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Monument dedication honors JB Andrews namesake

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U.S. and Iceland honoured the crew of B-52 Liberator ‘Hot Stuff’ monument dedication ceremony on the 75th anniversary of it crashing in Iceland during a heavy storm May 3, 2018. All but one passenger on board were killed to include famous World War II Lt. Gen. Frank Maxwell Andrews. As two of the founding nations of NATO, Iceland and the U.S. continue their long and enduring relationship of seamless cooperation as allies. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Evan Parker)

memorial

A B-52 Bomber makes a fly-by over a monument dedication ceremony for Lt. Gen. Frank Maxwell Andrews and his 13 crew members, May 3, 2018 in Keflavic, Iceland. The ceremony recognized the 75th anniversary of the crash of the B-24 Liberator, ‘Hot Stuff’ which resulted in the death of Andrews and his crew. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Kenny Holston)

KEFLAVIK AIR STATION, Iceland (AFNS) -- Officials unveiled a memorial monument May 3, 2018 dedicated to Lt. Gen. Frank Maxwell Andrews and crew members of the B-24 Liberator, also known as “Hot Stuff,” which crashed on nearby Mount Fagradalsfjall, Iceland, 75 years ago.

Andrews, members of his support staff and crew members died in the crash. Only one crew member survived.

“I like to think that the monument not only represents the crew of ‘Hot Stuff,’ General Andrews, (and) the passengers, but also the 26,000 men of the 8th Air Force who lost their lives during World War II,” said Jim Lux, memorial event coordinator.

Before the fateful flight, the crew had been ordered back to the United States for a publicity tour to help sell war bonds, and as a reward for being the first World War II bomber crew to complete 25 missions with its crew intact. Lux said his research revealed that Andrews had been called back to Washington, D.C., and “Hot Stuff” was the next flight out. So, Andrews took the place of the co-pilot, and his staff replaced several of the original crew.

The flight was due to stop in Iceland before crossing over the Atlantic, but instead crashed amidst inclement weather.

An air power pioneer

An advocate of a separate air force, Andrews is considered to be one of the founding fathers of the United States Air Force. He was selected to organize and command the General Headquarters Air Force, the first centralized command of what would later become the U.S. Army Air Forces.

Andrews was also the only general to command three theaters of operations during World War II, including the Caribbean Defense Command, U.S. Army in the Middle East Command and European Theater of Operations Command.

To honor him after his death, Camp Springs Army Air Field in Maryland was renamed Andrews Air Field in 1945. It later became Andrews Air Force Base and is now Joint Base Andrews.

Six years of bilateral event planning

Several of the crew’s family members attended the ceremony, along with special guests Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, 3rd Air Force Commander, and Col. E. John Teichert, 11th Wing and JB Andrews commander. An Air Force B-52 Bomber and an Icelandic Coast Guard helicopter each provided a ceremonial flyover of the event.

“We are proud to be an enduring memorial to Lieutenant General Andrews,” said Teichert. “He was an amazing officer, leader, warrior and air power advocate.”

The memorial itself was six years in the making, requiring partnerships between Icelandic residents to find land for the memorial, raise the funds, and design it. Lux said the motivation behind the effort was twofold: first, to recognize the Hot Stuff crew, and two, to revive Andrews’ legacy.

“It represents the heroism (and) the dedication of a group of individuals that gave their all for our country and to defeat the enemy of World War II,” said Lux.

Editor’s note: For historical accuracy, portions of this article were selected from a press release published by Commemorative Air Force via Jim Lux.