USAAF Nose Art Research Project


Sunkist Sue
B-17G-50-DL 44-6293

91st Bomb Group, 401st Bomb Squadron


Nose art painted by
91st Bomb Group, 401st Bomb Squadron
Bassingbourn, England

Sunkist Sue

Read more about this aircraft:

Plane Names & Fancy Noses
Jack Gaffney was also Crew Chief to this Douglas-built B17G which he named and embellished with a beautiful piece of nose art. One of the pilots which flew the ship intended to rename the plane as "Peggy" after his wife but he never got round to it before moving on to another Fort. Another pilot who flew the plane was less than enthusiastic about it, complaining that it was "sluggish and had trouble maintaining position in the formation". He suspected it had an fundamental airframe fault and as a consequence the plane had its ball turret removed at the end of October 1944. His test flight of the modified "Sunkist Sue" was no milk run -- it was to the infamous Merseburg on 2nd November and the formation came under severe fighter attack. His crew claimed five enemy fighters during the ensuing melee. A fuller analysis of this mission can be found in "Merseburg: Blood, Flak & Oil". On 29th January 1945, flown by James Ashlock's crew, "Sunkist Sue" lost an engine over the Niederlahnstein rail yards and lagged behind the formation. Finding safety at an emergency field on the continent, Ashlock's crew left their plane there and returned by ferry flight to England. It did eventually return to Bassingbourn but does not seem to have flown any further missions before returning to the USA in June 1945.

Known Mission List

Date Pilot


25 Jul 1944J R Lyons / L R MarlettSt Lo (tactical)
28 Jul 1944J R Lyons / L R MarlettMerseburg (Taucha)
29 Jul 1944J Oates / N K GehretMerseburg
31 Jul 1944BasingerMunich
5 Aug 1944R R GoldsmithNienburg
7 Aug 1944R R GoldsmithSens-Bourron-Marlotte
9 Aug 1944R R GoldsmithElsenborn
14 Aug 1944H A CannaryMetz-Frascaty airfield
15 Aug 1944D F GibsonOstheim
16 Aug 1944R R GoldsmithHalle
25 Aug 1944R R GoldsmithNeubrandenburg
26 Aug 1944J K WerthmanGelsenkirchen
27 Aug 1944J K WerthmanHeligoland (Berlin recall)
5 Sep 1944R R Goldsmith / C H DavisLudwigshaven
8 Sep 1944H W Chouinard / R L NickolaLudwigshaven
9 Sep 1944J J Ondrovic / J G Welch ? P J LimmLudwigshaven
10 Sep 1944V B MagheeGaggenau-Sindelfingen
11 Sep 1944L C Marpil / F AdamsLutzkendorf
13 Sep 1944R R Goldsmith / C H DavisLutzkendorf
19 Sep 1944R R Goldsmith / A R ReaumeHamm
21 Sep 1944S E Rice / G D BowkerMainz
26 Sep 1944R R Goldsmith / C H DavisOsnabruck
27 Sep 1944D F Gibson / L M ClymerCologne
28 Sep 1944S E Rice / G D BowkerCologne
3 Oct 1944N K Gehret / C H DavisNurnberg
6 Oct 1944J J Ondrovic / J J WelchNeubrandenburg
7 Oct 1944J J Ondrovic / J J WelchRuhland-Freiberg-Wurzen
14 Oct 1944J J Ondrovic / J J WelchCologne
15 Oct 1944J J Ondrovic / J J WelchCologne
17 Oct 1944J J Ondrovic / J J WelchCologne
19 Oct 1944C C Whitesell / W R NewKarlsruhe & Kreunach & Speyer
22 Oct 1944J J Ondrovic / J J WelchBrunswick
2 Nov 1944J J Ondrovic / J J WelchMerseburg(TT)(WG) damaged Fw190 x2 -- a/c flew w/o ball turret
6 Nov 1944H E Kirby / E M GastonHamburg
16 Nov 1944F B Foster / L B EllisAachen area
25 Nov 1944W T Carter / L B EllisMerseburg
29 Dec 1944E S Alexander / J J KaneWittlich
5 Jan 1945R R Sullenberger / G E ShoupCoblenz
17 Jan 1945R Potters / H HayniePaderborn
21 Jan 1945R Potters / H R HaynieAschaffenburg
22 Jan 1945E O Johnson / D J ShoemakerSterkradeMinor BD
28 Jan 1945R Potters / W W JonesCologne
29 Jan 1945J AshlockNiederlahnsteinLanded on continent and left there - returned later

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© Ray Bowden 26 May 2024