Thanks to Harry Mason, bombardier on “Shasta”; Joe Whitney, radarman, navigator, bombardier on various aircraft, including “Shasta”.
There are a couple of stories about how the plane got it’s name. One is that Cpt George N. Schwager gave the airplane the name of Shasta because “She hasta have oil, She hasta have gas, etc.” Another is that the plane was named after the City of Shasta whose people raised the $1 million to buy the aircraft.
The Air Crew
Shasta was flown by members of two different crews. These included Crew #2408 (the crew of Cpt Robert “Pete” Fortune) and Crew #2415 (the crew of Cpt George N. Schwager). The members of Crew #2408 may have only been on the aircraft only long enough to fly their 30 missions.
Other people who flew with the crew included Major Louis M. Sowers (later Lt. Colonel, C/O 24BS).
After the primary crew rotated home, Shasta continued to be flown and ended up being ditched near Tinian by Cpt William P. “Pete” Fortune. A color video of the ditching can be found on YouTube.
1st Lt. George N. Schwager. Born 26 Nov 1922. Died 19 May 1981. Buried Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, MO.
Last updated 08/29/2010