3. My 96-year-old father, who flew 60 missions in the South Pacific
(as a gunner), is still going strong. Well, not so strong since he just got released from 7 days in the hospital with flu and pneumonia, but almost back to his old self (four days at the gym every week, cycling 100 miles per week).
I can't remember how the topic came up, but when the home-visit nurse came to check up on him after his release from the hospital (thanks, Medicare!), he told her the story of how he came to be a gunner. He was a medic, but he took the test for officer training for flight school, and received the highest score of anyone who took it in his round. He wanted to learn to fly, but when the time came, they told him he'd missed the start of the training by a day, and that it was completely full. They offered to train him as a bombadier, and he said, hell no. He thought they'd just let him go back to the medic corps. But they made him a gunner instead. How he survived 60 missions, I don't know. He even stayed after his required number of missions were up, and flew extra ones.
Congratulations to these fellow "old men" who gave themselves over to that war and that mission. We still think of all you went through.