APALACHICOLA, Fla. (WMBB) — Apalachicola pilot John Bone just returned home from a two-and-a-half month stint flying supplies from Germany to the Ukrainian border.
Once they arrived, wives and mothers of soldiers loaded the medicine into vans and drove it to the front lines.
“We just don’t have any appreciation here what a horrible situation it is over there,” Bone said. “And with winter approaching it’s only going to get worse.”
But his job wasn’t done after dropping off supplies. The pilot took soldiers and young refugees with cancer from Ukraine back to Germany for leukemia treatment. The soldiers were on their way to get prosthetics.
“A lot of the passengers were missing hands, arms, legs,” Bone said.
As the only United States representative for Ukraine Air Rescue, Bone hopes to add more American pilots to the fleet.
“The small planes work very well because you can haul a lot of medication, medicine, drugs in a small plane who doesn’t weigh a lot.”
Bone said he flew 17 backpacks of supplies each flight. He and 59 other planes routinely flew the seven-hour round trip from Bonn, Germany to the Ukrainian border. He said he’ll never forget the stories he’s heard and the soldiers he’s met.
“That fellow is actually a fairly famous war hero,” Bone said. “He had a badly damaged arm and they tried to rescue him back to his camp. And he told me that he told them to just leave him. And he laid there through the rest of the battle and then listened to his fellow soldiers be tortured and killed by the Russians. And he waited that out, and when the Russians were done drinking and were asleep, he went in there with hand grenades and eliminated them.”