B-17 #2

Yes family and friends; as mentioned in a previous column, I became 
one of those lucky individuals who were given the opportunity to 
become a passenger on the B-17 bomber that landed at the Baldwin 
County Regional Airport for tours.  According to research, there are 
only a few B-17s still airworthy today which include the "Memphis 
Belle", "Sentimental Journey", "Nine O Nine" and the "Aluminum 
Overcast", the plane that I toured and then experienced an 
unforgettable flight.

When I saw the announcement about the planned visit, I began gathering 
some of the mementos that belonged to daddy to take on my visit.  Our 
daddy, Forrest Scott from Terrell County, Georgia, trained and served 
during World War II on a B-17 bomber just like the one that visited 
our airport.

I was convinced that people would be interested in seeing his picture 
in his bombardier gear, his original dog tags that were slotted to fit 
his mouth in case he was killed in action and I was correct, members 
of the crew were excited to see his personal belongings.  They were 
able to identify several items as tools he used to adjust equipment 
pertaining to bombs and the on-board machine guns during his days of 
flying on a bomber.

Entering the inside of the bomber gave me chills knowing that our dad 
trained on a similar plane, possibly on this one, and then spent the 
rest of the war training airmen to fill the various positions on the 
craft.  The wartime crew consisted of a pilot, navigator, engineer, 
bombardier, radio operator and four gunners and in most cases a 
co-pilot but everyone was trained to replace other crew members that 
might be disabled during a mission.

Our daddy was a certified ball-turret gunner or bombardier but he was 
cross trained to replace any of the gunners or the navigator, and told 
us that in an emergency, they were all given instructions of how to 
put the plane on the ground safely if the pilot was unable to land the 
aircraft. He was grateful that he never had to be the one to land a 

Once we were airborne and leveled out, we were allowed to walk around 
and tour the plane, there are countless ways of holding on as you roam 
around but you have to be careful not to touch the control wires that 
are visible in the ceiling of the craft.  There are hand-holds to use 
and places to brace your feet but you have to locate them and move 
around the plane carefully.  Remember this plane is considered vintage 
at possibly eighty years old; we used some of the seat belt equipment 
as the original crew members.

The aircraft is not insulated or pressurized and the noise from the 
massive four prop engines is so deafening that you cannot verbally 
communicate over the sounds.  The box radio operated by the navigator 
was mounted on a desk along with his head-set and a Morse code keying 

To be continued.



Brenda S. Brown 


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