The National World War 2 Museum in New Orleans is an outstandingly interesting and emotional place. Aside from the beautifully crafted displays, informative videos and moving audio testimonials from veterans, the stand-out in our visit was meeting this gentleman. We stood next to him and his daughter, both visiting from Dallas, beside the museum’s Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. It was obvious that he was an aviator due to his flight jacket and cap and his celebrity status was clear from the special “WW-II Veteran” pass he was wearing. We got talking and learned some of his story. Shelby Goodwin, or “Pete” to his friends, is 98 years old and a veteran of the US Air Force. He was the flight engineer on a B-17 during the war and flew 32 bombing missions (“30 good ones and 2 cock-ups” as he put it) over Germany from a base outside Bedford in England. His aircraft was named “Naughty Nancy” and its nose art was painted on the back of his flight jacket along with a decal for each of the missions he flew.
During the rest of our visit, we bumped into Pete several times and frequently found him engaged in conversation or having his photo taken with other visitors. Thank you, sir, for your service and for helping us younger folks understand what happened during World War 2 and why learning history is vital if we are to prevent future generations from making the same dire mistakes as former ones!
You can find some more information on Pete’s B-17 and see a photo of her here.
For the technically inclined...
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