LOVELAND (KDVR) – A 96-year-old World War II veteran will be reuniting with a fellow veteran he has not seen in 80 years: a B-25 bomber like the ones he worked on in 1945.
Loveland resident Ken Calkins was just a kid in 1944 when he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps. His job was that of a mechanic. He did not work on jeeps or trucks but on the famous B-25 bomber.
The B-25 bomber was a workhorse of a plane for the allies during WWII.
“This is a medium-attack bomber in two different configurations in the European and Mediterranean theater. Medium to low velocity, flying at about 9,000 feet, a tactical bomber,” said Gary Oglesby, Commemorative Air Force.
Restored B-25 bomber goes on tour
The B-25 that was brought in by the Commemorative Air Force to the Northern Colorado Regional Airport is nicknamed “Maid in the Shade.”
It served 15 combat missions in Europe. It was based in Corsica, just south of France.
“Its primary target was railroad bridges. It flew over Italy and Yugoslavia,“ Oglesby said.
Maid in the Shade is a fully restored and battle-ready B-25 that belongs to the Commemorative Air Force. It is in Loveland for their Flying Legends of Victory tour.
But Maid in the Shade would never have been a legend of victory if it were not for men like Ken Calkins. He maintained them and kept them flying during the war.
“Make sure the gasoline tanks were full. The oil up to date. We would start the engines and make sure the instruments were functioning properly,” Calkins said.
On Friday, Calkins reunited with the B-25 and flew in the famous bomber for the first time in 80 years. Up, up, higher — and back. Back in time, that is.
“Well, it really was a wonderful flight. On the ground, it seems like a long time to take off. But once in the air, it is just a wonderful experience,” Calkins said.
Keep ‘em flying, Ken.