The Memphis Belle, a B-17 bomber built in 1945, is at the Tampa Executive Airport near us Saturday and Sunday. A recent promotional article at TBO.com tells some about the significance of the plane.
“The B-17 is the iconic World War II bomber,” he said. Between 1935 and 1945, nearly 13,000 B-17s were built.
“About 4,300 of them went down and each carried a 10-man crew,” he said. “We are quite honored to fly this airplane.”
Our grandson had a baseball game near us Saturday morning. At lunch I told him about the Memphis Belle. I told him that Grandmother and I were about his age when the plane was built, and that I would like for him to see it.
It was a beautiful day in Tampa, and we enjoyed seeing the B-17 land and take off while we were at the airport.
An older gentleman who was a gunner on the B-17 during WWII was among the visitors at the airport while we were there. There may have been others.
Seeing the Memphis Belle was a good reminder of the historic importance of the B-17 “flying fortress” in the history of our country, and of the men who have served.
This plane was featured in the 1990 movie by the same name.
Bette’s father, William C. (“Billy”) Ashworth, Sr., flew B-17s in World War II. He passed from this life in March of 2000.