We have the story of a Tucson man who reached a ripe old age after taking a lot of risks for our country when he was young. Ed Chan earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism in World War II. Thursday, the Distinguished Flying Cross Society added an additional recognition of his courage.

The Pima Air and Space Museum has a restored B-24 bomber like the plane that was a major player in this story. Its the story of a man who is a hundred years old now who did such heroic, dangerous things in a B-24 that it’s a wonder he made it past his 20s.

Ed Chan was guest of honor at a meeting of the Distinguished Flying Cross Society. The DFC is our countrys fourth highest medal for heroism. It is specifically for bravery in the air.

He flew some of the most dangerous missions of World War II. He was the bombardier on a B-24, flying straight and level towards targets surrounded by soldiers determined to shoot him down.

He says he didnt really think about that.

Id say we dont feel it at all.

Reporter Craig Smith asked: Because youre so concentrated on the bombing?

Ed Chan: Yeah. Concentrating on the bombing more or less.

He flew in one of the most dangerous raids of the war, to choke Hitlers fuel supplies by destroying the refineries at Ploesti, Romania. Strong German defenses there shot down 53 planes.

It was on a different mission, this one over Germany, that Ed Chans heroism earned the Distinguished Flying Cross.

On this mission the bomb doors on Ed Chans plane became stuck open. The extra wind resistance whipping through the bomb bay would have slowed the plane down so much it would have made it a straggler easy to pick off.

To try to get the doors closed Ed Chan walked out onto a narrow catwalk just eight inches wide. There was only open sky below him. He had no room to wear a parachute. One slip off the narrow catwalk and he would have fallen through the open bomb doors.

Chan knew if he failed, the whole crew could be shot down and killed so he just stepped out and did it.

He says, Youre 23, 22 years of age you dont think about the future. You just think about this is happening now.

A few years after he came home safe from World War Two, Ed Chan went back into uniform in the Air Force Reserve for a total of 24 years serving our country.