Old Bold Pilots Association Keeping History Alive - New York News

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Old Bold Pilots Association Keeping History Alive

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OCEANSIDE, CA - A love of aviation is more than a centerpiece at a Denny's in Oceanside, where the Old Bold pilots Association holds court every Wednesday morning.

Most saw combat in conflicts ranging from World War 2 to Vietnam, and now make it their mission to keep their history alive.

Here you'll meet 92-year old Rod Bradswell, a B-24 pilot who, in 1943, dropped bombs on the Poelsti oil refineries in Romania - a key source of fuel for the Nazis

"Used to call that Hitler's gas station, and you know the slogan- you don't leave home without oil...you gotta have oil," said Bradswell.

Vern Rowley was part of the crew that bombed Hiroshima, ending World War II:

"They told us not to try and see the flash, because we didn't have any protective eyes.. and it'd burn our eyes," recalled Rowley.

Not everyone here is a pilot, as many simply desire to make sure sacrifices are never forgotten.

Mona Sobel treasures the telegram sent to her grandmother, when her father went missing in Czechoslovakia:

"These guys are survivors they're fighters they're still here to tell their story and it's a wonderful opportunity for me," said Sobel.

John Will didn't fly either, but honors his buddy Capt. Joe Copack, who was shot down over Hanoi 3 days before Christmas in 1972.

"We're the lucky ones... for each one of us here, we've got numbers of guys that should have been here and aren't, so that's what this things' really about," said Will.

It's also about embracing former enemies.

No one sits down until 93 year old Kurt Schulze takes a seat.

A Luftwaffe pilot during the blitzkrieg, he hasn't missed this breakfast in 23 years, and is deeply patriotic:

"The fourth of July reminds me that I am lucky to come and be in this country," he said.

For these old bold pilots, every Wednesday serves up conversation, photo ops, and something more:

A chance to ease the chronic pain of survivor guilt, and feel truly appreciated-

Not only for their past service, but also- for their continuing friendship.

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