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Original Crew of B-17G Thunderbird #42-38050 (BN-U)
pictured with B-17F '8' Ball MK II #41-24635 (BN-O) 359BS

(colorized by Richard Foss)

This website is a memorial to B-17G #42-38050 (BN-U) Thunderbird and her original crew. Old reliable Thunderbird flew 112 bombing missions from Molesworth, England for the 303rd Bomb Group. The original Thunderbird Crew, piloted by Lt. Vern L. Moncur, was the first crew in the 303rd Bomb Group to complete their combat missions without anyone on board being injured. Lt Moncur's crew was the only crew ever assigned to Thunderbird as their primary aircraft. After Moncur's Crew finished their 28 mission combat tour, Thunderbird became a "first mission ship," given to new crews to get them off to a good start--and a good start it was, as no regular crew member was ever injured on a Thunderbird mission.

Cadet Moncur
Pilot Class 43-D
Vern L. Moncur, the first pilot of Thunderbird was my father. He led her on 23 of her first 29 recorded flights and 20 of her first 24 credited missions. Also, his log book shows 6 more Thunderbird flights for which there are no official records, beginning with the 23 Jan 44 "test hop of a new plane." Thunderbird was retired when World War II ended. Sadly, with the war over she was declared surplus, flown to Kingman, Arizona and scrapped.

This website started out as a place to showcase Dad's historic Mission Journal, with the hope of documenting the history of this great B-17. It turned out to be much, much more. The Thunderbird page began my involvement with the 303rd Bomb Group Association and led to the development of the massive -- So here you are, Dad - a web page dedicated to the men and the plane you loved. I wish you were here to see it.

Established:  26 August 1997
Your comments are appreciated. Web design and graphics by Gary Moncur
Copyright © 1997 thru 2019 by Gary L. Moncur
You must contact us for permission to use material from these pages.
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