EAST TEXAS (KYTX) - This coming Sunday we honor all U.S. military veterans as part of the Veteran's Day celebrations. Tonight in J.B.'s Journals, Sheriff J.B. Smith introduces us to veteran of World War II who's making sure we never forget our history.
"I had no reason I wanted to be a flier, except I knew I didn't want to be in the navy because I figured if I had to bale out I could walk further than I could swim."
Bill Halbert volunteered for World War II.
"I came in 1943, 18 year old kid out of Kilgore, Texas, served War 2, stayed in Airforce, Korea, Vietnam."
This is my crew flying Martin B-26 during W2, that's me on end, young guy 18 years old, this is the target we hit in Northern Italy, Po Valley of N. Italy."
Halbert flew 42 missions in Italy, France and Germany.
He was shot at
"My airplane had one engine shot out two different occasions."
--- but never shot down.
Sot tc 2:17:00-10 (C1) "I'm out in the middle of the South Atlantic trying to find an island, thinking what in the world am I doing out here, never been out of Gregg County before here I'm in the Atlantic trying to fly an airplane."
Today he is a volunteer at the Tyler Historic Aviation Memorial Museum; helping to keep history alive through detailed exhibits.
"This uniform was worn by a good friend of mine Jim Hensley in WW2; it's identical to the one I wore during the Vietnam conflict."
Each week Halbert can be found sharing a part of history – a role he once played a part in.
"See Rachel, that's why we have this large collection of model airplanes to learn good versus the bad. OK lets go to this room now"
Stories he hopes will make sure we never forget those who have come before.
"We have continuity between this generation, the next and the last, that's all important."
For CBS 19, I'm Sheriff J.B. Smith and that's my story.
Anchor tag: The Historic Aviation Memorial Museum is located on the grounds of Tyler Pounds Regional Airport. The best part of the museum is the docents are veterans. If you are a veteran and want to learn more about the museum or becoming a volunteer visit their web site at www.tylerhamm.com