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B-29 Returning to Travis AFB, CA (USA)



 
 
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Old June 4th 15, 08:06 PM posted to rec.aviation.misc
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Default B-29 Returning to Travis AFB, CA (USA)

M father-in-law, Bill Lever, was a bombardier on Miss America 62. He is 95 and lives in Auburn, ME.



On Tuesday, July 5, 1994 at 12:31:14 PM UTC-4, Toine de Greef wrote:
[ Article crossposted from rec.aviation.military ]
[ Author was MBandor ]
[ Posted on 4 Jul 1994 15:58:04 -0400 ]

I came across this article the other day. I thought others might be
interested it in also.

Mike
E-Mail:

======= START OF ARTICLE ==============
072. Miss America '62 returns
by Patti Rogers
A B-29 bomber hasn't called Travis AFB, Calif., home since the
1949-58 Strategic Air Command years, but on June 18 the Travis
Historical Society unveiled "Miss America '62" with all the fanfare
of a long-lost friend.
For almost 10 years, members of the society put in over 12,000
volunteer man-hours restoring the 1944-circa bomber that will
become one of the Travis museum's static displays.
The aircraft was welcomed to the museum fleet by a host of
special guests including two grandchildren of "the architect of the
Air Force," Gen. Henry H. "Hap" Arnold. Also present were six
members of the aircraft's original crew, which flew 23 missions in
the aircraft, and five members of the second crew, which flew 15.
Adding to the history of the day was the woman whose birth
contributed to the aircraft's name.
The old bomber's journey to Travis began in 1984 when the
historical society learned of some B-29s being stored at China
Lakes Naval Weapons Test Facility in Southern California.
Bringing the worn aircraft back to Travis was a chore, said Warren
Bailey, society president.
"The aircraft was so far out on the test range it had to be
pulled
by a road-grader across the desert floor. Then a volunteer-team
spent about 15 days disassembling it so two C-5s and 10 trucks
could bring the pieces to Travis," said Bailey.
The team removed the engines, the outer wing panels, the
vertical and horizontal tail assemblies, and disassociated the
fuselage from the wing in order to prepare it for the return voyage.
The museum's restoration hangar housed the disassembled B-29
for the next several years while it underwent refurbishment. As the
layers of paint were removed, the plane's identity was revealed.
Markings indicating the plane's former unit, the 6th Bomb
Group, appeared. Other markings aligned the plane to the 24th
Bomb Squadron. The restoration team then found a reunion group
who identified several members of the original crew and a mini-
reunion was held at Travis in 1988 for those who flew Miss
America '62 from Tinian Island in 1945.
By 1992 the exterior was nearly 100 percent complete. For the
last two years a team of seven volunteers took on the intense task
of bringing the interior of the Superfortress to restored status.
And these history sleuths couldn't have been more pleased with
what they uncovered. Near the navigator's seat, tucked under the
installation blanket, is the inscription, "To the G.I.'s good luck,"
which was written by Viola Ann Kolinski, who installed
installation blankets in B-29s at the Omaha, Neb., factory in 1944.
She had left her address and phone number, and the restoration
team immediately started to search for her.
"She was so excited when we tracked her down," said Bailey.
"She said it was very nice after all these years to be recognized for
what she did." Because of an illness in the family she wasn't able
to attend the dedication.
However, the bomber's namesake was there.
The original crew, known as the Alger Crew No. 2409, chose
the plane off the ramp at Tinian Island and set out to name her.
The commander's wife had just given birth to a daughter and that
sparked an idea.
"One of the crewmembers suggested she represent all the little
girls born that year, and he came up with the idea that they would
be eligible to be Miss America in 1962. Hence Miss America '62
was born." Linda Alger, the commander's daughter, participated in
the dedication.
Miss America '62 flew her last bomb mission against Japan and
was still flying the day the Japanese surrendered. After World War
II she was assigned to the Bahamas as a weather reconnaissance
aircraft.
(Rogers is contributing editor to the Travis AFB, Calif.,
Tailwind)


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