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Posted - 03/05/2016 :  17:07:52  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was just watching a 1943 movie on TCM called "Air Force." It was about a B-17 and its crew at the outbreak of the war in the Pacific. It brought to mind Shep's friends who were crew members on B-17s.

I have already written here at some length about Schwartz -- "I triple-dog dare ya!" -- and his mid-air collision in a B-17G Flying Fortress over the Adriatic Sea on March 19, 1944. The remains of First Lieutenant Paul LeRoy Schwartz were never recovered. For an illustrated retelling of the events, see:

However, Schwartz was not the only friend of Shep's who perished in a Flying Fortress.

Shep spoke of Ernie Dunker on several occasions. On his WOR broadcast of April 20, 1962, Shep mentioned how he and Dunker were both members of Hammond High's school band. And in the first hour of Shep's performance at the Village Limelight on October 21, 1967, Shep told of how he and Dunker skipped band practice one day.

Sergeant Ernest Walter Dunker died in England in a Flying Fortress on February 15, 1945, when his B-17G fell to earth shortly after takeoff. For an illustrated retelling of those events, see:

Although we all appreciate the legacy of stories Shep left behind, perhaps we should take a moment to also reflect on the higher legacy of the subjects of some of those stories.


Eight months after originally posting the foregoing comments, I now have in hand an original letter that Lieutenant Schwartz wrote home from navigation school in San Marcos, Texas, on Monday, April 19, 1943. Here is what he told his family (exactly 11 months before he perished in his B-17 Flying Fortress):

Saw a movie tonite that I think you all might enjoy. I did. Saw it at the Post Theatre. The name of it is "Air Force," try to see it.

Veterans Day is in 3 days. We should all have in mind those who fought and died to preserve our freedom.

Edited by - Colonel on 11/08/2016 14:48:52
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