Annandale resident Dante Macario, 87, flew 30 combat missions aboard a B-24 bomber during World War II. (Shamus Ian Fatzinger - The Fairfax County Times)

They called B-24s “Flying Coffins,” and Macario, now 87, told Gregg MacDonald of the Fairfax County Times that he was “lucky as hell to make it out of there alive” because the planes themselves were so dangerous, even without the war going on around him. And the war around him was horrific.

Macario is now the last of his 10-man crew that flew behind enemy lines in France on D-Day. In this week that we honor our veterans, check out the rest of Macario’s fascinating story, including his crew’s brush with Hollywood greatness, right here.