Archive for June, 2011

Happy 4th of July

June 26, 2011

Click on the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tctxD5PgJM

 

 

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Happy Fathers Day 2011!

June 19, 2011

Happy 236th Birthday Army

June 16, 2011

Post 364 Flag Day Ceremony

June 16, 2011

All,

The Washington Post sent Linda Davidson to cover the Post 364 Flag Retirement Ceremony.
Here is a link to the online posting.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/giving-old-glory-its-final-due/2011/06/14/AGf3yLVH_gallery.html#photo=1

 

Tough Old Warbird…B-17

June 7, 2011

Photos Below
A mid-air collision on February 1, 1943 between a B-17 and a German
fighter over the Tunis dock area became the subject of one of the
most famous photographs of World War II. An enemy fighter attacking
a 97th Bomb Group formation went out of control, probably with a
wounded pilot then continued its crashing descent into the rear
of the fuselage of a Fortress named All American, piloted by
Lt. Kendrick R. Bragg, of the 414th Bomb Squadron. When it
struck, the fighter broke apart, but left some pieces in the
B-17. The left horizontal stabilizer of the Fortress and left
elevator were completely torn away.

The two right engines were out and one on the left had a
serious oil pump leak. The vertical fin and the rudder had
been damaged, the fuselage had been cut almost completely
through – connected only at two small parts of the frame and
the radios, electrical and oxygen systems were damaged. There
was also a hole in the top that was over 16 feet long and 4
feet wide at its widest and the split in the fuselage went
all the way to the top gunner’s turret. Although the tail
actually bounced and swayed in the wind and twisted when the
plane turned and all the control cables were severed, except
one single elevator cable still worked, and the aircraft still
flew-miraculously!

The tail gunner was trapped because there was no floor connecting
the tail to the rest of the plane. The waist and tail gunners used
parts of the German fighter and their own parachute harnesses in
an attempt to keep the tail from ripping off and the two sides
of the fuselage from splitting apart. While the crew was trying
to keep the bomber from coming apart, the pilot continued on his
bomb run and released his bombs over the target.
When the Bombay doors were opened, the wind turbulence was so
great that it blew one of the waist gunners into the broken tail
section. It took several minutes and four crew members to pass
him ropes from parachutes and haul him back into the forward
part of the plane. When they tried to do the same for the tail
gunner, the tail began flapping so hard that it began to break
off. The weight of the gunner was adding some stability to the
tail section, so he went back to his position.

The turn back toward England had to be very slow to keep the
tail from twisting off. They actually covered almost 70 miles
to make the turn home. The bomber was so badly damaged that it
was losing altitude and speed and was soon alone in the sky.
For a brief time, two more Me109 German fighters attacked the
All American. Despite the extensive damage, all of the machine
gunners were able to respond to these attacks and soon drove off
the fighters. The two waist gunners stood up with their heads
sticking out through the hole in the top of the fuselage to aim
and fire their machine guns. The tail gunner had to shoot in
short bursts because the recoil was actually causing the plane
to turn.

Allied P51 fighters intercepted the All American as it crossed
over the Channel and took one of the pictures shown below. They
also radioed to the base describing the empennage was “waving
like a fish tail” and that the plane would not make it and to
send out boats to rescue the crew when they bailed out. The
fighters stayed with the Fortress taking hand signals from the
Lt. Bragg and relaying them to the base. Lt. Bragg signaled that
5 parachutes and the spare had been “used” so five of the crew
could not bail out.

He made the decision that if they could not bail out safely,
then he would stay with the plane and land it. Two and a half
hours after being hit, the aircraft made its final turn to line
up with the runway while it was still over 40 miles away. It
descended into an emergency landing and a normal roll-out on its
landing gear. When the ambulance pulled alongside, it was waved
off because not a single member of the crew had been injured.
No one could believe that the aircraft could still fly in such a
condition. The Fortress sat placidly until the crew all exited
through the door in the fuselage and the tail gunner had climbed
down a ladder, at which time the entire rear section of the aircraft
collapsed onto the ground. The rugged old bird had done its job.