WWII memories remain fresh for local veteran

WWII memories remain fresh for local veteran

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ATLANTA -

Each Veterans Day, Robert Powell is reminded of what he saw a young pilot during World War II.

Decades after fighting for his country, Powell said that he remembers surviving war like it was yesterday.

Everything from crash landing a plane in a field to wooing his hometown sweetheart, Powell has a lot of stories to tell.

His earned his nickname, "Punchy," as a young fighter in the boxing ring. That bravery carried over to the cockpit as a fighter pilot during World War II.

The basement of Powell's Atlanta home is like a museum.  The soon-to-be 93-year-old calls it his "war room."

As a 22-year-old pilot, Powell flew over the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.

"I was way above them going down to protect them from any enemy aircraft," Powell said.

He recorded his accomplishments in the air in a flight log book.

"I would write a few words about that mission, how many bombers there were, what the target was," Powell said.

The U.S. Army Air Corps veteran has dozens of medals earned as part of the 352nd Fighter Group, but said he doesn't consider himself a hero.

"We were just doing what any good American boy would have done under the same circumstances," Powell said.

Powell still wears his bomber jacket. He stops to share his war stories  with students  and strangers. The veteran says it was an honor to serve:

"I feel blessed that I was born at a time when I was able to do what I did, and it was only a very tiny bit compared to many, many others," Powell said. "I'd like for all of us to think of our country instead of ourselves."

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