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  B-17E "San Antonio Rose" Serial Number 41-2467  
USAAF
13th AF
5th BG
23rd BS

Former Assignments
11th BG

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
USAAF February 1944

Aircraft History
Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors number 2278. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17E Flying Fortress serial number 41-2467. On December 22, 1941 at McChord Field. On December 27, 1942 at Geiger Field. On January 28, 1942 at Hamilton Field. On February 16, 1942 at Hickam Field and assigned to the 11th Bombardment Group. Later, ferried across the Pacific to the South Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 5th Bomb Group, 23rd Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "San Antonio Rose" with the nose art of a female wearing a top hat and underwear. A scoreboard of bomb markings indicating combat missions flown was on the left side of the nose and fifteen Japanese flags indicating aerial victory claims. This B-17 flew many combat missions in the South Pacific and Solomon Islands. Three of her regular crew included engineer/gunner Sgt Theo Davies, gunner SSgt John P. Snowden, 07020195 gunner TSgt John R. Garbutt.

On October 21, 1943 departed from Espiritu Santo piloted by Captain Philip Hodges on a ferry flight of early B-17Es from the squadron back to the United States, led by Major Berton Burns (C. O. 23rd Bombardment Squadron). The formation of four war weary early model B-17s included this bomber, B-17E 41-2444, B-17E "Knucklehead" 41-9222 plus another unidentified B-17.

When the four bombers were inspected at Oklahoma City, all four were deemed "unfit to fly" and grounded. Sometime afterwards, this B-17 went to Amarillo Army Air Field where it was partially disassembled and used as an instructional airframe and for spare parts.

During February 1944, one of the former crew members, Sgt Theo Davies found this bomber in the reclamation area of Amarillo Army Air Field "on a scrap heap at the air field", recognizing the nickname "San Antonio Rose", bomb markings for missions flown and fifteen Japanese flags. At the time, the wings and landing gear were removed plus other other portions of the fuselage missing after being partially disassembled by students to study the aircraft structures.

The story about Sgt Theo Davies and other former crew members finding their B-17 in the scrap heap was reported in the Associated Press (AP) "Air Vets Get Lumpy Throats When Fort Found In Scrap" released on February 19, 1944 and appeared on newspapers the following day. Davis was quoted as saying "Sure, you become attached to a ship, and that's putting it mildly after you have ridden through attack after attack and it still brings you back. You can imagine our feelings when we saw her... the ship on which we had flown and fought in the Pacific."

The ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared sometime after February 1944.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17E Flying Fortress 41-2467
"2467 delivered to McChord Dec 22, 1941; transferred to Geiger Dec 27, 1942; transferred to Hamilton Jan 28, 1942; transferred to Hickam Feb 16, 1942; RETUS Oct 21, 1943. WO Dec 4, 1943."
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - John P. Snowden
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal “Air Vets Get Lumpy Throats” February 20, 1944 page 18
AP "Veterans Attend Reunion" Sgt Theo Davies Sgt John R. Garbutt February 20, 1944
Fortress Against The Sun pages 367, 385, 477 (footnote 30)
Thanks to Steve Birdsall and Lea Conner for additional information

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018

 

Tech Info
B-17

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