WWII pilot revisits B-25

Courtesy photo: Dale Harner Ernest Shuey sits in the cockpit of a restored B-25 Oct. 4 at the Clovis Municipal Airport. Shuey, who flew 59 missions in a similar plane during World War II, took a tour while the fighter was at the airport as a traveling exhibit.

Kevin Wilson

Ernest Shuey of Clovis got a chance Oct. 4 to say hello to an old friend, or at least a reasonable facsimile.

Shuey took a visit to the Clovis Municipal Airport, where he got into a B-25 Mitchell cockpit. A retired post office employee, Shuey had not been in a B-25 since he flew 59 missions during World War II.

So, how did it feel being back behind the control panel?

“It felt awful,” Shuey said. “Fourteen years ago, I passed 40 the second time. The old legs and the old arms don’t have the strength they had. I flew around 1,500 hours in that B-25, and I had no problem climbing in.

“When they had the one they had at the airport, I had to have help (to climb aboard).”

Shuey, who was honorably discharged in 1945 following the war, said he never had a favorite memory of the missions, but some were better than others. His key memories were about doing his job with the Army Air Corps.

“I was too busy holding the plane where the bombardier could see what was going on,” Shuey said.

The B-25 was in town as part of a traveling exhibit of the Arizona-based Commemorative Air Force.