CLEVELAND (WJW) — A historic warbird arrived in Cleveland today.
B-29 Doc, one of only two B-29 Superfortresses still airworthy and flying today, landed at Burke Lakefront Airport just before 2 p.m.
There to greet the plane was 102-year-old World War II veteran Owen Hughes, who painted the plane’s nose art, and Cleveland native Tony Mazzolini, who rescued Doc from the Mojave Desert in California so it could be restored more than 20 years ago, along with members of the Legion Riders.
The Cleveland marks the 4th stop for the B-29 Doc History Restored Tour in July that includes visits to a total of seven cities across five states.
“When I first saw this B-29 serving as a missile target on the bombing range of China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station in the 1980s, I never imagined I would be able to share its glory with my hometown,” Tony Mazzolini said. “It’s an honor to welcome this majestic warbird to Cleveland and give people an up-close and personal look at the aircraft that has meant so much to me, as well as many others, throughout its life.”
Tony, who served as a flight engineer on multi-engine aircraft during the Korean War, will be reunited with his friend and colleague Owen Hughes.
“Bringing Doc back to Cleveland to honor Tony’s work of rescuing this warbird from being destroyed as a missile target by the Navy and his vision to restore it to flight is a tremendous honor for our crew,” said Josh Wells, general manager and executive director for B-29 Doc. “And being able to celebrate Owen’s World War II service to our nation is what our mission is truly all about. Today, Doc serves as a flying tribute and museum to the Greatest Generation, along with those who designed, built and flew these airplanes to protect freedom, and to those who continue to defend our nation at home and abroad.”