Boeing B-17 bombers were built for World War II and retired in 1968, never to be flown again.
That is until Don Wood, a 92-year-old war veteran was able to take to the skies once again thanks to Boy Scout troop 501 from Lake Tapps, Washington.
Mr. Wood’s son, Bryant Wood, was their troop leader and still goes to their meetings because he is still very close with the community. Mr. Wood goes with his son to the meetings sometimes, as he was an Eagle Scout in the 1939.
At these meetings, Mr. Wood would always get recognition for being a veteran of war.
Not only is he a veteran of war, he was also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, which according to Wood is an award just below the Medal of Honor.
Wood said he had no idea his dad had such great achievements and honors.
“He is very humble,” Wood said. “My dad tells me ‘We didn’t do much, anyone would have done it.'”
The troop and their parents always had nothing but nice things to say about Mr. Wood and wanted to do something amazing for him to honor what he did during the war.
“See that gentleman in the back? This is one of the guys that saved the world,” someone once said during a troop meeting.
With all the respect and interest everyone had for Mr. Wood, the troop decided they wanted to do something nice for him.
One of the boy scouts, Hunter Sharpe, heard that a B-17 was going to be at the Museum of Flight in Tukwila, Washington, and came up with the idea to raise money so Mr. Wood could fly in it once again.
The B-17 has been operated by the Experimental Aircraft Association and the Aluminum Overcast owns the plane.
When the scouts found out about this, they and their parents started to raise money for tickets so Mr. Wood could be able to take a ride in the aircraft.
In a matter of minutes, according to Wood, the troop had raised enough money for not only Mr. Wood to fly, but also Wood himself, which totaled to about $900.
“I told my dad that we were going to get the opportunity to fly and he just lit up like a Christmas tree,” Wood said.
When the day came to go up in the B-17 on June 12, Wood was in disbelief. The plane itself was unbelievable, but also he had no idea they raised enough money for him to go up as well.
So the scouts surprised him by holding up a banner thanking Wood for all the support he still shows them.
Not only was Wood able to fly up with is dad, but Sharpe was able to fly with them as well.
According to Wood it was one of the craziest experiences of his life.
“I don’t get speechless often, but…” he said.
Wood said he was so shocked that people during war would go up in one of these giant aircrafts that were not pressurized, they were open to the outside, making it very cold and hard to breathe.
“I’m telling you, what these guys would do, day-in and day-out,” Wood said. “I have no idea how they did it.”