World War II bomber honors "Greatest Generation"

Plane is visiting Twin Falls
Posted at 10:27 PM, Aug 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-30 00:27:20-04

One of the world's most famous airplanes is in Twin Falls this week.

It's a World War II B-25 bomber, and it is an important way to honor the "Greatest Generation" which, unfortunately, the plane is destined to outlive.

Taking off in a B-25 Mitchell is a rare and wonderful experience, according to pilot Larry Kline.

"It's noisy and loud and fun," says Kline. "And all the things that make us happy."

The plane is part of the Commemorative Air Force out of Mesa, Arizona, and it is taking part in the "Flying Legends of Victory Tour."

"It's all about the World War II vets," says Kline. "To remember them and tell their story." 

Thousands of B-25's flew combat missions in World War II, including this one. 

It had 15 combat missions to its credit, but there is one mission everyone remembers with the B-25: The Doolittle raid on Tokyo. That is when several of these planes took off about four months after Pearl Harbor and bombed Tokyo, proving to the Japanese that their homeland was not secure.

The men who took part were called the Doolittle Raiders, and they are almost all gone.

For a $5 donation, you can tour the inside of this B-25 named "Maid in the Shade" at the Magic Valley Regional Airport all week.

For a more substantial donation, you can take a ride in the bombardier seat, but you will have to fit through the tiny tunnel under the pilots to get there.

For longtime pilot Gene Teske, the sound of the B-25 was easy to recognize.

"I knew it when I heard it," he says. "That's why I had to come out and take a look at it."

He used to see this very plane in Arizona where he was a fire tanker pilot years ago, and he is thrilled to see it is still flying.

"Yeah, they do get around.  Nice that they do," he says. "Wonderful to see old airplanes still flying."

An imposing war machine that once inspired fear is now serving as a legacy for the pilots and crew who helped save the world.

If you want to take a flight, they are scheduling them at the Magic Valley Airport for Thursday through Monday.

The number to call is 1-480-322-5503.