The P-51 Mustang and B-17 Flying Fortress are two of the most iconic planes in military history, and played a major part in the Allied victory in World War II. But the aircraft aren’t nearly as impressive as the brave men who served in the war. Recently two men celebrated their birthdays aboard those aircraft, and were a reminder that our greatest national treasures aren’t in museums or airfields -- they’re walking among us.
Eugene Leonard served in the Marines and Air Force as an aircraft mechanic, and chose to spend his 99th birthday aboard a B-17 bomber. Although he’d never flown in one before, it brought him back to his younger days.
“It's old memories. Old old memories,” he told FOX 10. “It seems like yesterday, in a way.”
And Bob Brocklehurst spent his 96th birthday in a P-51 cockpit similar to the one he called home during the war. He may have needed a hand climbing aboard, but once he took the controls it was as if he was 21 again.
“Made me feel right at home, Brocklehurst told FOX 13. “It's like putting the car in the garage. You do it without thinking.”
Proving once again that the Greatest Generation still has it. Watch the video to see these veterans celebrate their birthdays with altitude.