ADA, Okla. – The B-24 Bomber Liberator and the men who manned them, helped liberate America from World War II.
The B-24’s bombing runs in the Pacific Theater against the Japanese were lethal.
One man who knows that is 94-year-old Gene Neal from Sulphur.
His position in the plane during the war was in the very front of the B-24.
“I was the nose gunner,” says Gene, “I was the first one there and the first one home.”
On Friday Gene, his wife and son, flew back into Gene’s past aboard the only remaining B-24J that’s still actually flying.
It was a beautiful sight as we watched it from Air Comfort Solutions Chopper Four as it flew its way to a perfect landing at Wiley Post Airport.
But unlike 75 years ago, on this run in the B-24 there were no guns from the ground or air trying to shoot down Gene’s plane.
As nose gunner, it was Gene’s job to use his high-caliber machine gun and protect the B-24 and his crew from Japanese warplanes.
A tension-filled time for everyone on board.
Where fear actually helps keep you sharp.
“You didn’t get scared you didn’t last very long,” says Gene.
But despite his love for the legendary plane..for Gene, it’s the men who flew with him that made the B-24 special.
“You make friends like brothers.”
You can experience first-hand the bombers and fighters of World War II. The “Wings of Freedom Tour” will have the B-24 along with the famous B-17 bomber and other famous warplanes at Wiley Post Airport this weekend. It is $15 for adults and $5 for children under 12.