Chuck Childs Recalls Days In B-17 Bomber

Jun 19, 2015

WWII B-17 bomber pilot Chuck Childs looks out a window of the fully restored and fully operational “Sentimental Journey” - at the waist gunner's station - during a special flight over Rapid City.
Credit Photo by Jim Kent
Chuck Childs was a flying instructor for the U.S. Army Air Corps during WWII (September 1, 1939 to September 2, 1945) before he began flying B-17 bombers over Europe. He flew 37 combat missions against Germany and, miraculously, survived them all without serious injury.
Chuck Childs as a B-17 bomber pilot in WWII.
Credit Courtesy Chuck Childs

After the war, Childs took part in the “Berlin Air Drop” (Berlin Air Lift -  April 1, 1948 to May 12, 1949) ), flying 196 missions to bring daily necessities to German citizens living behind the newly created Russian Iron Curtain. Aircrews from the U.S. Air Force, British Royal Air ForceRoyal Canadian Air ForceRoyal Australian Air ForceRoyal New Zealand Air Force, and the South African Air Force flew over 200,000 flights to provide Berliners 8,893 tons of  fuel and food.

 Childs also participated in the Korean War, carrying paratroopers into combat. Among other awards, Chuck Childs received 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses. He recently took part in a special flight of the “Sentimental Journey” – a fully restored and fully operational B-17 bomber – over Rapid City. SDPB’s Jim Kent accompanied Chuck Childs on that flight, before which Childs shared memories of his career as a pilot.

"Sentimental Journey" co-pilot Jim Dennison hold a piece of “flak” (antiaircraft projectile) that entered his father’s B-17 ball turret during a flight in World War II but didn’t injures him. Dennison carries the piece of metal with him on every flight to remember his father and the veterans of WWII.
Credit Photo by Jim Kent

Members of the “Sentimental Journey” crew also offered comments about their own flying experiences and that of family members who fought in WWII.  

 Related link: Take To The Skies In A B-17 With WWII Pilot Chuck Childs - SDPB 6/18/15   For more information on Commemorative Air Force Airbase Arizona go to: