A rare piece of World War II history is on display at the Ohio County Airport until Monday, September 12. A B-17 bomber plane, built in 1944, is one of just seven left of 12,731 around the world that can actually take to the skies.
On Tuesday, 7News got an exclusive ride over the Ohio Valley with a World War II Veteran and former Prisoner of War. Eddie Jackfert, 94, a Wellsburg resident said he enjoyed the nostalgic ride. “Beautiful. It was a recollection of what happened,” he said.
This particular plane came out right toward the end of the war– and while it didn’t see time during battle, it spent plenty of time in the Pacific Ocean doing mapping. “It’s here to let people know about the flying history. It’s a little bit of a living museum right in your backyard,” said Shirley Sukkel, the load master on board the B-17.
“People can have access right through the whole thing, take pictures, photographs up against it, guns. It’s kind of like bringing it to you as opposed to you go to the museum. And to remember the people that fought and the jobs they did an how important it was,” she added.
While talking with Jackfert, he reminisced about his time as a POW in Japan, and the day he finally got rescued.
“Golden Gate Bridge, going under it. You talk about something that, it’s hard to express. But we’re going under the Golden Gate Bridge, and everyone has tears in their eyes and they got off at San Francisco and a lot of them got out and they kissed the ground,” he said.
Jackfert is just one of many veterans across the country to board the plane and relive their memories.
“We love the stories,” Sukkel said. “If you’ve got stories or a family member, and paraphernalia. There’s a gentleman coming out here with his dad’s jacket and he wants to know if he can have it hung on the back of the pilot’s seat when we take off.”
Anyone interested in seeing the plane can tour it and take pictures for a donation of $5. Flights are also available, costing between $425 and $850. They can be booked by calling 602-448-9415.