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B-17 Flying Fortress

LONGEST SERVING B-17 in USAAF. Assigned 14BS/11BG (#21 on tail) then 19BG Hickam Field 14-May-41; Clark Field, Philippines 17-Oct-41 with Henry Godman, Bob Clinkscales, Carl Epperson, John Wallach, Coley James, Norman Michelson, Herb Weist, Junior Brooks as originally OLE BETSY; Delivered Monte 6-Dec-41 to Batchelor, Australia 18-Dec-41 with Henry Godman, Friedman, Carl Epperson, John Wallach, Coley James, Norman Michelson, Herb Weist, Junior Brooks, Oline Light, Marvell; to Samarinda, Borneo, and damaged by Japanese attacks then again when bombed in Singosari, Java 30-Dec-41 with Cecil Combs, repaired with tail from 40-3091; on return from mission 9/6/42 with Capt Frank Kurtz en route for Cloncurry, Aus., with ? force landed at Carisbrooke, on board being Capt Lyndon Baines Johnson, who became 36th president of USA; Returned to the USA 17-Nov-44; Reconstruction Finance Corporation (sold for scrap metal in USA) Kingman 24-Nov-46. Was personal hack for Gen George M.Brett, and later a VIP transport; saved from Kingman scapyard by Col Frank Kurtz and donated in Jan 1949 to the Smithsonian Institute, the longest serving B-17 in USAAF. Kurtz flew it to Mines Field, now Los Angeles International Airport 6-Apr-46 for storage then in May 48 flew it again to Park Ridge, Illinois, a one time C-54 assembly plant, for storage, only for the USAF took back the facility for military use. Then on 18-Jan-52 an USAF crew flew it to Pyote, Tex., for storage, the seven years later it went to Andrews AFB, MD., before transferring to Silver Hill, Md., for restoration and to the Smithsonian. Only known US military aircraft to have flown a mission on its first day of entry into service and remained so until the end of hostilities. After further restoration, it is set for display at the USAF Museum at Dayton, Oh. THE SWOOSE. Never served in the UK. Kurtz’s daughter, the actress Swoosie Kurtz, is named for this B-17.



  • Frank Kurtz

    Military | Colonel | Group Commander - Pilot | 463rd Bomb Group
    Kurtz was born in Davenport, Iowa, the third child of Dora Lee (née Fenton) and Frank Allen Kurtz, Sr., an insurance salesman.[2][3][4] Kurtz became interested in flying at age 16, and in 1935 flew an open cockpit plane, setting a speed record flight...

  • Jack Q Means

    Military | Co-Pilot | 385th Bomb Group



Not yet known


Date Contributor Update
21 April 2022 04:35:18 jmoore43 Changes to description

Corrected a typo in the "Summary biography" - “served” was misspelled.

Date Contributor Update
17 April 2020 22:50:45 jhuston79 Changes to description

B-17 Combat Crewmen newsletter

Date Contributor Update
15 November 2016 02:57:03 466thHistorian Changes to serial number and nicknames

B-17 Flying Fortress Story - Roger Freeman

Date Contributor Update
31 May 2015 18:09:36 Lee8thbuff Changes to serial number, production block number, manufacturer, nicknames and description

Lee Cunningham 31-May-2015. Appended model to TN (conevntion used for aircraft that never served in UK), edited Description (wrote out acronyms), added production block, added manufacturer, converted dates to military-style signification per "The B-17 Flying Fortress Stroy", Roger A. Freeman with David Osborne.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:40:01 AAM AAM ingest

Dave Osborne, B-17 Fortress Master Log