Sentimental Journey rolled off the Douglas assembly line in late 1944, and was accepted by the U.S. Army Air Force on March 13, 1945. Manufactured too late to see service in the European war, the aircraft was assigned to the Pacific theater for the duration of the conflict. In 1947, the aircraft was removed from storage in Japan and assigned to Clark Field in Manila as a photo mapping plane. For nearly three years she served in that capacity, flying to all corners of the Pacific configured as an RB-17G.
On January 27, 1959, final military orders were cut, transferring the airplane to military storage at Davis Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. Within a few months, 83514 was acquired by the Aero Union Corporation of Chico, California, and became a civilian aircraft as N-9323Z, the registration which remains with her today. For the ensuing eighteen years, an aircraft that had been designed to survive no more than a hundred missions, flew literally thousands of forest fire sorties throughout the country.
On January 14, 1978, at a membership banquet for the newly formed Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, Colonel Mike Clarke announced the donation of the aircraft to the Arizona Wing of the CAF.
A contest initiated by local media to name the aircraft resulted in more than 800 entries, and the ultimate selection of the name Sentimental Journey. The decision was made to use the most famous pinup picture of World War II for the nose art. Permission was secured from widower Harry James to add Betty Grable in her most tantalizing pose to grace the newly acquired bomber...
Air Base ArizonaB17Bety GrableBlack and WhiteBoeingBomberCYYJCommerative Air ForceMachine GunNose ArtRelics of EmpireSentimental JourneyStrategic BomberUSAFWWIIiphoneographyAuteur Savant, from
Relics of Empire