Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans' Day 2010

On this Veterans' Day, I thought that I would post some veteran related images.  As a veteran myself and the son of a WW2 veteran, this is a special day in which we remember and thank all those who watered the tree of liberty with their blood, sweat, and tears.  Enjoy and please click on each picture to get a larger image.

Yesterday the Experimental Aircraft Association brought their B-17 Aluminum Overcast to Hawkins Field here in Jackson.  Hawkins Field was the original Jackson main airport and is now used for light planes and other special events.  I went out to see there late yesterday afternoon and took these pictures.

Here she is, sitting on the parking apron outside the main airport office.  This particular B-17 didn't participate in any combat missions during WW2 and is one of only a few still in flyable condition.

A forward aspect, showing the chin turret and the top turret.
As a point of pride, the top turret was the fighting position of my father, who was also a flight engineer for a B-17 in the 731st Bomb Squadron, 452nd Bomb Group, 8th Air Force.

Her nose art.

I was standing in the front of the bomb bay looking into the cockpit when I took this picture.  The top turret is above the EAA crewman's head.

A few of the "dummy" bombs the EAA has in her bomb bay, which by the way was extremely narrow.  I had trouble moving through it and can't imagine the contortions a fully kitted-out crewman would have.  The radio position, waist gunners, ball turret, and tail gunner positions are all to the aft of the bomb bay.  Forward of it are the pilots, bombadier, navigator, and top turret gunner.  In effect, the bomb bay almost isolates each part of the crew from the other.

Looking forward from the waist.  I asked the young man to stand there so you could see how restricted the space was.  The silver object in the floor just behind his legs is the top of the ball turret.  Through the doorway is the radio position.

A rear aspect.

I enjoyed another opportunity to go through a B-17 and hope I have more chances in the future.

Also in Jackson is the War Memorial Building.  This edifice was constructed in the 1930s as part of the depression recovery efforts.  Originally it housed the Mississippi office of the Selective Service System and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.  Now it houses various state-level veteran organization offices.  The front is decorated with two cast concrete friezes which are pictured below.

To the left is a group of WW1 soldiers and an FT-17 Renault tank as they are girded for war.

To the right, the frieze shows the soldiers transitioning from war to peace and converting their "swords" into "plowshares."

In the center courtyard is the tomb of the "Mississippi Unknown Soldier" by which a U.S. flag always flies at half-mast.  In the background you can see part of one of the main doors into the building.

There are three double doors leading into the building made from cast aluminum and decorated with bas reliefs of military emblems.  At the top of each door are bas relief battle scenes relating to our Mississippi history.  All of these decorations are detailed below.

Above the left door are scenes from the battles of Ackia and Buena Vista.

Above the center door are scenes from the battle of New Orleans and the siege of Vicksburg.

Above the right door are scenes from the battle at San Juan Hill and Belleau Wood.

Each door has bas relief medallions framing each window.  All three door pairs are decorated identically.  This picture shows the medallions at the top of the door,

and around the middle windows, and

around the bottom windows.

I hope you enjoyed my "veterans' tour" today.  And remember, please thank a veteran today!


A J said...

Thanks for sharing those pictures. A few years ago I was at an airshow held at RAF Duxford in England where a B17 flew. The engines fired up and shook the ground even a quarter mile from where she stood on the taxiway. I have a lot of respect for those who served aboard such aircraft.

Capt Bill said...

A happy Veteran's Day to you my friend...