September 30, 2010 — 12:00 noon

Fred Hagen is appearing on Talk Philly to tell us about his love of old war planes and his efforts to rescue and restore them for everyone to enjoy.

Recovered from a remote New Guinea crash site, the Holy Grail of military aviation is unveiled.

CONTACT: Stacy Geere, (661) 253-1059 or (818) 434-7633, for event information or
Alfred Hagen, (215) 520-0883, for aircraft salvage background and photos.

WHAT: More than 68 years since a group of young U.S. servicemen in a B-17E Flying Fortress crash-landed in a primitive New Guinea swamp, the air crew’s surviving relatives, aircraft salvage team leaders and aviation historians will welcome home the fallen aircraft to honor the heroes of World War II. Excellent visuals and interview opportunities.

  • P-51 Mustang and P-40 Warhawk formation flyover above the Long Beach Harbor
  • Presentation of Colors by U.S. Air Force Honor Guard
  • Unveiling of remarkably intact B-17E front fuselage recovered from New Guinea swamp
  • Poster-size images of wreckage and recovery efforts
WHEN: Friday, June 11, 2010
10 a.m. Reception and refreshments
10:30 a.m. National anthem, formation flyover, unveiling ceremony
11 a.m. Photo and interview opportunities

WHO: John Tallichet, Specialty Restaurants Corp. president and CEO, whose late father David Tallichet initiated recovery efforts in the mid-1980s and was a collector of World War II aircraft.

Alfred Hagen, Aero Archaeology founder and Swamp Ghost salvage team leader, who has helped locate seven missing aircraft and returned more than a dozen MIA airmen to the U.S.

Linda Oliver, a Calif. resident and widow of aircraft bombardier Col. Richard Oliver, whose last wish was to see his warbird come home, and other surviving relatives of Swamp Ghost air crew.

WHERE: The Reef restaurant parking lot, 880 Harbor Scenic Drive, Long Beach.

BACKGROUND: On Feb. 23, 1942, a B-17E Flying Fortress crashed into one of the most remote locations on Earth - a primitive swamp on the north coast of Papua New Guinea - after participating in the first long-range U.S. bombing mission of World War II following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The nine-member crew survived the ordeal, but damage from enemy gunfire and loss of fuel caused the pilot to crash-land the plane. After a harrowing six-week escape to safety, the crew returned to combat. However, for the next 64 years, the bomber nicknamed Swamp Ghost slept beneath water and tall grass until it was salvaged in 2006 through a treacherous recovery effort. One of only four B-17E models ever recovered, Swamp Ghost will be restored, possibly to flying condition, for display at an aviation history museum in honor of America’s veterans. It is widely known as the Holy Grail of military aviation.