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Larece Galer brings you the latest military news. To submit items for this column or the online listings, send them to: The News-Herald, Attn.: Larece Galer, 7085 Mentor Ave., Willoughby, OH 44094; fax to 440-975-2293; or via email to

Friday, August 24, 2012

Historic World War II B-17 in Tribute Flights

“Yankee Lady,” the Yankee Air Museum’s (YAM) meticulously restored World War II B-17 has a special mission Friday, August 31, 2012.  World War II Veterans of the Army Air Force 95th Bombardment Group (95th BG) will again assume their positions on two commemorative flights out of Lost Nation Airport, Willoughby, Ohio.  The Willow Run, Ypsilanti, Michigan based, four-engine heavy bomber will also be available for tours and Flight Experience (FLEX) rides later Friday afternoon.

“These 95th Bomb Group airmen are heroes and we are both honored and humbled to have them fly with us,” said Ray Hunter, Chairman of the YAM Board of Directors.  “This is what Yankee Air Museum is all about, and flights like these make all of our volunteer work and donations worthwhile.”

Hunter explained that the 95th BG began flying combat missions over occupied France and into Germany in May 1943.  Based in England and flying some of the most dangerous and strategically important missions of the war, the 95th BG distinguished itself by effectively targeting its bombs through intense anti-aircraft artillery and concentrated fighter attacks.

“The 95th BG was an integral part of some of the most vital campaigns of the war, including the D-Day invasion and the Battle of the Bulge,” he said. “The 95th BG is the only 8th Air Force group to receive three Distinguished Unit Citations.”

Hunter added that the Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) is only given to units for extraordinary heroism.   The DUC recognizes such gallantry, determination and spirited action in the face of the most dangerous conditions to rise above all other units in the same campaign.  The decoration is now known as the Presidential Unit Citation.

“These are very special men,” said Bob Hynes, Chairman of the YAM’s Public Relations Committee. “When they see Yankee Lady, their memories will be instantly rekindled and their emotions will be recharged the moment the first engine fires.”
Hynes described the purpose of the YAM saying it is fulfilled through occasions when aviation history and its participants are honored through a living, flying museum.

“Yankee Lady is a pristine B-17 and we appreciate the opportunity to share her,” said Norm Ellickson, YAM’s B-17 Crew Chief.  “She has enormous presence and will inspire anyone’s imagination to new heights of patriotism and gratitude.”

With gleaming aluminum skin, and teeming with machine guns and markings, this Flying Fortress is an awesome sight.   Ellickson said rides for the general public are available on the B-17 following the Veterans’ flights. He says flying in the heavy bomber according to Visual Flight Rules (VFR) with a lower altitude, cruising speed and range gives passengers a multi-sensory experience unlike any other aircraft.

“Anyone who wants to feel real lift, fly close to the wind and see the panorama of the countryside unfolding before them will want to fly in the Lady,” said Ellickson concluding that a Flight Experience (FLEX) ride in the Yankee Lady should be on everyone’s bucket list.

The B-17 Flying Fortress, Yankee Lady will arrive at Lost Nation Airport on Friday August 31st at about 12 noon.  The 95th BG flights will takeoff at 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. FLEX rides will be available following these (see sidebar article).

Established in 1981, the Yankee Air Museum is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization.  For more information about YAM call 734-483-4030 or visit the website.

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