Chilton’s Bob Schuh (second from right) was part of the crew of 10 which recently climbed back into a B-17.
Chilton’s Bob Schuh (second from right) was part of the crew of 10 which recently climbed back into a B-17.
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It had been 59 years since Bob Schuh of Chilton stepped into a B-17 Flying Fortress and crouched into his position as waist gunner.
Last week, Schuh and nine others relived their role as a bomb crew member during this first-of-a-kind event coordinated by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and the 8th Air Force Historical Society.
"It was such an amazing experience and amazing that they chose me. It was the first time I was on a B-17 since 1945," Schuh said.
The Aluminum Overcast, an EAA owned plane refurbished by Schuh's former 398th group, provided the flight honor to the group of 10. Arriving from around the state, each veteran was recruited for their specific role in the crew. During World War II, Schuh was a Toggliar gunner and later a tail and waist gunner flying 35 missions, the benchmark number of missions required for discharge during his service era. For the April 14 flight, Schuh was in the role of waist gunner. Although they never flew together until last week, 92-year old pilot Bob Abresch of Wauwatosa was also from the 398th Bomb Group and 600th Bomb Squadron, providing a further kindred reunion.
Schuh is a member of the national AF Historical Society and local chapter in Milwaukee. His membership provided the recruiting tool needed to locate him and the others for the flight. "Cindy (Drehmel, president of the 8th Air Force Historical Society) called around mid-February and asked if I would be interested in the flight. I said yes and then she kept me updated until it happened. It must have been difficult to get together a group, there are not many of us left," he said.


(Please see the April 24 issue of the Tri-County News for more on this story.)

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