The Rigor Mortis, a B-17 Flying Fortress in North Africa and Italy in World War II. 32nd Bomb Squadron of the 301st Bombardment Group, 12h AF and 15th AF.

"Rigor Mortis"

B-17 Flying Fortress

12th Air Force - 15th Air Force

301st Bombardment Group (H)

32nd Bomb Squadron

12th Air Force, Formed Late 1942 For North African Campaign

1st Crew

Don Brazee, Pilot
Charles William Randrup, Co-Pilot
Burt Lewis, Navigator
Emory Cook, Bombardier
James Farrell, Engineer
Lloyd E. Willoughby, Radio Operator
Basil J. "Bob" Lovelace, Ball Turret
Wall, Waist Gunner
Machine Gun" Kelly, Tail Gunner

12th Air Force
15th Air Force

301st Bombardment Group
- 32nd Bomb Squadron
- 352nd Bomb Squadron

2nd Bombardment Group
- 96th Bomb Squadron
- 429th Bomb Squadron

99th Bombardment Group

483rd Bombardment Group
- 817th Bomb Squadron

Early Combat Missions

Bomb Tags
More Bomb Tags

The Plane's Name & Nose Art

Airplane Mechanics School 1940

Contact Us

Other Sites


The "Rigor Mortis" a B-17 from the 12th Air Force Group, 301st Bombardment Group, 32nd Bomb Squadron (H) Heavy, formed and stationed in North Africa in World War II. Tail Number: 42-5233

Crew (pictured): Front row, L to R, Don Brazee, Pilot; Randrup, Co-Pilot; Burt Lewis, Navigator; Emory Cook, Bombardier.
Back row, L to R, Sgt. Farrell, Engineer; Willoughby, Radio Operator; Lovelace, Ball Turret; Wall, Waist Gunner; Kelly, Tail Gunner.
(Photo and information courtesy of Colonel Donald Brazee, Ret. Don and this crew were assigned to the 32nd after arriving from the United States 31 December 42.)

The above photo is of the original crew that ferried over to North Africa, Via South America and Southern Africa and Arrived in North Africa, December 31, 1942, after the conclusion of Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa. The 12h Air Force was created using the 97th and 301st Bomb Groups from the 8th Air Force Stationed in England. Elements of these groups went to N.Africa and were joined and reinforced by new crews and squadrons arriving from the States. The Rigor Mortis crew flew their first mission on January 2, 1943, 2 days after arriving into the combat zone.

The photo below is of the crew either before or after a mission on: 1/14/43, 1/23/43, 1/29/43.

Front Row: L. to R.
2. Burt Lewis, Navigator

Back Row L. to R.
3. Lovelace, Ball Turret
4. Lloyd E. Willoughby, Radio Operator
5. James J. Farrell, Aerial Engineer

"Rigor Mortis" Summary of Assignments:

Assigned 31 Dec 42 to 301st BG. Flew 95 missions with 301st BG.
Transfer to 2nd BG 14 Nov 43. Flew 18 missions with 2nd BG.
Transfer to 99th BG 28 Mar 44. Flew no missions with 99th BG.
Transfer to 483rd BG 31 Mar 44. Approx. 8-12 Missions
To Arledge Field 23 Nov 44. 121-125 Total Missions

Calling All Other Crews of the Rigor Mortis ..... If you ever flew on the Rigor Mortis, or were a ground crew member or have a relation to somebody who did, please let us hear from you! Here

301st Bombardment Group (Heavy), Distinctive Insignia