MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Every Friday, in partnership with the Florida Panthers, we put the spotlight on a hero among us men or women who have gone beyond the call of duty for our country.

Today, we’re meeting World War II Veteran Staff Sgt. John Katsaros.

Katsaros joined the Naval Air Cadet Program on December 9, 1941, two days after Pearl Harbor. He

John Katsaros served in the United States Air Force from 1941 to 1945. (CBS4Miami)

He went on several dangerous missions, but there’s one he remembers vividly, his first mission to Frankfurt, Germany.

Katsaros says on the way back they were attacked by a plane, the pilot told him they were coming in on his side and he opened fire and shot them down.

“I flew on a lot of missions that got shot down. The plane catches on fire and the pilot says everybody bail out and I bailed out,” said Katsaros. “When I got back to England, the British intelligence recruited me to be a spy. Each man helped a little bit and eventually we gave freedom to the world I thought that was wonderful.”

U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant John Katsaros honored at a Florida Panthers hockey game. (CBS4Miami)

Katsaros who served in the Air Force from 1941 to 1945 was honored at a Florida Panthers game.

With his family by his side, he proudly stood and thanked the crowd for this well-deserved recognition as they honored this hero among us.

On behalf of the Florida Panthers and CBS4, we would like to say thank you U.S. Army Air Corps World War II Veteran Staff Sgt. John Katsaros for your service and dedication to our country.

Marybel Rodriguez

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