By Sgt. Thernon J. Rice

Marine Corps Correspondent

SOMEWHERE IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC—When Calamity Jane, the famous Flying Fortress landed at this island outpost not so long ago, she was flying outside the co-pilot’s window a small red, white and blue flag, with a single star in the center.

flying fortress B17E calamity jane

Nose art on the B17E Flying Fortress, Calamity Jane

The officer of the day spotted the flag immediately and sent a frantic call for the colonel to come and meet the visiting brigadier general.

The OD hadn’t heard anything about a BG being scheduled, but the flag was unmistakable.

When the crew stepped out of Calamity Jane, however, the highest ranking officer was Maj. Francis A. Smith of Northeast, Md., who wears the DFC for the Christmas Eve raid on Wake Island.

“Where’s the general?” the OD asked.

“We haven’t any general aboard,” the major answered.

“Then why the flag?” demanded the OD.

“Oh, that!” said the major. “The grandmother of one of the boys works in a defense factory. That’s for her.”

For Further Reading Check Out:

Target: Rabaul: The Allied Siege of Japan’s Most Infamous Stronghold, March 1943 – August 1945

You Are Not Forgotten: The Story of a Lost World War II Pilot and a Twenty-First-Century Soldier’s Mission to Bring Him Home

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