A True Account of courage and bravery! How 10 men survived 50 Combat Missions over Europe during WWII
Mr. Henry Ford little realized when he turned Shoo-Shoo Baby over to the Army that she would be handled with such excellent care. Her original tires lasted for 380 hours, her nose wheel is still going strong. Batteries usually last 200 hours, but again, Shoo-Shoo Baby bas done the exceptional, her batteries are still in perfect working order and she still works off the original 'putt-putt' or airplane power unit.
200 hours is average for an engine, and yet 410 hours were flown in combat before an engine change was made. 46 straight sorties were made before an early return on the 47th, due to a faulty #3 engine, the brand new engine!
Number of Sorties (flights) 63 - Number of Missions 84 - 1st Engine change, #s 2 & 3 at 410.30 hours - 2nd Engine Change, #s 1& 4 at 510.15 hours - 1st Early Return on the 47th Sortie, due to faulty #3 engine that had just been changed.
Total Flying Time; 700 Hours - Total Combat Time; 585 Hours
4 Turbos changed - 5 Engines Changed - 1 Tail Assembly Replaced - 1 Flap Replaced - 1 Aileron Replaced - 1 Outer Wing Panel Replaced
3 Gun Turret Domes Replaced - 21 Fuel Cells Replaced - 2 Rudders Replaced - Wings Sustained 130 Holes - Tail Assembly Sustained 42 Holes
Fuselage Sustained over 200 Holes
January 28, 1944
Well, it's official, our plane is now, 'The Shoo-Shoo Baby. We met Shoe and the other officers at the hanger. Shoe was elated when we told him about the name but something gave me the feeling that he already thought of it before we did. However he gave us the credit for thinking of it. We were at the hanger to take the ship out on what is called a 'shake-down' flight. Shoe told us to wear our parachutes and stay out of the turrets until he gave the 'all-clear'. If something went wrong he would hit the alarm bell and we were to bail out.
How the name was selected... an excerpt from Tomorrows Promise
January 27, 1944 - Pocatello, Idaho
We're still getting used to our new plane. Shoe asked us to come up with a name for the ship. Many of the other crews already have a name and have it painted on the fuselage. A lot of them have pictures of girls painted near the name. All of the ships are painted an olive drab color that makes the paintings really stand out. Tonight, 6 of us were sitting around drinking coffee at the cafeteria trying to come up with a name. Sal suggested, 'Shaking all over' because he said we'd be shaking all over when flying combat. It sounded funny now but I don't think it will be then. Bill suggested, 'Carry me back to New York'. We didn't think that was a good name but Bill said that's what he wanted the plane to do, take him back to New York.
We sat for almost an hour trying to come up with a name until someone started playing the juke box. An Andrew Sisters song came on and when we heard the words, Bill looked at me, Frank looked at both of us and then Marsh banged his fist on the table and Sal started singing along with the Andrew Sisters, "Shoo-Shoo Baby, Shoo-Shoo Baby, bye, bye baby, your papa's off to the seven seas...don't cry baby, baby...I looked at Sal and Bill shouted, "That's the name, The Shoo-Shoo Baby!" Frank and the others agreed. Shoe's wife Skip is pregnant and Shoe's going off to the seven seas and we're going with him. It's a great name. Shoemaker's nickname is Shoe and his wife's going to have a baby. We all felt good about the name and can't wait to tell Shoe in the morning. Goodnight kids.
The Shoo-Shoo Baby
The following was taken from an official Air Corps report, 12 Nov. 1944
On February 2, 1944, the Shoo-Shoo Baby was just another B-24 rolling off the assembly line at Willow Run, Michigan. She was turned over to 1st Lt. William G. Shoemaker at Pocatello, Idaho who then handed her over to his crew chief, M. Sgt. Lester Halonen.
Late April found them all together in Italy, when the 'Baby' began her 1st mission. And boy did she do her job, hitting all of the major and minor targets throughout Europe. Vienna, Nimes, Ploesti, Wiener-Neustadt, Budapest, Bucharest, Szob, Blechhammer, Genoa, Lyons, Atzgerscorf, Belgrade, Munich, Toulon...all of them and came home each time. She had her share of wounds too, the 'Baby' that is. Her sides were so full of patches that 14 mph was knocked off her speed. As for her crew, not one original crew member was injured on any of the 50 missions flown. A spare navigator on a mission while the crew was on leave was the only injury.