Veteran celebrates 90th birthday

Published 6:47 pm Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Honorable veteran: Preston Little served his country in the 9th Army Air Corps. He enlisted in 1941 and was the first in his family to do so.

Corporal Preston Little of Clanton celebrated his 90th birthday on Nov. 5 with his family and friends.

Little served his country in the 9th Army Air Corps—after the war it became known as the Air Force—and he was the 61st squadman in the 3-14 Troop Carrier Group.

Little enlisted into the service in 1941, at 21 years old, and was the first in his family to do so. A year before he was deployed, Little worked at Clanton Cash Grocery Store, which is now the Messer’s building in downtown Clanton.

“I had time in Africa, Sicily, England, France, Austria and Germany from 1943-1945,” said Little. “I spent my 23rd birthday in Sicily and my 24th one in England, and if I would have stayed over another month, I would have seen my 25th one in France.”

Little put in more than 200 hours as a passenger in gliders and was a pilot for 50 years after he came out of the service.

“I had gliders and C47’s in my cargo ship,” said Little. “A lot of it was exciting, but some of it was dangerous. For a young man, it was sure different than being at home.”

He served three years and four months on active duty and after completion was a construction worker until he retired.

In celebration of his 90th birthday, Little had a birthday party at his home and received birthday letters and cards from Queen Elizabeth II’s secretary, in honor of The Queen; Sarah Palin and George W. Bush, who sent a picture as well.

“At this age, I feel pretty good,” Little said. “I believe I could do some flying. Not a big plane, but I can do it.”