Air Force veteran reunited with plane in Atwater

FRESNO, Calif.

Captain Eugene Blundell of Salt Lake City joined the air force in 1943 and traveled all over the world.

On Saturday Captain Blundell turned 90, and thanks to three serial numbers he got what he calls the best present of his life.

If you ask Captain Eugene Blundell, or G-Pa as he's known to his grandkids, what he feels like on his 90th birthday, he'll usually say something like: "to be 90 in good health is wonderful. No matter what you do everybody wants help you out."

For Blundell turning 90 is also a milestone because of this reunion with a much-loved airplane.

"I flew it brand new from the factory and I flew it for about 3 years and I flew it all over the world," he said.

That plane is the B-47 Stratojet. As a pilot, Eugene took the bomber on its maiden flight straight out of the factory more than five decades ago.

"Oh boy! I've been all over. Been all over Europe. I've been to Africa, been to Japan, I've been to China," he said.

In 1956 Eugene stepped out of the bomber's cockpit for the last time and eventually left the Air Force.

About 10 years ago his grandson Adam tracked the jet down after a hint from a photo that included the plane's serial numbers. Adam found number 166 parked at Castle Air Museum in Atwater Ahead of G-pa's 90th birthday he handed him a ticket to fly to California.

"I told him he was leaving in one week so you better start packing," Adam Bundell said.

Safe to say, it's isn't a trip that won't be forgotten.

"Thanks a lot, they're wonderful. I have the best family in the world," Eugene said.

Eugene told Action News he never flew any combat missions on the plane. We asked him whether he'd be up for taking another flight and without hesitation he said yes, but added that this time he'll be happier sitting in the back seat.

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