East Texas vet, first to graduate Army Special Forces receives s - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

East Texas vet, first to graduate Army Special Forces receives special treat

Photo: KTRE Photo: KTRE
Photo: KTRE Photo: KTRE
Photo: KTRE Photo: KTRE
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) -

It's a special early birthday for an East Texas veteran. He's part of the first graduating class of the Special Forces in the Army.

After being bring disabled, Joe Spangler Sr. no longer could ride a motorcycle.

However on Saturday his family helped make a dream come true: to get one more chance to ride a motorcycle.

“Oh it was great. I haven't been on a motorcycle in a lot of years,” Joe Spangler Sr. said.

His son, Joe Spangler Jr. said his father was even trained in airborne, where soldiers learn how to parachute from airplanes while landing safely. During his time serving, the veteran jumped at least 35 times.

“My dad went in at 1952 and the first group of Special Forces graduated in 1953,” Joe Spangler Jr. said.

The family said in recent years the veteran has started sharing his stories, making another birthday, Independence Day, even more special.

“According to him, Colonel (Aaron) Banks was the one to start Special Forces,” Joe Spangler Jr. said. “I went back and did research on that and Colonel Banks was the one who did started Special Forces. He's the one who thought of that.

His son said he’s proud of his father’s service, but also of veterans across our nation who have made the sacrifice.

As for the birthday boy, he said the motorcycle ride brought out nostalgic memories.

“It brings back old times,” Joe Spangler Sr. said.

The veteran’s official birthday is Monday. He will turn 82.

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