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Built by Boeing at Seattle. Constructors Number 3140. On July 7, 1942 delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-17F-10-BO Flying Fortress serial number 41-24455. Ferried by pilot Lt. James G. DeWolf via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.
Assigned to the 43rd Bombardment Group, 63rd Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Old Baldy" the nose art included a circle with an eagle in flight with stars. A scoreboard with bombs indicating missions flown and silhouettes three aircraft claimed, three ships, and a gun.
During 1943, this B-17 flew combat missions in New Guinea based at 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby.
On March 26, 1943 took off from 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by Dieffenderfer on a night bombing mission against enemy shipping in Wewak Harbor. Over the target, nothing was sighted and harbor installations were bombed instead.
This B-17 flew combat missions in New Guinea until late October 1943. During November 1943, returned to the United States and used as a training bomber at Biggs Field, Texas. During September 1944 salvaged and likely scrapped sometime afterwards.
Jake DeWolf (grandson of James G. DeWolf):
"I'm the grandson of James G. DeWolf pilot of Old Baldy my family and I have photos and records of Old Baldy."
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-17F-10-BO Flying Fortress 41-24455
"24455 (5th BG, 63rd BS, "Old Baldy") returned to USA late 1943"
Pride of Seattle page 6-7
Diary of the 63rd Bomb Squadron, 43rd Bomb Group
"26 March 1943 – Departed Jackson at 0130. Target: shipping Wewak Harbor. Bomb load; 4 ships with 8 X 500# inst demo, 3 with 4X 100# inst demo.
554 Murphy didn't take off on account of engine trouble. Nothing was sighted by the remaining crews.
358, Denault, 537 O'Brien, 574 Derr dropped their bombs on harbor installations.
455 Diffenderfer, 543 Staley, 417 Trigg dropped theirs on the town and runway.
543 Staley landed at Dobodura on the way back because of lack of gas. Search party consisting of Lt Murphy and Capt Thompson's crew were organized and were about to take off when 543 landed. Squadron on readiness at 1500."
Thanks to Steve Birdsall for additional information
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