This Thursday, former B-17 pilot Harold Rochette, 89, will set foot inside a Flying Fortress again—more than 60 years since his last bombing mission—and ride as an honored passenger in a flight from Stewart International Airport, in Newburgh, N.Y., to Waterbury-Oxford Airport, in Oxford, Conn. The Record-Journal of Meriden, Conn., reported Sept. 1 that the flight is sponsored by the Massachusetts-based, non-profit Collings Foundation that restores World War II-era aircraft and displays and flies them at airfields across the country. A B-24, B-25, and P-51 will accompany the B-17 for the heritage flight. Two other World War II veterans will join Rochette: Frank Petrillo, 90, a former B-17 bombardier from Waterbury, and Walter Hushak, 85, a former B-24 pilot from Southington, Conn., who organizes Connecticut events for the foundation. “I never thought 60 years later that I’d have a chance to fly in one of these aircraft again,” said Hushak.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.