PHOTOS: History flies into Marco Executive Airport

Three World War II planes were on display this weekend at the Marco Island Executive Airport this weekend.

The national Collings Foundation flies the planes around the United States for “living history” events that enable Americans to learn more about their heritage through direct participation.

The “Wings of Freedom” Tour featured the foundation’s 1944 vintage Consolidated B-24J Liberator is painted as “Witchcraft,” an 8th Air Force bomber that flew a record 130 missions over Europe as part of the 467th Bomber Group. The Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress flies as “Nine-O-Nine,” an 8th Air Force, 91st Bomber Group heavy bomber. The B-17 was the companion of the B-24 in thousands of wartime, bombing and reconnaissance missions. Together they were the backbone of the daylight strategic bombing campaign of World War II.

Joining the bombers is a P-51C Mustang escort fighter “Betty Jane.” The P-51 was affectionately nicknamed by the bomber crews as their “Little Friends.” The P-51 Mustang and the pilots who flew them saved countless lives in the skies and on the ground, and helped turn the tide of the war. The P-51 is considered by many to be the finest fighter aircraft in the history of aviation.

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blogsmog writes:

Was walking on residents beach around sunset last night with my 19 year nephew when the B-17 flew by us. He said "look at that old plane, its ugly". I couldn't even begin to explain to him the importance of that aircraft and the sacrifices its crews endured during WWII. When we got back home I got made him research the history of the B-17 and the B-24's during WWII, I had to pull him away from the computer. He couldn't believe the bravery of the men who flew these bombers, as he said "they all must of had a death wish". He later added "we might all be speaking German today if is wasn't for these guys..(to drive the point of their significance) I said "not unless you were an healthy minded healthy bodied German, would you even be alive today..they were goning to wipe out everyone and anyone who wasn't like them...my nephew just gulped.

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