DENVER — World War II veteran Francis Robert “Frank” Royal made a fateful trip to the National Museum of World War II Aviation in Colorado Springs.
“Having had a life long interest in flying, I had to come see what they had.”
Royal served as a squadron commander of the 39th Pursuit Squadron, 5th Army Air Corps in Papua New Guinea. He flew the P-38 Lockheed Lightning in combat. The Germans called it the fork-tailed devil, “It was a real God send. From a pilot’s standpoint it was great,” Royal said.
So there it was, in the museum.  A P-38 just like the one Royal flew in combat.
But then, something very special happened. Against all odds Royal realized that he was once again reunited the the very plane he flew in New Guinea. “It was quite a thrill.”
The plane eventually was fully restored, with the original markings still in place, White 33. The …