Postwar B-17s

I recently dug up some old photos of Dick Kamm’s for a researcher of postwar military use of Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses.  While I was at it I added them to the site, but the rest of the B-17 page is still a mess, so here I’ll reproduce the galleries of just the old B-17 photos.

Dick’s first posting in the Air Force was mechanic training at Keesler Field in Biloxi, Mississippi.  B-17s and other types left over from World War II were used as instructional airframes for the student mechanics to practice on, and some appeared on base from time to time as they were used as transports by the USAF.  Here are B-17G 42-102737 and B-17G 44-8095.  Also probably at Keesler was B-17G 44-6393 “Starduster,” which has survived to the present day as an exhibit at the March Field Museum in Riverside, California.  All of these pics are likely from 1947.

Next Dick went to Panama as a mechanic on RF-80As, where he spent the first half of 1948 and took the trouble to photograph some of the many and varied types based on or visiting France Field at Colon, Panama.  Among these aircraft were a couple of transport-converted B-17s that were kept busy shuttling between the various USAF bases along the Panama Canal, including France Field at the Carribbean end and Howard and Albrook Fields at the Pacific end.  Dick got his first B-17 ride in 44-85702 “Super Stud”; 44-85693 was a plane he may have just photographed while airplane-watching near the runway.

When Dick transferred to Germany with the 36th Fighter Group in mid-1948, there were more B-17s to see.  This is 44-6787 “Cannon Ball,” the personal transport of General John K. Cannon, commander of the USAF forces in Europe at the time.  Dick likely photographed it on a visit to his base of Furstenfeldbruck, or it could have been at some other base being visited by the Skyblazers display team when he traveled with them.

This final set of photos must have been taken later, since the ramp is full of T-28As and T-34s which entered service later in the 1950s.  It may have been at Eglin AFB or one of Dick’s other postings from that period.  The negatives are not in the best shape, but they show search and rescue B-17H 44-83793.  The paint scheme appears to be mostly red, a scheme that I associate with QB-17 drone aircraft that were based at Eglin, but I have not seen a record of 44-83793 being converted for drone work.