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On 75th Anniversary Of V-E Day, West Plains WWII Veteran Recalls B-17 Missions

Image by Seamus Darragh

Friday, May 8, 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of  VE Day – the day marking the formal end of WWII in Europe with the Allies’ acceptance of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender. 

One man living in West Plains, Missouri remembers that day :  Joe Spears was a young, homesick B-17 waist gunner in the Army Air Corps.

His bombing missions—and the missions of hundreds of other B-17s – crippled the German defenses, railroads and oil production.   Those missions were a large part of what led to the Nazi surrender on this day 75 years ago.  

Spears spoke to KSMU's Jennifer Moore by phone on Friday. 

You can hear their interview below.