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August 3, 1943

War Bonds Buy Spirit of Union Pacific B-17 Bomber

Thousands of Union Pacific employees voluntarily increased their payroll deductions for war bonds during two months in 1943. In doing so, they were the first railroad group in the United States to have a heavy bomber named for them. "The Spirit of the Union Pacific" was a Boeing B-17F and flew as part of the 571st Bomber Squadron. On its fifth mission on October 10, 1943, led by Captain Robert Short, it was shot down in a raid on enemy installations at Munster, Germany.

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During World War II, UP played an essential role in the transport of supplies and personnel, spending around $414 million on the effort. Unlike WWI, WWII became a "two front" conflict, necessitating the flow of rail traffic in both directions.

In 2012, Union Pacific celebrates the shared stories that have shaped our country since 1862. To mark our 150th anniversary, we invite you to explore how the nation’s largest railroad came to be and how UP continues to build America with innovation and tenacity, touching the lives of nearly every citizen.