They have been called the Greatest Generation: 16 million Americans who fought in World War II and built the country we enjoy today. That legacy is quickly disappearing. Fewer than 700,000 World War II veterans are still alive; within 20 years, there will be no one left to tell their stories.
The B-17 Alliance Foundation was formed in 2006 to keep that legacy alive. We are restoring the B-17 Lacey Lady to airworthy condition and building a museum to bring the history of World War II to life. Few B-17s are left and less than a dozen are airworthy.
A “strange inheritance”
So, what exactly do you do when you inherit a B-17 bomber from World War II? The answer comes on April 24 and 26 when the Lacey Lady is featured on “Winging It,” Season 3, Episode 28 of the Fox Business Network series Strange Inheritance. Read more about the segment, featuring interviews with descendants of the owner, in the Salem Statesman Journal.
Back in the pilot’s seat
Lt. Col. Stanton Rickey (Ret.) takes a seat next to his son in the cockpit of the B-17 Aluminum Overcast during a fly-in. Rickey spent 10 months in a German POW camp after his B-17 was shot down. Prisoners were allowed one bowl of cabbage soup and two slices of black bread a day. Rickey weighed 105 pounds when he was evacuated.
Saved from the brink
Prior to its relocation, the Lacey Lady was at the mercy of the elements. After six decades of exposure, the aircraft was caked in layers of corrosion and plagued by birds. Thanks to the generosity of donors and volunteers, the plane is protected in a climate-controlled hangar where restoration efforts continue.
In the news
We paid a visit to our friends at the B-17 Alliance Foundation in September to check on her status. This is the organization which is working on restoring the famous B-17G Flying Fortress known as the Lacey Lady.
For the first time since the B-17 Flying Fortress, Lacey Lady, was moved to a hangar at Salem Airport, the public is invited to see the progress of its restoration. The grand opening of the B-17 Alliance Museum is June 13.
People of all ages swarmed McNary Field for the “Warbirds over the West” fly-in and cruise-in event, which featured displays of historic aircraft, classic cars, military vehicles and a World War II-style encampment.
Members of the B-17 Alliance Foundation, along with volunteers, worked Friday to load parts of the Lacey Lady, a B-17 bomber and long-time Milwaukie landmark, for its journey to a hangar at Salem’s McNary Field for restoration.