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Marvin Hollenbeck flew in World War II and Korea; he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross; he was the first U.S. pilot to land on Iwo Jima; and this Fourth of July week, AVweb sought him out for an interview.
Hollenbeck, now 90 years old, started his 22-year career with the Marines after Pearl Harbor and retired from service as a colonel in 1964. Along the way, he nearly lost his life on any number of occasions -- not all of them in the air. Once, while tasked with flying wounded men off of Polillo Island in the Phillipines, he left his aircraft to peer into the cockpit of a deserted Japanese Zero on the field. A sniper took a shot at him. "I heard that bullet go by," Hollenbeck says; "I don't know how he missed me, but I got out of there in a hurry." Today he is, we hope, dodging another bullet in his battle with cancer.
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