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 servd in the UK. Kurtz’s daughter, the actress Swoosie Kurtz, is named for this B-17.
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. Kurtz became interested in flying at age 16, and in 1935 flew an open cockpit plane, setting a speed record flight...
Military | Co-Pilot | 385th Bomb Group
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