A veteran got the chance to fly, once again, on a warbird during this year’s SUN ‘n FUN.
The Commemorative Air Force brought Texas Raiders to SUN ’n FUN, delayed a bit by the weather at the beginning of the show. But when it landed at Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport, Sargent Bill Kelly was waiting, ready to fly in the B-17.
Born in Camden, N.J., Kelly enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1943 and was deployed to the Marshall Islands. For almost two years he served as a crew chief on a B-29 conducting bombing missions against the Japanese.
After he left the military, he went to a flight school and eventually earned his commercial ticket.
He then worked for Sears Roebuck. When he retired in 1988, he moved to Lakeland.
Texas Raiders is one of just nine B-17s flying in the world today and was the first B-17 restored solely for the purpose of education, according to CAF officials.