A typical B-17 pilot was very young, in his early twenties, more interested in girls than guns. Maybe that's still the case.
From reader Ralph Pyle--
I was 10 years old when I saw the first B 17 at Wright Field at Dayton 35 miles from my home town of New Madison Ohio. What a magnificent sight as a boy. I also remember the first movie made of the B 17 with Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable, how inspiring it was to see the high-level tests they did for the movie. As a boy of that age I remember seeing a 17 make a high level pass over my school and the teacher getting all excited about the plane being on fire. Being a know it all young aviation enthusiast I told the Lady it was vapor trails which of course brought a real rebuke for my ignorance. About an hour later the school public address system made me out a real intelligent student, when they verified my information. What wonderful young men flew those machines over Germany, I was in the South Pacific at the time, in 1944, as a 19 year-old Anti Aircraft GI.