BARKSDALE AFB, LA (KSLA) - A special group of Vietnam veterans gathered for a reunion this past weekend at Barksdale Air Force Base.
Airmen who took part in Operation Linebacker II met on Saturday. Linebacker II was the largest heavy bomber strike launched by the Air Force since the end of WWII. Also known as the11-day war, the mission played a key role in the final U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
Many of those men gathered at Barksdale Air Force Base to share stories and catch up.
"We had aircraft coming from Guam, we had aircraft coming from Utapau and Thailand all meeting together and flying into the target," said Retired Air Force Navigator, Philipp Blaufuss.
Blaufuss flew more than 100 missions on the B-52. Most of those missions he accrued during Operation Linebacker II.
"We hit their essential military bases, civilian bases civilian areas that contain military personnel and they're shipping yards, things like that. They knew they couldn't last."
The veterans were also presented with a special Vietnam service pin during Saturday's reunion.
"We knew that this would bring our POWs back from Hanoi and we got them back and it really made us feel good, like we were doing something and we knew this would probably be the end of it," recalled Blaufuss.
The Library of Congress has also enlisted the help of the local Red Cross to gather individual interviews with these veterans to help preserve their stories for future generations.
"We can never go back in time and relive that ourselves, but to hear it through their eyes and hear themselves share what they saw and heard, it just kind of brings it home makes it more real to you," explained Colleen Morgan with Barksdale Red Cross.