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Local World War II pilot celebrates 100th birthday

Posted at 5:53 PM, Feb 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-18 18:53:43-05

VILLAGE OF HOWARD, Wis. — A local bomber pilot from World War II celebrated his 100th birthday on Monday.

Les Rentmeester was an Air Force pilot during World War II. He was told he had a 1 in 11 chance of surviving any of the 30 missions he flew over Germany.

Les was called into the Air Force to serve just two weeks after getting married. After his tour overseas, he became part of the first group of Americans to launch a satellite into space with the program that would later become NASA.

“I just took life as it came, I didn't worry about it,” Les said.

Today, Les' family says he accomplished so much to be proud of during his life.

"Uncle Les never expected to survive more than three missions over Nazi Germany in World War II,” said Les' nephew Ken Weidner. “So, it's our pleasure to help celebrate his day.”

Les also co-authored more than a half of a dozen books with his wife. The books helped detail and preserve some of northeast Wisconsin’s under-reported history.