US

Group works to digitize thousands of photos, military records of famed WWII's 'Long Rangers'

  • In this Sept. 18, 2014 photo, World War II veterans, from left, Earl McGuire, Jack Palmer and Tom Pelle talk about their service with the 307th Bombardment Group during a reunion in Santa Fe, N.M. Pelle and the few other remaining members of the 13th Air Force's famous 307th Bombardment Group, their family members and Ancestry.com’s military records site Fold3 are working to keep alive the group’s memory by collecting and digitizing thousands of photographs, military orders and other memorabilia. The records are being posted online as part of a searchable database. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

    In this Sept. 18, 2014 photo, World War II veterans, from left, Earl McGuire, Jack Palmer and Tom Pelle talk about their service with the 307th Bombardment Group during a reunion in Santa Fe, N.M. Pelle and the few other remaining members of the 13th Air Force's famous 307th Bombardment Group, their family members and Ancestry.com’s military records site Fold3 are working to keep alive the group’s memory by collecting and digitizing thousands of photographs, military orders and other memorabilia. The records are being posted online as part of a searchable database. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Sept. 18, 2014 image, World War II veteran Dale Stickrath tries to remember the date of a photograph during a reunion for the famed 307th Bombardment Group in Santa Fe, N.M. A few remaining members of the 13th Air Force's famous 307th Bombardment Group, their family members and Ancestry.com’s military records site Fold3 are working to keep alive the group’s memory by collecting and digitizing thousands of photographs, military orders and other memorabilia. The records are being posted online as part of a searchable database. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

    In this Sept. 18, 2014 image, World War II veteran Dale Stickrath tries to remember the date of a photograph during a reunion for the famed 307th Bombardment Group in Santa Fe, N.M. A few remaining members of the 13th Air Force's famous 307th Bombardment Group, their family members and Ancestry.com’s military records site Fold3 are working to keep alive the group’s memory by collecting and digitizing thousands of photographs, military orders and other memorabilia. The records are being posted online as part of a searchable database. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Sept. 18, 2014 photo, World War II veterans Dale Stickrath, left, and Tom Pelle reminisce about their time with the famed 307th Bombardment Group during a reunion in Santa Fe, N.M. A few remaining members of the 13th Air Force's famous 307th Bombardment Group, their family members and Ancestry.com’s military records site Fold3 are working to keep alive the group’s memory by collecting and digitizing thousands of photographs, military orders and other memorabilia. The records are being posted online as part of a searchable database. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

    In this Sept. 18, 2014 photo, World War II veterans Dale Stickrath, left, and Tom Pelle reminisce about their time with the famed 307th Bombardment Group during a reunion in Santa Fe, N.M. A few remaining members of the 13th Air Force's famous 307th Bombardment Group, their family members and Ancestry.com’s military records site Fold3 are working to keep alive the group’s memory by collecting and digitizing thousands of photographs, military orders and other memorabilia. The records are being posted online as part of a searchable database. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)  (The Associated Press)

Thousands of feet above the Pacific Ocean during World War II, the bullets were coming fast and the flak was flying. Japanese fighter planes whizzed around like bees as the American forces in their lumbering B-24 bombers tried everything to reach their targets, save fuel and stay airborne for the long trip home.

About 70 years later, the few remaining members of the 13th Air Force's famous 307th Bombardment Group, their relatives and Ancestry.com's military records site Fold3 are working to keep alive the group's memories by collecting and digitizing thousands of photographs, military orders and other memorabilia.

The effort is taking on particular urgency because only a handful of the veterans — known as the "Long Rangers" because they battled over open water with no landmarks — are alive today.