of Hickory, North Carolina
Here is Sherman Best with his daughter Linda and son-in-law Dave. He flew the most famous B-26 Marauder in history for 14 of his missions. He completed 63 combat missions with the 449th BS, 322nd BG. Yes he flew Flak Bait that finished the war with 202 missions!!! It had over 1000 bullet holes during this feat. It returned twice on one engine, once with an engine on fire, lost electrical once and hydraulics twice!!! It’s forward fuselage has a place of honor in the Smithsonian. As well, he also delivered the famous B-26 Murder Inc. to England as well.
He told me the pilot of Flak-Bait had a dog at home that he coined flea-bait because of its tiny residents. As his B-26 accumulated missions and continued to get hit by flak, he obviously came up with flak bait!!! What a treat to have him come today. As well he is staying with his daughter in Maiden for the winter and plans to attend our Veteran gathering in February.
Here is a note from Linda:
It was such a pleasure to meet you and your “crew” today, and my father was very flattered by your warm hospitality. I thought I’d send you a link to that book I mentioned – although when I tried to order it off Amazon.com, they were out of stock. I googled the title and that’s where I found it at the antiquarian book shop in London (actually I paid about $25 USD for it so I did well). I think you’d enjoy the book immensely.
I also wanted to link you up to the Flak Bait website, www.flakbait.com – my father is kneeling on the left in the picture on the home page, next to Capt. Hank Bozarth who flew many missions in Flak Bait. Dad was eventually promoted to Captain. He shows up in a few more photos on that website and also under the “memoirs” tab has a story or two. Hank later became Superintendent of Schools in Las Vegas and has an elementary school named after him. Here is another site of interest which gives some more history on Flak Bait – http://www.warbirds.plazadiscounts.com/page6.html
We’ll drop off a full size picture of the crew (same one as on the website) the next time we see you, maybe you can put it up on the wall. Wish I had some memorabilia for you but I’m afraid the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum got it all!
I’m really glad we discovered your museum, it gives Dad a good place to go during the time he is spending with us. It never fails to choke me up to see the reception he gets from aviation history buffs……when I was 15 and making my parents crazy, and thinking he was the meanest father alive when I couldn’t get my way (as all teenagers do), I never saw him as he really was. I just didn’t know his history. He never spoke of wartime when we were growing up, I think it was just too horrifyingly painful for him. Now that I know what he went through, the sacrifices he made and the patriotism behind it, he is my #1 hero. He was only 24 years old when he started to fly Flak Bait. He didn’t do it high tech, he did it guts and glory, on a wing and a prayer. Lots of prayers.
So thank you again for such an entertaining afternoon, and please thank the other gentlemen also for taking the time and the effort to show us those awesome aircraft in the freezing cold!