John Young was only 20 when he was almost killed during an Allied bombing run targeting Berlin in February 1945.

Young, a Louisiana native who is now 90 years old, was a turret gunner with the 384th Bomb Group when his plane, on the return trip to England, was struck by bullets from the ground below. The nine-person crew made an emergency landing into 3 feet of snow in the city of Torun, Poland — and to the crew’s relief, Russians had captured the city from German forces just hours before.

Those memories still were with Young on Wednesday when he signed a piece of history at his home in Baton Rouge to commemorate his service: a 45-pound wing panel from a plane similar to the one on which he served, a B-17 bomber nicknamed “Stardust.”