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The Eager Beavers

Labeled crew photo

Lt. Col. Jay Zeamer and his Eager Beavers were a B-17 bomber crew stationed in Australia and New Guinea in 1942-43. So named for Zeamer’s constant volunteering for missions, and his crew's happiness to oblige him, they served during the crucial early period in the war in the southwest Pacific, defending Australia from invasion by the Japanese before pivoting to take the offensive against Japan.

They are the most highly decorated
air crew in American history.

Image of first page of PDF version of the story of the Eager Beavers

The Story of Zeamer's Eager Beavers

 

Read right now on the website.

Download to read offline later.

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Are you an interested film/TV producer?

I have an eight-episode limited series breakdown, including full episode summaries, available to send, adapted from my feature screenplay.

New + Popular Features

My First Interview

An unexpected and exciting development.  I'm interviewed by the great gang at Mack Maloney's Military X-Files podcast.  Check it out!

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Updated Resources page

Calling all readers: I've added a library of books to the Resources page, nonfiction and fiction, for learning about the bomber war in the SW Pacific and the air war in the Pacific generally.

History of "Lucy" / "Old 666"

What's the real story of B-17E #41-2666?  Read the most comprehensive history available of the Fortress made famous by the Eager Beavers.

Photo of B-17E #41-266, a.k.a. "Lucy" and "Old 666"

LUCKY 666 reviewed

I take a deep dive into what Drury and Clavin get right in their 2016 history of the Eager Beavers and Old 666. Unfortunately it's less and less the farther you read.

Thumbnail front cover of Lucky 666

Sources

This website is the result of almost thirty years of research into the story of this remarkable crew. It was begun first in support of a feature screenplay, followed now by a miniseries adaptation, and in the future, a novel adaptation.

The aim of all is to increase public awareness of this historic crew, and the website in particular to provide the most comprehensive, authoritative resource about it. Unfortunately, many mistakes and myths created in early accounts of the crew have persisted over the decades, continuing even in recent years in popular history books.  This site corrects the record to create the most accurate portrait available of Zeamer's crew and their experiences.

It does that in part through a wide collection of official records and primary source materials—crew statements and military records, group histories, squadron diaries and morning reports.

Mostly, though, it's due to the incredible generosity over the years of dozens of people ranging from the veterans themselves and their families to experts on everything from the history of the B-17 to the flora and fauna of Northern Australia.

They are the people who have gifted me with hours of their time via phone and e-mail, answered extensive questionnaires, and provided me with additional military records, photos, personal letters, diaries, articles, news clippings, and even videos and personal effects, all in the name of ensuring the portraits of the crew members are authentic.

A full accounting would be practically impossible, but the listing under "Sources" gives a view to the scope of the research involved in these projects.  I hope you enjoy the site, and getting to know the exceptional men of Zeamer’s Eager Beavers.

Clint Hayes
Princeton, TX

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