Collings Foundation Brings World War II Home

History lands in Concord on the wings of a B17, B24 and a P51.

Buchanan Field in Concord is playing host to three World War II-vintage aircraft this weekend.

The Collings Foundation brought some of its flying history stock to show off. The aircraft are the B17G Flying Fortress, B24 Liberator and a P51 Mustang fighter painstakingly restored and in flying condition. They are fully equipped with modern navigation systems.

The planes arrived Friday afternoon. The B17 made a wide bank and swooped in and landed. Next came the P51 Mustang. The B24 Liberator stayed behind in Vacaville with a blown engine. It will join the other planes Sunday, when its engine is replaced. The planes are behind the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

The event means a lot to World War II veterans, who tell stories of their missions in similar planes evading enemy fire, accomplishing their missions and getting back to base. Many never returned home.

"They trained me as a navigator and I was assigned on a B17," said Homer Jung, 88, a native of San Francisco who was trained as a B17 navigator in World War II.

"When we were on our first flight to bomb Germany, the word came down that the Germans surrendered. The crew went to the officers club and got drunk," he said with a laugh.

After the war, Jung's plane was used to bring wounded GIs home from Germany and France. His plane flew into Paris at the same time lights were restored after being blacked out for four years. It was an amazing sight, he said.

The Wings of Freedom Tour in Concord continues on Sunday. For information, visit the Collings Foundation website.


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