The 99th Bomb Group, 347th Squadron's, Cotton Eyed Joe, 42-29480, makes a crash landing at the 301st's hard-surfaced runway at Tafaraoui, Algeria.
Unit: 32nd BS, 301st BG, 5th BW, 15th AF, USAAF
Serial: 42-5350 (c/n.3889)
SPECIAL DELIVERY II B-17F-5-BO 41-24418
301st Bomb Group 32nd Bomb Squadron
Assigned to the 352nd Bomb squadron at Westover, this B17F was initially named as "Mickey Finn" and flew eleven missions from Chelveston bearing that name. Lt Walter A Williams flew the Fort on the 301BG's first combat sortie to Rouen on 5th September 1942. When the group redeployed to Tafaraoui in North Africa, #418 was transferred into 32BS and re-named as "Special Delivery II" after the originally named Fort suffered flak damage in mid December and was scrapped.
Sixty-eight more missions were completed before "Special Delivery II" was considered "War Weary" and sent back to the USA proudly sporting at least eight swastikas for fighter kills. Here it was used to train the seemingly endless line of fledgling aircrews at Rapid City AAB, including men destined for service with 398BG. In October 1944, it was worn out and written off.
42-5143 "Dirty Gertie"
Back Row, L to R: Harry L. Brown, Top Turret Gunner; James H. Gant, Bombardier; Stephen W. Henry, Pilot; James W. Collins, Radio Operator; Derwood D. Nall, Co-Pilot; Eugene R. Ulrich, Navigator
Front Row, L to R: Guy S. Crump, Ball Turret; William H. Drews, Tail Gunner; Edward D. Donadio, Waist Gunner;Name Unknown, Crew Chief.
T/Sgt. Harry L. Brown of the B-17 "Dirty Gertie" passed away in 2000
Rank General Order Date Notes Award Ribbon & Device
VIII BC 9 August 1942
VIII BC, 1 BW August 1942
CHELVESTON 9 August 1942 to December 1942
PODINGTON 18 August 1942 to 2 September 1942
Col. Ronald R. Walker 3 February 1942 to 2 September 1942
First Mission: 5 September 1942
Last Mission: 8 November 1942
Total Sorties: 104
Total Bomb Tonnage: 186
Aircraft MIA: 1
Activated 3 February 1942 at Geiger Field in Washington. Equipped with B-17s and moved to Alamogordo AAB, New Mexico on the 27th of May 1942. Aircraft went to Muroc, and did not reach Alamogordo until mid June 1942. The Ground unit moved to Richmond, Virginia and on the 19 of July 1942 left for Fort Dix, New Jersey at the start of the overseas movement. The aircraft went to Brained Field in Conn. on the 23 to 30 June 1942 and then moved to Westover Field Mass. The first aircraft departed for the United Kingdom on the 23rd of July 1942 flying the northern ferry route.
Assigned to the 12th AF, XII BC on 14 September 1942 but continued to operate under VIII BC. The aircraft left for south-west coast bases on the 20th to 23rd of November 1942 and flew direct to North Africa. The ground unit left Chelveston on the 8th of December 1942 and sailed in convoy from Liverpool. the Group operated with the 12th AF in the Mediterranean theater and later with the 15th AF from Italy. They flew strategic bombing missions over southern Germany and the Balkans. Established as a B-29 group in the US in 1946. Later as a b-47 wing and when this type of aircraft was withdrawn from inventory converted to KC-135 tankers.