They have been called the Greatest Generation: 16 million Americans who fought in World War II and built the country we enjoy today. That legacy is quickly disappearing. Fewer than 700,000 World War II veterans are still alive; within 20 years, there will be no one left to tell their stories.
The B-17 Alliance Foundation was formed in 2006 to keep that legacy alive. We are restoring the B-17 Lacey Lady to airworthy condition and building a museum to bring the history of World War II to life. Few B-17s are left and less than a dozen are airworthy.
A “strange inheritance”
So, what exactly do you do with an inherited B-17 bomber from World War II? The answer came on April 24 when the Lacey Lady was featured on the Fox Business Network series Strange Inheritance. View a clip from the show or read more in Capi Lynn's article in the Salem Statesman Journal.
Back in the pilot’s seat
Lt. Col. Stanton Rickey (Ret.) takes a seat next to his son in the cockpit of the B-17 Aluminum Overcast during a fly-in. Rickey spent 10 months in a German POW camp after his B-17 was shot down. Prisoners were allowed one bowl of cabbage soup and two slices of black bread a day. Rickey weighed 105 pounds when he was evacuated.
Saved from the brink
Prior to its relocation, the Lacey Lady was at the mercy of the elements. After six decades of exposure, the aircraft was caked in layers of corrosion and plagued by birds. Thanks to the generosity of donors and volunteers, the plane is protected in a climate-controlled hangar where restoration efforts continue.
What our visitors and volunteers are saying about their experiences
My desire to be part of the B-17 Alliance Foundation had a very early beginning, even before the group was started. As a young boy I remember climbing up into the aircraft and pretending to be part of the crew, pilot to gunner. As an adult I realized how important this aircraft was in the defeat of Nazi Germany.
To me this aircraft symbolizes the heart of all the men and women who lost their lives so we can live free today. I volunteer my time to support the group in its effort to preserve the history of World War II and teach it to future generations.Dr. Fred A. Bremner
I adore the B-17 Alliance Foundation because there are so many ways its museum can better the local community and our society. These ideas spring into my mind most frequently while I am inside the museum and can see (and imagine) all its potential.
Perhaps the museum plan I am most excited about is bringing in students to tour our artifacts and exhibits. This will bring a knowledge about our past that is not commonly found inside history textbooks. A tour of the museum can teach students about local individuals’ war experiences and the impact of the war on family life and the homefront. This type of knowledge contrasts with school education of battle dates, big names, and Axis goals, while giving students a better and more holistic understanding of their country’s history.Lea Belton
I attended the 2016 Warbirds Over the West to take photos. I was sitting near the living history encampment when I noticed that a halftrack and "Grumpy" (the B-25 from the Historic Flight Foundation) were moving in unison. This seemed odd until it dawned on me that the halftrack was towing Grumpy. I knew this was going to be a keystone moment and that I should photograph it. Unfortunately, they wanted to reposition Grumpy close to where it had been parked the night before and that was pretty far away from me. I walked as fast as I could and arrived just a few seconds before it was over. I took a few good pics of the B-25 being towed into position, but came very close to missing it.
The Alliance also wanted aerial images of the event and the only way to get them was for me to take a ride in Grumpy. What an experience! The aircraft had power and performance that made for spectacular fun. I took a peek out the turret and the view was amazing, providing a perspective on the landscape I’ll never forget. I can’t wait to see what next year will bring.Rick A. Brown
I am honored to be able to be a small part of the "hands-on" volunteer effort to restore this amazing piece of history. How many of us will ever have the chance to work on a B-17 in our lifetime? I am hoping I will be around to see it fly some day! It is important to keep this part of history alive.Foundation volunteer
The B-17 Alliance Foundation has a great project of taking a WWII B-17 Bomber back to flying condition. It will be a flying tribute to our veterans and their sacrifice for the freedom of our country. Since 100 percent of donations go toward the project of restoring the B-17 Lacey Lady, I feel like my donations are utilized to the maximum. Lots of volunteers are working on the project and they all feel the same way I do.Foundation supporter