Bombardier Vince Evans sighed and tried rubbing his sleeve against the plexiglass dome before him. He knew it wasn’t going to do any good, but he couldn’t help himself.
The nosecone of the Memphis Belle was covered in the splattered and streaked remains of a horde of black flies. Spring had come in England, and the flies had come with it.
“Sir, just to let you know, I can’t see a damn thing up here.”
“Can’t help it. The Brits bit that base on a swamp. Something about the morning fog providing a natural cover. Plus, you know, bugs.” The pilot said. There was a brief pause, and Evans hung his head. “Besides,” came the voice again, “aren’t you supposed to be looking down the bomb sights?”
Out of the corner of his eye, something caught Evan’s attention. He turned his head, and noticed a black speck moving along the dome. It was like one of the splattered flies had come back to life.
Four more dead flies started moving. Then a dozen. Then twice that again.
They weren’t flies at all, he realized, maybe too late.
“Contacts! Contacts!” Vince Evans shouted into his radio, as his blood went cold.
The Memphis Belle was the first B-17 bomber to fly 25 combat missions with her crew intact. She was named for the pilot’s girlfriend, a Memphis resident. The Belle was purchased by the city of Memphis after an extensive bond tour. Unfortunately, the city had issues with maintaining and protecting the aircraft. After changing locations and hands a few times, the Air Force took back possession of the bomber, and installed it in their museum in Dayton, Ohio.