POOLER, GA (WTOC) - A top secret mission finally revealed to retired Eighth Air Force Ball Turret Gunner Bud Porter.
"How could I not be surprised?!" said Porter. "Because you're looking at a guy who doesn't deserve all this!"
But the West Chatham American Legion Post 322 honored Porter with a plaque and vest, both displaying two badges, one for the US Army Air Force, the other the emblem of the United States 8th Air Force.
Porter entered the 8th Air Force when he was just 21 years old. The decision to become a soldier wasn't hard.
"All they had to do with me is wave the flag and play the music, and I was gone."
But he admits being in combat was a different story.
"I thought, ' what am I doing here? How did I get here? They're shooting at me!'"
Porter trained on the "Memphis Belle" in England, fighting enemy forces on 11 different missions.
"I have to be honest with you. I was scared to death. Because all that junk was coming up, exploding all around us. And I thought, ' my god, we're not going to make it. We're not going to make it. Truthfully, we should not have survived. And the idea that we all survived, is a miracle."
A miracle porter talks about almost every day as a volunteer at the Mighty 8th Air Force Museum.
"I try to represent those who didn't make it back here and that's always on my mind, every time I walk through here."
Porter was also a driving force in establishing the museum. A place he also lovingly refers to as his "second home". Of his nine man crew, porter is the only one still alive today.
"To think that this whole museum commemorates those that didn't make it and when you're looking at me, my gosh you're looking at a very lucky guy."
And now he has the recognition, badges and memories to prove it.