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An overview of the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
An overview of the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
An overview of the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
An overview of the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Inside the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Inside the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Parts from the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," during restoration work at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Parts from the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," during restoration work at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Parts for the restoration of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait" at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Parts for the restoration of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait" at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Part of the patched Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. In all, the plane was hit by over 1,000 pieces of flak and shrapnel that required such repairs.
Part of the patched Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. In all, the plane was hit by over 1,000 pieces of flak and shrapnel that required such repairs. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Parts from the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," during restoration work at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Parts from the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," during restoration work at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
The Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
The Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
The Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
The Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Information on a storage cart indicates that it contains radio equipment from the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Information on a storage cart indicates that it contains radio equipment from the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
The Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
The Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
The logo of the Glenn L. Martin Co. on the B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
The logo of the Glenn L. Martin Co. on the B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Instructions on the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Instructions on the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Instructions on the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Instructions on the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Instructions on the upper gun turret of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Instructions on the upper gun turret of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
The Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
The Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
The fuselage identification code "PN-O" on the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020, indicates that aircraft "O" was assigned to the 449th Bombardment Squadron, 322nd Bombardment Group (nicknamed the 'Annihilators').
The fuselage identification code "PN-O" on the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020, indicates that aircraft "O" was assigned to the 449th Bombardment Squadron, 322nd Bombardment Group (nicknamed the 'Annihilators'). (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Signatures adorn the fuselage of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Signatures adorn the fuselage of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Signatures adorn the fuselage of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Signatures adorn the fuselage of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Signatures adorn the fuselage of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Signatures adorn the fuselage of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Signatures adorn the fuselage of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Signatures adorn the fuselage of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Parts from the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," during restoration work at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Parts from the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," during restoration work at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Wiring on the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Wiring on the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Parts are stored on a shelf in front of a wing of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Parts are stored on a shelf in front of a wing of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Parts for the restoration of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait" at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Parts for the restoration of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait" at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Parts from the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," during restoration work at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Parts from the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," during restoration work at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
A section of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," during restoration work at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
A section of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," during restoration work at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
The front section of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
The front section of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Aeronautics curator Jeremy Kinney points out details on a 1946 photo of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," in the background, being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Aeronautics curator Jeremy Kinney points out details on a 1946 photo of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," in the background, being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Old photos are used in the restoration of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait" at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Old photos are used in the restoration of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait" at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Inside the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Inside the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Inside the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Inside the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Inside the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Inside the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Inside the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Inside the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
The U.S. national insignia on the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. Along the edges are blue lines that replaced the red ones on an earlier version of the insignia.
The U.S. national insignia on the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. Along the edges are blue lines that replaced the red ones on an earlier version of the insignia. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Invasion stripes, used to help allied aircraft avoid friendly fire during the D-Day landings in Europe, atill show faintly on a wing of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Invasion stripes, used to help allied aircraft avoid friendly fire during the D-Day landings in Europe, atill show faintly on a wing of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Nose art on the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. The signature is that of squadron artist Ted Simonaitis.
Nose art on the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. The signature is that of squadron artist Ted Simonaitis. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Nose art on the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. The bombs (each representing a bombing mission) were originally painted in yellow, and were later painted over. Every fifth emblem was painted with a white top.
Nose art on the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. The bombs (each representing a bombing mission) were originally painted in yellow, and were later painted over. Every fifth emblem was painted with a white top. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Nose art on the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
Nose art on the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
Nose art on the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. Lt. James J. "Boss" Farrell of Greenwich, Conn., flew more missions in "Flak-Bait" than any other pilot; he named the bomber after "Flea Bait," his brother's nickname for the family dog. THe swastika represents the plane's lone confirmed kill; thed ducks represent missions where "Flak-Bait" was used as a decoy to lure the Luftwaffe away from the real target.
Nose art on the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. Lt. James J. "Boss" Farrell of Greenwich, Conn., flew more missions in "Flak-Bait" than any other pilot; he named the bomber after "Flea Bait," his brother's nickname for the family dog. THe swastika represents the plane's lone confirmed kill; thed ducks represent missions where "Flak-Bait" was used as a decoy to lure the Luftwaffe away from the real target. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
The Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020.
The Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)
The front section of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020, was formerly on display in the World War II section of the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. -- which is itself being restored. O.J. Redmond, whose name is painted near the front, was one of the plane's bombardiers.
The front section of the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait," being restored at the Udvar-Hazy Center in January, 2020, was formerly on display in the World War II section of the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. -- which is itself being restored. O.J. Redmond, whose name is painted near the front, was one of the plane's bombardiers. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

CHANTILLY, Va. — For many years, visitors to the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. were able to view the front section of one of the U.S. military's most durable combat aircraft, the Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait."

The twin-engine medium bomber survived more than 200 missions over Europe during World War II, twice what would normally be regarded as an exceptional number. Even though it was riddled with more than 1,000 flak and shrapnel holes, there were no fatalities among the hundreds of Army Air Force crewmen who flew in it between August, 1943 and the end of the war.

The plane, due to its historic nature, was donated to the Smithsonian after the war instead of being scrapped. While the nose section went on display, the rest of "Flak-Bait" remained in storage in a facility in Maryland.

Now, in the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., the plane is being pieced together and restored for eventual placement among the museum's other famous aircraft, including the space shuttle Discovery, an SR-71 Blackbird and the B-29 "Enola Gay."

Among the tasks facing the restoration crew is the preservation of the nose art and numerous crew members' signatures on the fuselage. The name painted beneath the cockpit is that of Lt. James J. Farrell, who named the plane after a combination of his brother's dog, Flea Bait, and the German anti-aircraft flak. The 200-plus bomb figures represent the 200 missions, and a swastika represents the plane's lone kill, by the tail gunner. Six ducks represent decoy missions on which "Flak-Bait" decoyed enemy planes away from real targets.

Other paint patterns tell more stories of the war. Faded black and white stripes below a wing are the remnants of "invasion stripes" used to identify allied planes from below during the D-Day landings. They were to be taken off later, but aeronautics curator Jeremy Kinney points out that their location under the wing probably made it difficult to remove them entirely.

The round blue background of the white Army Air Forces star insignia shows on careful inspection that its outline was once red, but at some point during the war the military ordered the red to be painted over in blue. According to Kinney, such changes are part of the plane's history, and will be maintained in their later form.

gromelski.joe@stripes.com

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