A Trip on a B-24 Heavy Bomber

The B-24 liberator was manufactured by Consolidate Aircraft in 1941 to be used  as a heavy bomber in world war II. Around 40 percent of the planes were made by women while men fought for our freedom. After the war, most of the planes sat in plane yards to rust. Today there is only one original b-24 liberator bomber that is still in commission. The B-24 Witchcraft has seen 130 successful combat missions during WWII and, for the past 25-years, has been on tour with Wings of Freedom. Wings of Freedom is a handful of old  military airplanes that fly from city to city as traveling exhibits, and for the right price you can fly in these old planes.

My  grandfather, Franklyn Thayer, enlisted in WWII to help fight Nazi Germany. He was assigned to fly in the B-24 Liberator as a Bombardier. He was located at the nose of the plane with the telescope and decided where he wanted the bombs to fall. I never knew my grandfather, but always heard  stories from my father, Steve Thayer.

My father called my and told me: “Cancel all your plans tomorrow, I got two tickets for us to fly on a B-24 Bomber. The same plane my dad was in during WWII.”

I could not pass up this opportunity. I was actually going to see the plane my grandfather fought in during one of the biggest wars the world has ever seen.

We arrived at McClellan Air force Base in Sacramento, California, where they had all the planes on tour. I was able to crawl through the B-24 and the B-17. To my surprise, there were a lot of people that came out to see this parts of our history that’s rusting and fading away.

When I was getting ready to sit in the B-24 just before take off, I could not stop shaking. This was only my second time ever being in a plane. I kept looking at all the old technology from the 1940’s thinking I am going to die. When I looked at my father and told him this, he smiled and said “If today is the day, at least I got to experience a fraction of what my father did.”  I decided to stop worrying and used my camera to mask the fear.

After take off, we were free to unbuckle our seat belts and walk around the plane. My father immediately got up and walked over to the 50cal machine gun mounted out the window. Like a kid in a candy store, he shook the gun making machine gun noises with an ear-to-ear grin. You could tell this was something he needed, something he had dreamed of since he first heard the stories from his father when he was just a boy. After he let the machine gun go at the back of the plane, he slowly made his way across the catwalk where the bombs were actually dropped 72 years ago, to the spot where his father sat. He had to get on his hands and knees and crawl to get there, nothing was going to stop him from being in that moment he had always dreamed of.