of South Knox County and a World War II veteran flew as a ball gunner in the belly of a Boeing B-17
got to take a trip down memory lane as he
toured one of the planes on display at McGhee Tyson Airport at Knoxair.
remembers when, as a 19-year-old, he
had to squeeze his
142-pound frame into the ball turret of a B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft for his
first mission over Germany.
The day was Oct. 22, 1944.Drinnon
was a World War II "belly gunner" for the 487th bomb group of the 8th Air Force
"I saw many of them come in just like that," Drinnon
voice shaky, his
eyes filling with tears.
Watching the planes come in Tuesday flooded Drinnon
also got the opportunity to go aboard the B-17, this time as a tourist.
hands across the galley of the craft, Drinnon
reminisced about the time when he
shot down two German warplanes.
"When you do something as a young man, you think back on it," he