Veterans

California veteran, 95, gets final B-29 mission

Jack Keane, a retired lieutenant colonel, once piloted B-24s and B-29s as a member of the U.S. Army Air Corp and U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II. Keene, 95, participated in 50 bombing missions and flew 100 missions transporting supplies over the Himalayas.

Despite his lengthy resume, Keene got a chance to fly up in a Boeing B-29 one last time on April 29, according to The Orange County Register.

As part of a fleet of World War II-era aircraft on the Commemorative Air Force AirPower History Tour, Keene flew in a Boeing B-29 Superfortress named FIFI at the Camarillo Airport. FIFI, along with one other remaining airworthy B-29, makes stops at airports throughout the country as part of the tour.

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Still, the flight didn’t go exactly as Keene would have preferred, his grandson told the Register.

“He was very upset that he couldn’t fly the plane,” Grant Keene said. “Even told the pilot how many more (flying) hours he had than the guy.”

The elder Keene received two Distinguished Unit Citations and multiple Air Medals during his time in the service. Going up in the B-29 allowed his family to get a glimpse into his experience as a pilot.

“I always appreciated machinery and aircraft and I always loved my grandfather,” Grant Keene said. “For me it was a way to live through his experiences.”