Original Crew Member Visits Submarine in Buffalo (VIDEO)

July 5, 2013 Updated Jul 5, 2013 at 6:53 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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July 5, 2013 Updated Jul 5, 2013 at 6:53 PM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y (WKBW) For John Paolucci from Albany, the 4th of July week meant a chance to visit an old war buddy with his family

Paolucci is one of the last living crew members to have served onboard the USS Croaker Submarine.

The sub is now on permanent display in Buffalo, and the Paolucci family brought him to see it for the first time in seven decades.

In 1945, most Japanese targets were destroyed, and Fireman 1st Class Paolucci did not see combat, but he did survive a dangerous onboard fire that forced the USS Croaker to stay submerged for 14 hours while repairs were made.

"When I saw that puff and I saw that flash, I was scared," said Paolucci.

For Paolucci's family, the tour turned into a unique experience allowing them to hear untold stories about John Paolucci's service during World War II.