Rare World War II planes make stop in Gulfport

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Some vintage aircraft landed in Gulfport Wednesday, as part of a nationwide tour called Wings of Freedom. A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, a consolidated B-24 Liberator, and North American P-51 Mustang all grace the tarmac at Million Air hangar in Gulfport.

One of the first people who showed up to see these beauties was Alice Dana.

"I saw in the paper that they had the war planes on display and my dad was a bombardier," said Dana.

Dana's father was a bombardier on B29s during WWII. So having similar planes this close to home sparked her interest.

"I came out to see what the planes were like and kind of where he would have been sitting as a bombardier," said Dana.

It's not every day you get an opportunity to see such magnificent pieces of American history, but since 1991 organizers with the Wings of Freedom Tour have made it their goal to bring museums to the people.

"We developed the Wings of Freedom Tour as a way to bring the aircraft to them," said ride coordinator Ryan Keough.

The tour travels 300 days out of the year. For one of the pilots, it's a dream come true.

"I love historic airplanes. That's all I've ever wanted to fly since I was a little kid. I got into these 12 years ago; this was my shot at it, and I haven't looked back. It's just been a heck of an adventure," said Jim Hartley.

When the tour began, it was mostly WWII veterans who came out to tour the aircraft. Now, tour organizers say they see people of all ages. Keough said it's a reminder that our nation's history will never be forgotten.

The Wings of Freedom tour will be at the Million Air Hangar at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport until March 7th.

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