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B17 and B24 Bombers visit Blair County

The Wings of Freedom Tour brought 2 WWII bombers to the Blair County Airport. Veterans from around the region showed up to share their stories.
In this Hometown Heros segment, we recognize the efforts of a non-profit company that showcases a crucial part of America's strength in World War II, airpower.
And the Collings Foundation does this in dramatic fashion. They brought 2 bombers to town and invited people to take a look and even a ride. They included the B24 and the B17.


The Blair County Airport is host to a living World War II museum this week. The Collings Foundation is a non-profit group that sends these bombers around the country trying to preserve World War II aviation history. And local residents took it to heart.

The "Witchcraft" is the only B24 still in the air, it flew a record 130 missions over Europe.
Bernard Harrington of Greensburg, PA was a pilot in a B24. He was shot down over Austria. He made it to Yugoslavia and a British operative helped get him back to his base in Italy.

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress flies as "nine-o-nine". The B-17 and the B-24 flew thousands of wartime, bombing, and reconnaissance missions. They were the backbone of the daylight strategic bombing campaign of WWII.

Harry Barett of Altoona was a tailgunner in a B-17. He was shot down over France in 1942. He was one of 6 crewmembers who parachuted to safety. 4 of his crew didn't make it. He went on to fly missions with another crew for 2 more years.

Residents took the opportunity to learn everything they could from these veterans and their planes before it's too late. It's estimated as many as 1500 World War II vets are dying every day.

The planes will be on display from 9a.m. to noon on Friday. For $12 dollars for adults and $6 for children you can tour the inside of the bombers. And for $425 you can go on a 30 minute ride.
The donations are tax deductible and go towards preserving U.S. aviation heritage.
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