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Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby — this Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress is making one more trip

20 August 2012

Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby — this Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress is making one more trip

This is one of the best preserved B-17G models existing today. Named after a hit song of the Andrews Sisters, this Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and crew tried to accomplish a 25 mission tour of duty and — like most of the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) daylight heavy bombers — did not do so, failing to return on her 24th  mission in May 1944. Fortunately, Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby and her crew were not shot down and none of her crew were lost. Instead a forced landing was made in neutral Malmö Sweden. She first lost an engine en route to a target within Poznan Poland, then lost a second after delivering her ordinance (this was the decision point to divert to Sweden) and losing a third engine approaching the field where several other USAAF bombers would land that day. The bomber crews were repatriated (with the understanding none would return to combat) and aircraft ownership was transferred from the U.S. government to that of Sweden.

From there Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby flew for an airline in Sweden, then an airline in Denmark and, finally, flying in France for a mapping firm. After that she was recovered, flown to the U.S. and restored after a decade long effort — eventually exhibited as she was, as a combat heavy bomber veteran, in the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

But she now has one more trip to make — to the National Air & Space Museum Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center, which has no B-17 of any model.

Why is the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force relinquishing this perfectly restored historic aircraft?

The answer is to simply share historical riches. The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force will soon exhibit a rare B-17D (a shark fin model) “The Swoose” as well as the historic B-17F “Memphis Belle” (the first to make 25 combat missions in the ETO) after transferring Shoo Shoo shoo Baby.

So…one museum lacking any B-17 gains a G model while the loaning museum will display a B-17D as well as a B-17F in lieu of the one transferred.

Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby in flight to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force — U.S. Air Force photo

Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby had an additional Shoo added midway through her combat tour — photo by Joseph May

Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby in the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force — photo by Joseph May

Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby’s control panel — U.S. Air Force photo

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force has this fact sheet on Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby which includes 22 photos and later this week the Memphis Belle and The Swoose will each be a subject of a post.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve Turner permalink
    20 August 2012 10:17

    The Memphis Belle was NOT the first B-17 to complete 25 combat missions over Europe.

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      20 August 2012 10:33

      Steve,

      Thanks but your comment falls short of the mark in that you only say what is not and not what is — ultimately it is unhelpful. Obviously, I thought I was correct otherwise I would not wrote what I wrote. Instead of shouting (There is no real need to say it as “NOT”, now is there? It’s not a football game here is it?) — could you also state which aircraft was the first and help us all out?

      Steve, really — there is an entire post presented free of charge and ads (this one took three hours to write and photo edit not to mention travel time and cost) representing a lot of work and you simply shout out what you think is incorrect without contributing as much as a single fact I can check and amend the text as indicated. It’s not good form for you and I think you are better than that as you appear to take care in your reading.

      Please let me know which aircraft it was so I can make the correction,

      Joe

      • travelforaircraft permalink*
        20 August 2012 11:08

        Steve,

        I checked the USAF Museum fact sheet and it states she was the first to complete a tour in the ETO. I amended the text to reflect the context of the ETO but that is really to be understood as the tours of duty were longer than 25 missions in the PTO and CBI, as I’m sure you know. So, clarification has been provided, and with no need for shouting, though it is hardly correcting the text.

        Thanks though,

        Joe

  2. 20 August 2012 22:33

    Hi Joe….
    Was able to see ShooShooShoo Baby over at The Air Force Museum two weekends ago!!… a 3 day weekend of touring the Museum and doing a Wright Brothers experience including the Carillon Park display with the Flyer and other historic structures, then rode the highway out to Hoffman Field, (the day was spectacular…sunny and windy with the reproduction of their shed and track; with white banners bordering the field flapping in the breeze! It really made me feel a small part of history just to be there and let the senses and feelings flow!)

    The highlight of the weekend was visiting the Wright family home location /neighborhood with a long-time friend whose Grandparents were close neighbors to the Wright family…a terrific experience.

    Also, just want to say Thank You once again for this blog. I really look forward to seeing it and I’m sure it is enjoyed by many.
    david

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      21 August 2012 08:39

      Man, what a nice trip! I have to revisit the USAF Museum to see their new items and reshoot what I failed at before (IS it dark in some places there!) It’s also so cool you have a connection back to the Wright Brothers — how many can say that?! I recall Huffman Prairie as well, like you, I experienced the special nature of standing in the “lab” the Wrights used. Didn’t they accomplish the first complete turn as well as Figure-8 there?

      Your welcome for the posts :) I don’t worry about the folks who simply launch rockets — if nothing is brought to the table I don’t pay much attention. I’ve been corrected before, though I try hard to fact check everything I write occasional mistakes are made and I do not mind being corrected. As for the folks who say my writing is the worst they have ever read — well, I am happy for them as they must be reading quite well. The Iliad and Gone with the Wind, no doubt ;)

      I’ve begun post the models we discussed and will probably have them all posted within the next two weeks :)

      Thanks again — your news and comment were a great way to begin the day :)

      Joe

  3. Stephanie Shalayda permalink
    2 December 2012 20:47

    Does anyone know how many confirmed fighters were shot down in Shoo Shoo Shoo baby’s 24 completed missions?

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      5 December 2012 22:06

      Hi. I tried a quick check at the USAF Museum web site as well as a Google search and didn’t come up with a definitive answer :( Good luck :)

  4. 11 April 2013 22:42

    I was in Wilmington Delaware in 1988 on HMS Ambuscade,a Royal Navy Frigate on a visit for about 10 days. An air National Guard Sgt called Randy (can’t remember his last name) took two of us to Dover air base.We went on the presidential C5..amazing.And then went to a hanger and introduced to Shoo Shoo Baby..She wasn’t quite ready to fly yet..we climbed all over the aircraft and I sat in the pilots seat..I then..being small enough got in to the belly gun turret which had not yet been fitted back on the aircraft but was in a frame next to it. I remember being shocked at how small the aircraft was. she flew a few weeks after we sailed home to the UK…I wish I could have watched her fly..I now live in the US maybe one day I will be lucky enough to see her again

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      21 April 2013 07:30

      You have a great memory and we are happy for you? Soon she will be in the National Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center which is located near the Washington Dulles Airport in Virginia so it is easy to reach. She is at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton OH which is easy to get to, as well. Good luck :)

  5. Dave permalink
    31 May 2013 14:30

    I grew up on Dover AFB, and my Cub Scout Leader was one of the project coordinators for the Shoo Shoo Baby. I spent countless days in that old hangar, and remember fondly sitting in that gun turret for hours! At the time it was just a fun thing to do, but looking back, I was so lucky to have been a little part of this plane’s life.

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      31 May 2013 21:54

      You are one lucky dog :)

  6. Tori permalink
    4 November 2013 14:57

    MY great great grandpa flew this plane

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