Air Show Love

I have been going to Air Shows for Years!

However… I have always watched them from afar. This time was different.

We fought the crowds on the roads,  the crowds in the parking lot,  the crowds on the shuttle bus and  the crowds at the actual show.

Plus it was hot.


Because I got to see this.

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Sentimental Journey  is the nickname of a B-17G Flying Fortress bomber.

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Here it is in flight in a reenactment of Tora-Tora. The Surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
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That’s Betty Gable on the side. She was a popular pin up during WWII.

This B-17 was named Sentimental Journey after the Doris Day song Sentimental Journey.

In the above picture you are able to see the Top Gunner Turret.  Also to be seen are the windows where the pilot and co-pilot sat, and the plexiglass nose where the  Bombardier and the Navigator sat.


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The Ball  Gunner Turret down under the plane.


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A waist gunner turret.


In the next picture I am looking up and  climbing a ladder  into the plane.


The Pilot and Co Pilot would sit here.
Where the Bombardier and Navigator sit.


We are walking towards the belly of the plane. This is about 10-12 inches wide.



The Belly of the plane.


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Looking down at the Ball Gunner Turret


Not only does this B-17 have many stories but so many other B-17’s do as well.

There were 10 Crew Members on a B-17.   Approximate ages 18-25.

These planes were unheated and open to the outside. Parachutes were too big to be worn so instead crewman did wear a sort of harness that would allow the crewman to clip on their parachute.  Prior to 1944 a crewman was set to fly 25 missions. It is said the average crewman had only a 1 in 4 chance of completing his tour.

They were bombing and yet were being shot at.

While I was in the plane… I got a bit choked up. I was completely overwhelmed by how these men and the other servicemen fought for OUR FREEDOM!



Later I found out that sweet, sweet man’s Dad flew a B-17.

My Uncles were in WWII and survived to tell stories. (not many stories were told as they were full of pride and yet did not want to be reminded of it.) My one uncle survived D-Day.

So an Air Show can be more then  fast jets.

An Air Show can give us the history that we all need to be reminded of and thankful for.

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An excellent article  is Life and Death Aboard a B-17.

I hope you are able to read the article.


Until Next Time  ~Nancy

35 thoughts on “Air Show Love

  1. Great set of photos. A good friend of mine, Paul Wagner, was a B-17 pilot who flew 25 bombing missions over Germany in WWII, plus some secret mission he only recently could tell anyone about. His crew had men as young as 17, and if I remember correctly, the average age as 19. He and my dad served at the same time in the 8th Ait Force, but didn’t know each other until we all joined the 8th Air Force Historical Society. I also know Paul through the local rose society. He wrote a book called “The Youngest Crew” which is still available, in used books, on Amazon, but not cheap since they are getting rare. It’s a wonderful book, and I think you would enjoy it.

    1. I am so glad you commented Tim. This was a “sentimental” post for me. And I know for others as well. I will go look for the book that you speak of. But… I have a funny feeling I have seen this book. I will get back to you. THANK YOU for stopping by and sharing your personal thoughts about your friend and your Dad. It warms my heart!

      1. The sad thing is, the men and women who served in WWII are becoming fewer and fewer, so we are losing that living history. Fortunately, we lived closed to my parents, so our daughter got to grow up with her grandpa and heard all those stories about WWII and post war nuclear testing. She’s been involved with the 8th Air Force Historical Society since she was young. She is really lucky to have exposure to my dad, and all those WWII vets. So many young people don’t know what treasures all the men and women who have served, and who currently serve, in our military are.

      2. Oh I agree. Sweet , sweet man sat with a man who was in the battle of the bulge. He served in the 101st airborne.
        We need to make sure that others understand what these men did for us.

      3. I knew several vets who survived the Bataan death march. Another good friend of mine, Aaron Wilson, who is my age, made a documentary on Bataan survivors in NM, called “A New Mexico Story: The Bataan Death March to the Atomic Bomb” which showed on local PBS around 2002 or so.

      4. Thank You Once Again Tim. I am also sharing this with sweet, sweet man. These are all something we all need to read and know about.

  2. Awesome pics seester. So true. Our vets are and should always be important. Thank you men and women.

  3. Fantastic!!! I would’ve been beside myself photographing this amazing piece of history. Thank you for sharing your great pics with us. My brother was in the Air Force during Viet Nam and a couple of guys in my dad’s vets home were at Pearl Harbor. They should get any assistance they need and all of our respect !

      1. He was the only boy in the family and mom doted on him. He’s been gone a long time now but never forgotten. BTW – he used to be a photographer and I was his wee little model. Thanks

  4. Thank you for this grand tour, Nancy! We should always be thankful to our VETERANS. Great post!
    Doris Day, beautiful voice. Thank you for the link.

    1. I am so glad I got to see this plane. Then after I find out sweet, sweet man’s Dad flew a B17. A powerful day for me!

      1. Thank you so much for sharing it with us! I was so moved to read about your husband’s Dad few b17!

  5. Great set of photos Nancy. I envy you and would have been there in a heartbeat. We had the Wings of Freedom tour come through a few years back and I got to explore a couple of old bombers. Just think of those guys the next time you complain about your conditions on a commercial jet. Cheers!

    1. Exactly! I often catch myself when I moan and groan about things as people have it ten times worse somewhere else.
      I was so glad we got to go inside this plane. That is when I was overwhelmed with emotion. Thank you for enjoying this post right along with me.

  6. Thank you for this wonderful post. It is a sentimental post for me as well. My Dad was in the 15th Air Force and flew 50 missions in Europe during WWII in a B24 Bomber. It is similar to the B17 which he also flew later. He retired after 30 years in the USAF. He never considered himself a hero.

    We have visited the 8th Air Force museum in Savannah several times.

    Thank you for reminding me of me father. I join you in thanking all our Veterans.

    1. I am so glad you got to see this! It brings me such joy that you were filled with memories. But best of all… I now know your father was part of our freedom. He is a HERO TO ME AND TO OTHERS. Thank you, To your Dad!

  7. A fascinating and informative historical post, Nancy. We should never forget the sacrifices made by the men and women in the Armed Forces. More young people need to be made aware and knowledgeable. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you for stopping by and enjoying this post.
      I do agree we should remember each and everyone of them. And the young people of the world need to be reminded of what our Vets did for us.

  8. Nancy I can hardly believe how shiny the planes are. They all seem to be mirror like. Sounds like it was an amazing day and you came away with gorgeous photos.

  9. Great post – I love the pictures. I guess I had no idea where the crew sat in those bombers, that they weren’t all together – or that they didn’t actually wear their parachutes. Wow.

    1. We have so much to be grateful for because of them. Another thought is… that they were such a young crew as well.
      Thank You So Much for taking your time to comment. This was an emotional post for me.

Thank You So Much... for sharing your kind words. I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to share your thoughts.