have the privilege of flying with Mr. Frank Kuonen, a World War II veteran."

The 1943 Fairchild PT-19 was used to train thousands of pilots during World War II...and Frank Kuonen looked right at home in the cockpit.

The high point of the Memorial Day flight was a flyby over the ceremonies in Klamath Falls to honor those who died serving their country.

"Don't have many left."  Noted Kuonen, who served on the USS Burns.  "The last reunion was pretty slim - and that's been several years ago.  And of course, I being the youngest one on the ship, most of them are gone now."

Junker gave the flight to Kuonen as a way of saying 'Thanks'...

"Has allowed us to enjoy the benefits and freedoms that we have here today."

And while the Memorial Day observations had a serious tone, Kuonen says that the flight was really something...

"I'd do it again in a heartbeat."

You can find out more about the Fairchild PT-19, and how to schedule a flight by going to: 

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About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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