WWII Veterans Defy Government Shutdown, Tour Tinker AFB - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

WWII Veterans Defy Government Shutdown, Tour Tinker AFB

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Just in time for lunch Friday, News 9 caught up with two dozen veterans from the 388th Bomb Group at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Just in time for lunch Friday, News 9 caught up with two dozen veterans from the 388th Bomb Group at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

They flew on B-17 Flying Fortresses over Europe in the 1940s, and this week, those heroes are in Oklahoma City to see the sites. One of the highlights of their visit is Tinker Air Force Base. Even though a government shutdown has the base off limits, the bickering in Congress did not keep the World War II veterans away.

Just in time for lunch Friday, News 9 caught up with two dozen veterans from the 388th Bomb Group at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. The group's most senior member is 94-year-old Charlie Meyer.

"I drink beer, and I don't see doctors," Meyer said. "My first 90 years were wonderful."

Meyer spent four and a half years overseas.

"War was hell," he explained. "Seeing another plane get shot down ... that was the hardest part of everything."

Once a year, the veterans meet in cities across the country. Each time, the group is a bit smaller and they overcome more obstacles. Year 2013 will be remembered as the obstacle created by Congress.

"Tinker was the key for us coming to Oklahoma City," reunion organizer Jennifer Wammack said. "[Tinker] was the big question [amid the shutdown], so we were all watching the news."

But Tinker officials were not about to turn the veterans away. The soldiers of today stepped up to honor those of our greatest generation.

"They were volunteering their time and efforts," said Wammack. "Lt. Col. Johns said, 'whatever it takes to make this happen.'"

The group loved Tinker but had other words for Members of Congress.

"No one was elected for [a shutdown]," Meyer said. "They went to represent us. I'm really shocked they let it go this far."

The group plans on staying in the Oklahoma City metro until early next week.

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