NEWS 9

MIDWEST CITY, Oklahoma -- More than 60 years after serving together in World War II, a special band of brothers reunited to share memories of their younger days.

It was a special reunion in Midwest City on Wednesday. Members of the 780th bomber squadron gathered for their annual get together to swap stories and catch up more than six decades after they served in WWII.

"We were quite close as a group. Over there we had to be. But it's just a way of touching base and keeping track of who's doing what and where they are and how they're doing," said George Kuchenbecker, 780th Bomb Squadron.

The 780th was stationed in Italy during the war, but flew missions all over Europe.

"We flew missions from everywhere from the Ploesti oil refineries in Romania to upper Germany, Regensburg, Blechhammer oil refinery in Poland and everything in between," Kuchenbecker said.

Kuchenbecker flew in from Seattle and is the youngster of the group. He was just a teenager when he was a tailgunner for the 780th and said the squadron had some close calls.

"We came out of Vienna one time with only three engines and had to throw out everything that wasn't tied down out of the plane, but we made it back and had four quarts of gas left when we got in there," Kuchenbecker said.

Kuchenbecker said his wife probably said it best as for why the group enjoys each other's company year after year.

"She says you know I've come to this conclusion. The stories are the same every year, they just keep getting bigger and badder," he said.

The squadron originally had more than 300 members, but now there are only 12 members still living and traveling is becoming more difficult for the vets.