Southern Comfort honors WWII pilot who named his B-17G bomber after his favorite whiskey

In 1945 Colonel Thomas J. Barr nicknamed the B-17G bomber he piloted, Southern Comfort in hopes that his favorite whiskey brand would send him and his crew a case, 70 years later he’s getting even more than what hoped for back then. / Taylor Bishop -- FOX21 News
In 1945 Colonel Thomas J. Barr nicknamed the B-17G bomber he piloted, Southern Comfort in hopes that his favorite whiskey brand would send him and his crew a case, 70 years later he’s getting even more than what hoped for back then. / Taylor Bishop -- FOX21 News

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A World War II pilot was honored Wednesday in a special dedication at the National Museum of World War II Aviation.

In 1945, Colonel Thomas J. Barr nicknamed the B-17G bomber he piloted “Southern Comfort” in hopes that his favorite whiskey brand would send him and his crew a case.

70 years later, he’s getting even more than he hoped for back then.

“This all began with a simple letter from a daughter writing about her dad,” said Rick Bubenhofer, V.P. Director of Public Relations at Brown-Forman. “The letter said, ‘My dad served as a pilot in World War II and flew a plane called Southern Comfort. Would it be possible to get a bottle of Southern Comfort for him?’”

She sent that letter to the CEO of Brown-Forman, the company that owns Southern Comfort.

“My generation calls your generation, the greatest crew ever, the backbone of our country and that’s why we’re here today,” Brown-Forman Director of Military and Transportation Joe Bollinger said during Wednesday’s ceremony.

The Brown-Forman Military Veterans Group, or BRAVE, recognizes and supports active and retired military personnel.

Members of BRAVE presented Barr with special gifts during the ceremony.

“I’m not taking this personally,” said Barr. “I’m taking this and receiving this recognition in honor of my crew and all those who have served.”

Among the gifts was a case of Southern Comfort specially bottled in honor of him and his crew.

“I say at long last, it’s finally arrived, better late than never,” Barr said.

After more than 30 years of service, the time Barr spent fighting for our country will never be forgotten.

“If you have anybody here that’s young enough to join the military, think it over,” Barr said. “It’s a good ride and you’re not only doing something for yourself, you’re doing something for your country.”

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