|Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo|
The star of Boeing Plaza all week was the Boeing B-52H Stratofortress from the 93rd Bomb Squadron of the Air Force Reserve Command at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. It arrived July 16 and departed July 28, and it was accompanied by armed guards during its stay in Oshkosh. The crew was often on the apron, and on several occasions spoke to the gathering crowds about the aircraft and military occupational opportunities. The mighty B-52, in service for over 6 decades in roles varying from nuclear deterrence to conventional strategic bombing in Vietnam and later conflicts, was well received and made an impressive backdrop for the other aircraft rotating through Boeing Plaza.
The other bombers included in this feature are:
Boeing B-29 Superfortress, the type that inaugurated strategic bombing in Japan and dropped the two atomic bombs that ended World War II. Named "Fifi," it is currently the only flying B-29, is operated by the Commemorative Air Force and tours the country as part of the Airpower History Tour.
Two North American B-25J Mitchell medium bombers from the World War II era were also on display. One is named "Betty's Dream." This aircraft is operated by the Texas Flying Legends and is fitted with eight .50 caliber machine guns in the nose for use in ground strafing missions. It saw combat before the Japanese were defeated in August, 1945. Another B-25, named "Hot Gen," is operated by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Ontario, Canada. It was a late model B-25J that was sold to civilian operators soon after it was built at the North American plant in Kansas City, MO. The bomber was used as a corporate transport and Bendix Corporation test bed before it was retired and accepted by the museum in 1975. It is now in Royal Air Force colors and represents the efforts of Canadian crews in the victory in World War II.
The Avro Lancaster on display is operated by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum and wears the livery of VR "X-Terminator," the most revered Canadian-made Lancaster of World War II. The original "X-Terminator" was scrapped in 1948 after flying 84 combat missions, but the legend lives on with the museum's aircraft. More on the combat history of the original aircraft can be found here.