"Reluctant Dragon" Boeing B-17
On static display at Dyess Air Force Base
Airplanes - Military - Static Display - Bombers
Airplanes - Classic Aircraft
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@ 2007-12-14 21:38:49
This B-17, The Reluctant Dragon, was piloted by my great uncle. Can anyone tell me anything about it? Any stories? How can I get out to see the plane?
@ 2009-03-03 09:42:03
My step dad flew with the reluctant dragon and just passed away - I have a photo of the whole crew in front of the plane
@ 2009-03-04 06:51:09
Anonymous, if you would like us to post the photo of the Reluctant Dragon's crew with this link, we would be more than happy to do so. It's always nice when guests and members are able to bring the overhead images to life with personal accounts and revelations.
@ 2010-05-16 13:16:18
my grandfather flew on reluctant dragon not sure if it was the same one. 42-30454. RW gunner C.W. Carter who was your great uncle? The aircraft was called Thunderbird but went by Reluctant Dragon. Email
hope to hear from you.
@ 2011-01-13 11:07:42
i recently acquired a bomber jacket and some photos of kenneth Bradt a navigator and belly gunner on the reluctant dragon. i have a photo of him standing in front of the plane wearing the jacket with the dragon patch. he was the smallest of his crew and was given the duties of belly gunner as no one else would fit. kenneths son Rick was kind enough to share this information with me and said his dad flew many sucessful missions. i researched where this plane was scrapped in sept 44 but saw today its on display at dyess air force base. is this the real plane or did it get scrapped? anyone?
@ 2012-01-22 04:27:37
There were two B-17s with this name. The other was shot down on a September 1943 raid on Emden. My father, still living, was the navigator.
@ 2012-02-27 22:15:04
My grandfather was the pilot of the B-17 that was shot down over Germany. He survived, although his hand was injured when the plane went down. From what I understand, the plane that was "scrapped" was eventually salvaged from Germany, but the plane in the photo above isn't the same plane. Different emblems. The emblem of the plane shot down over Germany was a red cobra with dragon wings with its tail wrapped around a bomb, all placed on a yellow background.
If anyone is looking for more information about the Reluctant Dragon that was shot down over Germany, there's apparently a rare book on file at the University of Texas at Dallas that details the history of the bomber, as well as the other bombers in their bombing group. The book is called "Snetterton Falcons".
@ 2012-05-02 06:59:26
The Plane listed as the Reluctant Dragon located at Dyess AFB is NOT! the real Reluctant Dragon. The one at Dyess was Originally called Black Hawk and was built by my father and 4 others. My father's name was MSG Gillis W. Hanson and they built it out of Scrap from planes that were crashed in Arizonia Scrap Yard (1960) The plane was a drone ( means no guns or bombs and never was in Combat) In 1960 it was donated to the Municipal Airport to be on Display. The Airforce picked it back up in 1977 and took it to Dyess in which it was on Display in front of the Hospital. Sometime around 1990 some it was changed from the Black Hawk #85599 to the Reluctant Dragon! Then moved next to one of the Gates to the Airbase. (Gate means entrance). The Original Reluctant Dragon crashed and dismantled (Junked). If you ever get a chance to watch the old 12 O'Clock High Movie about B-17's the last plane shown was the Reluctant Dragon. It showed it crashing. I remember when I was 7 going on the inside of the Black Hawk at the Municipal Airport and Pointing at a piece of Plywood in the Bomb Bay with my Dad's name and the other 4 airmen's name on it. I wished that I could have got that Board as a memory. My dad died Jan 2 1981 the day before his 62nd Birthday.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
@ 2012-05-26 11:01:06
The crews usually went through several aircraft during their tour. One of my father's planes I believe was the reluctant dragon. The one on display is not the original one, it was just painted that way. My fathers name is John Gonda, piloted by Eugene Jensen of which a book Through Blue Skies to Hell was written. There is a man who works at the Atlanta museum that is really good with plane serial numbers. My father was stationed at Thorpe Abbott in England. He went through 3 planes. The ones he flew on are confirmed scrapped at Williams Az. You can email me at
if you have any questions.
@ 2012-12-03 12:53:21
My dad flew on a B-17, either Reluctant Dragon or Hell's Kitchen, in North Africa late '42 or early '43. His name was Carlton (Bob) Welch. The only other name I know is Orville (Red) Hester. Sure would love to hear from anyone who'd have any info on this plane!
@ 2013-02-11 14:29:24
I was research the tail number for an aquaintance of mine who flew on a B-17, the "Blackhawk". The tail number on the "Reluctant Dragon" is actually the tail number for the "Blackhawk". Other sights for this base has pictures of the aircraft with the "Blackhawk" nose art still on it. Apparently, someone who was instrumental in obtaining the aircraft for the base had ties to the "Reluctant Dragon".
@ 2013-07-15 13:41:17
Following up for Raymond "Dutch" Eisenhower, (belly) ball turret gunner on the "Black Hawk", that is, indeed, the plane on display in Abeline. Apparently, Dyess was the home base for the squadron the "Reluctant Dragon" flew in. I have no othe info on that aircraft, but will try to find somethin.
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