Victory Girl recently completed the March Field Air Museum’s B-17G nose art, ‘Starduster’ on left and right sides of the aircraft, as it sits on display outside the Museum doors. This B-17G (44-6393) was built in Southern California, under license from Boeing at the Douglas plant in Long Beach, and delivered to the 97th BG, 15th AF, Army Air Corps in July of 1944. It flew briefly in North Africa, before being commandeered to Italy for the head of the Mediterranean Allied Air Forces, General Ira Eaker. Eaker named the Fortress ‘Starduster’ and had the art featuring a cheery ensign, standing atop a cloud in khakis dusting off a set of stars with a feather duster. ‘Starduster’ served in the US Air Force until it was sold as surplus in 1955. It was transferred to the Bolivian Army in 1956, and modified for use as a cargo plane. The flight controls were updated to allow all flying from the right seat.
‘Starduster’ flew in Bolivia for the next 25 years, being the last operating B-17 in Bolivia when it was returned to the United States. In early 1981 it was flown to March Air Force Base. ‘Starduster’ has 13,000 –plus flight hours logged, and was restored by the March Field Air Museum in 1997, with support from the 97th BG.
Jeff Houlihan, Senior Curator of the museum provided Victory Girl early color photos of the artwork, when it was flown for General Eaker. Victory Girl used paint methods and processes very much like the soldiers of WWII; loose hand-drawn artwork, painted outside with the elements (in the summer in Southern California—that’s kind of like North Africa…).
March Field Air Museum and Victory Girl will soon be partnering up to create the nose art for their B-26 Maurader. See the Victory Girl website at www.victorygirl.com for many other nose art projects they’ve completed, or like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/VictoryGirlNoseArt.