USAAF Nose Art Research Project


Ground Hog
B-17F-25-DL 42-3097

385th Bomb Group, 549th Bomb Squadron

Ground Hog

Read more about this aircraft:

The Flight Of Eagles

“There probably isn’t a B-17 in the ETO which gets any better care than First Lieut. Avery J Ink’s Ground Hog. The reason. It’s one of the few B-17s named by a ground crew.” So ran the opening lines of a press release in November 1943. Ink’s crew were not the first to fly the plane. In fact, they were the second crew to successfully complete a combat mission in it and they went on to fly ten of their missions in this F model. It was un-named when they took it over for the flight to Watten in late August and at that time it lacked an updated oxygen system and other features of later B17Fs.

Ink and his crew liked the ship in spite of its inadequacies – it handled well as well as being sturdy and reliable. So the ground crew got to work to bring its modifications up to scratch. SSgts Patterson and Goble, together with Pfc Benicewicz installed a new oxygen system, scrounged new instruments from salvaged aircraft and within a few days completed their work. So pleased with the result, Lt Ink and his crew decided that the ground pounders had more than earned the right to name the Fortress.

Avery Ink flew his last mission in this B17 on 30 November and a month later it was shot down with Rueben Eckhardt’s crew. Some of this crew managed to evade capture and their story is covered in “The Flight of Eagles” by Ray Bowden.

Read more about this aircraft:

Known Mission List

Date Pilot


28 Jul 1943W L Horr / A G NealOschersleben
29 Jul 1943J H Mudge / W ClarkWarnemundeR/E (NS)
27 Aug 1943A J Ink / R A PayneWatten (abortive)
3 Sep 1943(scrubbed)Ground accident
23 Sep 1943A J Ink / W B WhitlowKerlin Bastard
26 Sep 1943A J Ink / A E StokesReims-Champagne
27 Sep 1943A J Ink / ?Emden
2 Oct 1943A J Ink / A E StokesEmden
4 Oct 1943A J Ink / A E StokesFrankfurt (St Dizier)
8 Oct 1943C L Doron / W E WheelerBremen
14 Oct 1943Beriont (96BG)SchweinfurtFlew with 96BG
18 Oct 1943A J Ink / A E StokesDuren (recalled)
3 Nov 1943A J Ink / A E StokesWilhelmshaven
5 Nov 1943A J Ink / A E StokesGelsenkirchenCat A - flak
11 Nov 1943M J Persechini / J D McKeeMunsterFailed to bomb due frozen release
13 Nov 1943J E Richey / T A HelmanBremenR/E (NS) - rudder, elevator froze, controls inop.
26 Nov 1943A J Ink / A E StokesParis - Bremen (abortive)
29 Nov 1943A J Ink / J A DownardBremenCrew data confusion
30 Nov 1943A J Ink / A L StokesSoligen
11 Dec 1943C S Moats / A J CorriveauEmden
13 Dec 1943G W Schweider / W G GildnerKiel
22 Dec 1943R H Palmer / R L SkaggsMunster
30 Dec 1943R H Eckhardt / C ErichsonLudwigshavenMISSING - left formation at 1512 under control and hit the deck. 2 KIA


© Ray Bowden 11 August 2022