Early morning crowd in Blair County PA. ...

Advance tickets for the WWII re-enactment at the Foundation's headquarters in Stow, MA are now available - Oct. 7th & 8th www.collingsfoundation.org/event/battle-for-the-airfield/ ...

Of the historic dates during WWII, one might think of December 7, 1941 or June 6, 1944. - But today's date, August 17, 1942, 75 years ago - might have had a bigger impact on US military policy and the war effort as a whole. On this day twelve B-17s from the 8th bomber command led by Major Paul Tibbets (later pilot of the Enola Gay) flew on the first strategic bombing mission in US history. These aircraft were not escorted by us fighter planes, but by Spitfires from the Royal Air Force. The pilots protecting our airmen hailed from Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Belgium and England. May of these pilots had already lost their home country to the Nazi war machine. Then, a potential salvation in the form of US industrial military and might joined the allied team to help liberate the world.

The US changed its foreign policy from being an isolationist nation to one that used air power to help defeat a truly awful enemy. This offensive posturing with strategic air power was a departure from even our assistance in WWI. Strategic air power had become a back bone of the US super power and our ability to thwart heinous regimes around the world.

Today, only one aircraft flown on that monumental first 8th AF mission survives. Ironically enough, it is not an American aircraft, but a British Spitfire. This Spitfire, BR601, is an unlikely survivor from that fateful day. BR601's pilot John Doherty has long since passed along with perhaps all of the aircrews of the USAAF and RAF who flew this first mission. This plane has taken to the skies 75 years later as a tribute to these brave American and Allied air crews that fought to liberate the world.

Help us locate any of the original crew members that flew on the August 17th, 1942 mission with the 8th or RAF 64 Squadron. Email: hchaney@collingsfoundation.org

Hello Ohio 🖐🌤🛫 ...

New entry road and bridge coming along nicely. ...

Thank you for your assistance in promoting the Wings of Freedom Nationwide Tour: A living history display of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Consolidated B-24 Liberator, and North American B-25 Mitchell… America’s backbone bomber aircraft of World War II.

Sixty years after their use over the skies of enemy territory, they embark on a new mission over the skies of America to honor our veterans of World War II, promote education of our future generations about the role of the aircraft and the flight crews of World War II, and to preserve these treasures of American aviation history where they belong: the sky.

Some files may need Adobe Acrobat, if you do not have this, please download a free copy here.


If you have any questions, please contact Collings Foundation Director of Marketing, Hunter Chaney at 978-562-9182 (MA) or email:hchaney@collingsfoundation.org

Please also feel free to refer to the Collings Foundation Website at:



  • Please contact Director of Marketing, Hunter Chaney via email for press releases that are specific to a particular stop.
  • hchaney@collingsfoundation.org


  • Background sheet for the Collings Foundation
  • Background Sheet for the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
    [MS Word]
  • Background Sheet for the Consolidated B-24 Liberator
    [MS Word]
  • Background Sheet for the North American B-25 Mitchell
    [MS Word]
  • Background Sheet for the North American P-51 Mustang
    [MS Word]

Click on picture for the Collings Foundation’s 2016-2017 magazine

Contact Information

The Collings Foundation
P.O. Box 248
Stow, MA 01775
Phone: 978-562-9182
Fax: 978-568-8231
email: info@collingsfoundation.org
website: http://www.collingsfoundation.org


Please click on image for high-res .JPG format file (200 dpi or greater). Image will open in separate window and can be saved from there.

B-24 Liberator, B-17 Flying Fortress and P-51 Mustang in formation.

B-24 Liberator, B-17 Flying Fortress and P-51 Mustang in formation.

30sec Wings of Freedom

Hyannis Press Release