NEW ORLEANS (August 14, 2012) — The National WWII Museum will add a rare B-17E Flying Fortress — the iconic aircraft designed and built by Boeing for action in the Pacific and European Theaters — to its collection as a focal point in the new US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center, opening in January 2013 on the Museum’s campus.
Restoration of the bomber began in Cincinnati, Ohio, under the leadership of businessman Bob Ready and a dedicated crew of 23 volunteers who logged more than 80,000 hours on the project. The plane is being shipped in pieces over a period of weeks to the Crescent City, where curators will finalize the job before hanging it in the new exhibition space. My Gal Sal will serve as an important attraction as the Museum tells the story of the wartime contributions of The Boeing Company and other manufacturers.
"The National WWII Museum is honored that Bob Ready has entrusted us with the care of My Gal Sal," said Dr. Gordon H. "Nick" Mueller, president and chief executive officer of the Museum in New Orleans. "This iconic piece of WWII history will be displayed in the Museum's new US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center."
Museum curators and officials are already planning for My Gal Sal's media debut once restoration is completed in a few months and promise everyone will have a chance to view this giant artifact, along with other restored WWII planes.
My Gal Sal has a colorful history. The airplane was flying to Europe as part of the USA's initial military build-up, when it had to make an emergency landing due to inclement weather in icy Greenland in June 1942. The crew was rescued, but the B-17E was abandoned where she landed. Relatively intact, "Sal" was not recovered from the ice cap until 1995. Meanwhile most B-17s had been sent to the scrap heap. Ready acquired the plane and he, along with the volunteer crew, began the restoration work in 2000.
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world — why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and designated by Congress as America’s National WWII Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-527-6012 or visit www.nationalww2museum.org. Follow us on Twitter at WWIImuseum or visit our Facebook fan page.