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Company Honors 'Southern Comfort' WWII Bomber Pilot. Retired Col. Thomas Barr flew the B-17 "Southern Comfort" on a number of combat missions over Europe during World War II. In 1945, Colonel Thomas J. Barr nicknamed the B-17G bomber he piloted “Southern Comfort” in hopes that his favorite whiskey brand would send him and his crew a case. 70 years later, he’s getting even more than he hoped for back then.

The B-17 bomber, nick­named the Southern Comfort, was a "Flying Fortress" bristling with ten .50 calibre machine guns that stuck out like thorns all over the plane. Thorns that could send big bullets most of a mile. And bomb bays that could drop tons of destruction. The Southern Comfort became famous as she flew mission after mission from Chelveston. Each time, she brought her aircrew home. Even the last time­­ her 18th trip ­­the mortally wounded bomber got the crew back to England and all but one of them survived.

THOMAS J. BARR CREW - 427th BS B-17G Southern Comfort #44-83287 (427BS) GN-F (photo: April 1945)
(Back L-R) 2Lt Raymon G. Walker (N), 2Lt Verlin C. Pauling (CP), 2Lt Thomas J. Barr (P), F/O Richard H. Wentworth (B) 
(Front L-R) Sgt McClellan A. Byers (TG), Sgt George W. Zierk (R), Sgt Thomas M. Daspit (E), Sgt Benny F. Laza (BT)
(from the Raymon Walker Collection)

Once, this aircraft was better known than her sister ship, "Memphis Belle", another B­17 featured in a popular movie. If you watch the original piece of film about the Memphis Belle, you will see the Southern Comfort in the same film. She also appears in many other USAAF documentaries. 

The "Belle" survived 25 missions­­a rare feat in those perilous times­­ and was sent home with her crew. That plane can be seen today, still running. But it was the Southern Comfort and her crew that the official Army Air Forces' Journal featured in "Target: Germany". Life Magazine printed the booklet. It was the story of the 8th and 9th Air Force in Britain and the Americans' experimental­­and almost disasterous­­ daylight "precision" bombing campaign that eventually came to victory. Royal Air Force bombers hit German targets at night while the Americans bombed by day. For a time, it was an uncertain outcome.

 Colonel Thomas J. Barr

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