B-17 bomber brings back memories for 2 Lufkin veterans - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

B-17 bomber brings back memories for 2 Lufkin veterans

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(Source: KTRE Staff) (Source: KTRE Staff)
John Booker, World War II Veteran (Source: KTRE Source) John Booker, World War II Veteran (Source: KTRE Source)
Robert M. Gibson, World War II Veteran (Source: KTRE Staff) Robert M. Gibson, World War II Veteran (Source: KTRE Staff)
Commemorative Air Force Texas Raiders B-17 Bombers (Source: KTRE Staff) Commemorative Air Force Texas Raiders B-17 Bombers (Source: KTRE Staff)
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Two Lufkin veterans were reunited with a little piece of history on Friday as a World War II B-17 bomber flew into Angelina County.

John Booker and Robert M. Gibson were both pilots during the war and flew B-17s on several different missions through Europe.

Both pilots said that seeing the B-17 brought back a lot of memories, along with mixed emotions.

“Any of the missions we were on, they were just something we had to do,” Gibson said.

“I have got mixed emotions of course, but it's great to see an old airplane like this,” Booker said.

Booker was the lead pilot for the 97th Air Force Bombardment Group and led 24 successful missions.

“It is wonderful to see again, hard to believe, that was a long time ago,” Booker said.

Even though it's been almost 70 years since Booker has flown a B-17 he still remembers how it feels to be gliding through the air.

“It was so easy to fly that, it really is a wonderful airplane, everybody on the crew liked the airplane,” Booker said.

Gibson on the other hand was a co-pilot for the 3rd Division of the 8th Air Force.

“I was 19 years of age and back then everything was exciting," Gibson said.

He said in the time that he flew the B-17 he can only remember a handful of times that this sturdy plane came close to crashing.

“We came back with three engines twice," Gibson said.

While Gibson will never forget his time on the B-17 he did say some things have changed since the last time he flew.

“It's a lot bigger than I remember it," Gibson said.

Seeing the plane brought back good and bad memories for Gibson and Booker, some of which they did not want to talk about.

The B-17 bomber will be at the Angelina County Airport until Sunday, August 10th.

The Commemorative Air Force will be offering tours and flights on the B-17.

A 30 minutes flight cost $475 and if you want to sit in the nose of the plane it cost $700-$750.

To tour the plane it’s $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. Families of 5 can do a group tour for $20.

If you want to take flight with the Commemorative Air Force Texas Raiders you can call 1-855-FLY-A-B17 (1-855-359-2217).

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