Hill Air Force Base played a critical role in repairing, maintaining, storing and refurbishing B-29s after World War II. During the war, Hill Air Force Base also supported Wendover Field, Utah, where the renowned 509th Composite Group trained with its Silverplate B-29s. After the war, Hill Air Force Base stored these airframes in large numbers and would later go on to modify some for the Korean conflict.
Now located at Hill Aerospace Museum, in June 1948, our B-29 moved to the 97th Bombardment Group, Strategic Air Command, at Biggs Air Force Base, Texas. One year later it transferred to the 4002nd Base Services Squadron, Strategic Air Command (SAC), at Campbell Field, Kentucky. In October 1949, the B-29 then moved to the 43rd Bombardment Group (SAC) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.
The aircraft encountered several more transfers; in May 1953, it was transferred to the Wright Development Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, where it remained until June 1953.
Following time at Wright-Patterson, the aircraft was relocated to Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, for chemical munitions testing. In November 1953, the aircraft was dropped from the United States Air Force inventory while serving at Michaels Army Air Field, Dugway Proving Grounds. For the next 30 years, the aircraft would reside at Dugway, acting as a ground test vehicle for testing various types of chemical warfare agents.
In 1983, museum staff transferred B-29 #44-86408 from Dugway Proving Ground to Hill Aerospace Museum, where it underwent restoration and still resides today. Currently, the B-29 is painted to depict the B-29 “Straight Flush” assigned to the 509th Composite Group, one of 531 B-29s manufactured by the Glen L. Martin Company in Omaha, Nebraska. On August 6, 1945, Captain Claude Eatherly flew reconnaissance in “Straight Flush” over Japan and determined the weather was clear for the “Enola Gay” to drop the bomb on Hiroshima.