Carl has a commanding aerial view of the blue water and white sand over Oahu. Moments later, though, his plane makes an emergency landing on a desert island.
The emergency landing strands Carl and his father on the island. But Carl is fresh from survival training; he sets up shelter from a parachute and settles in to wait for rescue.
His cool head and reliance on his training pay off. The next morning, Navy divers locate Carl and his dad. They prepare to return them to Oahu. A simulated attack by insurgents (with Marines playing the role) adds a dose of adrenaline to the day.
This is the highlight of Carl’s wish – an imaginative scenario born from his interest in history and fascination for flight.
Origins of a Wish
Even in a museum packed with historic highlights, the B-17F bomber stands out. It’s one of the most-iconic aircraft of World War II.
That’s when Carl decided on his wish, according to a local newspaper. During his leukemia treatments, he visited the museum, gazed and the B-17 and said “That’s what I want to be – a World War II pilot for a day.”
Carl was determined to craft a wish that would be one-of-kind, an experience he could not do without Make-A-Wish. He told his wish-granting volunteers about his idea – to be a downed World War II pilot on the run.
“When he first made the wish, my first thought was, ‘How are they going to pull that off?’” his mother, Heidi, says.
Complex Operations a Specialty
People in uniform have been among the most-enthusiastic Make-A-Wish throughout our history. Police officers from several agencies granted the wish that inspired a group of volunteers to found the organization that is now Make-A-Wish.
Over the years, military personnel have matched their law enforcement counterparts. And yes, Carl’s wish was complex. But what military mission isn’t? Sailors, Marines, soldiers and airmen from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam knew they were up to the task. Marines meet him at the airport in a World War II-vintage Jeep. Sailors welcome him aboard the historic battleship USS Missouri, where Carl spent his first night in Hawaii. The Army provides a custom-made 1940s-era uniform. And the Air Force started his wish before he landed in Hawaii, training him to survive behind enemy lines at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash.
“It’s good to know that everyone want to help me with my dream,” Carl tells an armed forces publication.
Marching to the Future
When Carl lived his one true wish, he was just one year into an expected three years of chemotherapy. He always tells people that he’s fighting ALL – that he’s not taking it lightly and that he expects to win.
In his wish, Carl just might find the emotional lift he needs to deal with any difficult moments and arduous treatments in his future.
Carl’s wish is part of his fight against ALL.