Harold Plunkett Returns To The B-17

Here at JohnJacobH Blog we have followed the adventures of Harold Plunkett, WWII Ball Turret Gunner with great admiration.


We are glad to see he remains air worthy in this, his latest episode aboard the legendary B-17.


Tantalizing Excerpt:
St. Louis, MO (KTVI-FOX2Now.com) – The ‘Liberty Belle’ B-17 is an icon of American history. It has taken fight in the skies over St. Louis. The B-17 is perhaps the most iconic aircraft of World War II. This weekend, St. Louisans will have the chance to get a close up look at one of only 14 still being flown today.

The planes were built toward the end of the war. This particular version of the Liberty Belle never saw combat but it does have a long history. In 1979 the midsection was crushed by a tornado. Eventually it was bought by the Liberty Foundation and restored so everyone could share in the history of this legendary plane.

More than 12,000 B-17s were built during the war. A staggering 4,700 of them went down in action.

Paul Tibbets: Proper Weapon Lubrication Under Extreme Conditions

For the WD-40 crowd, I humbly offer this selection from the “Return of the Enola Gay”,a memoir of Colonel Paul Tibbets, Army Air Corps- a brief tutorial on the maintenance and lubrication of the M-50 machinegun under extreme conditions.

Click Link Here to acquire your copy of “Return Of The Enola Gay”
Page 86-87:
Continue reading

Harold Plunkett, Phil Reinoeh, Ball Turret Gunner (s) (Part III)

Another tale from the Ball Turret Gunner Files.

Complete link:


Tantalizing Excerpt:

During combat, Plunkett’s oxygen tank was shot away, causing him to pass out. When members of the crew looked down at the turret and saw he wasn’t moving, they assumed he was dead, he said.

It wasn’t until the Germans fled to refuel that they could check on him. “When they went back to refuel, the boys got me out of the turret, put me in the radio room and put me on real oxygen and brought me back to where I was available again,” he said.

He wasn’t sure how long he was without the oxygen, but crew members told him his body was starting to turn black. After a three-day break, he was back to flying again, Plunkett said.

Paul Tibbets demonstrates how to deal with corrupt government


From the good people over at Free Republic another example of the difference between “then” and “now”. Pretty amazing tale.

The book can be found for sale here:


The link to the excerpt can be found here:


Tantalizing excerpt:

Here is a little tale that suddenly seems highly relevant.

A tale of guns and money and government corruption as told by an old pilot from the greatest generation. (Note: keep in mind in 1943 a descent house with indoor plumbing (a big deal in those days) could be had for about $8000.00. Cars were anywhere from $800.00 to $1200.00.

Paul Tibbets traveled  with a chunk of change and NO trigger locks on the guns!)

Chapter 19 Reunion

“You son of a b****, put that down!”

The voice was mine, but I could hardly believe it.

The scene was the U.S. customs shed at Homestead Air Force base south of Miami.

I had just pumped a live round into the chamber of my .45 automatic and was pointing the gun at a very surprised and officious customs officer who was trying to take $1,600 from me.

This was my return to the United States in February 1943, after eight months overseas. I was tired and run-down from months of combat flying and a strenuous seven-day trip home in slow-flying military transports. My weight was down to 155 pounds, 37 less than when I left for England the previous June.

Before I left Algiers, an old flying friend, Christopher Karis, had given me a little more than $800 to take to his parents back home. He had been helping to support them since he was in high school. When he gave me the money, he was on brief leave from his base in the desert, where there had been nowhere to spend the monthly pay he had been collecting. Although we were paid in Algerian francs, a serviceman returning to the States could convert them to American dollars.

I had taken Karis’s money and my own to the finance officer and converted them into a little more than $1600 in U.S. currency. This I put into a French-made Moroccan leather pouch that was a little larger than a billfold. Although it would fit in an inside jacket pocket, I put it in my B-4 bag, which was never out of my sight on the trip home.

My luggage consisted of the B-4 bag, which contained an automatic pistol, and a parachute bag in which was stowed an assortment of belongings, including my Thompson submachine gun.

I hoisted the bag onto a table and the customs agent started going through them. He saw the weapons and never said a word. When he came to the leather pouch, he asked, “What’s this?”

“Money-about $1600.” I replied.

“Well, I have to take it.”

That was when I exploded. Normally, my reaction would have been less violent, but the war and the long trip home had loaded the camel’s back to the breaking point. I wasn’t about to give up that money.

“You can’t have that,” the customs man said, looking nervously at the gun I was pointing at him.

Harold Plunkett, Ball Turret Gunner Part II

Another living history lesson from Harold Plunkett, Ball Turret Gunner, Army Air Corps.

Complete link:


Harold Plunkett Ball Turret Gunner

Maybe his life is not a Hollywood movie, but then again, maybe  Hollywood should consider writing a script from his life.  Harold Plunkett survived one of the most dangerous jobs in the Army Air Corps- Ball Turret Gunner. Truth is stranger than fiction.