A Thankful Veteran

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The month of November features two of the most important days in the life of a veteran. One, of course, is Veterans Day. The other is Thanksgiving.

World War II veteran Harold Plunkett answered the call to defend his country early. “I enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor and there were about five or six of us boys enlisted at the same time.”

The 94 year old maintains a wonderful sense of humor, and that may have been just one of the characteristics that allowed him to survive being a ball turret gunner on the bottom of a B-17 bomber. He was lucky to survive. “We flew 56 missions and we lost 50% of our personnel.”

Harold is not a big man and his small stature was part of the decision to put in the confined and exposed position of a gunner on the under-belly of the bomber.

He spent the bulk of his service in two different planes, the ‘Peggy O’Neil’ and the “Wylie Witch’. Harold was on board when the ‘Wylie Witch’ was hit by enemy fire and went down over the ocean. “We landed on the water and all 10 men got out. And survived.”

Harold and his family have done a marvelous job of preserving his service record, from many pictures, to his diary to newspaper articles that chronicled his service.
 
He’s one of a dwindling number of World War II vets still around. Harold’s artifacts can be found at the Clay County Historical Society Museum.

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