B-17 Flying Fortress Unit: Gulf Coast Wing Location: Houston, TX Progress: 70% Expected Completion: Spring 2017
Texas Raiders was the first B-17 Flying Fortress to join the CAF fleet and was acquired specifically to share the story of World War II airpower with the public at airshows and aviation events. Since joining the CAF in 1967, Texas Raiders has undergone extensive restoration in order to return the aircraft to its original B-17G configuration.
The B-17 is well known for the daring and intense daylight bombing missions over Germany, where the aircrews dodged anti-aircraft fire and enemy fighters while carrying bombs to drop into Hitler's Third Reich.
The CAF purchased the B-17 for $50,000 in 1967, with Gen. Curtis LeMay suggesting the aircraft honor all Texas veterans. Thus, this B-17 was named Texas Raiders.
In order to ensure Texas Raiders remains airworthy, the Gulf Coast Wing has led several major restorations of the airplane since 1972, one restoration spanning three years from 1983 to 1986, and another in 2009 that addressed the FAA Airworthiness Directive to replace the main wing spar.
Texas Raiders needs to be repainted, with her current paint weathered and corrosion becoming an increasing concern as some areas have already been found and treated. After fresh paint, the Gulf Coast Wing will work to re-apply the airplane's iconic 381st Bomb Group markings, its mission tally bombs on the nose, and the ever important Texas Raiders Nose Art. The unit has set a goal of $25,000 for this application before she goes on her nationwide tour in 2017.
Texas Raiders will continue to appear at aviation events, providing Living History flights on the vintage bomber. In addition to honoring all Texas Veterans, the Gulf Coast Wing flies Texas Raiders to remind us of the sacrifices and efforts made by the World War II generation to preserve the freedom we enjoy today.