Piece by Piece: Central Ga. couple preserves World War II hero's legacy

Husband and wife restore B-17 bomber

Tucked in the back corner of the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins is a time capsule.

With the greatest generation's music playing overhead and the planes they fought in on the ground.

"We've got a piece of his navigator dome with flak holes in it," said Terry Yacubich.

The husband and wife team of Terry and Stephen Yacubich are keeping one veteran's legacy alive.

"Dad is here every day we're here," said Terry, looking at a photo of her father. 

Lieutenant Joseph Roberge flew 32 missions in World War II in the European theater. He was a navigator in a B-17 bomber.

"You're looking out through a clear bubble and you've got aircraft coming at you dead nose on and you're sitting in that seat," Stephen Yacubich said.

Even as he got older, Lt. Roberge could always remember his time in the air.

But when Terry's dad passed last year, the Yacubichs didn't know how they were going to honor his memory. 

That was until they learned there was a B-17 in desperate need of restoration at the Museum of Aviation -- the same type of plane Lt. Roberge flew against the Nazis.

"You turn around the corner and someone offers you an opportunity to make a contribution, you go do that," said Terry Yacubich.

So they did. 

The couple is putting a B-17 bomber back together by hand. Piece by piece by piece. Occasionally, with a little help from dad.

"Sometimes we bump our heads and get scrapes and bruises and say 'Dad, why didn't you warn me that was there," said Terry Yacubich.

There's a team of volunteers working on the plane, but it's just the two Yacubichs rebuilding the nose section where Roberge flew all 32 of his missions.

Even though you won't see him in the hanger, Terry says he's still there.

"His spirit is here," she said. "He's getting a big kick out of this."

© 2018 WMAZ-TV


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