WWII vet "flies" down memory lane when B-25 aircraft lands in Auburn

WWII vet "flies" down memory lane when B-25 aircraft lands in Auburn

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - Bufard Robinson, an 89-year-old veteran, shook hands with Larry Kelley on Thursday, thanking him for touching down in Auburn in his vintage B-25, only if for a couple of hours.

"I was ready to go up again, I could fly that plane," said Robinson.

Robinson served as a pilot in the Army Air Corps from 1944 to 1946 and flew B-25s for 43 missions during World War II.

"It was veterans like Mr. Robinson. In 1943 these guys then had the chance of surviving less than a coin toss, but they lined down the street to volunteer to go against those odds," explained Kelly.

Kelley, an Auburn Alum, has owned the Panchito for 18 years and is a part of the DAV Aviation Outreach flight team.

The team was developed to increase public awareness of disabled veterans and to serve veterans in communities across the nation.

They made a special trip to Auburn Thursday just to see Robinson.

"These airplanes are great, but it was the veterans who took these airplanes into harm's way time after time," explains Kelly.

Robinson says seeing this plane again brings back countless memories, some good, others of the sacrifices that were made.

"I shed tears, you saw me, many lives lost too soon," says Robinson.

Robinson went on to graduate from Auburn after the war and lead a lengthy career in education.

His advice?

"I would say go to school, get as much education as you can and branch out," says Robinson

The Aviation Education Outreach is hosting a fly-in event on Saturday, May 16 at the Auburn University Regional Airport. It will feature several vintage and war bird planes as well as other military vehicles.

Tickets are $5 with children under the age of 6 given free admission. Active duty military and veterans with a valid ID are also given free admission in honor of Military Appreciation Day.

Tickets are available for sale from the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, Opelika Chamber of Commerce and Auburn-Opelika Airport. All proceeds from the event benefits Aviation Education Outreach and its various programs. 

AEO's mission is to provide educational and development programs in support of expanding aviation experiences and opportunities for our community and surrounding areas.

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