by Senior Airman Victor J. Caputo
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
3/24/2015 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- One
of over 1,600 B-29 Superfortresses assembled in Wichita, Kansas, was
delivered to the Army Air Forces on March 23, 1944, and that very same
aircraft was "delivered" again in commemoration of its restoration
during a ceremony March 23, in Wichita.
"I was real thrilled for this," said retired Col. Charles Chauncey, a
former B-29 pilot who flew 35 missions in World War II. "It looks good
now. I'm so proud of all the people who put it back together. It's very
majestic, and I'm thrilled to have been there to see it. I want to thank
[the volunteers] for all they've done to put it back together. It was a
This B-29, known affectionately as "Doc" by the volunteers who restored
it, sat in the Mojave Desert for decades after being decommissioned and
serving as a ballistic target at a Navy weapons range. An aviation
enthusiast discovered Doc 1987.
"Even back then, there weren't many of these beauties left," said Doc's
"rescuer and champion," Tony Mazzolini. "Saving it from that situation
in the desert was one thing, but the dream was always to restore Doc to
flying condition and turn it into a flying museum to help keep the
While the B-29 was never flown out of McConnell, the 22nd Bombardment
Group flew the plane extensively in the Korean War before eventually
transitioning into the 22nd Air Refueling Wing in 1982.
"McConnell Air Force Base is very lucky to have such caring neighbors
with such enthusiasm for aviation history," said Col. James Dermer, 22nd
ARW vice commander. "Our Airmen feel the support of the 'Air Capital of
the World' every day in the communities where we live, work and play
around Wichita. Doc is in great hands!"
Dozens of volunteers have spent the last 15 years getting the plane
ready to fly again in Wichita. More than 300,000 hours have been spent
on the restoration thanks to individuals from McConnell, Boeing Co.,
Spirit AeroSystems and many groups in and around Wichita.
"It is my distinct pleasure to be [here] today to honor both the legacy
of our veterans and the tireless efforts of volunteers to preserve an
important piece of history," said Larry Lawson, Spirit AeroSystems CEO
and president. "Doc represents the sacrifices of 'the greatest
generation,' to whom Americans owe their freedom."
Doc is expected to be fully air-worthy by summer 2015, and the cost of restoration is estimated to be between $7-9 million.