Well, what do you know. They got the plane out of Papua and finally brought her home!
B-17 salvaged from New Guinea swamp unveiled in Long Beach - The Daily Breeze
From wire service reports
Posted: 06/11/2010 01:08:31 PM PDT
More than 68 years after a B-17E Flying Fortress crash-landed in a New Guinea swamp, the salvaged aircraft, nicknamed Swamp Ghost, was unveiled today in Long Beach.
A formation flyover by a vintage P-51 Mustang and P-40 Warhawk above the Long Beach Harbor began the ceremony to unveil the recovered bomber.
The event in the parking lot of The Reef restaurant, where the plane's remarkably intact front fuselage was displayed, also included a flag presentation by the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard and remarks from recovery team members.
Unfortunately, the aircraft's last four surviving crew members died shortly before Swamp Ghost returned to the United States. The plane's return was one of bombardier Richard Oliver's last wishes. His death last year denied him the privilege of seeing his warbird come home, but his widow, Linda, attended the ceremony, along with a handful of other air crew family members.
First spotted by an Australian Air Force crew in 1972, the effort to salvage and export the plane was initiated in the mid-1980s by the late Specialty Restaurants Corp. founder, World War II veteran and antique aircraft collector David Tallichet.
"My father was a young B-17 pilot flying out of England with the Bloody 100th Bomb Group during World War II," said John Tallichet, president and CEO of Specialty Restaurants.
"He never lost his passion for aviation or love of his combat aircraft, the venerable Flying Fortress," he
said. "Sadly, my father could not be here to witness his dream fulfilled. However, my family is honored to continue his vision of preserving this invaluable relic of aviation history for the benefit of future generations."
In 1996, aircraft salvage efforts were continued by Aero Archaeology founder and aircraft recovery enthusiast Alfred Hagen, who has located seven missing World War II aircraft and returned the remains of more than a dozen missing-in-action airmen to the United States for burial with full military honors.
"Much of my work has been to honor those whom we have come to know as the Greatest Generation, and we look back on their accomplishments for inspiration," Hagen said.
Swamp Ghost will be restored, possibly to flying condition, for permanent display at an aviation history museum.