Skip to comments.WWII veteran takes final flight on B-24 bomber
Posted on 05/12/2012 9:15:01 AM PDT by EveningStar
The roar of the propellers cutting the air is what sparks memories for WWII veteran Howard Mann.
"The sound is the same," he said. "The sound brings it all back."
Mann, 92, was a passenger in the B-24 Liberator "Witchcraft" that took flight from Long Beach to John Wayne Airport on Friday as part of the Wings of Freedom exhibition at the Lyon Air Museum...
The last time Mann was in a B-24 was Jan. 3, 1945, flying over the Pacific...
(Excerpt) Read more at ocregister.com ...
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Have you seen this? Cool story
I have a little sea time, but I cant even imagine that.
This guy was in from 1938 - 1945 AND flew in Korea and Vietnam.
Just freaking amazing.
May he live to see flying automobiles over his head........
(....on the other hand......)
It tells you something about the men who flew in them in combat. I'm amazed they could take off with all those 'brass ones' on board.
Neat story, happy the ol guy got another chance to fell the memory.
Had the good fortune to fly on one of Collin’s B-25s as I have been a Dolittle fan since Grade School. The “feel of the sound” made you immediately think of the bravery of all those young guys. I know not one of them felt a second’s fear when taking off the deck and heading for Tokyo!!!!
I saw the plane fly back into JWA yesterday. Great sight.
Thank you for the post. The nose turret was my father’s “office” on the Liberator during WWII.
This girl I know father was a ball turret gunner on a B24. He was picked because he was small.
It took a lot of guts to fly into enemy guns in one of those and more guts to sit exposed under the airplane while every gun in Germany is aimed at you.
Bravo to both the USAAF and the RAF....
I coach high school baseball, and saw this and a B-17 fly over our field last week. The other coach’s couldn’t have cared less, but the kids were very enthused when I pointed out what they were, and scrambled to get a look as long as they could. They said they had been studying WWII in their history classes and were glad to be able to see some of its symbols still in the air.
Beautiful photo, A.A. Thanks for posting it.
Two excellent books to ready about B-24’s in the Pacific. There is a chance that the veteran was in the group in “Finish Forty [missions] and Home” by Phil Scearce; his own story of his time as a B-24 crew chief and gunner during WWII.
The second is “Unbroken - the story of Louis Zamperini” by Laura Hillenbrand
Probably the best way I have ever seen that put. Well said.
I have seen a static display Mitchell, but never been on board.
Theirs was indeed a great generation. May we live to see another, and may they not have to bleed as much to show it.
I'd take exception to the headline's term.."veteran takes FINAL flight.."
Hopefully the guy lives until he's 100, and he gets to go up in the bomber a few more times..
Here is my uncle (top left), his crew, and his B-25 during WWII. He was the pilot
“The sound is the same,” he said
I’ve wondered about this since the fuel (octane rating) is different, 10 or 15 points lower, than what was available during WWII.
It and other Collings Foundation planes will be at Moffett Field next week. I bought raffle tickets for a ride from the Moffett Field Museum.
Wow, Collings repainted it again? The last time I saw it, I think it still had the “The Dragon And His Tail” paint job. I’m surprised they let them get away with that nose art considering how R-rated it was.
I saw that B-24 and Nine-O-Nine years ago at Martin State Airport in Baltimore. I had a friend that lived up there and he knew (through working with his daughter) a guy who flew as a bombardier on B-24s with the Fifteenth Air Force out of Italy. He flew 23 missions successfully, but on his 24th, to somewhere in Austria, they had a 500-pound bomb hang up on the shackles on the bomb bay...with the fuze armed. This gent had to climb out on a six-inch I-beam that ran across the bomb bay, with no parachute because there wasn’t room, and start hammering on the shackles of a live bomb with a fire axe, 10,000 feet over the Adriatic with the bay doors open.
He couldn’t get it loose, but when his damaged Liberator got back to Italy, it ran off the end of the steel-plank runway (a flak hit damaged the hydraulics and left it without brakes), hit rough ground, and *then* the bomb decided to break loose and explode right under the plane. Miraculously, all but one man survived (the nose gunner was crushed in his turret when the plane flipped) but all nine survivors were injured to some extent. By the time Ray recovered, the war was over.
He was totally matter-of-fact about this. He showed us all through the B-24, talking about how it flew and what he did (”I just pushed the button when the guy in the lead ship dropped his bombs, really”) and how he had to lock and unlock the nose-turret gunner in his little ball, and if he didn’t get that guy out he couldn’t get himself out and would go down with the plane...and through it all, his daughter, who had come along, looked at her dad in increasing awe. He’d never told her any of this stuff and he’d never shown her a B-24 before. She had no idea what he’d done.
Later on he showed us a real treasure trove of stuff that he’d saved...bomb damage assessment photos, sheets they’d used with navigation information on them, newspaper headlines from 1945, all sorts of things. It was amazing.
The Dragon and it’s Tail was in Kansas City some years back, before the repaint, and they made it a habit to taxi up to the terminal with the nose art away from the crowd :-)
'Reminds me of being kids, and climbing and crawling around inside one that had been purchased by an old guy and his wife:
Lucy's Flying Service/Miami-St Thomas Virgin Islands.
Great photo AA...thanks
On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the planes bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.
Thanks for posting your father’s service as a nose gunner in B-24’s in WW-II.
Unbroken - the story of Louis Zamperini by Laura Hillenbrand is one of the very best books I have read.
Thank God for your dad!
“plus they no longer run the superchargers on the engines.”
That I did not know. Saw a few take off and assumed they’d kick them in at alt.
The engines do have a note though. I do a lot of work near Republic in Farmingdale NY. The pattern is humming constantly with every type of engine and little attention is paid. EVERY SINGLE TIME a B-17 hit the pattern I was jolted out of my thoughts with: WTF is that!?
These days they don’t fly high enough for them to be effective, and I’ve heard they are maintenace nightmares!
My grandfather was a Liberator pilot. Shot down once. Shot up real bad on another mission. Half his crew dead including the copilot. He was awarded the DFC.
Gets home in one piece back to his wife and kids. A few years later he had a heart attack shovelling snow and drops dead in his driveway at age 44. My mom was 13, the oldest of 6 kids.
Gods plan right? My grandmother ended up drinking herself to death.