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Hometown Hero reminisces about his time in the service

SAVOY -- Nowadays they tour the U.S. to give people a piece of the past, but for many veterans, seeing the flying fortress back up in the air was more like deja vu.
SAVOY -- Nowadays they tour the U.S. to give people a piece of the past, but for many veterans, seeing the flying fortress back up in the air was more like deja vu. WCIA-3's Amanda Porterfield introduces us to this Hometown Hero.

As a Navy man during World War II, it's the first Eugene Rothrock has been this close to a B-17.

"We used to see 'em a lot, but I was never in the Army, so I didn't get close to them."

But, after more than 70 years, he got as close to the flying fortress as one could get. He joined the Navy in 1942. A young man itching to be a part of history.

"We were 20-years old. You see some of the sailors and the Army people and thought, 'We better get in before the Army is over so we can get some of the action.'"

Rothrock earned the nickname, Rocky, and was in charge of setting up runways for the Sea Bees. After two years, he was discharged for injuries, but never forgets his time in the military.

"It's interesting to be able to tell what you know."

He didn't get to fly the B-17 this time, but says seeing it was enough. A reminder, not only that time has flown by, but that without these and people like him, our country would probably look a lot different.

"I think they've been told what it would have been like if we lost World War II."
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