The diagram shows the ten crew positions on a B-17 bomber. In the nose were the bombardier and the navigator; above and behind them sat the pilot and co-pilot. Behind them stood the flight engineer who also operated the top-turret machine guns.

Going aft, behind the bomb bay, sat the radio operator who could use an upward firing machine gun when the plane was under attack. Next, at the bottom of the fuselage, was the ball turret gunner. At each of the fuselage side windows was a waist gunner. And back in the tail, below the high vertical stabilizer, was the tail gunner.

While all members of a bomber crew hazarded their lives in combat, the ball turret gunner had the position of greatest danger. Not only did he occupy the most exposed position in the plane, he could not wear a parachute inside the turret unless he was a very small man.