Fragment from a B-17 Flying Fortress
Description: This is a fragment from a B-17 Flying Fortress that was used to train pilots at the Sioux City Air Base during World War II. Sioux City’s airport was converted to an Army Air Corps base during wartime, and pilots, gunners, and all manner of flyers were trained here. However, training programs sometimes ended disastrously. The inscription on this fragment reads: "Part of B-17 Flying Fortress which crashed at 220 So. Judd St. Sioux City, IA at 9:00 PM Saturday Evening Dec. 2, 1944. Found by Mike Chicoine following Sunday PM during removal of wreckage. All flyers aboard perished. Nine in all." The plane crashed into two homes and the wreckage was scattered over a few blocks, but luckily no civilians were injured. This accident on Sioux City’s Westside was not the only accidental airplane crash to occur during the war in the area during training at the air base. One B-17 crashed near Anthon, Iowa, killing the ten flyers aboard. Near Laurel, while practicing formations, two B-17 planes collided in midair and the seventeen men on the wrecked planes perished. A maintenance malfunction caused another B-17 to go down near Le Mars, dropping pieces off in surrounding fields before crash landing. The greenness of the trainees and the difficulty of the aircraft likely caused these crashes, but luckily since the flights were well-advertised no civilians died.
Donor: Ronald F. Chicoine