BALTIMORE — "This is my 100th birthday. I'm thankful that I'm still alive," said Ray Watson. He celebrated his 100th birthday on Monday, April 5. "It's just another day."
WMAR-2 News' Reporter Erin MacPherson spent some time with Watson and learned the one person he wished he could spend this day with is his wife, Miriam. He met her in middle school.
"I was assigned to walk her home. I did for 83 years. We had a wonderful relationship," said Watson.
They had five children and a number of grandchildren. They met young and had their first official date at a baseball game in May of 1935. They tied the knot in 1942, right before Watson enlisted in the army but he ever made it to training.
Instead, he was sent straight to work for NACA, now NASA, as an aeronautical research scientist.
"I designed and built the first super sonic sea level wind tunnel. I was responsible for designing the valve and the electronic controls," said Watson.
He explained how the wind tunnel was used to develop and test supersonic ram jets then he had to explain what a ram jet is.
"It’s an air breathing tube that is designed internally with a burner, compressed air created by the super sonic flow and the design of the internal features that when ignited with fuel will produce thrust."
Then he explained it in English for us. He said, "It's to produce extra thrust to get the hell out of enemy areas, they would turn on the ram jet because they only had a limited amount of fuel."
It's safe to say Watson is a pretty smart guy. After he retired, that's when he got into flying planes and building gliders. He flew around Australia in 1997!
So it's no surprise how he wants to celebrate the big 100.
He said, "the one thing I wanna do is fly my glider!" And he's going to. Believe it or not, Watson can still fly. He can't fly solo anymore but as long as he has a co-pilot he can take off.