I joined the veterans and families of the 401st BG during their 2018 reunion in Columbus, Ohio. The event was timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the famed 25th mission of B-17 Memphis Belle and the unveiling ceremony at the National Museum of the USAF on May 17, 2018.
Grimes Field: Before the group’s main dinner on … I met up with some of the veterans at Grimes Field in Urbana, where the B-17s Yankee Lady and Movie Memphis Belle were prepped to assemble with Aluminum Overcast en route to Wright-Patterson AFB. With foul weather that morning, the take-off was delayed long enough that I had a chance to chat with the media coordinator and was allowed to shoot from right along the runway as the two Flying Fortresses and five P-51 Mustangs roared by. Better yet, the conditions meant that the trip turned into a flyover and the planes returned to Grimes Field rather than it being a one-way trip. I got some terrific landing shots of the planes as they returned.
Champaign Air Museum: The 401st BG had quite a morning as they got to see the B-17 Champaign Lady project, which wears the group’s markings. I bought a shirt for my brother-in-law, whose grandfather flew with the 401st BG at Deenethorpe.