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Merrimack Valley

September 15, 2013

'Those two incidents gave me nightmares'

WWII veteran recounts service aboard a B-17 Bomber

(Continued)

“You become very close,” said Johnston. “You’re so dependent on one another.”

He lives in Haverhill now, still driving, cooking and tidying up his home himself. Carolyn died in 2012, however four generations of the Johnston family keep him company. As he battles multiple myeloma – cancer of the plasma cells, which is treatable but not curable – the veteran adopts the same attitude that got him through the tough times during the war.

“You should only worry about the things you can do something about,” he said. “If you can’t change it, you might as well forget it.”

'North of Boston Salute to Veterans': Commemorative coffee-table book due out in December North of Boston Media Group is publishing a commemorative coffee-table book featuring images and stories of local veterans who served in wars dating back to the Civil War and up to the present. "North of Boston Salute To Veterans," due out in December, looks at the men and women who were called to duty and pays tribute to their service. Nearly 1,500 photos were gathered at photo scanning dates held at North of Boston Media Group offices around the region. The book will feature an array of what was gathered, as well as historical perspectives and feature stories from local veterans. To purchase a copy of the book, visit www.eagletribune.com, or see the ad with a coupon for $10 off the cover price in this edition of the Sunday Eagle-Tribune. B-17 "Flying Fortress" Bomber The B-17 was a WWII Bomber used primarily in Europe to fly bombing raids deep into enemy territory. Based primarily in England, B-17s could fly long missions with no fighter escort because of their own defensive capabilities. First produced in 1935 and continuously improved throughout the war, the B-17 had 13 .50-caliber machine guns. In addition to its heavy firepower, the plane was well-respected for it's ability to take enemy fire and still return safely home (something that Malcolm Johnston remembers well). During the war, 12,732 B-17s were produced, and 4,735 were lost during combat missions. After the war, innovations in flight soon made the B-17 obsolete. Many were cut up for scrap metal. Today, fewer than 100 B-17's exist, and even fewer are airworthy. SOURCE: www.b17.org

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