MTSU helps WWII pilot celebrate 91st birthday with...

MTSU helps WWII pilot celebrate 91st birthday with flight

Retired U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Robert C. “Bob” Evans was granted a high-flying 91st birthday wish on April 10.

Retired Marine Lt. Col. Robert C. "Bob" Evans, left, reminisces with MTSU ROTC Cadet Jason Stisser before Evans's flight in MTSU's 1952 de Havilland Beaver April 10. Looking on is Delacey Gillespie, a primary-care nurse at the Tennessee State Veterans Home. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

MTSU Department of Aerospace pilot Terry Dorris flew Evans, who now lives at the Tennessee State Veterans’ Home in Murfreesboro, from Murfreesboro Airport to Nashville and back.

Evans was flown in the University’s 1952 de Havilland Beaver. Robert “Bob” Evans Jr., TSVH primary care nurse Delacey Gillespie and TSVH Administrator Tyler Masden joined the elder Evans and Dorris on the flight.

Evans was a pilot and member of the 1st Air Wing staff in the South Pacific and China during World War II in 1944-45. He later was a commanding officer with the 11th Engineer Battalion with the 3rd Marine Division in Vietnam in 1968-69. He retired in November 1968 after a 27-year military career.

Evans, who was born in Manchester, Tenn., and lived in Columbia before moving to the Tennessee State Veterans’ Home, flew multiple aircraft during his military service, including the Douglas Dauntless Dive Bomber, Grumann F6F Hellcat fighter, Vought F4U Corsair fighter, Curtiss SB2C Helldiver bomber, OY observation aircraft, SNJ trainer and the N2S primary open cockpit biplane.

— Randy Weiler (