Wings of Freedom brings warcraft to Cecil Field

Wings of Freedom brings warcraft to Cecil Field
Venetia resident and World War II veteran George Stallings, Jr., poses with the last flightworthy B-24 Liberator, brought to Jacksonville by Wings of Freedom.
George Stallings, Jr. (right) and his stepson Jim Taylor, watch as the B-24 Liberator lands on the tarmac at Cecil Field Airport.

George Stallings, Jr. (right) and his stepson Jim Taylor, watch as the B-24 Liberator lands on the tarmac at Cecil Field Airport.

Venetia resident George Stallings, Jr., who will be 100 years old in May, spent an afternoon with the last flightworthy B-24 Liberator, similar to the bomber he flew during World War II. Stallings, a captain in the Army Air Corps, also served as flight instructor to American and British cadets.

The opportunity to view the Bomber was made possible by the Collings Foundation which takes the Liberator and other famous warcraft around the country as part of their Wings of Freedom Tour. Stallings’ neighbor, Jim Ohora, a retired Navy pilot who shares aviation experiences with Stallings, escorted him to the Feb. 23 event at Cecil Field Airport. Stallings’ family and other neighbors were also a part of the group that attended the event.

“I’m glad to know that someone is keeping WWII aircraft maintained,” said Stallings, as he watched the B-24 Liberator land. “This is a great experience which brings back a lot of memories. It still looks as big as it did when I was flying it.”

Mike Foster, retired Navy captain who maintains the famous warcraft, noted that almost 19,000 B-24 bombers were produced but the Liberator is the only one that still exists. “Maintaining the Liberator is a great responsibility but also rewarding when I see veterans and their families viewing the aircraft,” he said.

Stallings said the last time he saw the aircraft was 25 years ago during a visit to Colorado. Upon closer inspection of the bomber, he confidently stated, “Yes, I believe I can still fly it.”


By Phyllis Bell-Davis
Resident Community News

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