My Story

“Growing up, I used to watch war documentaries with my father. Once, I saw this footage of Badly damaged B-17s coming back to their base in England. I couldn't undertand how could they still fly?”

Hi, My name is Alain Tanguay

But please, call me Al.

My childhood was largely defined by my father's occasional presence. Always the handyman, he was frequently preoccupied with helping others or engrossed in his own projects - he even built a 35-foot sailboat when I was just 5 years old. His spare time was often spent absorbed in documentaries.

The only way to share in his world was to join him during these television marathons. As an inquisitive young boy, I would pepper him with questions which he attempted to answer to the best of his abilities.

One of my father's defining qualities was his profound respect for the military, a trait he instilled in me. This is how I was introduced to the B-17 bomber. I recall a moment in my early teens, when we were engrossed in a World War II documentary featuring these heavily damaged B-17s, miraculously making their way back to base in England, despite missing wings or having their noses almost obliterated. I was flabbergasted, unable to comprehend how these aircraft were still airborne.

When questioned, my father attributed it to the marvel of engineering. To me, it was nothing short of magic.

From then on, my fascination with the B-17s deepened. However, the quest for more information was near impossible at the time - about 50 years ago, when the internet was nonexistent and our public library was inadequately stocked in military history books.

Years later, the movie "Memphis Belle" came out and one of the first PC game about the B17, "Flying Fortress" by Microprose. Unfortunately, the game didn't quite meet my high expectations.

I was lucky enough to attend the inauguration of the restored Memphis Belle at the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton in 2018. The exhibition had such an impact on me that I've visited three times since then.

Over the past four years, I've seen various B-17s like Fuddy Duddy, Champaign Lady, Starduster, and Preston's Pride. In my eyes, bomber crews endured some of the harshest conditions in World War II. This site is a modest tribute to their bravery and dedication. Thank you for your service.