B-24 US FlagThe B-24 Liberator, a World War II bomber featured in the book and movie Unbroken, was one of the workhorse bombers of that era. Louis Zamperini, the subject of the story, was a bombardier on the B-24. His airplane, named Green Hornet, went down in the Pacific. Zamperini survived the crash, became a Japanese POW and went on to make a huge impact on many people with his story of courage and faith.

Although those hostilities ended 70 years ago and most of the airplanes flown during the war were scrapped, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) still owns and operates one of only two of the remaining B-24s in the world. Their B-24, Diamond Lil, is the world’s oldest continuously flying airplane from WWII. The CAF maintains the airplane in flying condition in order to tell the story of people like Louis Zamperini and the thousands of others who fought so valiantly for the freedom we enjoy in this country today.
Diamond Lil, soon to be based at the CAF’s new National Airbase at Dallas Executive Airport, travels around the country bringing both the sight and sound of World War II aviation to the general public.

B-24

About the CAF’s B-24 Liberator Diamond Lil
Diamond Lil, built in 1941, was the 25th B-24 produced by Consolidated Aircraft Corporation. It is the oldest remaining B-24. Out of the over 18,000 produced, this airplane is one of only two still flying today. The CAF purchased this B-24A in 1967 and she has performed majestically before thousands of people for over 40 years. Originally configured as Diamond Lil, a transport aircraft, with markings of the 98th Bomb Group, she underwent a major restoration in 2006 with the intent of returning her back to the original bomber configuration and renamed Ol’ 927. In the winter of 2011-2012 the Squadron voted to return the name Diamond Lil to the aircraft with newly updated nose art. The airplane is maintained and operated by the volunteers of the Commemorative Air Force’s B-29/B-24 Squadron currently based at the Vintage Flying Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. The B-24 and many other rare World War II military aircraft will soon be part of the collection housed at the Commemorative Air Force National Airbase at Dallas Executive Airport.

Visit the CAF B29-B24 Squadron for more information www.cafb29b24.org/.

About Karnig Thomasian, 20th Air Force, 40th Bomber Command, 45 Bomb Squadron
Karnig Thomasian volunteered for the Army Air Corp in 1942 at the age of 18. Three years later, while serving as a left gunner/electrical specialist on a B-29 Superfortress, he bailed out of a burning airplane and landed in a rice paddy where he was immediately captured by the Japanese. He spent 6 months as a POW in a Japanese prison camp. His book, Then There Were Six, is the true story of that fateful mission over Rangoon, Burma where only 1 of 11 B-29s returned to its home base.

UPDATE

On Monday Dec. 22, The Commemorative Air Force conducted a media flight showcasing the B-24 Liberator Diamond Lil Monday in anticipation of the release of the new movie Unbroken. World War II veterans, including Karnig Thomasian,a former WWII Japanese prisoner of war, was present.Photos by Raymond Jeffcoat.

 

 

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