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WWII pilot meets a local Tuskegee Airman that escorted him to safety

by Claudia Coffey

Posted on February 20, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Updated Monday, Feb 20 at 3:58 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Both veterans are from Kentuckiana and both came face to face for the first time on Thursday.

The daughter of the WWII pilot from Indiana contacted WHAS11's Claudia Coffey after a story I did about two weeks ago on the Tuskegee Airmen, from right here Louisville, speaking to some local high school students.

She wanted her father to meet the man she says brought him back home to safety.

After nearly 70 years two WWII vets Sgt. Frank Weaver and Sgt. Lloyd Tru finally meet in Louisville Thursday. They shared the skies in numerous missions. One as a Tuskegee airmen and the other with the 15th Air Force division

It was only two weeks ago after a story aired on WHAS11  that Tru's daughter Helen Knoebel realized that one of the men who may have escorted her dad to safety was just across the river.

“They are not gonna be around forever. So we needed to say thank you to that troop for helping my dad come home so that I could be here," Helen Knoebel said.

Helen wanted the two to meet. And within minutes the two shared stories. Some about their time in Italy flying more than 50 combat missions 

They even shared stories of how life went on after the war with Family being the priority for both.

Tru shared pictures of his wife,

"We had sixty two years and one month,” Tru said.

And clippings and mementos he kept from the war.  Tru says he knows he came home because of men like Weaver and other Tuskegee Airmen.

“They claim that there was never a bomber lost due to enemy fighters as long as they were escorts,” Tru said. “And I believe it.”

In less than an hour old memories made way for new ones.

"It was important for me today to meet someone that was in the service too,” Tru said. “Cause I haven't had that opportunity in years."

Weaver said he left the meeting with a new friend.

“Makes you feel like you did something worthwhile,” Weaver said. “Make you feel so good you want to do it again.”

The two veterans say they plan to meet again and continue this new found friendship.