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Rare B-17 takes veteran bomber crew members on "Freedom Flight"

EAA B-17 bomber takes 10 bomber crew veterans on flight that combines living history with working history.
OSHKOSH (WFRV) The E-A-A owned B-17 bomber "Aluminum Overcast" faced all kinds of challenges in World War Two. But a late winter snow storm nearly grounded a special flight for 10 B-17 bomber veterans. And some of them didn't understand why.

"This is the type of weather we flew in mostly out of Britain. We rarely had a sunny day. It was always overcast," recalled Sgt. Chet Gardeski of Milwaukee, who served as a flight engineer aboard a B-17.

But by late morning, conditions improved enough to get "Aluminum Overcast" running and her honored passengers airborne. With most of the B-17 veterans now in their 90's and only five flight-ready B-17's remaining, it was a chance to relive history with others who were there.

"I was involved in a mid-air collision with another B-17. We both landed safely with a full load of bombs and a full load of fuel," said Gardeski.

And being part of this "Freedom Flight" is an extra special treat for some of these veterans. That because this marks the first time that they've been on a B-17 since the end of World War Two.

"I went to Berlin on my last mission, which was no milk run, when I got out of that plan, I got down and kissed the ground," said Sgt. Bob Schuh of Chilton, who served as a B-17 waist gunner.

Local 5's Terry Kovarik has the story.

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