TULSA - On the morning of June 6, 1944, John "Jack" Lantz woke up in a German POW camp, never dreaming that help was on the way in the form of some 160,000 Allied troops landing on a fifty-mile stretch of the French coast.
Today is the 69th anniversary of the largest seaborne invasion in history, an event that has come to be known as "D-Day."
Jack was a member of the 8th Air Force, flying out of Great Britain.
On January 11th, 1944 his flight took part in a raid on a Focke-Wulfe aircraft plant inside Germany.
The mission was called off, but his group never got the word -- and of 11 aircraft in his flight, seven were shot down, including the one he occupied with nine fellow crew members.
Jack wouldn't learn until after the war that he was the sole survivor of that airplane.
That's because he was hauled out of the Zuiderzee, a bay of the North Sea, and handed over to the Gestapo.
The events of that day were all too common -- the 8th Air Force lost more men during the war than the entire US Marine Corps.
A total of 12,732 B-17's were produced between 1935 and May 1945. Of these 4,735 were lost in combat.
This week, Jack visited the Tulsa Air and Space Museum to see one of only 13 B-17 Flying Fortress bombers still flying.
It's the "Memphis Belle," a piece of living history named after the plane which was the first B-17 to complete 25 missions and return safely with her crew, and the subject of one of the most famous documentaries of the war.
The "Memphis Belle" will be in Tulsa through the weekend.
Visitors to the Tulsa Air and Space Museum can tour the plane in the afternoons.
Flights are available, for $450 per person.
Call 918-340-0243 or visit the Liberty Foundation website to learn more.