The Last of the Combat B-17 Drivers

  1. Authors: Col. Harold D. Weekley, USAF (Ret.) and James B. Zazas
  2. Col. Harold D. Weekley, USAF (Ret.) is a member of the 398th Bomb Group Memorial Association. He was a pilot in the 601st Squadron, 398th Bomb Group during WWII.
  3. First Printing: June 2007; Second Printing December 2007
  4. This book is available through the 398th PX and via Atlas Books Bookstore (enter search term: Weekley), 30 Amberwood Pkwy, PO Box 388, Ashland, OH 44805, 1-800-247-6553.
  5. Published in U.S.A. by Flying Fortress International, LLC
  6. Printed in U.S.A. by BookMasters, Inc.
  7. Distributed in the United States by AtlasBooks.
  8. Softback ISBN: 978-0-9785980-0-6, Hardback ISBN: 978-0-9785980-1-3, Library of Congress Catalog No. 2006926673


The Last of the Combat B-17 Drivers is the compelling and detailed personal account of Col. Harold D. Weekley,USAF (Ret.), 398th Bomb Group pilot and the last combat B-17 First Pilot of World War II to fly the Boeing B-17 as pilot-in-command into the new Millennium.

This comprehensive work combines Col. Weekley’s keen recollections with documented historical facts to describe his experiences as highly-trained US Army Air Forces pilot in World War II, notably his combat missions aboard the Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress as a First Pilot flying from wartime Nuthampstead, England, his shoot down and bailout over enemy-occupied France, his escape and evasion from enemy forces, and his eventual repatriation to friendly forces. This book concludes by describing Col. Weekley’s close association with the legendary B-17 into the 21st Century.

Throughout this 352 page work, Col. Weekley shares unabashedly his lasting love of his wife, family and country.

This book is abundantly illustrated with over 200 rarely seen black and white photographs, eight appendices, a comprehensive index and hard-to-find information.

About the Authors


Col. Harold D. Weekley, USAF (Ret.), was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Air Forces in World War II. At the completion of flight school, Weekley was sent to Sebring, Florida for B-17 Transition Training. On August 4, 1943, he married his high school sweetheart, Miss Wilma (Billie) J. Wigginton of Steubenville, Ohio. Weekley went to England in mid-1944, where he was assigned to the 601st Bomb Squadron of the 398th Bomb Group (Heavy) at Nuthampstead, before being shot down by flak. He successfully evaded capture for three weeks hidden by the local French people until he escaped to friendly lines and was returned to the United States.

After the war, Harold Weekley remained in the U.S. Air Force and retired as Colonel. After retirement from the Air Force, Weekley worked with the Federal Aviation Administration for fourteen years in the Atlanta, Georgia area.

Since his retirement from the FAA, Weekley has acted as Captain on worldwide air carrier operations, worked for several years as an aviation consultant and volunteered as a pilot on the Experimental Aircraft Association’s restored B-17G Flying Fortress, Aluminum Overcast. Today, Harold Weekley enjoys his retirement with his wife, Billie.


James Zazas grew up in aviation-rich Indianapolis, Indiana, where the model airplanes of his youth quickly gave way to flying real Cessnas, Pipers and Stearmans. Following four years at DePauw University where he graduated in 1977 with a B.A. degree in Political Science, Zazas was commissioned through the AFROTC program at Indiana University and subsequently flew the Lockheed C-130E/H Hercules transports at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina. Zazas separated from the U.S. Air Force in 1984 and joined Piedmont Airlines as a pilot. Today, he flies the Boeing 757 and Boeing 767ER for US Airways.

Zazas calls Carthage, North Carolina his home and he devotes much of his free time flying a wide variety of World War II for various museums and organizations around the country, including his own vintage aircraft. Other hobbies include writing, researching aviation history, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and collecting, restoring and displaying vintage aircraft engines and World War II-era flight clothing and equipment. Previous books he has written include Visions of Luscombe – The Early Years.

The Last of the Combat B-17 Drivers is his first collaborative effort.