B-17 makes a stop in Medford

MEDFORD, ORE. —  During World War II, one of the most significant weapons the US had, was the use of more than 12,000 B-17’s. And for the next week, one of those planes is in the Rogue Valley.

It’s been more than 70 years since Staff Sergeant James Holbrook sat in the seat of a B-17 as a waist gunner.

“I put in 31 missions,” Holbrook said.

As a gunner, Holbrook used to operate the machine guns as the B-17’s flew over enemy territory, something he still remembers.

“You sort of buckle down and get into it. When those drop that bombs, the plane will go up,” said Holbrook.

“It was paramount. The effort the crew members did were instrumental in the war,” said Andrew Stemple, a flight load master.

This particular aircraft didn’t actually see any major combat, and had several duties including mapping mission in the Pacific.

The inside is nearly identical to the look it had in the 1940’s, including pictures of loved ones.

Holbrook was invited to take part in a flight Monday. He said it brought back good memories.

Visitors will have a chance to get up close and personal with the plane until September 20.

The cost is $5 per person for $10 per family.

Living History Flights will take place over the weekend. Costs range from $425 in the Radio Room or Waist Gunner seats to $850 for Navigator and Bombardier seats.


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