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Dennis W. Medenwaldt, Published July 19 2009

B-17 Liberator was great plane

The B-17 Liberator World War II bomber depicted in The Forum on July 7 brought back memories to me. I flew on the B-17 from Okinawa in 1948 and 1949. I was assigned to the 2nd Rescue Squadron stationed on Okinawa.

Our mission then was not to drop bombs but to drop life-saving boats to survivors who had crashed or otherwise ended up in the ocean. These crash boats were mounted under the B-17. When alerted to do so, we would go on search missions and drop the boat to survivors.

We also flew typhoon reconnaissance missions in the

B-17. Our search missions often took us to Japan, China, Guam, Manila, Hong Kong and other places in Asia.

I did fly combat missions in Europe during World War II, but in a B-24 Liberator aircraft. In fact, I was shot down over Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia), in a B-24 in early 1944. Therefore, I have fond memories of flying in the B-17 but not so fond memories of flying in the B-24 Liberator. Both were excellent aircraft for the purpose they were designed for.