WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – At 93, Paul Calkin has watched the world go from intercontinental war to where it is today.
The man wasn’t just alive during the second World War – he had a bird’s eye view as an aerial gunner on the beast in the photo above. He was based at Thorpe Abbots airfield in England where he served as a mechanic-gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress. On one daring mission, three engines were damaged into being inoperable before they could safely return. He and the others had to bail out of the plane in the English Channel. He will share his incredible experience this weekend at the WW2 in Review program at the Wings of Honor museum in Walnut Ridge.
From 11 a.m to 4 p.m. Saturday, September 9, presentations will be held at the museum at 70 Beacon Road in Walnut Ridge. The conference room will host the discussions and lectures.
At 11 a.m., Home-front Facilities in Arkansas in WW2 will be hosted by Holly Hope, Special Projects Historian with the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, a press release said. Then from 12:00 to 12:50, Travis Ratermann, Survey Historian, will discuss WWII POWs in Arkansas.
Those attending the morning sessions will be served a sack lunch at 1 p.m. with question and answer time to follow.
Calkin’s program begins at 2 p.m. Following the presentation, a question and answer period will occur. Refreshments will be served afterward.
There is no charge for either session and everyone is welcome. While admission is free, reservations would be helpful to the crew to assist with food prep. Students, teachers and the general public are invited and will find the presentations very informative, the release said.
The program is part of a WWII in Review series by the Wings of Honor Museum in celebration of the WWII Walnut Ridge Army Air Field’s 75th anniversary.
For more information, contact Harold Johnson, Wings of Honor Museum, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured photo – B-17 Flying Fortress, circa 1942. Public domain
Story by Stan Morris | NEA Report