SPECIAL 18 x 24 Boeing B-17E ‘Naughty But Nice’ Limited Edition Relic Display
Includes hand-written details of the Battle of the Bismark Sea action involving this aircraft, written by this aircraft's bombardier, to the parents of the pilot, who was killed in that battle. Also, a piece of aluminum skin from this aircraft, recovered in the 1980s, by another crew member, which is very well preserved with original exterior camouflage paint.
Transcript of letter:
May 17, 1943 Somewhere in New Guinea Dear Mr. & Mrs. Easter,
The letter I am about to write may seem to you to have been postponed a long time and it has for [that] reason that following Jim’s death I could think of nothing that I might say that would console you or give to you peace of mind at such a time. Now I feel I am better qualified to say the things I feel.
I was with Jim at the time he met his death, serving as his bombardier. He was a great flier and a real friend. I felt I owed him a lot for he had helped me in so many ways. I know Jim was a good boy. He read his Bible very often. He never [drank] or gambled and was liked by all the men in the squadron. We were in lots of tight places together; I would have trusted him any place in the world.
I know he is at his home in Heaven, looking down on us, and wanting us to carry on for him. I honestly believe Jim Easter was one of the best men I ever knew.
The day the Zeros hit us we were leading a bombing formation over a Jap[anese] convoy. We were on the bombing run and had not released our bombs. The Zero came in from the left-front and raked our whole plane. Jim was hit hard and never knew what hit him. He lived until after we landed, but was never conscious. I held him in my arms all the way home; he fought so hard to live but God was calling him home and very soon after we landed he answered the call. Jim was not afraid of death for he led a good, clean life.
Being over here one realizes more than ever that our country is worth fighting for and even dying for. I had many talks with Jim and I know that he felt that way about it. His was the greatest price anyone can be called on to pay. I was closer to Jim than anyone else who has been called on to pay the price, and his death made me more determined than ever to do my best to defeat our enemies.
Some day when the war is over, and if I live through it, I would like to visit you and tell you all the things I am unable to write.
My wife is expecting a baby and if it’s a boy we are naming it after my friend Jim and I hope he grows up to be as good a man as Jim Easter. If we will trust God I know that He will lead us to ultimate victory.
Your son’s friend,
Jack K. Wisener
On December 6th, 1941, this Boeing B-17E (s/n 41-2430) Flying Fortress left San Francisco, California, bound for the Philippines. On the morning of Dec. 7th, she arrived over Pearl Harbor to find the facilities under attack by the Japanese. Over the days that followed, and expecting Oahu to be invaded, orders were given to press ‘430’ into the Hawaiian Air Force. This aircraft was hurriedly painted in a wild camouflage scheme designed to hide it from another air attack, and the B-17 was used in the vain attempt to find and destroy the enemy Navy’s strike force. After invasion fears abated, 430 was sent to the South Pacific.
On March 3rd, 1943, 430, now nicknamed ‘Naughty But Nice’, took part in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea (depicted here). The B-17 was attacked from the front by two Japanese Army Air Force Ki-43 ‘Oscars’ of the 11th Sentai. The fighters ‘raked the bomber from nose to tail’. Five crew aboard 430 were wounded, the pilot, 1st Lt. James Easter, severely. ‘Naughty But Nice’ made an emergency landing, but was repaired and returned to action.
This aircraft’s last mission was flown on the night of June 26th, 1943, against the Japanese bastion of Rabaul. After making a successful bomb run, 430 was approached from beneath by a Japanese Navy J1N ‘Irving’ night fighter flown by Shigetoshi Kudo. Three passes were made by Kudo, who utilized his aircraft’s oblique-firing 20mm cannon to set the B-17 on fire. No one aboard ‘Naughty But Nice’ ever saw Kudo’s aircraft, and thought that they’d been hit by anti-aircraft ground fire. Only the B-17’s navigator, Jose Holguin, escaped by parachute. He was captured by the Japanese.
In 1981, Holguin returned to the crash site with members of an Australian research and excavation team, and several parts of 430 were recovered, including the part included in this display.
Signed and numbered.
18 x 24 inches, framed and ready to hang.
Read all about this history of this aircraft, and the recovery & preservation of its remains: https://colesaircraft.blogspot.com/2019/04/naughty-but-nice-famous-fortresss.html
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