It was an opportunity of a lifetime that Jose Del Real couldn't pass up.

Owner-operator of Devil in the Detail in Dodge City, Del Real was part of a project in Seattle, Washington at the Museum of Flight.

Out of 300 restoration and detailers, Del Real was selected with 64 others to restore planes in the museum, one of which was the Air Force One plane that was used by President's Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson.

"It was a restoration and preservation project led by my good friend and mentor, Renny Doyle and his wife Diane Doyle," Del Real said. "He is a Master Detailer and Recognized Trainer along with his wife who teaches alongside with him and coordinates the logistics behind the project.

"To be considered, one must be trained by Renny and Diane and maintain good standing within their network, The Detailers Network aka Detail Mafia.

"Renny personally called me to formally invite me to the project."

According to Del Real, from July 15-21, the detail team restored and detailed A B-17 Flying Fortress a B-29 Super-fortress with historic missions on the books; a serial number 1 727 trijet, like the one in which D.B. Cooper performed his infamous mid air hijack and robbery; a NASA Langley Space Center 737; a serial number 1 747 jumbo jet that revolutionized commercial aviation; a 787 Dream Liner; a Concorde Supersonic transport jet and 12 additional aircraft along with the Air Force One craft.

"As a United States Army veteran I have served my country overseas on more than on occasion," Del Real said. "As an Army veteran, I come from a place where one places the mission above oneself. One is part of a greater mission. Being a part of this team was like being in the Army again.

"The camaraderie and the mission to preserve history was a truly unique experience. Being a part of this project, I was able to once again serve my country in a different sense.

"By preserving our precious historical artifacts. I can now bring my grandchildren in the future and show them exactly where grandpa helped polish the very airplane that carried Kennedy."

Raised in Dodge City and graduate of Dodge City High School, Del Real served out of Fort Hood, Texas, with two deployments to Iraq.

This was the second time Del Real was selected for a restoration project, the first time was in 2016 for the Air Force One/Boeing Centennial Project.

To contact the writer email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com