2023: Dick Nelms 100th birthday celebration

The Museum of Flight in Seattle hosted a celebration for 447th BG veteran Dick Nelms on his 100th birthday. The festivities commenced in the shadow of the Museum’s B-17F 42-29782 Boeing Bee in the Pavilion. The Color Guard from McChord AFB presented Dick with a flag, and the Air Force/Space Force Association and others made presentations and Dick was presented with a Challenge Coin. Afterward, the group moved into the Sky Room for cake and refreshments. Seattle Seahawks marketing presented Dick with a 12th Man jersey bearing his name. Dick was one of the select few who have had the opportunity to raise the 12th Man flag before a Seahawks game. There were several reenactors in a variety of vintage uniforms there to share birthday wishes for Dick and his family. A special cake designed on a Flying Fortress from the 447th was served. When asked if he wanted to cut the cake he replied that he couldn’t destroy a plane like that. After most had retired for the day, Dick and his son were brought out to the tarmac to board a beautiful 1944 Stinson V77 Reliant #77-333. He took the left pilot seat and off they went for a brief sortie over the Puget Sound. I had seen Dick fly on three other occasions: aboard the B-17G 44-85740 Aluminum Overcast during the 75th anniversary of D-Day event by the Cascade Warbirds, aboard the B-17G 44-83514 Sentimental Journey for a special flight in 2022, and also in a Schleicher ASK-21 glider during the 2019 447th BG reunion in Rattlesden, a mere 75 years after Nelms was piloting the B-17 Flying Fortress Pandora’s Box from that very runway.

100th birthday celebration for Capt. Dick Nelms

Museum of Flight, Seattle; Feb. 17, 2023