93-year-old WWII vet flies in Boeing B-17 Bomber

Posted at 7:31 PM, May 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-30 13:57:10-04

TULSA -- Taking a trip back in time. The Liberty Foundation is providing the opportunity to witness life in the shoes of a WWII veteran by flying in "Madras Maiden," a famous Boeing B-17 Bomber. It's an aircraft that thousands of our heroes sat in more than 70 years ago.

Every plane in the sky has its own story to tell.

"I can fly," WWII vet GK Gentis said. 

Even old age can't keep a piece of history on the ground.

"There were 12,000 built," Gentis said. 

Mesmerized by the view, memories of war flood the 93-year-old's mind. 

"We went to Munich and everything was going just fine except we got a double hit," he said.

Gentis joined WWII in 1944. He spent hours in a B-17 Bomber. 

"The pilot spotted a little airfield and said we couldn't make it," he said. "It's now or never. We'll take it. We might as well. We're here anyway."

More than 12,000 B-17's were produced between 1935 and 1945. Almost 4,800 were lost in combat.

"Nobody got a scratch, but we tore that airplane all to pieces," the WWII vet said.

Gentis' daughter was by his side.

"He can still remember things about the war," Lynn Gentis Mayo said. "To be able to get into something and fly in something that he flew in, and they would be up in the air for 14 hours, I just said 'Daddy I can't imagine not at all.'"

Twenty minutes were spent in the sky. Through the windshield, Tulsa shines in the sun. 2 Works For You was there as a hero relived the past. 

"That's the only thing to fly in," Gentis said. 

There are only 12 historic aircrafts still able to lift its wings and land smoothly.

"I'd rather be up there than I would on the ground," the 93-year-old said.

This Memorial Day, GK Gentis, just like old times, spent his day in the sky.

The Liberty Foundation will offer flights to the general public Saturday and Sunday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Tulsa Air & Space Museum.

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