About The Book


From 2009 to 2015 a dedicated band of warbird enthusiasts devoted themselves to restoring a WWII era B-17 Flying Fortress at the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, located in Pooler, Georgia, just several miles from Savannah where the 8th Air Force was founded in 1942.

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    B-17 FLYING FORTRESS RESTORATION weaves together personal narratives of individual volunteers to describe the story of the six year effort by those volunteers to overcome the challenges they faced to fulfill their dream to create a lasting symbol to honor their fathers and grandfathers and everyone who served in the Mighty Eighth.

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  • The entire book in 75 words

    In B-17 FLYING FORTRESS RESTORATION the book’s author, and Project Manager for the restoration of 44-83814, Jerry McLaughlin, recounts the challenging effort to restore the 70-year-old airplane. Guiding a group of volunteers, with professional support from the Savannah aviation community, McLaughlin and his team began their effort by honestly stating, “We don’t know what we don’t know”….about restoring airplanes. Six years later, at the airplane’s dedication, he told an audience of 600, “We believe we have created, arguably, the finest operational static display B-17 in the world.”

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  • Testimonials


    The reader is about to embark on a unique story in the annals of military aircraft restoration. B-17 FLYING FORTRESS RESTORATION is the story of a B-17G bomber, tail number 44-83814, from the time it rolled off the assembly line until its restoration was completed by the talented and dedicated volunteers at The National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force in Pooler, Georgia. I have seen other aircraft restorations, but none that equals the B-17 that now bears the name City of Savannah. Enjoy the read.

    E.G.“Buck” Shuler, Jr. Lt. General, USAF, Retired Former Commander Eighth Air Force

    In the restoration of the B-17G 44-83814, now known as the City of Savannah, we revivified an aged heroine still gleaming with the vibrancy of war and the lives that gave her mission and therefore meaning. Jerry McLaughlin’s well-written B-17 FLYING FORTRESS RESTORATION is the story of those who returned this historic treasure to glory. It captures our traverse of seven decades and delivery of a singular work of man: a great machine of just war now on a mission of proud remembrance.

    Maj. Gen. Jeffrey E. Phillips, USA (Ret.) (“City of Savannah” volunteer and son of a USAAF pilot.)

    The story that you will read in B-17 FLYING FORTRESS RESTORATION represents several distinct groups of people: those who fought and died in the sky over Europe; those who worked in extremely difficult conditions on the ground to keep the airplanes flying; and 70 years later, with equal resolve, their children, who conducted this restoration in order to assure that the memory of the sacrifices made by their fathers will never be forgotten.

    Dr. Harry Friedman, B-17 Co-Op, Memphis Belle Memorial Association

    In B-17 FLYING FORTRESS RESTORATION, Jerry McLaughlin does a wonderful job of describing the process his volunteer crew went through to bring this beautiful airplane back to life. He also tells the story of the original City of Savannah and what happened to its crew, including my dad.

    Ralph “Kit” Kittle, son of the original 1944 pilot of the B-17 City of Savannah

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    B-17 FLYING FORTRESS RESTORATION describes how the restoration efforts began with a full year of cleaning crud from both the exterior and interior of the airplane, which had now been named City of Savannah, after a B-17 that had previously departed for the war in Europe with that name in December of 1944. The continuing story then describes how the cleaning effort evolved into employing the services of many skilled volunteers to bring the airplane back to it’s original glory, to include a completely restored and operational radio compartment, sheet metal work from nose to tail, and finally, the implementation of state-of-the-art 3D printing technology to produce parts for the airplane that no longer exist on the open market.

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