TRENTON, Maine (WABI) "I've seen the plane, different B-17's several times but this is the first time that I've ridden in one since July of 1945."
Maine native, Richard Meserve joined the Army Corps two weeks out of high school in December of 1944.
"I flew 22 missions out of Italy. We were bombing mostly oil refineries, railroad marshaling yards, ball baring plants. Things like that."
At 92, this former B-17 naviagtor is getting to reunite with a special aircraft.
"It's a particularly beautiful airplane. It could take a tremendous amount of damage. You know people came home on two engines, half shot up, half with the tail shot up, half from the waist shot up. You wouldn't believe that plane could come back home."
Man and machine, together once again. Bringing back memories of an experience that will live with Meserve for a lifetime.
"It was quite an experience for a young guy."
With over 13,000 B-17 bombers built for World War II, this is just one of the eight left.
"It's the only one that has all 13 machine guns, all the turrets still in it and we still have all the turbo charges working and it's probably the prettiest one too. polished aluminum."
Sitting in the drivers seat is Trenton native, Jim Dennison. A B-17 pilot of 16 years who has brought joy to many of our nation's veterans.
"We had a lot of World War II veterans that would come out and I've seen that number go down and down over the years and today I think we gave one guy with us today that was a B-17 pilot. It's always a thrill to hear their stories and have them come out and see the airplane."
For this World War II vet, it's a mission he will never forget
"Oh, a lot of memories. It was wonderful."
And hearing the sound one last time, makes his years of service all worth it.
"You people that have never seen one take off, it has a sound all by itself that I could recognize one just hearing it."