Boeing B-17E Nose Art, Espiritu Santo, Dec 1942

Photographer Ralph Morse documented several Boeing B-17E Flying Fortresses operating from Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides in December 1942. Two of these aircraft would be lost before the end of the month. Two others were shot down by J1N1 Irving night fighters. Four were veterans of the Battle of Midway. At the time these aircraft were assigned to the 11th and 5th Bombardment Groups, but many had previously operated all across the Pacific. The following are a selection of named aircraft with their nose art and scoreboards at the time.

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41-2428 “Ole Shasta”, 11BG / 98BS. Participated in the Battle of Midway. Lost 28DEC42 while operating from Espiritu Santo.
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41-2463 “Yankee Doodle” 5BG / 394BS. Fought at the Battle of Midway. Crashed on takeoff from Espiritu Santo 02AUG43, 2 killed. Pilot was Gene Roddenberry of “Star Trek” fame.
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41-2523 “Goonie” 11BG / 98BS. Participated in the Battle of Midway. Bombed the Japanese carrier Akagi claiming (erroneously) one hit and one A6M2 destroyed. Hit by flak over Kahili Airfield, Bougainville, ditched off the Russell Islands 20MAY43, all crew rescued. Note the star for the Battle of Midway.
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41-2525 “Madame-X” 11 BG / 98BS. Participated in the Battle of Midway. Lost over Kahili Airfield. Note the star for the Battle of Midway.
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41-9059 “Boomerang” 5BG / 72BS. Living up to her name, she survived the Pacific War and was written Off 11JUN45.
 

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41-9128 “De-icer” 5BG / 23BS, shot down by Japanese J1N1 “Irving” night fighter 27JUL43 while bombing Kahili Airfield, Bougainville.
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41-9153 “Tokyo Taxi” 5BG / 23BS, shot down by Japanese J1N1 “Irving” night fighter 19JUL43 while bombing Kahili Airfield, Bougainville.
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41-9211 “Typhoon McGoon II” 11BG / 98BS, returned to the US after the war and written off. This aircraft was equipped with the SCR-521 ASV air-to-surface-vessel radar set. The large IJN flag denotes a credited kill against a flying boat.
 

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41-9215 “Galloping Gus” 11BG / 98BS. Written Off 15JUN44.
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41-9227 “Yankee Doodle Jr.” 11BG / 431 BS. Crashed on take off from Espiritu Santo on 31DEC42, all aboard were killed.