World War 2 veteran celebrates 100th birthday in SAC Museum


A local World War 2 pilot turned 100 on Saturday and he got a special treat to celebrate: the chance to take to the skies once again. It all happened at the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum in Ashland. Captain Bob Reisser, starting in January 1945 as part of the 8th Air Force’s 452nd Bomb Group, flew 28 missions that took him all over Germany and into enemy fire. Turning 100 makes him feel older. “Older than dirt. If I’d known I’d live this long, I would’ve taken better care of myself,” said Reisser. His retirement home family is taking care of him for his birthday. After a rousing send off with his kids and grandkids, Reisser took himself back through his past, in the fuselage of a B-17G “Flying Fortress,” the plane he piloted almost 80 years ago. “It makes me realize how out of date it is by today’s standards, but it was a good, stable war horse. It did bring back a lot of memories,” said Reisser. He says he was only in his early 20s when he faced combat in Europe. The responsibility to his crew was enormous and that scared him sometimes. “You do all you can, not to save your life, but the other guys whose lives are depending on what you do. If I make a mistake, I take them with me,” said Reisser. “His tail gunner was wounded in one mission by flak, but brought them all back alive, brought them all back healthy,” said Kurt Reisser, the son of Bob Reisser. While his piloting days are over now, Reisser got the chance to fly again, this time in a modern-day helicopter. But he says he is glad these old planes are being preserved. They tell stories of those who found a fortress in them and hold the memories only known to a remaining few. “I named my airplane ‘Heaven Can Wait.’ I thought that was very appropriate,” said Reisser.

A local World War 2 pilot turned 100 on Saturday and he got a special treat to celebrate: the chance to take to the skies once again.

It all happened at the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum in Ashland.

Captain Bob Reisser, starting in January 1945 as part of the 8th Air Force’s 452nd Bomb Group, flew 28 missions that took him all over Germany and into enemy fire.

Turning 100 makes him feel older.

“Older than dirt. If I’d known I’d live this long, I would’ve taken better care of myself,” said Reisser.

His retirement home family is taking care of him for his birthday. After a rousing send off with his kids and grandkids, Reisser took himself back through his past, in the fuselage of a B-17G “Flying Fortress,” the plane he piloted almost 80 years ago.

“It makes me realize how out of date it is by today’s standards, but it was a good, stable war horse. It did bring back a lot of memories,” said Reisser.

He says he was only in his early 20s when he faced combat in Europe. The responsibility to his crew was enormous and that scared him sometimes.

“You do all you can, not to save your life, but the other guys whose lives are depending on what you do. If I make a mistake, I take them with me,” said Reisser.

“His tail gunner was wounded in one mission by flak, but brought them all back alive, brought them all back healthy,” said Kurt Reisser, the son of Bob Reisser.

While his piloting days are over now, Reisser got the chance to fly again, this time in a modern-day helicopter. But he says he is glad these old planes are being preserved. They tell stories of those who found a fortress in them and hold the memories only known to a remaining few.

“I named my airplane ‘Heaven Can Wait.’ I thought that was very appropriate,” said Reisser.



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