Original Painting by Keith Ferris
Now in the collection of the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum in Savannah, GA
The painting is dedicated to the crew chiefs of the 359th Squadron of the 303rd Bomb Group from the 8th Air Force stationed at Molesworth, England.
The aircraft of World War II Mighty Eighth Air Force were able to fly their missions day after day because of the tireless efforts of ground personnel. They are represented here by the crew chiefs and ground crews of the 303rd Bomb Group, whose B-17s are dispersed around the 359th Squadron area seen in the background. B-17G 42-31483 is taxiing out for a maintenance test flight after replacement of an engine which had failed on its 47th mission. Running a replacement engine for an extended period in flight was called “Slow Timing” and was necessary to clear the aircraft for further missions. The 303rd Bomb Group was based at Molesworth, England during WWII.
When B-17G #483 was assigned to crew chief Bill Zachar, the first flight crew to take her into combat was led by 1st Lt. G. Neil Bech. When Msgt. Zachar heard of the birth of Lt. Bech’s baby daughter Bonnie, he named #483 Bonnie-“B.”