WWII B-17 Bomber Pays Tribute To Sacrifices Made

SMYRNA, Tenn. - A restored World War II B-17 "Flying Fortress" Bomber is in Smyrna to help educate people on the sacrifices made during the missions.

The "Madras Maiden" serves as a living museum and landed at the Smyrna Airport on Monday.

More than 70 years ago, these aircraft flew from bases to help defeat the Nazis during the war.

Nearly 13,000 B-17's were made from 1935 to the end of the war. Currently, there are only eight flying B-17's left. 

"I would like to think that we go around and inspire people. It's a rare opportunity to get up on one of these airplanes anymore," said Captain Bob Hill.

Hill has logged 1,700 hours of flight time on the B-17's for the Liberty Foundation. The organization has started a tour to salute veterans with Smyrna as its first stop. 

Veteran Bob Boggild was on the tarmac to see Madras Maiden in person as part of his bucket list. He began to serve in the military in 1942 with the Army Air Corps and eventually transitioned as an engineer.

"It's something nice because there aren't too many of these birds left. I've been into airplanes all my life," Boggild told NewsChannel 5. 

The type of aircraft proved to be beneficial but also dangerous, especially if it was under the 8th Air Force.

"If you were an air crew member on a heavy bomber in World War II flying missions in 1943, there was a 23 % chance you would survive," said Hill. 

Public flights and tours are available on Saturday, October 14 at the Smyrna Airport. 

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