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Joe Balach on top of the B-26 he flew over Europe during World War II. (Photo courtesy of Joe Balach)

As D-Day's 70th anniversary nears, Duluth man recalls flying bombing missions to support invasion

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Joe Balach, age “92 and a half,” signed up for the Aviation Cadet Program in 1942 at age 20. He was taking advantage of a new rule that said would-be pilots didn’t need college degrees, just a high school diploma.

“I threw up my lunch every day for nine weeks,” he said of his initial training to fly U.S. Army Air Force planes. The lifetime resident of Gary-New Duluth found himself over Europe a little more than a year later, flying the Martin B-26 bomber.

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