Ed Gray, 98, is a World War II veteran from Dallas who served as a fighter pilot in the Pacific Theater. He was a First Lieutenant in the 19th Fighter Squadron, 7th Air Force.
He flew a P-47 as he escorted bombing runs over enemy territory. He was on the mission that met the very first B-29 Superfortress bomber as it traveled over the Pacific.
“It was a beautiful thing,” according to Gray. “It was bigger than anything you could imagine at the time.”
Eventually, there were thousands of B-29s in service, including the Enola Gay which delivered the first atomic bomb used in warfare.
Gray never got a chance to fly on a B-29 while in the service, until recently, when he finally got that chance.
FIFI is one of only two B-29s that can still fly. Its home hangar is in Fort Worth at Meacham International Airport. The plane is maintained by the Commemorative Air Force.
“I’m so happy they’re keeping this going,” said Gray.
He climbed into the plane and took the place of honor, the bombardier’s seat in the very front of the plane with the best view through its large window, KENS5.com reported.
FIFI was on its way to New Orleans, where it will be a main attraction at the WII AirPower Expo this weekend hosted by the National World War II Museum and the Commemorative Air Force.