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Posted: 1/16/2015 2:42:39 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/17/2015 7:13:24 AM EST by Johnny_Reno]
Tonight's featured avatar belongs to the team member, tnsparky,...a member of the site since 2011.

His avatar is of the Memphis Belle, one of the first B-17s to complete 25 bombing missions over Europe during WWII.

The Aircraft

For many of you, this will simply be a review. For some of us, perhaps it will be new information.

The heavy hitters of the American air war over Europe during WWII were made up of huge formations of B-17s or B-24s.

If you could pick one aircraft to represent the B-17s, it would be the Memphis Belle.

The casualties suffered by the men of these bombing formations were horrific. Airmen at the time were told that if they completed 25 missions, they would have completed their combat obligation in the war.

For many, that seemed to be an unreachable goal. It wasn't for the Memphis Belle though. She completed her 25th mission and rotated back to the US to participate in War Bond rallies.

The Art

The men of that time decorated their aircraft with nose art - a way to personalize their bomber.

The inspiration for the Memphis Belle came from pinup art by George Petty featured in the April 1941 issue of Esquire magazine.

Robert Morgan, the pilot, contacted George Petty and asked for his permission to use his artwork on his aircraft. Petty was thrilled to be able to give his permission.

A local artist with the unit, a Corporal, painted her on both sides of the aircraft.

Some of you who have a sharp eye for detail may have noticed in photographs of the Belle that sometimes she is in a red bathing suit and sometimes it was blue.

That's because she was painted in red on the port side of the aircraft and blue on the other.

The Mission

The mission of the Memphis Belle and all of the other bombers like her was to destroy the war fighting ability of the Germans.

She flew, bristling with .50 caliber machine guns and a belly full of bombs. Much of the time, she was escorted by Allied fighters, though often times she continued on when the target was out of range of their escorts. During those times, she depended on her guns and the guns of the other bombers with her to defend herself.

In the end, she had dropped those 25 bomb loads and was also credited with shooting down eight enemy aircraft.

The Departure

I have a set of rules for myself when I do these threads. One of the rules is that I send an IM to the user of the featured avatar immediately after posting the thread.

I can't IM tnsparky today because we lost him yesterday.

Instead, I'll notify him via prayer and hope that he can take a moment to review it.

I'll hope that you can join me in a prayer for him as he departs for his final mission.

GD thread

Memorial thread

...and now you know.

Previously featured avatar: Eastonj

Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:44:39 PM EST
A fantastic tribute to tnsparky and to those he paid tribute to.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:44:43 PM EST
nice job. RIP tnsparky.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:44:52 PM EST

Its always a shame to lose one of our own
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:45:17 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:46:12 PM EST
excellent write up. Thank you Johnny
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:46:21 PM EST

Rest in peace, sparky.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:47:24 PM EST
Thank you, JR.

We really appreciate this.

Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:48:31 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:48:48 PM EST
RIP tnsparky
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:48:52 PM EST
Bravo Johnny.

Rest easy Robert.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:49:52 PM EST
Awesome tribute, JR.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:50:34 PM EST
Thanks, Johnny.

Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:50:47 PM EST
Thank you Johnny
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:52:05 PM EST
Godspeed tnsparky

Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:52:09 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/16/2015 2:53:52 PM EST by SmilingBandit]
A great tribute and RIP but I do have one correction. The Belle was not the first to hit 25 missions. The Hell's Angels passed that number six days prior but the name of the bird kept her fighting another eight months before finally coming back to the states after 48 missions.

ETA: Those wishing to see the Belle today can get in on the behind the scenes tour at the National Museum of the Air Force.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:54:51 PM EST
Johnny well done sir. A fitting tribute. Classy brother, very classy. Prayers sent. RIP tnsparky. Hope it is everything you imagined and more.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:56:08 PM EST
bitter sweet thread , thanks Johnny

RIP sparky
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:58:25 PM EST
RIP- tnsparky.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 2:59:08 PM EST
Good tribute. Thanks J_R.

Link Posted: 1/16/2015 3:01:27 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 3:09:02 PM EST
Great write up J_R
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 3:11:31 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 3:19:18 PM EST
Nice gesture Johnny...

RIP Sparky
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 3:20:04 PM EST
that was nice of you.

RIP sparky. we'll miss you very much.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 3:21:16 PM EST
Well done! Thank you.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 3:21:28 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 3:26:09 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/16/2015 3:27:23 PM EST by Staggunner]
Fair skies and a following wind tnsparky. The movie was well done I think. Nowhere to hide in those bombers.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 3:29:12 PM EST
With a wing and a prayer, God speed, tnsparky.

Link Posted: 1/16/2015 3:30:30 PM EST
Very nicely done, with great respect to both subjects.

Rest in Peace.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 3:30:51 PM EST
Excellent write up, JR
RIP Sparky
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 3:35:06 PM EST
Well done as always, and a sad day.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 3:37:03 PM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By FlyLeaf:
Godspeed tnsparky

View Quote

Link Posted: 1/16/2015 3:41:17 PM EST
Well done. RIP, Sparky.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 3:48:48 PM EST
Excellent write up, thank you very much for posting this.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 4:06:41 PM EST
Very classy Johnny.

RIP sparky.

Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Staggunner:
Fair skies and a following wind tnsparky. The movie was well done I think. Nowhere to hide in those bombers.
View Quote

There was barely enough room to turn around in them. It's truely amazing how tiny such a larger plane can be.

And then to fit in several men with large brass ones.

Link Posted: 1/16/2015 4:07:19 PM EST
RIP Sparky.

Link Posted: 1/16/2015 4:07:49 PM EST
Well done Johnny !
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 4:09:11 PM EST
Thanks Johnny
A great tribute to a great friend and fellow 24/365 member

Until we meet again Sparkles!!!!
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 4:09:13 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 4:11:06 PM EST
A great way to pay tribute.

Link Posted: 1/16/2015 4:14:24 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/16/2015 4:17:05 PM EST by BB]
RIP tnsparky
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 4:21:30 PM EST
What a great tribute!

Prayers to you and your family.

Rest in Peace....
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 4:26:09 PM EST
You'll be missed sparky.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 4:27:00 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 4:28:43 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 5:12:16 PM EST
Thank you JR.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 5:17:51 PM EST
Nice one Johnny.....

Link Posted: 1/16/2015 5:18:47 PM EST
Gonna miss you sparky.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 5:27:26 PM EST
...and when she buries a man, that action concerns me: all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another.
Link Posted: 1/16/2015 5:30:27 PM EST
Where did that spec of dust come from?

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