Raiders of ‘Hitler’s gas station’ reunite in Ohio

CINCINNATI (AP) — Surviving veterans and relatives are trading memories in Ohio about the attack on “Hitler’s gas station” that produced a fierce World War II battle marked by bravery and sacrifice.

The 70th anniversary Polesti (POH’-less-tee) Raid reunion at the U.S. Air Force Museum near Dayton commemorates an Aug. 1, 1943, assault by waves of B-24 bombers on oil refineries in Romania. Sweeping in at what a veteran calls “corn-high” levels against German firepower, nearly a third of the planes and their men didn’t make it back to North Africa bases.

Ninety-two-year-old Bob Rans recalls being bathed in gasoline in a burning plane before parachuting out. He says it’s emotional to consider the raid’s place in history as the most-decorated action of the war.

Participants are viewing a restored B-24 on Wednesday.

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