LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- This Memorial Day a local World War II veteran has a different view of the holiday. He says don't call him a hero. From fighter pilot in the South Pacific to Louisville great grandfather, he has many stories. He flew his first mission on this day 69 years ago.
"When I left this country I never expected to come back," Courtney Guild said. "Never expected to get back just by the grace of God and the luck of damn fools is the only way I got back. The air crews the flight crews over in Europe had a life expectancy in combat of about 30 seconds."
He flew B-24's in World War II. There were many times he didn't think he was going to make it and was scared.
"I flew 42 of them,” Guild said. “All 42 of them."
There was the time he survived a mission only to realize his plane was heading straight down because of weather. His partner just gave up after getting vertigo.
"He just threw up his hands and I just took over and straightened the thing out only because I didn't have vertigo," Guild said. "We were doing a job we were expected to do it. I don't consider myself special really.
Courtney Guild said getting into air crew in 1944 was a great accomplishment - next to marrying his wife Caroline and his sons.
For him Memorial Day isn't a holiday - he says he always is thinking of those serving right now and those who lost their lives.
"Memorial day I try to just skip over that. That's the people that were left here that would celebrate Memorial Day. We didn't celebrate anything."
His crew in the South Pacific was very superstitious. He wore his father's military hat during every mission. His father served in World War I.