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The Oldest Surviving B-17D Moves To a New Home

by John M. White |

One of the most enduring images from World War II, a "D" model B-17 Flying Fortress, known affectionately as "The Swoose", has moved from its former home at the Smithsonian to the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, OH. B17cphotopass06031b  

This particular aircraft saw action on the very first day of the war, December 7th, 1941, while assigned to the 19th Bomb Group in the Philippines.  "The Swoose" began its career known as "Ole Betsy" and flew many a combat mission over the Philippines at the start of the war.

In January of 1942 she was damaged by Japanese fighters.  Once repaired with parts from other Flying Fortresses whe was renamed "The Swoose" after a popular song of the period about a half-swan half-goose.  During the war it became the personal plane for General Brett, and at the end of the war returned to the mainland US for use as a high-speed transport before retiring as one of only a handful of aircraft to serve the duration of the American involvement in World War II.

Upon arrival at Wright-Patterson the museum will catalog its parts and determine how it will go about restoring the plane.  When the Air Force completes the restoration of the B-17F "Memphis Belle" and the B-17G "Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby" will go to the Smithsonian completing the relocation of aircraft to complete collections reflecting the different theaters of operation.

It is great to see that we are still taking care of an important part of history in continuing to improve the collection of military aircraft reflecting the history of the US becoming a Super Power in the world.

Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!


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