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382nd Bombardment Group (USAAF)

382nd Bombardment Group (USAAF)

382nd Bombardment Group (USAAF)

History - Books - Aircraft - Time Line - Commanders - Main Bases - Component Units - Assigned To

History

The 382nd Bombardment Group (USAAF) went through two incarnations during the Second World War, first as a home based training unit and then as a B-29 unit with the Eighth Air Force in the Far East.

The group was activated in November 1942 and was allocated to the Second Air Force. It was equipped with the B-24 Liberator and served as an operational training unit. It later became a replacement training unit, helping to keep existing combat units up to strength. This first incarnation of the group was inactivated on 31 March 1944.

Five months later the group was reactivated as a Very Heavy bombardment group. This time it was equipped with the B-29 Superfortress and began to prepare for overseas duty. In July-September 1945 the group moved to the Pacific, where it joined the Eighth Air Force (moved to the East after the end of the war in Europe). The group arrived too late to see combat, and returned to the United States in December 1945. It was inactivated on 3 January 1946.

Books

-

Aircraft

October 1942-August 1944: Consolidated B-24 Liberator

August 1944-January 1946: Boeing B-29 Superfortress

Timeline

28 October 1942Constituted as 382nd Bombardment Group (Heavy)
3 November 1942Activated with Second Air Force
31 May 1944Inactivated
25 August 1944Activated as 382nd Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) with Second Air Force
July-September 1945To Pacific and Eighth Air Force
December 1945To United States
4 January 1945Inactivated

Commanders (with date of appointment)

Unknown: Nov 1942-Jan1943
Maj Paul Schwartz: 23 Jan 1943
LtCol George E Glober: 18 Jun 1943-31 Mar1944
2d Lt Melvin A Dilcherd: 29 Aug1944
Col William W Jones: 19 Sep 1944
Col Audrin R Walker: 16 Feb 1945-unkn.

Main Bases

Salt Lake City AAB, Utah:3 Nov 1942
Davis-Monthan Field, Ariz:23 Jan 1943
Pocatello AAFld, Idaho: 5Apr 1943
Muroc AAFld, Calif: 6 Dec1943-31 Mar 1944

Dalhart AAFld, Tex:25 Aug 1944
Smoky Hill AAFld, Kan: 11Dec 1944-8 Jul 1945
Guam: 8 Sep-16 Dec1945
Camp Anza, Calif: 30 Dec 1945-4Jan 1946.

Component Units

420th Bombardment Squadron: 1944-1946
464th Bombardment Squadron:1944-1946
536th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-1944
537th Bombardment Squadron:1942-1944
538th Bombardment Squadron: 1942-1944
539th Bombardment Squadron:1942-1944
872nd Bombardment Squadron: 1944-1946

Assigned To

1944-45: 316th Bombardment Wing; Eighth Air Force


A Photo Tribute to the382nd Bombardment Group (Very Heavy)

The 382nd Bombardment Group (VH) trained during 1945 to go to battle in B-29s in the Pacific with the 8th Air Force, but didn't get to go due to the delightful end of the conflict. The parent page to this webpage gives more of the history of the group and its training. This particular page is to serve as a place to organize photographs of the group and its personnel as they become available.

Unless noted otherwise, all photos are courtesy of veterans, or the veterans families, and were relayed to me through Glenn Carmen. Glenn is researching the 316th Bombardment Wing, of which the 382nd BG (VH) was a part. Thanks, Glenn! Many of these pictures are of the advance crews (I believe three from each of the squadrons) that were sent out to the Pacific prior to the conflict ending.

  • 420th Squadron: Francis Axtell Walter Garretson George Seidel
  • 464th Squadron: Donald Kelly Robert Karnan William Cara
  • 872nd Squadron: Ralph Kirchoff William Myres Wilbur Halliday

Click on each photograph to see a larger version.

420th Bomb Squadron

A bunch of the squadron while on training in Cuba. [Picture provided by Harold Dusenbury, through Glenn Carmen.]
The crew with 1st Lt. Harold Abshear. [Picture originally provided by the wife of Tommet, through Glenn Carmen. This particular version was edited further by Sheila, the daughter of radio operator Clairis Hullihen]
A crew with Major Garold Buzzard, one of the Flight Commanders.
The crew of Captain Percy Cyr. Here is another picture of just the enlisted men. [Pictures provided by Ernest Rawlings, through Glenn Carmen.]
The crew of 1st Lt. Walter Garretson, one of the advanced crews, later sent to the 346th BG.
The crew of Capt. Harry Holt.
The crew of Capt. Lewis C. Jones. [Picture from Clifford Dean, via Glenn Carmen.]
The crew of 1st Lt. Pete Skordas. [Picture from Joe Fetzger, navigator, via Glenn Carmen.]

464th Bomb Squadron

The crew of Capt. Warren Duncan, one of the crews that came by way of the Combat Crew Training School at Alamogordo, New Mexico (see the transfer orders below, page 2). Rodney Shepherd was the radio operator for the crew. Here is a "fun" picture of the enlisted men of this crew, as well as several of the same guys casually at Sloppy Joes in Havana, Cuba. Here is the more "traditional" Sloppy Joes picture of several of the crewmembers. [Photos provided by Rodney Shepherd, through his son, Mike Shepherd, plus another that came through Glenn Carmen.]
Officers of the 1st Lt. Robert Fahrland crew. The photo was taken at Sloppy Joes in Havana, Cuba.
The crew of Capt. Loren Hall. The photo was obviously taken at Sloppy Joes in Havana, Cuba. [Photo from George Moline, the navigator, through Glenn Carmen.]
A crew with Captain Robert Karnan, one of the advanced crews, later sent to the 346th BG.
A crew with Major Donald Kelly, one of the advanced crews, later sent to the 346th BG.
The crew of 1st Lt. Ralph McCracken.
The crew of 1st Lt. Claude Newell. Here is another picture. Finally, a third picture, with names, taken at Sloppy Joes in Havana, Cuba [Photos provided by Herb Traub, Marvin Revell, and Ed Slapik, through Glenn Carmen].
The crew of Capt. Edgar Zwicker.

872nd Bomb Squadron

The crew of 1st Lt. Curtis Follansbee. Here is a photo, taken at Sloppy Joes in Havana, Cuba.
The crew of Capt. Roscoe Foster.
The crew of 1st Lt. Jack Hutcheson, Crew # 50. (This photo courtesy of Shofestal, through Glenn Carmen) Here is a photo, with names, taken at Sloppy Joes in Havana, Cuba. (This photo apparently taken by Annalora, the tenth member of the crew, who is not in the picture.)
A crew of 1st Lt. Allen Ledbetter, Crew # 47. This picture was taken at Sloppy Joes in Havana, Cuba. (Photo provided by the Catlett family, via Glenn Carmen.)
A crew of 1st Lt. William Myres, one of those on detached service, later sent to the 346th BG.
A crew with Major Lohman Rosenheimer. [Photo from Claire Swenson, the pilot ("co-pilot").]
The crew of 1st Lt. Robert Underwood, one of the original crews transferred to the 382nd BG in January 1945 from the Combat Crew Training School at Almogordo AAF. (Copies of the transfer documents are below.) This picture was taken in early May 1945 at Sloppy Joes in Havana, Cuba. Here is another version of the same photograph, still in the original frame, but without names.
The crew of Capt. Jack Womack. The photo was obviously taken at Sloppy Joes in Havana, Cuba.

Miscellaneous Pictures and Documents

A variety of the 382nd BG crew members, including the Halliday crew, taken at Sloppy Joes in Havana, Cuba.
Several of the original crews of the 382nd BG (VH) apparently came in January 1945 as a block, 17 crews in all, from the 2nd AAF Combat Crew Training School (CCTS) at Alamogordo Army Air Field. Here is page 1 (of 5) of Special Order No. 14, 231st Base Unit, transfering these officers and enlisted men to Salina and the 382nd BG. Additional pages are available: Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, and Page 5.
Another block of the original crews of the 382nd BG (VH) apparently came at the end of February 1945 as a block from the 2nd AAF replacement pool at Lincoln Army Air Field in Nebraska. Here is page 1 (of 3) of Special Order No. 56 transfering these officers and enlisted men to Salina and the 382nd BG. Additional pages are available: Page 2, and Page 3.
Part of an overseas shipment, transfering nine (9) crews of the 382nd BG to the 346th BG (VH), also part of the 316th BG, on Okinawa. This is in November 1945. Additional pages are available: Page 2 and Page 3.

Website dedicated to the 435th BS of the 333rd BG (VH), 316th BW. This website is authored by Glenn Carmen, in honor of his father, William Carmen, who served with the 435th. Glenn is researching all of the groups of the 316th BW, 8th AAF in the Pacific, of which the 382nd BG (VH) was to be a part.

Website dedicated to the 346th BG (VH), another of the groups in the 316th BW, 8th AAF in the Pacific. This website is also authored by Glenn Carmen, with technical support from Craig Goldwyn (whose father was in the 346th).

Glenn Carmen has also created a Yahoo! Groups forum dedicated to the 316th BW: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/316thwing/. Not much activity yet, but this could nonetheless be a gathering place as veterans of the individual groups continue to leave us.

Kevin Anderson
Dubuque, Iowa

Webpage initially created 19 September 2006
Last updated 3 June 2010


382nd Bombardment Group (USAAF) - History

The following is a retyping of part of the official history of the 382nd Bombardment Group (VH), in its monthly report provided for December 1944. This history is taken from AFHRA Microfilm Roll B0372, starting with frame 1195. Each page from the report is separated by a horizontal rule. Neither the biography nor the appendix of supporting documents is provided.

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382ND BOMBARDMENT GROUP (VH)

SMOKY HILL ARMY AIR FIELD, SALINA, KANSAS

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
IPersonnel1
IIOrganization and Administration3
IIITraining4
IVSupply and Equipment5
VMaintenance5
VIFacilities6
Biography of Colonel William W. Jones7

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Increases in assigned personnel were made during the month. As of the 31st of December 1944 the Group has the following personnel:

AUTHORIZEDASSIGNED
OFFICERS 37198
WARRANT OFFICERS 11
ENLISTED MEN 1706917

In comparison with the authorized strength as of 30th of November 1944 there is an increase of 2 officers which increase was authorized by TWX (teletypewriter exchange message) /1 from Headquarters Second Air Force. These two officers are the Assistant Group Operations Officer and The Group Staff Flight Engineer - the former a major, the latter a captain.

In comparison with the assigned strength as of the 30th of November 1944 2/ there is an increase of 21 officers and 102(?) enlisted men. Percentagewise this is an increase over November 1944 of approximately 27% officers and 25% enlisted men. Total percentage to date of authorized strength already assigned is as follows: officers, 23% warrant officers, 100% enlisted men, 53%.

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/1 TWX 2AF - DP 1688(?), CG, 2nd AF, to Hq, 382 Bomb Group (VH), SHAAF, Salina, Kansas, dated 6 December 1944.
2/ WD Form 127 Patrs I and II, as of 31st December 1944.

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25 officers and 164 enlisted men are on DS (detached service), a reduction over the previous month of 26 officers and 267 enlisted men. The majority of the enlisted men on DS are Base Unit (static) personnel already assigned to the Group but retained by their base station pending the arrival of replacements.

The staff organization of the Group Headquarters remained intact during the current month. However, the following changes were made in the staffs of the Squadrons. Captain Emmett J. McKanna, assigned from 315th Wing, Peterson Field, Colorado Springs, Colorado, assumed the duties of Executive Officer of the 420th Bomb Squadron (VH) 3/ and Major George W. Martin assumed the duties of Operations Officer of the same squadron.

Below is a listing of the Staff organization of the 382nd Bomb. Group (VH), SHAAF (Smoky Hill Army Air Field), Salina, Kansas as of the 31st of December 1944.

HEADQUARTERS
Commanding OfficerColonel William W. Jones
Deputy Commanding OfficerLt. Col Lloyd E. Johnson
Executive OfficerMajor Bruce W. Moffatt
S-1Captain Frank E. McCarthy
S-2Major William H. Bruce
S-3Lt. Col Leland W. Johnson
S-4Captain Herbert E. Blackstock

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3/ Par. 1, SO #80, Hq, 382nd Bomb Gp (VH), Dalhart Army Air Field, Dalhart, Texas, 5 Dec. 1944

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420th BOMB SQUADRON (VH)
Commanding OfficerLt Col Ralph A. Osborne, Jr.
Deputy Commanding OfficerMajor Emmett J. McKanna
Executive OfficerMajor George W. Martin
AdjutantCaptain Rex K. Estudillo
464th BOMB SQUADRON (VH)
Commanding OfficerMajor John H. Schweitzer
Deputy Commanding OfficerMajor K. L. Clark
Executive OfficerCaptain C. H.(?) McConnell
Adjutant1st Lt. Allen A. Sobel
872th BOMB SQUADRON (VH)
Commanding OfficerMajor Harry L. Mitchell
Deputy Commanding OfficerMajor Robert D. Martin
Executive OfficerMajor Robert DeBord
AdjutantCaptain Phillip F. Locke

II. ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION

There were no new developments regarding this subject during the month. The permanent change of stations - DAAF (Dalhart Army Air Field), Dalhart, Texas, to SHAAF, Salina, Kansas - was accomplished with no organizational or administrative dislocations.

Upon arriving at SHAAF a policy of establishing liason and friendly relationships with the SHAAF base personnel (officials) was initiated. This was accomplished by several joint meetings and personal visits to department heads by those in comparable positions in the group. This policy was also followed with respect to the 39th Bomb. Group (VH) with whom our Group will be in close contact until they leave for overseas.

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Basic training was continued this month and considerable training was accomplished in spite of obstacles - see below - encountered earlier in the month which affected class attendance. (However, before explanation is made it must be understood that it is standard operating procedure for our Group maintenance personnel to be used in a maintenance pool which pol also includes personnel from the maintenance sections of the 39th Bomb. Group (VH) and SHAAF. This pool services the aircraft of our predecessors unit the 39th Bomb Group (VH).

One of the obstacles refered to above was occasioned by the 39th Bomb. Group (VH) personnel not always being available for their assigned duties. This was due to their preparing to move overseas and was accompanied by last-minute preparations such as processing, packing, etc. This necessitated our small number of maintenance personnel working overtime in order to carry on the schedule.

Another obstacle was caused by the transfer to the Infantry of a number of SHAAF maintenance personnel. This additional loss added more work onto the shoulders of our men who were already hard hit by the loss of so many of the 39th Bomb. Group (VH) personnel.

The third obstacle was caused by the fact that our Group was newly arrived at SHAAF and in the throes of a reorganization.

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Therefore, the training program was at first, carried on in the greatly reduced "off-duty-time" of the personnel and moved very slowly. Very few took advantage of the situation however, and later during the month the condition was remedied enabling the Group to make up for a great deal of lost momentum.

The SHAAF Ground Training Department cooperated superbly during this trying period. Classes held in the morning were duplicated in the afternoon so that our personnel would have a maximum opportunity to accomplish their training. Classes were conducted without regard for the numbers in attendance.

No major problems arose during the current month concerning this subject. However, on 15 December 1944, Supply, which had been consolidated at DAAF because of a lack of housing facilities was broken down into three squadron units. Squadron supply offices were established and officers were appointed to head each section. By the end of the month these squadron units were operating efficiently and receiving fullest cooperation from General (SHAAF) Supply.

The Group has no assigned aircraft as yet and all of our maintenance [. next page]

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personnel are used by the 39th Bomb. Group (VH), or the 1st Photo Group (VH), SHAAF, Salina, Kansas. Reference should be made to the unit histories of these units for information on this subject.

During the current month the 382nd Bomb. Group (VH) moved to SHAAF, Salina, Kansas. Upon arrival temporary administrative quarters - which had been selected and prepared in advance - were assigned. These quarters proved to be excellent and fullest cooperation was received from SHAAF personnel in making what few changes were necessary.

This is the end of the main sections of the December 1944 report for the 382nd Bomb Group (VH).

Transcribed by Kevin Anderson on 13 June 2006
Original typographic errors were left in.
All remaining transcription errors are my own.


382nd Bombardment Group (USAAF) - History

The following is a retyping of part of the official history of the 382nd Bombardment Group (VH), in its final monthly report provided for August 1945. This history is taken from AFHRA Microfilm Roll B0372, starting with frame 1646. Each page from the report is separated by a horizontal rule. All but the appendix of documents is provided.

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382ND BOMBARDMENT GROUP (VH)

17TH OPERATIONAL TRAINING WING

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Page
IPERSONNELI
IIORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATIONIII
IIITRAININGIV
IVMAINTENANCEIV
VSUPPLY AND EQUIPMENTV
VIFACILITIESV
VIIMORALEVI
APPENDIX A -- DOCUMENTS

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The total strength of the Air Echelon as of 31 August 1945 was 392 officers and 929 enlisted men. This represents an increase of 14 officers and a decrease of 32 enlisted men during the month. As of 31 August 1945 the unit of the 382nd Bomb Group (VH) contained the following personnel: 1/

Headquarters
AuthorizedAssigned
Officers 2626
Enlisted 1212
420th Squadron
AuthorizedAssigned
Officers 118118
Enlisted 301301
464th Squadron
AuthorizedAssigned
Officers 123123
Enlisted 305305
872nd Squadron
AuthorizedAssigned
Officers 124125
Enlisted 310310

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1/ WD Form 127 (Air Echelon) dated 31 August 1945 (Headquarters, 420th Squadron, 464th Squadron, 872nd Squadron)

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The only change in the Key Peronnel of the 382nd Bomb Group (VH) was the loss of Captain Bruce W. Gordon, Group Navigator, who was transferred pending separation. Lt. George A. Moline was appointed to fill the vacancy.

The organizational chart of the 382nd Bomb Group (VH) as of 31 August 1945 was as follows: 2/

Headquarters
Commanding OfficerColonel Audrin R. Walker
Deputy Commanding OfficerLt. Col. Lloyd E. Johnson, Jr.
Executive Officer*Lt. Col. Henry Burr, Jr.
S-1Major Frank E. McCarthy
S-2Major William H. Bruce
S-3Lt. Col. Leland W. Johnson
S-4Capt. Robert C. Andrew
Air InspectorMajor George W. Martin
420th Squadron
Commanding OfficerLt. Col. Ralph A. Osborn, Jr.
Deputy Commanding OfficerMajor Emmett F. Longridge
Executive Officer*Capt. Emmett J. McKanna
464th Squadron
Commanding OfficerMajor Everett A. McDonald
Deputy Commanding OfficerMajor Charles H. McConnell
Executive Officer*Major Bruce W. Moffett
872th Squadron
Commanding OfficerMajor Harry R. Mitchell
Deputy Commanding OfficerMajor Royal Hatch, Jr.
Executive Officer*Major Robert D. Martin

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2/ Headquarters 382nd Bomb Group (VH) Air Echelon Roster of Officers dated 31 August 1945.

* With the 382nd Bomb Group (VH) overseas

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II. ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION

From 8 August to 10 August 1945 the Air and Flight Echelons of the 382nd Bomb Group (VH) were subjected to the Final POM Inspection by a POM team sent out by Headquarters Continental Air Forces, Bolling Field, Washington D.C. This team was headed by Lt. Col. Willliam P. Thorington. Except for a few minor discrepancies, everything was found to be satisfactory.

During August 1945 the Flight Echelon moved to Kearney Army Air Field, Kearney, Nebraska for the purpose of staging prior to overseas movement. The 420nd Squadron moved on 23 August /3, the 464th Squadron on 28 August 4/, and the 872nd planned to follow on 1 September 5/

It was also determined during the month that the Air Echelon would go overseas by boat rather than by Air Transport Command. Those scheduled to go by boat remained at Harvard Air Field, Harvard, Nebraska.

After the Flight Echelon left the balance of the enlisted men were consolidated by squadrons in three barracks for purposes of better control. The three squadron orderly rooms were also moved into one building.

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3/ SO 233, Par 5, Hq, AAF, Harvard, Nebraska, dated 21 August 1945
4/ SO 237, Par 7, Hq, AAF, Harvard, Nebraska, dated 25 August 1945
5/ SO 239, Par 43, Hq, AAF, Harvard, Nebraska, dated 27 August 1945

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Prior to the Declaration of Peace on 14 August 1945 the 382nd Bomb Gp. (VH) continued flying Wing Missions with the 383rd Bomb Gp. (VH) stationed at Walker AAF Walker, Kansas. It was felt that these missions provided the nearest approach to actual combat conditions possible in this country and that the formation experience gained was excellent.

All flying training was stopped after 14 August. However, most of the minimum training requirements had been set by this date. 6/

All maintenance training was completed as of 5 August 1945. Squadron Engineering sections were reorganized during the month to reassign crews to 12 aircraft instead of 15 as originally authorized per squadron.

Inasmuch as B-29 flying was terminated 14 August 1945, there was very little work for the maintenance personnel for the remainder of the month. Some assistance was given the Base Unit in preparing 5 aircraft for transfer to Topeka.

Crew Chiefs, Assistant Crew Chiefs and a few Key Maintenance Men were selected to accompany the Flight Echelon.

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6/ 1. Chart, 382nd and 383rd Bomb Groups (VH), Subject: Comparison of Accomplishments, dated 18 August 1945
2. Chart, 382nd Bomb Group (VH), Subject: Percent of Flying Training Complete, dated 18 August 1945
3. Chart, 382nd Bomb Group (VH), Subject: Percent of AAF Minimum Requirements Complete, dated 18 August 1945
4. Chart, 2AF, Subject: Crew Progress Chart, Flying Training, (VH) dated 31 August 1945
5. Chart, 2AF, Subject: Crew Progress Chart, Technical Training (VH), Post Phase, dated 1 September 1945

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During the month of August 1945, 12 Flyaway B-29's were received. These ships were assigned to the 420th Squadron.

The combat crews processed and turned in all excess and non-servicable clothing and equipment and crew combat servicable clothing and all overwater flying equipment as well as combat gear. New parachutes were issued.

The only changes in the facilities at Harvard Army Air Field were changes for the worse. Transportation continued to be intermitant and grossly inadequate. The Enlisted Men's Mess Hall was overcrowded. The Service Club is entirely too small to accommodate the number of people who use it. The quality of food served in the Officers Mess was considerably lower than at any previous time. OQ's were almost completedly neglected. Floors remained uncleaned, beds unmade for days at a time and no attempt was made to change sheets for period of two and three weeks. The unsanitary conditions of the latrine was perhaps more noticeable than any other items. It was a common occurancy for officers to take care of their own quarters and build the fires for the hot water. Conditions were such that all officers without exception felt that the rendering of a BOQ fee was a complete injustice. There is not enough athletic equipment available on the Field to support a suitable recreational program.

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At Kearney AAF the facilities were a definite improvement over those at Harvard AAF. The officers club was better, so was the food. Thre was plenty of athletic equipment so that a very enjoyable voluntary physical training program was instituted by the 382nd Bomb Group (VH).

Until 14 August 1945 the morale of the 382nd Bomb Group (VH) continued at a very high level. On 9 August 1945 the last officers Group party was held in the Officers Club at Harvard Army Air Field. A buffet dinner with refreshments was served to all officers and their guests. Later there was music and dancing. An enjoyable evening was had by all.

After peace was proclaimed the morale of the Group dropped noticeable - chiefly because of the uncertainty as to ultimate disposition of the Group. A great many were looking forward to resuming their lives as of the time the outbreak of war disrupted the normal course of events. As a flying unit the 382nd was ready and willing to go to the man as the war was in progress not so, however, when it was no longer necesssary.

This is the end of the August 1945 report for the 382nd Bomb Group (VH).

Transcribed by Kevin Anderson on 31 December 2005 (with corrections 2 January 2006)
Original typographic errors were left in.
All remaining transcription errors are my own.


A Tribute to the 382nd Bombardment Group (VH): Trained for Combat, But Didn't Get To Go

The 382nd Bombardment Group originally began on 28 October 1942 as a B-24 (Heavy) operational training unit (and later replacement training unit) with the 2nd Air Force, stationed variously at Salt Lake City AAB, Davis-Monthan Field, Pocatello AAFld, and Muroc AAFld. During this time the Group consisted of four training squadrons: 536th, 537th, 538th, and 539th. The 382nd BG (H) was inactivated on 31 March 1944.

The 382nd Bombardment Group (Very Heavy) was activated on 25 August 1944 at Dalhart Army Air Field (Texas) and assigned to the Second Air Force. Its new mission was to train and go to the Pacific as a B-29 combat outfit. This combat training began 11 December 1944, after a relocation to Smoky Hill Army Air Field, Salina, Kansas. The 382nd BG (VH), along with the 383rd BG (VH) that was training at nearby Walker AAFld (Kansas), was to form part of the 316th Bombardment Wing 1/ in the Pacific as part of the newly reassigned 8th Air Force (which had been moved, without personnel and equipment, to the Pacific after the war in Europe ended).

The 382nd BG (VH) consisted of a headquarters squadron, three combat bombardment squadrons - the 420th, 464th, and the 872nd - as well as the 33rd Photo Lab. Both the 420th and 464th Bomb Squadrons date back to 1942 as Heavy (H) training squadrons - the 420th previously training B-24 crews with the 302nd BG (H) and the 464th previously training B-17 and B-24 crews with the 331st BG (H) - and were both originally inactivated in April 1944 before later being reconstituted. The 872nd was created in November 1943, also as a combat training unit, initially assigned to the 497th Bombardment Group, and originally inactivated in May 1944.

From December 1944 to July 1945, the 382nd BG (VH) trained its combat crews at Smoky Hill AAFld, including two-week rotations of all squadrons and crews (including maintenance personnel) to Cuba (Batista Army Air Field, near Havana) for tropical training and overwater flying. During this time, further transition and technical training took place for each of the 11 crew positions on the B-29, as well as the forming of crews themselves and practicing of flight operations, plus giving the maintenance personnel some very valuable experience in "making do" in field conditions.

In July 1945, the air echelon moved to Harvard Army Air Field, Harvard, Nebraska, for final training and qualifications, while the ground echelon embarked (by train and then by ship) to Guam. With the declaration of peace on 14 August 1945, all air training for the group stopped, with the ground echelon being the only major part of the group that officially served in a combat zone 2/.

The last entries in the official archive of the 382nd BG (VH) records that the air echelon flew their planes and personnel to Kearney Army Air Field (Kearney, Nebraska) at the end of August and beginning of September. From there, the record seems to disappear. Apparently some personnel were reassigned to other units (for instance, the 420th BS was apparently sent to Grand Island AAFld to be dispersed into a group reforming there), with several still making it out to the Pacific, while others became eligible for discharge. Officially the 382nd BG (VH) was stationed at Guam from 8 September until December 16, 1945, before it was moved to Camp Anza (California), where it was deactivated, along with its three combat squadrons, for the final time on January 4, 1946.

As such, the 382nd Bombardment Group (VH) trained for battle, was ready to go (the flight and air echelon were apparently originally scheduled to leave for the Pacific in late-August or early-September), but due to events (a good set of events!) didn't see combat. While not as exciting as a group that saw combat, it is nonetheless interesting to read about combat training and the morale and commitment of personnel ready to go to war. This tribute is in their memory and for their commitment.

1/ In addition to the 382nd and 383rd, the 316th BW (VH) also consisted of the 333rd and 346th BG (VH), which had already been stationed at Kadena, Okinawa, by the end of the conflict. (See weblinks at the end of this page for information on these other groups.) There seems to be some disagreement on where the 382nd and 383rd were to be stationed. The Eighth Air Force in the Pacific was to operate out of Okinawa, so I would presume all the units would be there. However, I read somewhere (although I can't find it right now) that the 382nd and 383rd would be in the Marianas, such as at Guam where the 382nd ground echelon was shipped. Similarly, Headquarters and the ground echelon for the 383rd were shipped to Tinian in September, which would lend credence to this location. But others say that all the groups of the 316th BW were to be stationed at Okinawa. Either way, officially the 382nd made it only as far as Guam.

2/ Besides the 382nd Ground Echelon making it overseas to Guam, at least three lead crews from each squadron of the 382nd BG (VH) were already overseas on detached service in the Pacific for combat experience prior to the arrival of the rest of the group. These crews were later assigned to the 346th BG (VH) on Okinawa. Officially it is listed that the station of the 382nd BG (VH) was Guam from September 8 to December 16, 1945, although it is unclear from the archived history as to how much of the air echelon personnel made it to the Pacific. One archived shipment order indicates that apparently at least nine crews of the 382nd were transferred to the 346th in November 1945. Either way, it is clear that the bulk of the Air Echelon of the 382nd BG (VH), as a fighting unit, did not see combat.

Available Records on the 382nd BG (VH):

Information on the 382nd BG (VH) is limited. Being the 382nd was never in combat as a flying unit, the records that were kept all had to do with training only. No books that include 382nd BG (VH) were ever written to the best of my knowledge.

AFHRA Microfilm Rolls B0371 and B0372 contain all the available official historical records on the various incarnations of the 382nd BG, with the latter roll containing the records for the (VH) time period. The microfilm records on the 382nd BG (VH) consists primarily of standard monthly history reports that summarized the status of personnel, training and operational preparedness, equipment and maintenance, facilities, and morale. Many of the monthly reports include a complete roster of officers (but not enlisted personnel) as an appendix, as well as charts indicating the training status of each crew (known only by crew number and by the name of the aircraft commander).

There is no complete roster of the unit, and other records that might have existed in this regard were lost in the 1973 fire in St. Louis at the National Military Personnel Center (the fire destroyed all unit rosters for 1944, 1945, and 1946). The closest available for a complete roster of the air echelon only, with enlisted personnel, are three special orders preserved in the microfilm archive and dating to late August, that direct the movement of 36 aircrews (plus passengers) from Harvard AAFld to Kearney AAFld.

Here is information I have collected and transcribed to-date on the 382nd BG (VH):

  • Extracts of information on the group and squadrons from Maurer Maurer publications: (NOTE: LARGE, 500KBytes ***PDF document currently available only on the CD-ROM distribution of these records.***)
    (the first month at Smoky Hills AAF) (the last monthly history report archived)
    (Special Order 233, 21 August 1945) (Special Order 237, 25 August 1945) (Special Order 239, 27 August 1945)

Photos?

Here is the beginnings of a webpage with photographs for the 382nd BG and its personnel.

The 382nd BG (VH) and Cpl. Chester S. Anderson (My Uncle)

What prompted me to research and write about the 382nd Bombardment Group (VH) was my uncle, Corporal Chester ("Chet") S. Anderson.

I am fairly certain that my uncle was with the 382nd BG (VH) in 1945, training to fight as a B-29 gunner, possibly as a CFC ("ring") Gunner3/. At least that is what the family and I believe. We know he was training for combat as a B-29 gunner, my dad recalls as a CFC (central fire control) gun operator, and we know Chester was at Smoky Hills Army Air Field (SHAAF) at the end of 1944 and into mid-1945. His wife and daugher even lived with him for a time in Salina in 1945. The 382nd BG (VH) was the only outfit training for combat at SHAAF during this time fitting this profile, although Chester could have been assigned strictly to the Base Unit (as he was when he first arrived at SHAAF in December). (My father distinctly recalls Chester's outfit being slated to go overseas, with the departure stopped due to the end of the conflict, which would suggest against the Base Unit in mid-1945.)

Unfortunately we have no records to prove this. Chester's military records, like so many others, were lost in the 1973 fire in St. Louis at the National Military Personnel Center. Documents and letters we do have confirm Chester's various assignments and locations up through his arrival at SHAAF in December 1944, and pick up again once he at Sioux City AAFld in mid-August 1945. But we are missing details and confirmation for things in between. And with the lack of complete unit rosters from 1945 (also lost in the 1973 fire), I cannot verify Chester's assignment. His name does not appear among the crew/passengers listed in either of the three special orders for the final disbursement flight of planes to Kearney at the end of August.

What I believe is this: Chester was indeed with the 382nd BG (VH), and that he was among the 32 enlisted personnel transferred away in early August when the Group reduced its table of organization to 12 planes/crews per squadron. Chester was unlucky to be among the equivalent of six (6) crews of enlisted men selected to be disbursed - one crew from the 420th, two crews from the 464th, and three crews from the 872nd. I am hopeful that a letter may yet be uncovered (from among family archives) that will reveal a return address and/or a pilot's name that will let me verify my guesses (such as squadron assignment and possibly explain what happened) 4/.

After leaving Smoky Hill AAFld, Chester was reclassified as a B-25 flight engineer-crew chief and assigned first to the Headquarters Squadron of the 47th Bombardment Wing and later to the 240th AAF Base Unit (17th BOTW), both at Sioux City Army Air Base (Iowa). Unfortunately he was killed (along with all others in his plane) in Kentucky on November 10, 1945, while on a cross-country training flight with marginally CFR conditions (low clouds) in hilly terrain.

3/ That Chester was training as a CFC gunner (MOS 540) is not certain. Given that Chester remained a Corporal suggests that he might have been in a different position (as with few exceptions CFC gunners were Sergeants), possibly as a Tail Gunner (most of those were Corporals, MOS 611). He may have also been a "scanner," which is the generic B-29 label for someone who is either a Right- or Left-Side Gunner, as they were often Corporals. In this case he would have been cross-trained as either an Armorer-Gunner or Electrical-Gunner. (The latter would add some credence to his being trained specifically in the remote control gunnery system as a backup to the CFC, and providing my dad with the idea that his brother Chet was training as a CFC gunner.)

4/ Although I will never know for sure why Chester was passed over by the Group at the last minute, I can think of several contributing factors: (1) his age (he turned 34 on July 20, 1945), (2) he was married and (3) a parent, (4) he had other usable qualifications (he was a civilian pilot instructor for the CAA-WTS before being drafted), (5) he may have been behind in his training or just not as qualified as others for his MOS in the Group, and/or (6) he just "lost out" in a "lottery" in the ways the military made such decisions. I suppose it is possible that he also volunteered to move.

  • Microfilm roll B0372, Air Force History Research Agency (AFHRA), Maxwell Air Force Base.
  • Maurer Maurer (editor), Air Force Combat Units of World War II, Washington, D.C.: Office of Air Force History, 1983 (reprinted originally published 1961).
  • Maurer Maurer (editor), Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II, Washington, D.C.: Alfred F. Simpson Historical Research Center and Office of Air Force History, 1982 (reprinted originally published 1969).
  • Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate (editors), The Army Air Forces in World War II, Volume Five, The Pacific: MATTERHORN to Nagasaki, June 1944 to August 1945, Washington, D.C.: Office of Air Force History, 1983 (reprinted originally published 1953 by the University of Chicago Press).

Links to Other Sites of Related Interest:

    . This website is authored by Glenn Carmen, in honor of his father, William Carmen, who served with the 435th. Glenn is researching all of the groups of the 316th BW, 8th AAF in the Pacific, of which the 382nd BG (VH) was to be a part. , another of the groups in the 316th BW, 8th AAF in the Pacific. This website is also authored by Glenn Carmen, with technical support from Craig Goldwyn (whose father was in the 346th).
  • Glenn Carmen has also created a Yahoo! Groups forum dedicated to the 316th BW: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/316thwing/. I also understand he is working on a book about the 316th BW. Not much activity on the forum yet, but this could nonetheless be a gathering place as veterans of the individual groups continue to leave us.

Page created by Kevin Anderson (Dubuque, Iowa).
All errors are my own and will be corrected where possible.


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Four Bees

Today we'll be taking a look at a wonderful little nugget of personal WW2 history.

I am always on the lookout for unique and historically relevant letters, photos and postcards that tell the history of warfare from the perspective of the "man in the trenches". When
I spotted this postcard, I realized it had a great story to tell.
This is a "humorous postcard" that was mailed home by a Private, serving as a firefighter in the US Army Air Force during WW2.

The author of this card was Private S. Makarowitz. According to the return address, Pvt. Makarowitz was assigned to the 2036th Engineering Fire Fighting Platoon, based at Harding Field, Louisiana, USA. The card is postmarked July 24th, 1943.

The 2036th Engineering Fire Fighting Platoon was part of the 385th Bombardment Group, of the US 8th Air Force from 1943 to 1955. Shortly after this post card was mailed, Pvt. Makarowitz's unit was sent overseas to England. They served as the "Crash-Rescue Fire Department" for the 385th Bombardment Group while they were stationed at the Royal Air Force (RAF) Great Ashfield Air Base. The airfield was located near Suffolk, England.
A check of the causality and killed lists for the this unit revealed that Private Makarowitz survived the war.

I will let the photos of this card speak for themselves, however, here is a transcript of the letter's narrative, by Private Sol Makarowitz:

Dear Mr. Fleisher,

I am getting along fine here and everything would be swell here if it wasn't for the temperature which is 120 degrees.
You remember what Squinty(?) said well I think he is all wrong. Of course I would like to be back but it isn't as bad as he said.
I hope you are all well.
Regards to everyone,
Sincerely
Sol


Watch the video: USAF Rockwell B1B Lancer Taxing At Avalon Airport for the Airshow (December 2021).