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Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Phillip R. Starr displays his World War II memorabilia to Kori Friesen’s U.S. history students, April 6.

Explosions rocked the plane as a crew full of young men attempted to successfully complete their mission over enemy territory. While this may sound like a scene straight from a movie, it was the life of 21-year-old Phillip R. Starr during World War II.

As a part of his radio program ‘Hometown Heroes’, Paul Loeffler regularly interviews local WWII veterans, giving them a chance to tell their story to a generation much different than their own. Loeffler and history teacher Kori Friesen invited Starr to share his story during U.S. history classes, April 6.

While Loeffler usually interviews veterans in their homes, Starr agreed to conduct his radio interview in a different environment, a high school classroom packed with history students eager to hear his story. Starr, wearing a Central Valley Honor Flight jacket along with a WWII veterans hat, appeared just as eager to tell it.

Starr’s position on the plane was a ball turret gunner, meaning he operated the machine gun underneath the plane’s fuselage. While this position was undoubtedly one of the most dangerous, Starr volunteered for it. He enjoyed being able to look under the ship as they were flying.

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