1st Lt. Ralph Goldsticker had never been in a plane before he enlisted in the U.S. Army Aviation Cadet Corps in July of 1942 at the age of 20. He would go on to fly on 35 missions, in some of the most noted battles of World War II.

Goldsticker will speak to Fort Leonard Wood service members and community members, at 1 p.m. June 4 in Baker Theater about his time spent with the 452nd Bombardment Group, 728th Squadron.

Air Force Lt. Col. Josh Aldred, 368th Training Squadron commander at Fort Leonard Wood, first heard Goldsticker's story while listening to a radio interview. He said the interview demonstrated that Goldsticker had some "amazing" experiences he felt were important for those just beginning their careers to hear.

"I wanted to open the event to the whole community because there are so few WWII veterans left to tell their stories," Aldred said. "Mr. Goldsticker is 97 years old, and we truly want to honor his service by having a packed house in Baker Theater. We could all learn something from Mr. Goldsticker's resiliency and resolve in combat."

During his visit, Goldsticker will talk about his part in the D-Day Invasion, in which he spent 14 hours in the air between two bombing missions.

Goldsticker also shares about being stranded in Russia for two weeks during a mission, his most memorable mission, his worst mission and his experiences during the Battle of the Bulge.

"I'm hopeful that Mr. Goldsticker's story will be inspirational to all who attend," Aldred said. "We welcome everyone to hear an amazing story from a true American hero."

The event is open to the public.