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A once in a lifetime opportunity to see United States history is taking flight on the Coast. A crew of World War II planes touched down at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport for the Wings of Freedom Tour today.
They could be seen soaring over the Coast today, a crew of rare World War II planes landing right at the Gulfport Biloxi International Air Port. The roaring engines are the sound of freedom for Navy veteran Donald Pettigrew who was stationed at Pearl Harbor after the war, but remembers living through those tough times. “I remember rationing. We couldn’t get meat. We couldn’t get shoes. We couldn’t get anything.”
Pettigrew served for four years in the 1950s. When he heard the Wings of Freedom Tour was flying into Gulfport, he ventured out to get a close up look at air crafts that helped airmen pilot our nation’s freedom. “Really appreciate what people did back then. Flying something like this was quite something and I’m proud of all them that did that,” said Pettigrew.
The Collings Foundation Wings of Freedom Tour travels the nation as a soaring tribute to all who did their part serving our country during the war. On display now in Gulfport are the P-51 Mustang, B-24 Liberator, the B-17 Flying Fortress, and the B-25 Mitchell which is the only one left in the world that’s still flying today. Volunteer Pilot Phil Webb said, “Right after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941, this aircraft was the very first aircraft to strike back against the Japanese empire.”
The Wings of Freedom Tour gives the Coast the chance to explore the planes and take a flight aboard these historic treasures. Flight Coordinator Jamie Mitchell said, “These are all authentic aircrafts, they’re really great restorations, we’re really glad to have them here and we’re really excited.”
The planes are here until Wednesday. “If you get a chance to fly, it’s almost like you’re flying back in the 1940’s. It’s almost like you’re right there being with those service members that were lost,” said Webb.

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