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June 2022
March 18,1945 - The Biggest USAAF Berlin Mission of the War
On May 28, 2022, the National Museum of World War II Aviation hosted a hangar packed with guests for a special historical presentation by docent Matt Ouding titled, “March 18,1945—The Biggest USAAF Berlin Mission of the War”.

Sharing the hangar with guests was P-51D Mustang 'Stang Evil. Following the presentation, visitors were treated to a talk on ‘Stang Evil’s history by owner/pilot Mark Bingham, a rollout, engine run-up, and then a stunning presentation flight! If you weren’t able to join us, the following is the story of that Berlin mission.

On March 18, 1945, the Eighth Air Force launched 1,329 bombers and 733 escorting fighters against the target: Berlin. Docent and former U.S. Air Force officer Matt Ouding described the mission, and how the Eighth Air Force grew to it.

There had already been 350 American and British missions to Berlin by the time of the Eighth’s big mission, Ouding said.

The first was conducted by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) on August 25, 1940, and was a response to the German bombing of London's East End during the Battle of Britain. The RAF conducted some night bombings of Berlin during in 1941 and '42, and by 1943 had grown large enough to send significant numbers of bombers to Berlin and other German cities on night missions.

Losses in daytime RAF missions quickly led it to switch to night bombing. American proponents of strategic bombing favored daylight missions for more precise bombing. The two approaches were used until the end of the war. The American approach called for escort fighters, a concept that was acknowledged even in pre-war planning, but for which there was no suitable aircraft type early in the war.
Docent Matt Ouding traced the Eighth's missions against Germany, telling an audience of some 350 how the organization started small but became more powerful and effective. Its goals included gaining air superiority before the Normandy invasion, destroying the German transportation system, and eliminating Germany's ability to produce oil.

Among points that Ouding made were these:

* The first mission, to Rouen, France, with 18 B-17s, was flown on August 17, 1942. No aircraft were lost. Missions against targets in occupied France, and in support of Operation Torch in North Africa, followed.

* 1943 was deadly. The Regensburg-Schweinfurt raid of August reaped unsustainable losses. Sixty bombers were shot down and an additional 100 of the 376-plane force were so badly damaged they were never used again. Over 600 of 3,700 men on the mission were lost.

General Curtis E. LeMay wrote, "The previous high had been suffered when we went to Bremen, 13 June” and 26 planes were lost.

* In October 1943, the Eighth continued large raids into western Germany. "We averaged 28 bomber losses on these raids per mission," Ouding said. But P-47s carrying external fuel tanks and P-38 Lightnings could escort bombers to the western part of Germany. The Luftwaffe was being hit. "They ‘d lost about 17 percent of their available fighters by that point. We were starting to make some gains, but we still were paying a high price for those gains."

* Gen. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle took command of the Eighth in January 1944, changing the way the fighter force was used. He wanted the fighters to cease close escort of the bombers and specifically go after German fighters.

"As far as I am concerned, this was the most important and far-reaching military decision I made during the war," Doolittle said. He also said it was the most controversial. There were greater immediate losses, but "by neutralizing the Luftwaffe, we not only eventually reduced our own losses from six percent to six-tenths of one percent but had the Germans out of the sky" before D-Day.”

* "Big Week", February 20-25, 1944, marked the largest U.S. raids to date. Some raids included 1,000 bombers and 900 escort fighters. The idea was to use the bombers as bait for German fighters, to draw them up and then use the new, long-range P-51 Mustangs to destroy as many as possible.
The Eighth lost 226 bombers during Big Week, about 20 percent of the force. But, said Ouding, "we destroyed a third of the German single-engine fighters, and they lost about 18 percent of their pilots, so attrition was starting to take over and annihilation of the Luftwaffe was starting to happen."

Germany was forced to shift production to smaller factories, meaning various components had to be shipped to assembly points by rail, but the rail system then came under attack. Germany also had to move its fighter aircraft farther east, which helped the Allies gain air superiority over France by May of 1944, well before the planned Normandy landings of June 6, 1944.

While an important invasion priority was to destroy Germany's ability to produce oil, the Eighth was limited by several factors. One was adverse weather; another was the need for bombers to hit transportation targets to isolate western France; and a third was to attack German V-1 missile sites. To confuse the Germans about Allied intentions, for every bomb dropped in Normandy, two were dropped elsewhere.

But the Eighth still hit a number of German oil facilities:

* On May 12, 1944, 886 bombers struck German synthetic fuel plants. Albert Speer, Germany's minister of production, said the attack meant "the technological war was decided."

* On May 28 and 29, 1944, the plants were hit again. "By the time those three raids were done, we had cut German oil production by 50 percent," Ouding said.
After the invasion forces were firmly established in France, the Eighth resumed its attacks on German refineries. "This became really the critical thing for the Eighth Air Force to hit...because it doesn't really matter how many airplanes or tanks you make, if you can't put gas in them, they can't move,” Ouding said.
* The mission of March 18, 1945 was the Eighth's biggest against Berlin. It targeted rail yards and tank factories. The main goal was to support Soviet troops advancing toward Berlin by blocking German reinforcements from passing through Berlin rail centers. 

On that day, the Eighth dropped 3,000 ton of bombs. It lost 13 bombers and six fighters -- “less than one percent of the total force that took off that day,” Ouding said. “Think back to Regensburg when we lost 43 percent of our bombers.”

Thirty-six German Me 262 jet fighters participated in the air defense of Berlin on March 18th; it was the first organized attack by the jet fighters and the first use of German air-to-air missiles. They shot down seven American bombers in under eight minutes, while three Me 262’s were lost.

Flak damaged 714 bombers; 178 airmen were killed, wounded or captured. The price of daylight precision bombing was high. The Eighth flew more than 440,000 bomber sorties in World War II and dropped 697,000 tons of bombs, but it counted 47,483 casualties, more than 26,000 of whom died. It also lost more than 5,100 aircraft.
One of those aircraft was "Flatbush Floogie", a B-17 of the 731st Squadron of the Eighth's 452nd Bomb Group, based at Deopham Green, England. It was hit over Berlin on February 26, 1945. One of its crewmembers, waist-gunner Bill Roche, now 97, attended the museum's May 28th event.

"We crash-landed in Poland behind the Russian lines and ended up spending three months with the Russian army," he said, noting that the crew stayed with the aircraft versus bailing out.

An account of the mission appears on the website of the American Air Museum in Britain. It says Roche’s plane made "an emergency landing after an engine was shot out over Berlin and they made it as far as Liszki, Poland, 14 kilometers from Krakow.

Kept for a few days at first in the Catholic Church at Liszki, they were invited to a party that first night where there was plenty to drink -- but not much to eat. But they had been warned that their reception might be less than friendly and later orders came from Moscow that the airmen were to be locked up.

"On 1 April [1945] they were surprised to be put under armed guard! It was Easter Sunday, and they were visiting a Polish family for the celebrations but they didn't get to enjoy it -- they were interrupted by Soviet soldiers. The men were locked up at Bielany near Krakow and kept there for about a week, then they were put on a Douglas into the camp near Kiev. They had men with them who had been shot down by the Russians, there were 75/76 of them including British airmen and two Tuskegee airmen. Kept under armed guard for a couple of weeks."
After the war ended on May 8, 1945, Roche and the other members of the crew of "Flatbush Floogie" returned to the U.S.

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
We've Got a New P-38 Pilot!
A new pilot has been cleared to fly the museum's rare Lockheed P-38F Lightning fighter, "White 33", in the Pikes Peak Regional Air Show, slated for September 24-25 at the Colorado Springs Airport.

Charles Hainline, a former Air Force and airline pilot who also has flown a number of warbirds, flew the P-38 on June 8.

Museum President and CEO Bill Klaers announced May 28 that Hainline is "now our chief pilot for the museum." At the air show, Hainline "will be flying the P-38" with an Air Force F-35 fighter in a heritage flight, Klaers said.

Heritage flights "feature modern fighter and attack aircraft flying alongside World War II, Korea and Vietnam-era planes in a dramatic display of our nation's air power history," according to the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation. "Our formations serve as a living memorial to the men and women who have served -- or are currently serving -- in the U.S. Air Force, and we proudly fly in support of Air Force recruiting and retention efforts."

Hainline and the P-38 will fly with an F-35 piloted by Major Kristin "Beo" Wolfe, commander of the Lightning II Demonstration Team, 388th Fighter Wing, Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

Hainline himself flew heritage flights when he was in the Air Force.

"I was fortunate enough to be in the F-4 [Phantom] when they put the F-4 into the Heritage Program in 2005, so I got to be the West Coast Heritage pilot on the Air Force side," said Charlie Hainline, whose call sign is "Tuna". He retired from the Air Force in 2006 as a Lieutenant Colonel and command pilot with over 5,000 total hours in the T-37, T-38, A-10, F-117A, F/A-18A/B/C/D, and QF-4E/G. After retirement, he was hired by Southwest Airlines flying the 737.

Hainline has restored a Stearman, T-6, J-3 Cub, DHC-2 Beaver, Beech 18 and Grumman Albatross. In 2006, he was invited to fly with the Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston, Texas, and qualified there to fly the PT-17, T-6, B-17, B-25, P-47, F4U, AD Skyraider and the P-51.

Asked what he thought about the P-38 after his June 8 flight, Hainline said, "It's just such a nice airplane. [WestPac] did such a good job on it. It's like out of Lockheed's factory. Better." And it's quiet. "It just kind of rumbles a little bit, and the way the turbos are and the exhaust system, it's just very quiet."

And, he said, it's "probably the most historical airplane I've ever flown" since it was in combat in World War II. "Incredible," he said. "That's why it's just so special."

Story & Photo credit: Rich Tuttle
Education and Inspiration: Museum Curator Gene Pfeffer Speaks to Shaping the Future
Following an extraordinary career filled with twists, turns, and plenty of excitement, Gene Pfeffer found his niche as the Curator and Historian at the National Museum of World War II Aviation. 

Since the Museum opened in 2012, Pfeffer has spent countless hours educating visitors, writing articles, curating artifacts, and contributing to exhibit development. With the Museum’s recent launch of its first fundraising campaign, Pfeffer takes a look at how donations can impact the Museum and the interesting turns of events that led him to his position.
Pfeffer began his career as an electrical engineer, but soon after graduating from Saint Louis University, he found himself joining the United States Air Force and earning another degree in meteorology. This led to working at Cape Kennedy on the Apollo program, earning a master’s degree in Atmospheric Physics, and then picking up another MBA. When considering all of his education, Pfeffer said, “Technology comes easy to me and I like to push it, I’m a technological guy!”
When Pfeffer eventually retired from the Air Force, a friend approached him about volunteering as a docent at the soon-to-be-opened National Museum of World War II Aviation. As a person who’d been around aviation his entire career, not to mention a long-term student of World War II, Pfeffer jumped right on board. He gave the first public tour of the Museum in 2012.
In 2019, Pfeffer stepped up to the role of Curator and Historian. He now volunteers 100-120 hours a month. According to Pfeffer, the Museum has acquired 4,000 – 5,000 artifacts, with about 1,700 of these artifacts on display. The artifacts range from a single bullet, uniforms, and photographs to airplane pieces – and the items have been donated by generous people from around the world. While some may be reluctant to give away pieces of their families’ history, people have come to trust that the Museum is a trustworthy place to donate these cherished belongings.
“The more publicity we get, the more we get known, and then people outside of the Colorado community offer things. We like to make each artifact a part of the bigger story. Because of our national designation, people really tend to trust us with their donations,” Pfeffer said.
Although Pfeffer’s been involved with the Museum for over 10 years, he is constantly amazed at not only the devotion and contributions of the volunteers who put in long hours, but also at the amount of knowledge even the youngest visitors have about WWII history. From the docents all the way to first-time visitors, the Museum is an experience for everyone.

“The museum’s a great place to visit on many levels. We have historically significant airplanes that you can see and get close to, and if you’re an aviation enthusiast, this is surely a place you want to visit. From a broader perspective, the Museum tells the story of the men and women who sacrificed so much so we could have freedom. A lot of those personal stories are just enthralling. If you want to get fascinated by what ordinary fellow citizens did when they stepped up and defended the country, this is a place you’ll want to go visit,” Pfeffer said.
In order to continue sharing the vital story of WWII, it’s imperative that the Museum raises donations to keep operations going. Maintaining airplanes is not cheap, especially if they fly every couple of months. Beyond that, Pfeffer says that the Museum has some great ideas for expansion. There are plans to expand the subjects of material and double the number of displays and artifacts, as well as adding more airplanes. With the help of donations, the Museum can amplify the story of World War Two. 
Additionally, Pfeffer mentioned how a key factor of the Museum’s value is inspiring children, particularly in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
“The Museum’s mission is education and inspiration. We have school programs that welcomed 3,000 kids a year into the Museum [before the pandemic]. That’s a lot of exposing young people to that aspect of technology, which might encourage them to start a career in this area. Some of the folks who are teaching these kids aren’t just regular people, they’re pilots, and that’s part of the unique significance of the Museum,” Pfeffer said. 
Pfeffer hopes to continue working at the Museum for years to come, and he’s especially looking forward to contributing his ideas to the Museum’s future expansion. With the Museum’s long-term plans to greatly expand its current space, donations are crucial. Pfeffer mentioned that if people like what the Museum does and want to see more of it, then every little bit helps. If you would like to contribute to the Museum, please click on this link Donate Now - National Museum of World War II Aviation or mail a check to the National Museum of World War II Aviation at 775 Aviation Way, Colorado Springs, CO 80916. 

Story Credit: Jill Mathieu
Doolittle Said 'No Rescues'; This Captain Ignored Him
to Land and Save His Commander
General Jimmy Doolittle, commander of the Eighth Air Force from January 1944 until the end of the war, was very clear: If you see another fighter pilot get shot down, do not land and try to rescue him. You will probably be shot down too or crack up, and I can't afford to lose two airplanes and two trained pilots.

But, during the Eighth's big mission to Berlin on March 18, 1945, one pilot landed his P-51 fighter in a field next to another P-51 that had been shot down, then flew back to England with the downed pilot. Was he in trouble for violating a direct order from the commanding general? Here's the story.

Major Pierce McKennon, commander of the Fourth Fighter Group’s 335th Fighter Squadron, was hit by flak as he was preparing to strafe Neubrandenburg Airfield north of Berlin on March 18, 1945. He bailed out of his aircraft at about 4,000 feet, said speaker Mark Bingham, owner and pilot of P-51D ‘Stang Evil during a recent presentation. McKennon's was one of six P-51s shot down on that day.

"He lands in a field and all the guys in his squadron see his airplane go down and they see the Germans coming up all around him," Bingham said during the May 28 event. "They need to protect him, so the squadron starts making strafing passes" to keep the Germans away.

"Now, his wingman was a trouble-maker. He was a little bit like “Maverick" in the movie "Top Gun". Captain George Green "was a great pilot, but he was always getting into trouble. In order to temper him a little bit and try to keep him in line, McKennon made him his wingman," Bingham said.

Green saw that McKennon was on the ground. "He lands in that small field, he gets out of the airplane, he throws out his parachute, he throws off his rubber dinghy, and he sees Pierce McKennon running up to him. McKennon had already cut his parachute off and disposed of his dinghy. He climbed into Green's airplane and sat down. With no parachute as a cushion, he was sitting on the hard bucket seat.

"George Green sits on his lap and they fly out."
McKennon "repeatedly shouted ‘Oh, you crazy bastard! You crazy bastard you!’ on the way back to" their base at Debden, England, according to the website of the Fourth Fighter Group Association.

It’s a two hour and thirty-five minute flight, the site says. “They're flying at 18,000 feet,” Bingham said. “George Green looks back and he sees that Pierce McKennon is totally conked out" from lack of oxygen, so he "has to share his oxygen mask."

But upon returning to England, McKennon "is in kind of an awkward situation,” Bingham said. “He's gotten a direct order that says, 'no rescues,' but he's been rescued by somebody in his squadron. And so, they have to have a court martial."
After the court martial concluded and the two emerged, "Everybody wants to know, 'What did you do? You had a direct order from Jimmy Doolittle.' And Pierce says, 'Everyone knows you can't put two pilots in a Mustang.' And they let him go."

McKennon had a background in music and "would often play 'Boogie Woogie' piano in the Officer's Mess," according to the website of the American Air Museum in Britain.

He also had some close calls. One came on April 16, 1945, about a month after he was rescued. McKennon was strafing Rosenheim-Gablingen Airfield when he was shot down again.
He "was hit by an explosive shell in the cockpit, wounding his head and neck and causing profuse bleeding," the website says. "He managed to land at a forward base, where they bandaged his wounds and advised him not to fly back to Debden. He ignored the advice, [flying] home after completing, for him, his last combat mission.”

When the war ended, McKennon was credited with 12 aerial victories and 9.83 ground victories. This odd fraction is explained by the fact that McKennon shared one victory with another pilot and another one with two with other pilots. He was also squadron commander for eight months.

McKennon had been washed out of U.S. flight training, lost his Royal Canadian Air Force wings by court martial, and regained them, according to the website.
But, it says, his luck ran out when “he was killed in a tragic flying accident involving an AT-6D near San Antonio, Texas” on June 18, 1947.

The website says McKennon “had 21.83 enemy aircraft to his credit and had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Medal with 16 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart, and the French Croix de Guerre."

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
Colorado Springs from Above: The View from a B-25
From a few thousand feet in the air, cars in the main parking lot at the Garden of the Gods look tiny as they pass beneath the left wing of our B-25J S/N 44-29199 “In the Mood”. 
At the same time, it's obvious why aircraft were so effective as observation platforms; though tiny, each car was easily visible as was its direction of travel around the loop. And it was no problem at all to count all those cars in that parking lot.
The same could be said of all the people down there, who we watched on the multitude of walking paths and hiking trails. We could not only see them but, despite the vibrations generated by our B-25's two Wright R-2600-35 engines, could even make out singles and groups, and could tell the colors they were wearing!

Given the opportunity last summer, courtesy of a lucky name drawn from a hat during a museum event, I found myself with three other visitors in the enviable position of being a WWII aviation buff photographer going up in a storied aircraft. I couldn’t believe my luck, and at the same time I was thinking, “Man, I hope I don’t throw up”; motion sickness and I are old friends.

Following a bit of paperwork and a safety briefing by our Crew Chief, volunteer Colonel Jack Humphrey (US Army, Retired), we soon found ourselves looking across the tarmac as the museum slipped by on our take-off roll before we lifted off the runway into the Colorado sky. 
Communication was with both hand signals and headsets, as the noise was overwhelming … the B-25 is LOUD.

Colonel Humphrey let us know when we were clear to unbuckle, and we were given the opportunity to move about the cabin. We each got time not only at both the waist gunner and tail gunner positions, but also at the open portal for those views. 

The .50 caliber machine gun mounted at the waist position was not what I expected. Swinging it around on its mount was not as simple as you see in the old film reels or movies. Why? Airspeed.

The force of the wind pushing against the barrel of the gun sticking outside the aircraft as it’s flying is very strong, and you find yourself having to fight it the whole time, really put your body weight and stance into it. It’s not as if the gun itself is light either, and it lets you know that you’re out of shape and couldn’t hit ANYTHING even if they were to give you live ammunition and a huge, non-moving target.
What the waist gunner position does give you is an incredible view. Looking back down the barrel along the fuselage, down at the ground, up at the wing and engine, back at the tail … it’s nothing like flying in a modern aircraft. The noise, the wind, the temperature, the movement of the aircraft itself; you can literally feel the history that you’re flying in.

It gives you a small idea of what it must have been like to fly missions in a combat environment; I say small because a half-hour jaunt above Colorado Springs at low level with no chance of being shot down or having to bail out really is just a taste of what it must have been like for the aircrews during the war.

It wasn’t long before my turn came and I found myself making my way to the rear of the aircraft and sliding up into the tail gunner position. Did I mention the B-25 is loud? In the back it is positively deafening, cutting through both foamies (earplugs) and the headset, filling your head with a constant buzz and overpowering roar. Everything around you vibrates, which of course poses a little bit of an extra challenge for a photographer; it’s hard to hold still and focus when you can’t hold still and focus!
But make it work we will, and so I got myself into positions that allowed me to shoot (photos) out the rear windows. I’m tall, and it was not comfortable … but it was SO worth it.
Passing directly above downtown Colorado Springs, the Wells Fargo Tower, FirstBank Tower, and the Alamo Corporate Center were easily seen, as was the sky’s reflection off of Prospect Lake in Memorial Park.

Interstate 25 was a ribbon through and around everything, snaking its way south towards Pueblo. The mountains start to rise to the west, and of course there above everything else sits Pikes Peak, brown above the tree line and a dark greenish-blue below.

The skies even cooperated, with breaks in the overcast allowing some rays of sunlight and a little bit of blue through, just enough to make for a pretty picture or two.

If you’re lucky maybe the flightpath takes you over your neighborhood and you have a chance at seeing your house from the air; it’s tough though, even recognizing some of the major roads and landmarks, things are moving by pretty quickly and every roof looks pretty much the same. 
In what seems like no time at all, Col Humphrey’s voice crackles through the headset letting you know it's time to return to your seat and buckle in, we’re heading back and will be landing soon.

One last quick look around then it’s squatting and waddling back, being careful not to grab a control cable overhead with your bare hands while you make your way to your seat. The walking is shaky, any movement by the B-25 amplified by the small space you're in; the aluminum beams making up the airframe are your friends, giving you something to hold onto as you wobble around.

I was lucky and sat across from the open window, so was able to get off a shot of Pikes Peak framed by that portal, the Incline perfectly visible as we banked around to the east towards the airport.

Before landing, the pilot gave the visitors at the museum a surprise flyby, turning our B-25 on a wing and passing directly over the Kaija Raven Shook Pavilion. It was a surprise to us in the aircraft as well, because that turn had a little bit of G action to it which we definitely felt; my stomach jumped and, for just a second, I thought, “Uh oh”. It was over soon enough though, and with a chirp and bump of tires we were back on the ground and taxiing back to the hangar.
If you want to talk about smiles ear-to-ear, that was us; what an experience. I couldn’t wait to call my family and ask if they’d seen the B-25 while I was up (“I heard a plane but couldn’t see it” was the best I got out of them later on), though thankfully some fellow photographers from my Colorado Aviation Photography group were on-hand and got some external shots while I was inside.
Would I go up again? In a heartbeat. Should you if given the opportunity? Oh, heck yes. Surprise flights like this are only one of the benefits of museum membership, so if you haven’t thought about it before but find yourself attending events, I’d highly recommend signing up ... you never know who’s name they’ll pull out of the hat. If interested, just click here: Become A Member - National Museum of World War II Aviation or ask about it the next time you’re at the museum. So worth it!

Is Colorado Springs beautiful from above? Undoubtedly, but the aircraft you’re viewing it from certainly adds to the beauty!
Come see our B-25J "In the Mood", and the rest of our amazing collection, during your visit to the museum!
Story & Photo Credit: George White
Museum’s Artist Inspired by Britons During 'The Blitz'
Artist Tom Heaney has created eleven murals for the museum’s Kaija Raven Shook Pavilion. His newest work features the night skyline of London during the Blitz of 1940-1941.

"The Blitz" was the name given by Britons to Germany’s campaign of terror-bombing of Britain’s great industrial cities and is also the mural's title. The name comes from "Blitzkreig", the German word for "lightning war". Over its eight months, the Blitz killed 45,000 Britons but was not successful in its aim to drive Great Britain out of the war.

The mural shows the London skyline, including the Houses of Parliament, Westminster and Big Ben, searchlights scanning the sky, and Luftwaffe bombers attacking the city. The mural, 12 feet high and 15 feet wide, dominates the museum’s display area dedicated to the Battle of Britain and the Blitz.

Tom's inspiration for the mural is a famous photo taken during the Blitz of London’s Saint Paul’s Cathedral. It shows the cathedral illuminated by fire and nearly engulfed in clouds of smoke from nearby burning buildings. It took him and his assistant, Jan McManus, some 450 hours to complete it.
His other works in the museum include a large mural of war-torn poppies in the Flanders Fields of World War I, four Ready Room exterior walls, three fake concrete walls for the D-Day exhibit and the nose art of the B-25 bomber, "In the Mood".

Tom's artistic skills are mostly self-taught, augmented with numerous seminars and classes with various artists. Most notably, he took a mural workshop with renowned Colorado Springs artist Eric Bransby, a photorealism class with legendary photorealist Jerry Ott, and airbrush techniques classes with aviation artist Dru Blair.

Working both digitally and with the airbrush, Tom takes commissions to paint "photos that weren't taken" to capture events which either weren't or couldn't be photographed. He is represented in corporate and personal art collections in the United States, Europe and Asia; his work can also be viewed on his website at  

Tom attended the Air Force Academy where he painted his first mural in Arnold Hall, the cadet social center. Upon graduating, he took his commission in the Army Infantry. He worked in Army Special Operations and led four Special Forces A-Teams. He also worked as a Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs officer.
Tom has a long list of murals he wants to paint. Next will be a map of the mission to shoot down Japanese Admiral Yamamoto; following that is one currently focused on WWII enlisted personnel, the unsung heroes who kept 'em flying.

Tom's works are greatly valued by the museum; stop by to view "The Blitz" during your next visit!

Story Credit: Gene Pfeffer
Never Seen a B-29 Super Fortress? Here's Your Chance!
The B-29 Superfortress was the most technically advanced bomber of WWII. Its attacks gravely damaged Japan's war-making capacity and were instrumental in Japan's eventual decision to surrender. 
The view from inside the cockpit of a B-29 Superfortress is simply stunning … because the view is through a LOT of plexiglass, 26 panes to be exact! This allowed not only unparalleled views left and right for the pilot and co-pilot, but also allowed them to see up as well, critical for spotting enemy aircraft coming down from higher altitudes.
It also allowed the bombardier, sitting at his Norden bombsight in the nose of the aircraft, not only an unobstructed view down through a single large, inverted teardrop-shaped pane, but a more reinforced area with many smaller windows compared to the B-17 Flying Fortress whose nose cone was essentially comprised of one large plexiglass bubble.

Pictured here inside the cockpit of the Commemorative Air Force’s B-29 “FiFi” is (left) Pilot’s seat; (center) Norden Bombsight and bombardier position; (right) Co-pilot’s seat; and (close-right) Flight Engineer’s seat.
The Flight Engineer’s position with control board actually faced the rear of the aircraft. The green nose-hatch door (with handle) is seen immediately on the left in the open position, it allows entrance and exit directly into and out of the cockpit. The two big red handles in the middle are emergency brakes, just like on your car!
The view from the outside shows details of the nose plexiglass framework, the large inverted teardrop piece, and nestled inside behind the teardrop is the Norden bombsight and Bombardier’s seat. It’s the best seat in the house!
If you’d like to see a B-29 up-close yourself, there’s a great opportunity right here in Colorado at the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum ( where B-29A Superfortress S/N 44-62022 “Peachy” is on display in Hangar One.

Just down the road from Colorado Springs, the PWAM is less than an hour’s drive south and displays a wonderful collection of aircraft, vehicles, and support equipment from all eras. They also house the Southern Colorado Space Museum and Learning Center, for all those budding young astronauts!
If you’d like a chance to see the inside of a B-29, and maybe even take a flight in one of the two that are airworthy in the world, check out the Events calendars for B-29 “Fifi” at, and B-29 “Doc” at
Story & Photo Credit: George White
Upcoming Events
Mark your calendars and reserve your tickets now at Tickets - National Museum of World War II Aviation!

June 25 - "The Normandy Invasion: Airpower Leads the Way", featuring a Republic
P-47 Flight Demonstration

July 4 - "Independence Day Celebration: Aeroplanes and Automobiles!" Join the National Museum of World War II Aviation will as we celebrate Independence Day with a display of World War II aircraft and vintage cars on the ramp outside of the museum’s Pavilion hangar. The display will feature World War II fighters, bombers, flying boats and trainers and more than a dozen vintage vehicles from the Pikes Peak Chapter of the Vintage Motor Car Club of America. This will be a great opportunity to photograph World War II-era aircraft and cars together! For more information, go to Aeroplanes & Automobiles - National Museum of World War II Aviation.

July 30 - "Kamikazes & The Air Battle at Okinawa", featuring a Brewster F3A Corsair demonstration flight!

August (tentative) - "Operation Downfall - The Plan to Invade Japan", featuring an F7F Tigercat demonstration flight!

Sep 24 & 25 - 2022 Pikes Peak Regional Airshow - The airshow is back and you won't want to miss it! We've got a tremendous lineup of performers, static displays, vendors, you name it! Check out the website and get your tickets today at Pikes Peak Airshow - Pikes Peak Regional Air Show (!
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This Month's Newsletter Contributors

Gene Pfeffer
Historian & Curator
Rich Tuttle

Rich Tuttle
Docent, Newsletter Writer, Social Media Writer, Photographer

George White
Newsletter Editor, Social Media Writer, Photographer