WWII Mechanic Recalls His Time Fixing Aircrafts

Alden Smith, sitting, told stories to visitors about his service. Submitted photo

He was an aircraft mechanic in World War II.

Veteran Alden Smith, 94, of The Lutheran Home and Rehabilitation Center in Jamestown, worked on B-24s, B-29s and C-47s. Drafted in 1943, Smith served 11 years in the US Army Air Corps.

The Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour returned to the Chautauqua County-Jamestown Airport for a four-day event that will allow area residents to experience and tour World War II-era aircraft.

The planes — B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine,” the B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft,” B-25 Mitchell “Tondelayo,” P-51 Mustang Toulouse Nuts and the P-40 Warhawk “Haws” — were in place after flying in around noon.

One of the types of planes Smith worked on, but not an exact one, was the B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft” that is on display at the airport.

The foundation, a nonprofit formed in 1979, said the event is a “rare opportunity to visit, explore and learn more about these unique and rare treasures of aviation history.”

Residents were allowed to get an up-close look at the planes. People were allowed inside the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator to tour the aircraft and get a feel for what it was like for those who flew them during the war.

Tours resume today at the airport from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 9:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday. The cost is $15 for adults and $5 for children under 12.

Flights can also be reserved for varying prices by calling (800) 568-8924.