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Elkhorn veterans remember WWII and D-Day: "A vision I'll never forget"

Bob Reisser turned 102 years old earlier this month. His friend, Joe Burgess, will turn 108 years old next month. "We did a lot for our country," Joe said.
Posted at 6:08 PM, Jun 06, 2024

ELKHORN, Neb. (KMTV) — On the 80th anniversary of D-Day, we see how fewer veterans from that war remain, and so it seems increasingly important to hear from those still with us who exercised such bravery on June 6, 1944, and during World War II.

  • Bob Reisser, 102, flew 28 combat missions as a pilot.
  • Joe Burgess turns 108 years old next month. He was a gunner during WWII.
  • Reisser reflects on his role on D-Day: "I see these ships and the guys coming ashore on D-Day. And we flew over them and dropped our bombs behind them for support... I never could erase that."

Continue reading for the expanded version of the story:
To have shared an experience like war?

"I was stationed in southern England, and bombed Germany 28 times," Bob Reisser, 102, said of his time as a pilot during World War II.

One of his neighbors at Elk Ridge Village in Elkhorn also served in the 1940s. A gunner, Joe Burgess will turn 108 years old in July.

"After I went through radio school and gunnery school, I made it as a sergeant... on a B-24," he explained.

One day in particular stands out for Reisser: June 6, 1944. His plane was over Normandy.

"We were only up about 2,000 or 3,000 feet. And a vision I'll never forget. I see these ships and the guys coming ashore on D-Day. And we flew over them and dropped our bombs behind them for support," he remembered. "I never could erase that."

Reisser said they were too busy fighting to be scared, as he recalled his radio operator.

"When he saw that black stuff out there... "What is that?!" He says... "Somebody down there is trying to kill us." He was just a 19-year-old kid."

Reisser and Burgess weren't much older themselves. Both men had sought the chance to serve - it was an honor.

"When you look back, it is. We were lucky. We did a lot for our country," Burgess said.

Clear then, and possibly more so as time passes, having the benefit of 80 years gone by.

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