How many shots of beer would it take before you accept a bet that you can fly a plane back and forth in 15 minutes, ideally, while saying, “Hold my beer”? For American pilot Tommy Fitzpatrick, not so much. While pilots sometimes run into emergency situations that require them to come up with creative, if not risky, landing plans, his was definitely voluntary. If anything, he did so with a wide grin across his face. Not only that, he did it not only once but twice.

Meet Our Guy, Tommy Fitz

Born on April 24, 1930, in Washington Heights, Manhattan, New York, Thomas Edward Fitzpatrick first braved the wars of the past before he boldly pulled off his amazing stunt in September 1956. Fitzpatrick served and joined the US Marine Corps during World War II by enlisting and lying about his age, which was 15 at that time. He was stationed in China when he fought at the Pacific Theatre. A few years later, he reenlisted and joined the army on the battlefield of the Korean War. It was there where his buddies began calling him Tommy Fitz, and it was also there where he showed his boldness and bravery that he received his Silver Star and the the Purple Heart.

This was his citation:

“During a strategic withdrawal, Corporal Fitzpatrick noticed a wounded officer, about 100 yards forward of his position. In attempting a rescue, he and a companion were seriously wounded. Cpl. Fitzpatrick — despite severe pain and loss of blood — made it back to safety, directed a second successful rescue party, organized and provided covering fire to support the rescue.”