Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Jordan Guinn We lost more than a plane in the Liberty Belle crash

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Jordan Guinn

Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 9:08 am, Wed Jun 15, 2011.

Almost two months to the day after I took a flight in the Liberty Belle, a restored B-17 bomber from World War II, the plane caught fire and crashed in a cornfield near Oswego, Ill.

News-Sentinel photo chief Dan Evans, Lodi resident Chuck Casella (a tailgunner in the European theater during the war) and I all were passengers of the aircraft that flew over the Sacramento area in mid-April.

The four-engine Boeing plane was briefly stationed at Mather Air Force Base as members of the Liberty Foundation — a group that provides rides in historic aircraft — toured Northern California with the plane. We basically found Casella by luck. He responded to a news brief asking readers if they had flown in a B-17 before.

Casella initially declined the offer to take the flight with us, but his wife, Vedah, urged him to reconsider. I don't know what she said, but it worked.

The assignment was gratifying because it offered us the chance to reward a veteran and loyal reader with a rare opportunity. Watching a beaming Casella tour the aircraft as the steel behemoth rumbled through the sky is a memory I don't plan on relinquishing.

It was as if I watched a microcosm of the war as he shared memories and cracked jokes with the other former airmen.

I guess I still shouldn't be surprised he handled the flight better than me or Evans. After all, he was operating a .50 caliber machine-gun from the rear of the plane over the Mediterranean Sea before our dads were even born.

While Evans was feeling good enough when we touched down, I practically made out with the runway when I got off the plane. It's not that I didn't feel safe; I just hate flying to begin with. Ten more minutes in the air and they would've been pressure-washing my breakfast out of the restored fuselage.

The loss of the plane is tragic on several levels. The only positive is that no one was seriously hurt Monday. Not only are there likely heavy financial losses for the Liberty Foundation, but the plane is ruined beyond repair.

There are only 13 B-17s in flying condition left, according to Liberty Foundation spokesman Ron Gause.

Its loss offers sobering symbolism of the World War II generation that is also sharply declining in numbers.

Contact reporter Jordan Guinn at jordang@lodinews.com.

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

Recent Comments

Posted 13 hours ago by Thomas Heuer.

article: Editorial: Let’s take a deeper look at …

This has been a real silly argument. Hot, uncomfortable bleachers is not a tradition worth maintaining if you can't upgrade an already up…

More...

Posted 13 hours ago by Simon Birch.

article: Letter: The path to Benghazi

Thomas: I was doing some work in the comments admin. Nothing sinister, although I'm sure someone will accuse me of conspiring with the Musl…

More...

Posted 14 hours ago by Jerome Kinderman.

article: Letter: Questions for Obama supporters

Oh sure, it was real alright. But if one looks at the polls right now regarding Barack Hussein Obama's performance, me things there's a tad…

More...

Posted 16 hours ago by stan taves.

article: Letter: Questions for Obama supporters

The load that the left bought -- but have yet to pay for -- is real. It's really real; but until you actually have to pay for it, you won't…

More...

Posted 17 hours ago by Mike Adams.

article: Letter: Obama may be protecting his chi…

Hey, you're right about something! That picture didn't change my mind one bit.

More...

Video

Popular Stories

Poll

Loading…

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists