Memories of the 801st-492nd Bombardment Group Carpetbaggers

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Transcript of Memories of the 801st-492nd Bombardment Group Carpetbaggers

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    @[1 801sY492NDI f [ } : 8 r E B O M B A R D M E N T GROU

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    A BLACK B24 LIBERATOR BOMBER TAKING Off FROM U.S. AIR FORCE STATION .179AT HARRINGTON.ENGLAND DURING WORLD WAR IL CLANDESTINE NIGHT MISSIONS WERE FLOWN FROM THIS SECRETBASE. DROPPING MUNITIONS AND SUPPLIES TO UNDERGROUND RESISTANCE FORCES IN NAZIOCCUPIED EUROPE. FROM APRIL 5. 18 . .... TO APRIL 21. , 945. THE 80t,492ND BOMB GROUP *CARPETBAGGERS~ ALSO PARACHUTED AGENTS INTO FRANCE, HOLl.AND. NORWAY. DENMARK AND GERMANYFOR SPYING AND ESPIONAGE ACTIVITIES. IN ADDITION TO FLYING NIGHT BOMBING MISSIONS.

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    MR. R08tRT N. FleHSIOO ..ooHNe RYAH 8t.1ID APT $3:1~N ANTONIO TX ?e~4S

    Privately printed by the 801st/492nd B0mb-ardment Group As so cia ti on , a n on -p ro fit u. s.veterans organization, registered with the IRS,Tax #54-1402171, as a ma~rial to the men oft he 8 01 st /4 92 nd B om ba rd n' En t Group in World War II.

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    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    I thank all of my 801st/492nd Bombardment Groupcomrads ~ho have supplied information and articles forthis book.

    Where stories included can be attributed to aspecific individu~l, that individual's by-line has beenadded.

    Most of the stories recorded in this book have beencontributed by men who were members of the group duringWorld War II. In some instances the sources used havebeen official military records and records of relatedentities. One of the most frequently used sources hasbeen the 801st/492nd Bombardment Group Association's"Carpetbagger Newsletter".

    I I)wemany thanks to my principa~ typist, SofiaGonzalez of Zapata, Texas and to my wife, Jean CarterYoung, who was my principal proof reader.

    My sincere appreciation to my war time comrads,Peter Sanders and Robert Sellers, for the design of thecovers and the frontispiece.

    Lastly we owe a vote of thanks to our CarpetbaggerNewsletter editor, Richard T. Sizemore for supplyingthe photographs~

    Robert W. FishSan Antonio, TexasAugust 1990

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    PREFACE

    THIS BOOK IS A COMPILATION OF SOME OF THEMEMORIES OF THE MEMBERS OF THE 801/492 BOMBARDMENTGROUP WHICH FLEW MISSIONS SUPPORTING THE UNDER-GROUND FORCES IN GERMAN OCCUPIED TERRITORIES OFTHE EUROPEAN CONTINENT DURING WORLD WAR 11. BE-CAUSE THESE MEMORIES ARE OVER FORTY FIVE YEARS OLDTHEY MAY VARY SOMEWHAT FROM THE DETAILS OF THE ACT-UAL EVENTS WHICH THEY PURPORT TO RECALL. DUE TOTHE EXTREME SENSITIVITY OF THE CARPETBAGGER OPER-A~IONS DURING THE WAR YEARS PERSONAL DIARIES ANDSIMILAR RECORDS BY INDIVIDUAL AIRMEN WERE STRICTLYPROHIBITED. THIS COMPILATION IS THE FIRST WRITTENRECORD OF MANY OF THE EVENTS RECORDED HEREIN.

    THIS BOOK IS NOT COMPILED TO BE A HISTORY. ITHAS BEEN COMPILED PRIMARILY AS A MEMORIAL TO THEMEN WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE RECORDED EVENTS.

    FOR A MORE FACTUAL AND FORMAL ACCOUNT OF THEHISTORY OF THE CARPETBAGGERS THE READER IS REFERREDTO BEN PARNELL'S BOOK ENTITLED "CARPETBAGGERS,AM-ERICA'S SECRET WAR INEUROPE" , PUBLISHED BY THEEAKIN PRESS OF AUSTIN, TEXAS.

    ROBERT W. FISH20 SEPTEMBER 1990

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    CONTENTSA Unique StoryThe Roots of the CarpetbaggersCapt. Estes Meets the LuftwaffeM y First Encounter with the German Air ForceLike Father Like SonJust Thought You Would Like to KnowProp WashETO CarpetbaggersEager Volunteers for Carpetbagger OperationsContinuityA Heflin PolicyBackground of Col. Robert w. FishA Risky BusinessDuty Above and BeyondMiss United NationsHarringtonCommanding OfficersUS Army Air Force Acquires Station 179Instrument Approach Procedure to 179Road and Rail Map of NorthamptonshireThe Unseen ArmyA Salute to Mechanics from an Unknown PilotMany Branches of Services were Needed in AAF1077 Signal Company Service GroupTime and Distance Distorts MemoriesKing and Queen Visit TempsfordScarlet Pimpernals of the AirNotes From an Abreviated DiaryCalling the ShotsOn BaseMap of Harrington AerodromeAs I RememberBullet Hole PatchersStoned PropellersDr. Paul J. Gans is Court-martialedGans Celebrate 50th AnniversaryTalk About a PartyReflections of a More Serious NatureIn Memorium - James BakerCapt. PaulF. AderMemories of Life at HarringtonProducing Grey HairNo-Mustard-on-the-FrankfurterOver-the-Hill to Grandmother's HouseThe Disappearing ActA Traqic FatalityThe Group Radar SectionG.roup Headquarters as of 18 June 1845The Waste of WarCarperbaggers IdentifiedWW II Style DressThose Dangerous Pub Missions

    131011121314151 8202021242627282 93031323334353738444549545557586061626465687071737677788083878889919394

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    Mass Tr~nsit System at Harrington96Bicycles Were Not Buried 97History of Special Services 98The Lamport Swan 99Pig Tales 100In a Pig's Eye 101In the Dark of Night 102A Memorable Night 103Lt. F~ank G. McDonald and Crew 104Evading a Night Fighter 106One Aircrew's History 107Trials and Tribulations of Heddleson and Henderson 109Tradgedy at St-Cyr-De-Valorges 119My Trip to the Dedication Ceremony 120Behind the German Lines 123The Fitzpatrick Crew Saga 124Carpetbaggers Return to Belgium 131A Crew Chief Well Remembered 132Field Changes 134Ground Crews 134It is Easy to Get Lost in the Dark 135A Carpetbagger with the French Forces of the Interior 136Another Mystery Solved 142Experience Pays Off 143Music from World War II 144Two for One 145Carpetbaggers Efforts Increase 147Goofing Off 148Finding Comrads 149A Bit of a Record 150High Flight 150Fiftieth Anniversary 151The Annecy Mission 153Confusion 157US Airmen Help the Maquis 158My First Trip into Annecy 160Cold Feet to Freedom 162A Senic Tour 163Carpetbaggers Cover All Germany 164Mission #9 165Mission #16 165News Report from Stars and Stripes 166A Flight into the German Redoubt 167Lucky Rabbit's Foot 168A Tearful Coincidence 169Beaucoup Courage 170Another Darby Memory 171Landing Behind the Lines 172Mission # 15 inca C-47 174Behind the Lines 176Random Memories 177Mission #13 180Playing a Double Header 181The Art of War 183

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    Night Gunnery SchoOlSandy's Gunnery MuralYanks Drop from the SkyA Mission to NorwayRescuing Carpetbaggers from NorwayExtracts from a LetterThe Beauties of Norway at NightA Wartime Night FlightA Near MissLong Ago and Far AwaySt. Elmo's FireAir Transport Command and the ProjectsHorses Dropped BombsTransport and Troop CarriersHow We Were Shot Down by the RussiansCome Fly with Me-NorthLt. Hudson's CrewMemories of a Post War FlightThe Night I Obeyed the LadyJohn W. Gillikin SurvivesMission #6The Joe Who Wouldn't GoToo Many AirfieldsMission #7Memories by Raymond J. ElliottA Free Trip HorneAn Angry JoeMy First Flight to ParisThe Voice of Charles DeGauileJustice MiscarriedA Bizarre StorySome Notes on A-26 OperationsRoss D. White Remembers the A-26Red Stocking MissionsIn My OpinionMajor Edward C. TresemerLife in StockholmThe Path of Most ResistanceA True PatriotTarget Practice by a Bored German GunnerA Mission to Denmark"V" for VictoryA Scary Return from DenmarkA Flight to DenmarkThe Danes Return HomeMemories and a ResumeRank Has Its privilegeCome Fly With Me-SouthNot All Were Night Missions859th Squadron ~n ItalyCarpetbaggers in ItalyA Tale of a Red Tail~eturn to the PastSome 859th Squadron Key Personnel

    185187189194195196197199200201 --203204207208209210211214219221223224226227228229230231234235236237237238240243246251253255257262264266269273274275277278279280281283

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    Some 859th Bomb Squadron PromotionsSome 859th Squadron Personnel Missing in ActionAwards of the Air MedalStatement of 11 February 1945859th Squadron Statement of 26 April 1945OSS Mission to the eBICarpetbagge~ Fairbanks Attains Racing FameBrer Rabbitt406 Bombardment Squadron History SummaryI Couldn't Believe He Wanted Me to Fly in the Co-Pilot's Seat406th Bombardment Squadron History SummaryLetter to Col. Fish from Lawrence BlumMission #8Once Upon a TimeAn Honest CritiqueLiving DangerouslyAnother SurvivorMy First Night Bombing MissionMemories of Night Bombing MissionsNight Bombing BeginsAnger Induces StupidityAfter You AlphonseThe Gas.HaulAnother Gas Haul MissionClose Encounter with the MaquisThe Trip HomeA Real Ghost StoryMedalsA "Gonging" Ceremony Gone AwryCroix de Guerre 39/45 Avex PalmCommendation from HeflinGeneral Orders No. 43Croix de Guerre CitationCommendation by General SpaatzSpecial Forces HeadquartersCommendation from the French HeadquartersCommendation from Special Force HeadquartersCommendation from Frank SilkenbakenA Gathering of the LiberatorsB-24 AnniversaryA Restored B-24The Warriors of Willow RunWillow Run Production LineA World War II Bomber Flies Again

    284285286288289290291293296297298302303304311312313314318324325326328331333336341344345347348349350351352354355357358359360363365366

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    AUNIQUETORYby

    BEN PARNELL*

    (The following presentation was given at the 19~eCarpetbagger reunion inlas Vegas, Nevada. It w