Image of the Air Force wings with the museum name underneath

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
FREE Admission & Parking

"The Old Man's Ordeal"

Note: This item is currently in storage.

The donor's father, Thomas Lloyd "Breezy" Boren Jr., a bombardier on a B-17 Flying Fortress named "The Old Man," and his fellow crewman were flying a solo reconnaissance mission over the Solomon Sea and Gasmata, New Britain, in March of 1943 when they were intercepted by as many as 13 Japanese Zero fighter planes. A 45-minute battle ensued and Boren quickly jettisoned four 500-pound bombs and the long range fuel tank to lighten the aircraft in order to gain airspeed. By the end of the battle, five Zeroes had been shot down and the B-17 bomber limped back to an airfield in Papua New Guinea.

Years later, Boren worked with noted aviation artist Jack Fellows on details of the battle scene. The painting, named "The Old Man's Ordeal," depicts the moment when the bombs and fuel tank were released.

Donated by Ms. Jeanne Greenlee.

Click here to return to the Featured Accessions index.


Find Out More
Related Fact Sheets
Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress
Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero
Note: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the National Museum of the USAF, the U.S. Air Force, or the Department of Defense, of the external website, or the information, products or services contained therein.