For nearly two decades, the Wings of Freedom tour has brought vintage World War II planes to cities across the country. Wednesday afternoon, a B-17, B-24 and B-25 arrived at Easterwood Airport, much to the delight of the young and young at heart.
They soared above Europe and Asia in one of the world's most turbulent times. Now, these bombers serve to provide a living history of the greatest generation.
"It's really great to give them a perspective of what they see on TV and the History Channel, and to see in real life what one of these airplanes would like to fly in," said John Happ, who heads up Easterwood Airport.
This is the first time Wings of Freedom has made a stop in the area.
There's no need to tell W.D. Scotes what its like to be in one of those planes. He'll tell you about his tales as a weather officer, trying to forecast in bombers that took a licking and kept on ticking.
"It's a tough airplane, and most of these are tough airplanes," Scotes said. "That old B-25, she'll take a lot of beating."
"These aircraft and their crews did nothing less than save the world during World War II," said Rob Collings, who pilots the B-25 across the nation. "That's a pretty amazing thing. To be carrying that history on is an honor."
It's the goal of the Collings Foundation's Wings of Freedom tour, taking them to points across the country. Learn more through the related link below this story.
Thanks to visitors and generous donors like James Connor, these restored planes still spread history. James' son, Jim, works for the College Station Fire Department, and didn't know the plane his father helped fund would land here. James passed away two years ago.
"His soul is in this plane," Jim said. "He gave money to restore this plane. To come here and see his name on this plane is just overwhelming."
The bombers will be on display from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, and until 1 p.m. Friday. They'll then head for Conroe on their next tour stop.
There is a fee to see the planes, and for a few hundred dollars, you can even take a ride in one of them.