South Georgia veteran recalls WWII and D-Day

By: Noelani Mathews | WCTV Eyewitness News
June 5, 2019

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WCTV) -- A 92-year-old veteran in Thomasville is recalling his own experience while serving in World War II.

James Deckle and his son own the Power of the Past Aviation Museum at the Thomasville Regional Airport.

"I think some of my favorite World War II engines were the R-1820 that was in the B-17s, and I have one of those," said Deckle.

Deckle's love for everything aviation was discovered in the Navy at age 17 in 1943.

"It was just a duty I was proud to be able to do and I enjoyed the flying," said Deckle.

He was assigned as a flying mechanic on the PBY Catalina seaplane. Deckle says they were used to hunt down German threats off of Florida's coast.

"We were trying to get the submarines before they can get some of ours, if we could find them," said Deckle.

On the eve of its anniversary, Deckle remembers the deadly invasion of a coast on the opposite side of the Atlantic.

"The thoughts that hit me most on D-Day is the number of people that were going to be getting killed, but I knew it was going to be a major slaughter and so did General Eisenhower," said Deckle.

The monumental day is now honored 75 years later.

"I was happy when the war was over. A lot of people lost their lives, including some of my friends from school here in Thomasville. In my book, they were the heroes," said Deckle.

For more information on visiting Deckle's aviation museum, click here.