Air Force Vet visits Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum for first time

(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)

POOLER, GA (WTOC) - An all-time American hero spent the day at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum on Saturday.

James 'Jimbo' Wandless, who served as a waist gunner during WWII, is a Mighty Eighth Air Force Vet himself. He flew 24 missions over Germany in the B-17 nicknamed 'Hades Lady.'

This was his first trip to the museum. With help from the nonprofit organization Wish of a Lifetime and the staff of the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum, Saturday represents a lifelong wish of his coming true.

His friend Casey Amato, a 29-year-old med school student who became friends with Jimbo while work at his favorite Karaoke spot, nominated him for his wish. He and his wife Carolyn have made Amato an honorary grandchild.

As a gift Amato got the plaque that Jimbo designed for his crew installed into the museum last year.

He shared stories of his time in the air that included getting injured during a mission over Nuremberg, Germany.

The 91-year old Purple Heart recipient calls his pilot his biggest hero.

"All the guys I used to, I'm the last one left," said Wandless. "The rest of the crew are all deceased. I just wish they were here. That would be so nice, you know?"

Wandless got to see where the plaque hangs in the museum, solidifying the lasting legacy of him and his crew-mates.

He also commissioned a plaque honoring his pilot.

Wandless served in the United States Air Force from November 1943 - October 1945 as a Staff Sergeant. He received  the Purple Heart when he was injured by anti-aircraft fire while on a mission over Germany.

After the war he became a computer operator for the government, later he worked as an engraver.

He and his wife have one son. His favorite activities are singing karaoke and performing his renditions of Johnny Cash songs.

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