World War II veteran visits the Mighty Eighth Air Force museum for the first time

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 4:54 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A special day at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force in Pooler.

This was Captain Dick Nelms’ first visit to the World War Two museum dedicated to the unit he was assigned to back in 1942.

Nelms is a decorated veteran - flying 35 missions over Germany and Nazi occupied Europe in 1944.

He was just 21-years-old at the time.

Now 99, he climbed back in the pilot seat today in one of the museum’s trademark attractions - the City of Savannah B17 fighter.

As he looked back on his time flying, he says there’s one thing he wants people to know about the Mighty Eighth.

“It was really a very good experience, and what I do now here and at the Museum of Flight in Seattle is to try to tell people what a wonderful outfit the Eighth Air Force was, that we changed Hitler’s strategy from offense to defense. We didn’t win the war, but we made it a lot easier for our own troops, and the Russians, to do it.”

Nelms was awarded the Distinguished Flying Across, the Air Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation and the European Theater Ribbon...among other awards for his service during World War Two.