Northrop P-61 Black Widow Photographic Material Bost

The Northrop P-61 Black Widow was the first U.S. aircraft designed to locate and destroy enemy aircraft at night and in bad weather, a feat made possible by the use of on-board radar. The prototype first flew in 1942. P-61 combat operations began just after D-Day, June 6, 1944, when Black Widows flew deep into German airspace, bombing and strafing trains and road traffic. Operations in the Pacific began at about the same time. By the end of World War II, Black Widows had seen combat in every theater and had destroyed 127 enemy aircraft and 18 German V-1 buzz bombs. Louis L. Bost served with the 422nd Night Fighter Squadron as a radar operator/navigator on P-61 aircraft in the European Theater during World War II and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for valor. After World War II, Bost went on to serve a total of nearly 21 years in the United States Air Force, including serving as aircrew for Lockheed F-94 Starfires, before retiring at the rank of major. Bost was also deeply involved in the restoration of a P-61B at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum in Reading, Pennsylvania, a project that began in the early 1990s. Bost died in February 2015 at the age of 93.