Z SQUARE 7, A B-29 TRUE STORY

Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 24

Home
The Z Square 7 Crew
Z Square 7 Crew Families
Z Square 7 Crew Cemeteries.
Missing Air Crew Report
Z Square 7 Crew Military Funeral
Memorial Lt Eugene M. Thomas Jr (Marion, Al)
Memorial Lt Francis X. Glacken (Cambridge, MA)
Memorial Lt Norman B. Bassett (Cornell University, Ithaca, NY)
Marcia Bassett McGrattan
Memorial Sgt George P. Demers (Lynn, MA)
Memorial Sgt George P. Demers (Lynn, MA)
Peter & Lillian Demers/Charlotte (Demers) Fiasconaro
Memorial Sgt Louis A. Dorio (Clarksville, VA)
POW-MIA-KIA Ceremony
Bill Mauldin With Willie And Joe
Father John McBride
S/Sgt Kenneth O. Eslick with Photo Album
Sgt Jesse S. Klein. 41-13180
Sgt James B. Rice, Radio Operator, C47, 42-108884
Frank Farr & Merseburg, Germany
Ivan Fail Introduction and "Long Before The Guns And Tanks."
Ivan Fail's "Tribute to the Queen"
NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL
Frank Farr Poetry "November 2, 1944", "Old Men And The War", " Merseburg"
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Pages Introduction
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Crew Index
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 1
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 2
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 3
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 4
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 5
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 6
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 7
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 8
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 9
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 10
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 11
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 12
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 13
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 14
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 15
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 16
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 17
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 18
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 19
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 20
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 21
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 22
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 23
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 24
Ivan Fail's "The Tuskegee Airmen"
Memorial Page #1
Memorial Page #2
Memorial Page #3
Memorial Page #4
Memorial Page #5
Memorial Page #6
The Navajo Code Talkers & Native American Medals Of Honor
Ivan Fail's "D Day, The Normandy Invasion"
Ivan Fail's "When The Mustangs Came"
Ivan Fail's "Against All Odds - Mission Complete"
Ford Tolbert by Sallyann
Ford Tolbert Pictures
A Tribute to Lt Raymond "Hap" Halloran
Lt Raymond "Hap" Halloran
Colonel Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, USMC, The Black Sheep Squadron
Lt Halloran Eulogy for Colonel Boyington
Omori POW Camp
Ivan Fail's "A Salute To Lt. Holguin"/ "Shoo Shoo Baby"
General Lemay's biography including a B-29 nose art photo album
March 9 and 10, 1945 Over Tokyo
Lt "Hap" Halloran on March 10, 1945
General Earl Johnson
General Earl Johnson Biography
313th Bomb Wing Mining Missions
Lt Robert Copeland, copilot, Z Square 8
Pyote Bomber Base With A Photo Album
"Hap" Halloran induction Combat Airman Hall of Fame
Blackie Blackburn with a photo album
Hap's Memorable Flight On FIFI
C. Douglas Caffey, A WW2 Veteran, Book Of Poetry
C. Douglas Caffey Collection Of Poetry
C. Douglas Caffey Poetry
C. Douglas Caffey Poem "Graveyard at the Bottom of the Sea"
C. Douglas Caffey Poem "I Saw Liberty Crying"
C. Douglas Caffey Poem "Old Memories"
C. Douglas Caffey Poem "I Saw An Old Veteran"
C. Douglas Caffey Poem "Flying Backwards"
C. Douglas Caffey Poem "All Is Quiet On Iwo Jima"
C. Douglas Caffey Poem "Bones In The Sand"
C. Douglas Caffey on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
C. Douglas Caffey With More on PTSD
C. Douglas Caffey Memorial Day Flying The Flag
C. Douglas Caffey Saying Goodbye To America
The Pacific Theater
Battle of Saipan, Mariana Islands
Saipan Medals of Honor
Battle of Tinian, Mariana Islands
Tinian Medals of Honor
Battle of Guam, Mariana Islands
Guam Medals of Honor
Battle of Iwo Jima
Iwo Jima Medals of Honor
Cpl Ira Hayes, USMC
Battle of Okinawa
Okinawa Medals of Honor
Ivan Fail's "The Saga Of The Superfortress"
Ivan Fail's "The Silent Sentries"
Last Page

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It was on September 11, 1943, just off Salerno, that the USS Savannah was hit. A German radio-controlled bomb damaged the ship’s forward and killed almost 200 of the crew. It was under its own power that it vacated these waters and was returned to the United States in December of 1943 for much needed repairs.

The repairs were extensive and resulted in the total replacement of the five-inch second battery. The hull of the Savannah was also widened during the repairs. This repair was finished in September 1944.

 

On January 15, 1950, these 11 sailors were buried at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery Section E232-235. 

S1C Blair, Robert Alan                           US NAVY

S1C Douglas, Laurence R                      US NAVY  

GM2C Dwyer, Henry                            US NAVY

EM3/D Herman, Irving                         US NAVY

BKR3C Layman, Floyd L                     US NAVY  

S1C McColm, Gilbert A                       US NAVY  

S2C Miklinevich, Salvatore                  US NAVY  

COXWAIN Mitchel, Ronald G            US NAVY  

S2C Smith, Roland J                           US NAVY  

SC3C Ulrich, Charles V                      US NAVY  

S1C Wiggins, James L                        US NAVY  

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Robert Alan Blair

Memorial Rites Noted For Robert Alan Blair

Memorial Services for Robert Alan Blair, 19, son of Mr. and Mrs. Merle O. Blair of Anamosa, former  Louisa County residents, were conducted Sunday afternoon at the Methodist Church in Columbus Junction. Robert was killed in action Sept. 11, 1943. A quartet composed of Melvin Dicks, Mrs. S. A. Dwinell, Mrs. B. O. Roundy, and H. Lee Huston sang with Mrs. H. Lee as the accompanist. Robert Blair was born at Morning Sun on Jan. 11, 1924, and moved with his parents to Columbus Junction when  four years of age. He attended Columbus schools and the Methodist Sunday school. Two days after his 17th birthday, Jan. 13, 1941, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in Burlington. He was inducted in Des Moines on Jan. 28, 1941 and went at once to Great Lakes for his  boot training. There after he was assigned to a ship and for a time was in the Pacific fleet but later was transferred to the Atlantic fleet. He took part in the landing of our troops in Africa and later in the invasion of Sicily. Further confirmation of his death in action was received by his parents this past week in a communicating that stated that Robert was killed Sept. 11. He is survived by his parents, a bother, Dean of Anamosa; his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. R. S. McDaniel of Iowa City and Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Mulhern of Columbus Junction; his great-grandfather Cord McDaniel of Columbus Junction and his uncle and aunt Mr. and Mrs. Rex McDaniel and one cousin  Billie Maxine McDaniel of Indianapolis, Ind.

 

Robert Alan Blair - Seaman 1st Class - was killed in action Sept. 11, 1943 when the USS Savannah was bombed at Salerno, Italy

GILBERT A. McCOLM

 

Seaman 1st Class Gilbert A. McColm served aboard the USS Savannah (CL-42) and was killed in action on September 11, 1943 off Salerno, Italy.

 

The USS Savannah was the first United States ship to open fire against the German shore defenses in Salerno Bay. She silenced a railway battery with 57 rounds, forced the retirement of enemy tanks, and completed eight more fire support missions that day. She continued her valuable support until the morning of 11 September, when she was put out of action.

 

A radio-controlled Fritz X glide-bomb had been released at a safe distance by a high-flying German plane and exploded 49 ft distance from Philadelphia. Savannah increased her speed to 20 knots as a Dornier Do 217K-2 bomber came in out of the sun. P-38 Lightnings and Savannah's gunners, tracking the plane at 18,700 ft, failed to stop the Fritz X smoke-trailed bomb. It pierced through the armored turret roof of the No. 3 Gun Turret, passed through three decks into the lower handling room where it exploded a gaping hole in the bottom, and tore open a seam in the ship's port side. For 30 minutes, secondary explosions in the gun room hampered fire-fighting efforts.

 

Working quickly, the crew sealed off flooded and burned compartments, and corrected her list. With some assistance from Hopi and Moreno, she got underway on her own power by 1757, bound for Malta.

 

Savannah lost 197 men in this action. 15 others were seriously wounded, while four were sealed in a watertight compartment for 60 hours. These four were not rescued until Savannah had already arrived at Grand Harbor, Valletta, Malta on 12 September.

 

McColm was from Hutchinson, KS.

 

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This B25 Mitchell, 44-29371, and crew were assigned to the 71st Squadron of the 38th Bomb Group. They were shot down by Japanese ground machine-gun fire on May 6, 1945 during a reconnaissance mission over the Philippine Islands. Four crewmembers and three US Army Sixth Army Infantry soldiers were buried at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery on January 27, 1950 in Section E284-285.

 

 

Capt Ferrell, James G            US ARMY INFANTRY               

2/LT Bruno, Louis Jr   Navigator

Major Kenner, Forrest L           US ARMY INFANTRY

1/LT Kurth, George B       Pilot                                                

T/SGT McLaurin, Wilson M    Gunner

1/LT Nancolas, Robert C              US ARMY INFANTRY                                

S/SGT Waskewich, Walter    Gunner

                                                         

S/SGT Kirby, James F.  Radio/gunner   Manila American Cemetery

2/LT Ames, Clyde      Copilot          Manila American Cemetery

1/LT John F. Reardon                           US ARMY INFANTRY

 

      The war on Luzon consisted of one battle after another, one patrol and then another, one attack followed by another – all repeating in hundreds of areas simultaneously.

     1/LT John F. Reardon had been charged with the responsibility of obtaining intelligence of Japanese “capabilities and intentions” in the Dingalan Bay for a task force. With that information, he was to design plans for measures to prevent enemy attacks and keep the Japanese from escaping north.

     Even with the Lieutenant’s personal involvement accompanying patrols, interrogating POWs, and interviewing guerilla and A Company patrol leaders, still no definite information could be obtained about the massing of the Japanese troops.

     Yet, the guerillas insisted that their “bamboo telegraph” runners reported that the Japanese were assembling south of the Umiray River and moved to new bivouac areas frequently.

     Reardon had the reputation for making sound, mature decisions. He knew he had to find a better way to investigate these reports. If they were true, the task force remained in danger.

     Only one way to effectively survey a vast wilderness – from the sky. Lieutenant Reardon journeyed by truck to the Lingayen Strip, a temporary air base constructed by the Sixth Army near Lingayen Bay directly across Luzon from Dingalan. There he met other observers from I Corps who would be going on the flight: Major Forrest Kenner, Captain James Ferrell, and 1/LT Robert Nancolas. The presence of these officers gave Reardon the opportunity to convince I Corps that the task force needed more men and weapons to effectively battle the large group of Japanese at Dingalan Bay if they existed, observing the enemy from the plane would give the “brass” the proof needed.

     They boarded an Army Air Force B25, serial number 44-29371. The young crew was already proceeding with the checklist in preparation for takeoff: 2/LT George Kurth, Pilot; 2/LT George Ames, Copilot; 2/LT Louis Bruno, Navigator; SGT James Kirby, radio/gunner; T/SGT Wilson McLaurin, gunner; S/SGT Walter Waskewich, gunner; 10 men on board, 6 crewmembers and 4 US Army officers.

     The B25 was assigned to the 71st Squadron of the 38th Bomb Group and had the usual .50 caliber machine guns – a total of twelve, eight “fixed” in the nose section, one at the left hand turret, one at the right hand turret and two at the tail section. Thirty-five hundred rounds of ammunition were loaded for each machine gun.

     Their official record stated that 44-29371 was sent on a reconnaissance mission to aid the Sixth Army in planning future operations in the Baguino area. However, it wasn’t until 7 days after takeoff that LT COL Peter Colza, the Adjutant General from I Corp revealed in a letter to General MacArthur the plane’s true mission, “Destinations were Baguino and Dingalan Bay areas.”

     On May 6, 1945 at 0837 hours, the B25 lifted into clear skies and with “visibility unlimited” set its course at forty degrees. From that moment on there was no radio contact with the aircraft.

     In a little more than an hour the men on board had gathered the visual knowledge they needed over the Baguino mountainous area and set the aircraft’s course almost due east toward Dingalan Bay.

    They approached the Sierra Madres and, flying at about 150 miles per hour, banked to the south, barely missing the highest mountain peaks. Then LT Kurth lowered his craft as it streaked over the Umiray River.

     Suddenly, the B25 began to recive fire from the ground. LT Reardon had found his elusive Japanese force but it was too late to react. No time to break radio silence and give the location of the Japanese. No time to even radio a distress call.

     LT Kurth and LT Ames struggled with the controls attempting to gain altitude but enemy machine gun fire had done serious damage to the lumbering aircraft. The B25 bomber, surely visible to the Japanese, nosed earthward and slammed into a wooded hillside. All ten men on board were killed either by the crash or the fiery explosion that followed, including LT John Reardon.

     The information needed by the taskforce, the actual size of the Japanese force, their bivouac area, and their weapons died with LT Reardon.

     There was another mystery. With no radio communication with the B25, the 71st had no idea where the wreckage was located. Search planes were dispatched, seven on the morning of May 7, three more that afternoon, and two more on May 8th.

     The news of LT Reardon’s disappearance reached the task force midday on May 8th but the staff had already feared the worse when he did not return from the mission.  

 

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This B24 Liberator, 44-41116, and crew were assigned to the 484th Bomb Group. The plane was apparently lost to fighters over the village of Rabakecol, Hungary on a mission to Vienna on August 22, 1944. This may have been the crew’s first mission. Four members of the crew were buried at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery on August 18, 1949 in Section E147-148.

 

S/SGT Gunthorpe, Robert J       Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

PVT Notarantonio, Richard A     Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

SGT Woods, Irving C     Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

S/SGT Wright, Philip W,        Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

2//LT Ruthenberg, John J.  Pilot   Lorraine American Cemetery

 

About the 484th

The 484th Bombardment Group (H) was trained in Harvard, Nebraska in 1943 with B-24s and deployed to Italy in March 1944.  The group arrived in Cerignola, Italy where the gently rolling mounds of the Foggia plain awaited them.  In pre-war days the Italian Air force trained near Foggia, too.  The 484th BG took over farmland where wheat was once grown.  Dual North and South runways were laid out and paved with crushed gravel, and later improved with pierced steel planking, a dubious improvement especially when it rained.

The group brought 60 new olive drab B-24s to the airfield at the Torretta crossroads about 12 K southwest of Cerignola, itself 35K south of Foggia.  The group started out with about 3 trained crews of 10 men for every B-24.  This would vary depending on losses and availability of replacements.  In the one year of combat operations over 5,000 soldiers and airmen passed through the group.  Replacements were brought in to fill in the Table of Organization (TO) due to casualties, illness and to replace flight crews who had finished their combat tours.  For a battle area that was expected to offer light resistance tours were set at 50 missions.  However resistance was stiff from both fighter aircraft and flak cannons.  Credit was shortly reduced to 35 Missions, and modified again by giving double credit to long and arduous missions.  Flight crews were given leave to rest camps at the halfway point of 18 sorties.  Ground echelon personnel were given leave also when conditions permitted it.  One such camp was on the Isle of Capri.


The B-24 Liberator Bomber

The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was designed and built in such great haste such was the need for a heavy bomber in 1939, when Germany invaded Poland.  By taking the long Davis Wing and empennage from a twin-engine seaplane and installing them on an oval fuselage the B-24 was born.  To improve ground handling visibility, the whole assembly was set on tricycle landing gear.  The design was both good and bad, Good: The Davis Wing in combination with the supercharged Pratt & Whitney R-1830 engines and the Hamilton Standard hydromatic propellers worked well together.  Bad: The nose wheel, built up of welded steel struts was too weak and failed when over stressed due to hard landings, strong cross winds, or rough runways.  The fuel quantity indicators were of a simple boiler gauge style that required level flight for accurate reading, except that the aircraft actually flew slightly nose high to get additional lift from the fuselage.  (The Lockheed Constellation was purposely designed to obtain fuselage lift).  The fuel selector valves could be set for all engines to feed from the crossfeed manifold which held about 60 gallons.  When this was used up all four engines would quit, not handy during the take off roll.  The outboard auxiliary or Tokyo tanks of early model B-24s up to the "H" model did not have any fuel quantity gauges at all.  When the fuel pressure dropped when feeding from these tanks it was time to transfer back to the mains before the engines quit.


Primitive Repair Facilities

The numbers of serviceable aircraft for each mission varied too, due to the repairs needed to make the planes air worthy after receiving battle damage.  Because of its longer range, the B-24 was needed in many theaters of war, impinging on the number of replacement available to any one group.  Squadron maintenance was undertaken by crew chiefs and helpers who worked without shelter, rain or shine.  It was the rule rather than the exception in the 484th that most of the aircraft would sustain some damage from the dreaded flak both slight and heavy on each mission.  Most engine change tools were hand made or adopted from what was on hand.

Flying in a straight line to maintain formation order, mandated flight routing directly into a flak bursts just ahead or above just prior to and on the bomb run.  The steel fragments (shrapnel) would nick the props, punch holes into the pushrod covers causing oil leakage and lacerate the fuselage bottom with holes and rips.  Spent shrapnel would bounce off the thin aluminum skin sounding like pebbles falling on a tin roof.  All of this required inspection and repair.


Luftwaffe JU-88s Bomb Bari Harbor

The shortage of supplies and parts for use by the Fifteenth Air Force came about because of a very effective attack on Allied supply ships lying at anchor in the harbor at Bari, Italy on the Adriatic coast by Luftwaffe JU-88s in December of 1943, just two and a half months after the establishment of the Fifteenth Air Force itself.  Many of the supplies intended for the new Air Force ended up at the bottom of the harbor.  They were not easily removed because of the contamination caused by exploding gas shells.  Thus the midnight auto supply came into being.  Mechanics and armorers had to beg, borrow, or steal from outlying sources.  Damaged B-24s uneconomical in time and material to repair were soon cannibalized.  It was known that lesser quality stovebolts were sometimes substituted for high strength A&N hardware, and so it goes.


Hung Bombs

Documentation of repair procedures of aircraft and components were distributed through "Tech Orders" in the Army Air Corps, but were not usually transmitted from one command to another.  As an example bombs would not always drop when selected to do so.  The shackles that secured the bombs to the aircraft would often freeze depending on the severities of the weather encountered at bombing altitudes.  It was not unusual to encounter -30 temperatures.  The coldest temperatures were encountered nearest the bomb bay doors so the lowest bombs would freeze and the others above would leave their protective arming wire and fall sharply in a heap on top of frozen bombs thus leaving the upper bombs live when only a slight jar would set them off.

Hung bombs were probably first encountered by the English based Eighth Air Force because the Eighth Air Force had been established earlier and had flown many tough missions before the Fifteenth Air Force became operational.  It is not known if a fix was ever found, and if there was, a quick way to pass on this information to other commands was not easy and at best and there was no time to wait for conventional mail.  With the satellite not yet invented this is understandable.  Without the quick transfer of information to both the Eighth Air Force and the Fifteenth Air Force, they were to suffer the same problems.

Freezing of bombs as can be seen from the foregoing was a very dangerous condition with loss of life and/or loss of the aircraft heavily threatened.  To face this problem in the heat of combat with flak bursting all around and without tools or prior instruction required quick thinking.  The idea of course was to get rid of the damn things in any way one could which meant there was no control as to when the bomb would drop and, because of the delay the assigned target was far away by then.  The possibility of other aircraft below was always there.  Casualties caused by falling bombs on other aircraft were not unusual.  Which all brings the story back to what was said earlier, better know your equipment thoroughly.  Comments on hung bombs from other flight crews and armorers are welcomed here too.


The Dreaded Flak Guns

In the Italian based Fifteenth Air Force, anti-aircraft (flak) accounted for more casualties than fighter planes.  Bomber crews feared the dreaded 88 mms and higher caliber flak cannons with a passion.  When flak jackets became available, extra sets were brought on board not only to wear but to sit or stand on.  The need for protection from below needs no explanation.

Because the enemy needed to protect the oil refineries and installations, flak cannons were mounted on railway flat cars and were moved about as needed but also to fool our intelligence.  The flak trains were often hid in railway tunnels at night for just this purpose.  The next day they would be somewhere else.

Late in the war when the fuel situation was becoming acute for the Axis Powers the more mobile guns such as the versatile 88s were moved from the eastern front and placed aside the oil refineries, such as Brux, Moosbierbaum, Odertal, and Vienna.  The 88 had a high mount that permitted elevation of the gun barrel for use as an flak gun as well as fire against tanks making it a dual purpose weapon.  In the larger cities flak towers were erected so the gunners could have free fields of fire.  On the top of the towers, 88s as well as larger caliber guns were installed behind well protected concrete barriers.  Some of these steel and concrete structures still stand.

The Luftwaffe was also charged with the responsibility of defending German occupied territory from the ground as well as from the air.  In reality the Germans were defending three fronts after June 6,1944, The Western Front, The Eastern Front and the Air Front overhead.  Over 1,000,000 men were assigned to the defense of the Reich.  They were also aided by civilians, including high school students.  The Allied oil campaign began to have effect on fighter activity in mid 1944, and the capture of Ploesti by the Russians at about the same time contributed to the fuel production drop. The fighter attacks on the bomber streams began to weaken sharply.  Anti-aircraft fire was more intense than ever.  In these desperate times the Luftwaffe also sent its Jet fighters into action against the bomber streams with deadly effect.  Fortunately for the USAF, and unfortunately for the Luftwaffe, the jets were few in number and not quite battle proved.


Aviation Archeology

In England crash sites were evacuated and hard items such as guns, engines, and propellers that would survive a crash, even after decades in the hard ground.  The aircraft parts were lifted out, cleaned up and put in small museums at former USAF airfields in the East Anglian farmland.  When asked why the English wanted to preserve the material of the American Air Forces, their reply was, "It happened here on our land."


Curiosity about The Air War 1939-1945

There was similar curiosity when one of the 484th aircraft was shot down over Europe and the Balkans where citizens, enemy or friendly, took great interest in the crash site.  They wanted to know all about the mission, how the plane was brought down, and so on.  Citizens and soldiers alike would often care for the wounded and dead by seeking medical aid, and arranging for humane burials.

Now with the cold war over and many citizens of the former communist countries of Eastern Europe enjoying their new freedoms, they are more curious than ever about the air war.  They seek information from the National Archives in Washington, DC, and at Maxwell Field in Alabama.  They seek aircraft numbers, crew lists, bombing missions, and related data.  Regular mail inquiries began about 12 years ago, from men who witnessed the war as children in Germany and Austria, and related to us their experience of dodging bombs while being awe struck from the drama of thousands of bombers awakening the neighborhoods with their thunderous engine roar; of sunlight bouncing off the silver airplanes, and too of fluttering aluminum parts that catch the light like a falling metal leaf.


Europe's Hospitality

We have had inquiries from overseas from interested parties who want to know everything about the bombing missions of the American Air Forces.  Because of the effect the bombing had on their lives, the memories are forever etched in their minds.  They have expressed special interest in the disposition of the flight crews, and the aircraft, serial number, and the aircraft name.  Some members have returned to the spot where they fell.  The citizens of friendly and former enemy countries who witnessed a particular crash have invited the Americans back with their families.  Members who have returned to Europe have reported that these visits were very enjoyable.


No Tests Given In Training

In training during the war due to the expediency of getting troops into battle quickly, grades were not often given at the end of classes.  If one hoped to survive and return home after the war, the soldier had to pay close attention to what was being taught.  A flyer had to learn his aircraft and weapons like the back of his own hand.  There was no cheating or use of crib sheets in combat.  It was best to get the information stuffed between your ears for instant recall, or your butt and those of your aircrew buddies would be put in doubt.

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