LAKELAND (FOX 13) - A World War II veteran got a chance to step back in time at Sun ‘n Fun.
“I thought my flying days were over. I am pretty well advanced right now,” 93-year-old Bill Kelly told FOX 13. “As my daughter put it, I am on the back nine.”
Kelly was a crew chief in the U.S. Army, stationed on the Marshall Islands in 1943. As an aircraft mechanic, he would maintain and repair the B-29 bombers that would stop over before continuing their trek to Japan.
“They landed at 4 or 5 o’clock in the afternoon. They stayed overnight. We did whatever was necessary including an occasional engine change, which was no small thing,” he said. “These engines must weigh a ton a piece.”
Kelly was able to turn back the hands of time when he got on the Commemorative Air Force's B-17 "Texas Raiders" at the fly-in on Wednesday. He was the guest of honor.
The flight was short, only 20 minutes, but it brought back a period of Kelly’s life that is quickly fading into the past.
“Bring back any memories?” he was asked.
“Lots of them. Lots of them," Kelly responded. “Most of them good.”
The B-17 will be at Sun ‘n Fun until Sunday. You can take a flight on it as well. Tickets start at $475.