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The 1000 autographed B-17, survived FIFTY missions, was bought by a garage after the war, disappeared in 1948

Ian Smith

‘Squawkin’ Hawk’ was the name given to a US World War II 100th Group B-17 Flying Fortress. ‘The Squawkin’ Hawk’ is also the name of a Merrie Melodies animated cartoon, released in 1942 and featuring a feisty young chicken hawk determined to seize some prey. It was the first of that Group to fly 50 missions. It flew 47720 miles on active service. Not one of its crew was killed or injured in combat.

The 100th, known as ‘the Bloody Hundredth’, was based in Thorpe Abbotts, Norfolk, England. As the name suggests, it bore heavy casualties during the war, sometimes losing many aircraft on a mission. At Regensburg, Germany, on August 17, 1943, the Group lost nine bombers. At Berlin, in March 1944 it lost 15.

It was awarded Distinguished Unit Citations for its successful bombing forays. France awarded it the Croix de Guerre for supplying Free French forces between June and December 1944, and for assaulting heavy German defences.

After the war the Squawkin’ Hawk returned to the United States, covered in autographs of the men of the 100th. It participated in a tour to promote the sale of war bonds. After that, it was purchased by the stunt pilot Paul Mantz and used as advertising at a gas station in OK, Kentucky.

It was last seen in a partially disassembled state in 1948, and then apparently vanished. Rumours spread that it was placed in a barn somewhere, but it is just as likely that a scrap metal merchant purchased it.

Squawkin Hawk with first Crew names on Tail.

Squawkin Hawk with first Crew names on Tail.Photo Credit

A very proud bomber.

A very proud bomber. Photo Credit

Squawkin Hawk ready for take off. Photo Credit

Squawkin Hawk ready for take off. Photo Credit

Capt Sumner Reeder’s Crew Enlisted men in front of Squawkin Hawk. L-R front Brewster, Ping, Lovin, Back Row L-R Dolsen, Pope, Furlong.

Capt Sumner Reeder’s Crew Enlisted men in front of Squawkin Hawk. L-R front Brewster, Ping, Lovin, Back Row L-R Dolsen, Pope, Furlong.  Photo Credit

Flak Damage to the “SQUAWKIN’ HAWK”

Flak Damage to the “SQUAWKIN’ HAWK” Photo Credit

“SQUAWKIN HAWK” ground crew: Top from left; Durio and Phillips: Bottom from left: Bland and Callihand

“SQUAWKIN HAWK” ground crew: Top from left; Durio and Phillips: Bottom from left: Bland and Callihand Photo Credit

“SQUAWKIN’ HAWK” poses with the Armament section of the 349th

“SQUAWKIN’ HAWK” poses with the Armament section of the 349th Photo Credit

“SQUAWKIN’ HAWK” poses with the Armament section of the 349th

“SQUAWKIN’ HAWK” poses with the Armament section of the 349th Photo Credit

SQUAWKIN HAWK – October 1943 (left to right) S/Sgt. Charlie Ping-Tail Gunner, T/Sgt. Conner Brewster-Radio, S/Sgt. Francis “Frank” Dolsen-Ball Turret Gunner, Lt. Russell Engel-Navigator, Capt. Sumner Reeder-Pilot, S/Sgt. Robert M. Lovin-L/Waist Gunner, S/Sgt. Orrin Furlong-R/Waist Gunner. Courtesy of Frank Dolsen. via his Nephew, Michael L. Dolsen, Anchorage, Alaska. Frank still lives in Northville, MI…(8 Jan 2002) Most of crew gathered for a photo shot, just after Lt. Engle returned from the hospital)

SQUAWKIN HAWK – October 1943 (left to right)
S/Sgt. Charlie Ping-Tail Gunner, T/Sgt. Conner Brewster-Radio, S/Sgt. Francis “Frank” Dolsen-Ball Turret Gunner, Lt. Russell Engel-Navigator, Capt. Sumner Reeder-Pilot, S/Sgt. Robert M. Lovin-L/Waist Gunner, S/Sgt. Orrin Furlong-R/Waist Gunner.
Courtesy of Frank Dolsen. via his Nephew, Michael L. Dolsen, Anchorage, Alaska.
Frank still lives in Northville, MI…(8 Jan 2002)
Most of crew gathered for a photo shot, just after Lt. Engle returned from the hospital) Photo Credit

From 1935 to 1945, more than 12,700 B-17s were manufactured, but some 4,735 of those were lost during combat missions during World War II.

From 1935 to 1945, more than 12,700 B-17s were manufactured, but some 4,735 of those were lost during combat missions during World War II.Photo Credit

“SQUAWKIN’ HAWK” became the first B-17 of the 100th Group to fly 50 missions. With every square inch of her outer skin covered with names and autographs of men of the 100th, she was flown back to the U.S. to take part in a War Bond tour.

“SQUAWKIN’ HAWK” became the first B-17 of the 100th Group to fly 50 missions. With every square inch of her outer skin covered with names and autographs of men of the 100th, she was flown back to the U.S. to take part in a War Bond tour. Photo Credit

1000s of autographs.

1000s of autographs. Photo Credit

Milt Heff, 351st Transportation Sections with “SQUAKIN’ HAWK”.

Milt Heff, 351st Transportation Sections with “SQUAKIN’ HAWK”. Photo Credit

“SQUAWKIN’ HAWK” became the first B-17 of the 100th Group to fly 50 missions. With every square inch of her outer skin covered with names and autographs of men of the 100th, she was flown back to the U.S. to take part in a War Bond tour.

“SQUAWKIN’ HAWK” became the first B-17 of the 100th Group to fly 50 missions. With every square inch of her outer skin covered with names and autographs of men of the 100th, she was flown back to the U.S. to take part in a War Bond tour. Photo Credit