92-year-old Columbia Veteran rides B-24 aircraft, former nose gunner in WWII

March 8, 2017

 

COLUMBIA, Miss. - A Columbia Veteran and former 'nose gunner' is recognized for his 30 missions flying a B-24 Aircraft over Germany in World War II.

Henry Bennett, 92, flew on a remodeled B-24 Aircraft in Gulfport Wednesday with the Wings of Freedom tour. The organization travels the nation as a flying tribute to flight crews who worked with historical aircraft.

 

The aircraft in the tour are ones that are rarely seen. The organization said most of the aircraft during WWII was scrapped for aluminum and not saved.

 

Bennett told FOX 23 news he was looking forward for the event. The last time he rode the B-24 was 72 years ago during the war. "Pretty excited about it, about excited, I have a hard time of getting excited about anything anymore."

 

He was drafted in the army when he was 19 years old and trained as a nose gunner. Bennett said he dropped bombs on U.S. enemies.

 

During his two years with the U.S. Air Force he received the Distinguish Flying Cross. He was recognized for his courageous and brave efforts.

 

“The 26th mission we got shot down you might say we was flying at 25,000 ft. and fell at 2,00 ft., it was a dead fall" said Bennett.

 

He continued, "I was up in them trees and I can see that it was getting bigger and bigger, I thought sure that was it, I made my peace, I thought we were gonna die."

 

"We straightened out down by 2,000 ft. got back up a little altitude and he asked me if I can get rid of the bomb, and I said yeah, and he said, get rid of em" he added.

 

Bennett's Post Commander in Columbia, William Harris, said the men are proud of Bennett.  “He is an inspiration to us, his generation has such a great attitude.

 

Harris added, "He is a real leader for us because nothing rocks him, he is always ready to go.”

 

Bennett said if he had the chance, he would do it all over again.

 

 “Yeah gladly."

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