Touring WWII planes connect a younger generation with history

Jim Rizzuti, Bowling Green, learns about the history of the B-29 while inside the plane. Rizzuti served in the airfare for four years. Rebekah Alvey/Herald

Rebekah Alvey

The Commemorative Air Force made a stop this week along the AirPower History Tour in Bowling Green where they gave tours of historic World War II airplanes.

Tours were held at the Bowling Green-Warren County Airport from Monday to today. The C-45 and T-6 planes were on display in addition to the main attraction, the B-29 plane known as FIFI. The FIFI is one of two B-29 planes still flying and is credited with ending WWII.

Paul Maupin, a WKU alumni who has been volunteering with CAF for five years, said CAF is dedicated to preserving the airplanes and the history of the people that flew and built them.

Maupin said he had the opportunity to talk with a 94 year-old man who currently resides in Bowling Green and was a navigator on B-29. They discussed what it was like to fight in WWII as a younger man.

“This country needs to make sure we can remember all that history, dedication and sacrifice people made to preserve our way of life,” Maupin said.

Maupin said he has been to all four corners of the U.S and up into Canada with the tour. He said along the way he has met “some of the most amazing people.”

Maupin said there’s a lot of people who don’t have an understanding of the history but have an appreciation for the people preserving these planes and their stories. Maupin said he can answer a lot of questions and connect facts with opinions in his job.

Maupin said on multiple occasions he has met people from Japan or with Japanese descent. Maupin said in addition to clearing up facts, he also became friends to the people he had encountered.

“Hopefully, we are dealing with facts but also understanding emotions,” Maupin said.

Jim Rizzuti, who has lived in Bowling Green for four years and served in the air force from 1963-1967, said he has always had an interest in aviation. Rizzuti said this tour is important because it keeps historic planes flying and keeps history alive.

Maupin said the tour puts veterans back in their youth and gives them an opportunity to share their experiences with their grandchildren.

Bowling Green resident Rob Stiles brought his grandson Bowen Monroe to the tour. Stiles said he was always interested in WWII. Monroe’s father served in Iraq with Desert Storm and Stiles said Monroe is always interested in learning about what his father went through.

“It’s good to honor vets and people who made the U.S. what it is today,” Stiles said.

Reporter Rebekah Alvey can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected].