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World War II bomber pays a visit to DeKalb

Published: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 12:23 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Photo provided)
Sentimental Journey, a WWII B-17 bomber, will visit DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport July 22-28.

DeKALB – One of the last flying WWII B-17 bombers, Sentimental Journey, will be on display and available for rides and tours at the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport from July 22 through 28.

Sentimental Journey is maintained and operated as a flying museum and veterans’ memorial by the all-volunteer nonprofit Commemorative Air Force. Built in 1943, this heavy bomber performed many missions – including military reconnaissance, drone “mother ship” during nuclear testing and firefighting – before being retired. It was donated to the Arizona Wing in 1978, restored to military specification, and has been touring North America since the early 1980s.

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was the primary bomber used by the American Air Force against Nazi Germany. Of the 12,731 B-17s originally built, fewer than 10 remain in flying condition and only a very few fly regularly.

More than 900 B-17s were lost in combat over Europe, with a loss of nearly 10,000 airmen.  The US 8th Air Force suffered the majority of these losses. Sentimental Journey displays the markings of the 457th Bomb Group in their remembrance. Nose art of the Sentimental Journey features Betty Grable, the No. 1 pin-up girl of the World War II era. The aircraft is named after a song made popular by Doris Day in 1945.

A flight inside this historic warbird costs $425 per person. For flight reservations, call 602-448-9415 or email b17rc@azcaf.org. Cockpit tours are $5; ground viewing and photo opportunities are free to the visiting public from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. each day.

Sentimental Journey is operated by the Arizona Airbase of the Commemorative Air Force located at Falcon Field in Mesa, Ariz.

Organized in 1978, the CAF’s mission is to restore and preserve historically important aircraft and related memorabilia to educate the public about the significant contributions made by men and women in the defense of our nation.

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