Eugene (Gene) Leonard, the Charlotte Aeromodelers' oldest and still active member, had a ride of a lifetime on November 7 in a B17 named the "Aluminum Overcast", based out of Oshkosh, WI.
The ride was donated to Gene through Dale Ensing, another Aeromodelers member, as a recognition of his WWII service and in honor of Veterans' Day.
Gene began his service as an 18 year old in 1943. Soon after his basic training he was deployed to Fort Knox to become a member of the Third Armored Division and placed in a tank. As he said, the Army thought if he could drive a tractor, he could drive a tank.
First assignment was to head over to England to ready for D-Day under Generals Patton and Eisenhower. He came ashore on Normandy Beach in his tank and went on to become a tank commander as a Tech Sergeant. He also participated in two more major battles, the Battle of the Bulge, and the Crossing of the Rhine River, before chasing the Nazis into Berlin. The only wounds he received were two frost bitten feet in Belgium. He gives the Glory to God for his and his tank mates coming home alive.
The next time you see Gene, tell him Thank You.