B-17 Veteran To Be Honored by South Dakota Museum

101-year-old former flight engineer and gunner to be inducted into the Distinguished Flying Cross Society.

Morry Crow flew in 25 missions over Europe during World War II.John Mollison

March 31, 2021 will be a big day for Maurice “Morry” Crow. Not only will that be his 101st birthday, but that’s also the day he’ll be inducted into the South Dakota Air & Space Museum’s Distinguished Flying Cross Society. Morry was a flight engineer and top turret gunner on a B-17F bomber while assigned to the 94th Bombardment Group based in England as part of the “Mighty 8th” Air Force. At the event, The Distinguished Flying Cross Society will present Morry as the Society’s latest inductee with a number of his friends presenting the membership to him as a surprise birthday present. The Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded for extraordinary valor in aerial flight and is one of the highest decorations for military service in the United States.

According to a news release about the event, “Flying during the period of extraordinarily high losses, Morry had only a 34-percent chance of completing his required 25 missions. Yet, in spite of being wounded in combat and facing extraordinary odds against the Nazi-German Luftwaffe, Crow not only survived, but he was credited with an aerial victory against an attacking fighter.” Morry said, “I’m very fortunate to be alive today.”

The moment will also feature the presentation of a new exhibit designed to honor Morry’s specific service as well as Ellsworth Air Force Base’s rich heritage in training B-17 crews for WWII service. The exhibit features commissioned artwork by South Dakotan aviation artist John Mollison of Crow’s historic B-17, named Stud Duck, as well as a video presentation featuring Crow’s description of his wartime service. Those interested in seeing a B-17 up close this summer can look for the tour of Aluminum Overcast.