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Wartime Diary Entries
Taken from my grandfather's "Flying for Victory" diary

(Cities may be misspelled due to my inability to decipher my grandfather's handwriting)

I found THIS site to be an invaluable resource for more details of these actions.

1943

October 2 - Ordered to Gowen Field, Idaho for phase training

October 9 - Organized the crew to fly B24 in combat

October 12 - Started flying as crew. Tennent our pilot

October 19 - Flew practice mission over Utah, Colorado, Montana, North & South Dakota and back.

October 21 - Crew sent to Casper, Wyoming for more training. Stayed here until December.

1944

March 18 - Kalewa and Kaleymo (Burma) dump area. 6 hrs. and 10 min. First combat mission over Burma. Excited as hell. Lots of fires.

March 19 - R.R. yards. 18 hrs. in air. Lost 3 B-24s. 2700 miles.

April 3 - Yenangyaung (Burma) - BBP workshops. 7 hrs. 05 min. Went over high as hell 19,000'. Some ack ack - Target very difficult to see.

April 23/24 - Moulmein (Burma) - jetties. Night - black as hell. Didn't drop. Couldn't see target. Left Sunday night and returned Monday morning. 10 hrs. 20 min.

April 25 - Monywa (Burma) - R.R. yards. Hit right in there. Only one to do it. 6 hrs. 30min.

April 29 - Kongyi (Burma) - Dump area 6 hrs. 20 min.

May 4 - Mandalay (Burma) R.R. yards. Had trouble with racks but salvoed right on it. 7 hrs. 16 min.

May 8 - Moirang (India)

May 9 - Ninglhoukhong (India) - gave support to ground troops. Flew over Imphal. 6 hrs. 30 min.

May 15/16 - Myitkyina (Burma) - more of a nuisance raid. 8 hrs. 25 min. took off 15th, landed on 16th.

May 20 - Yenangyaung. BOC plant. Flew higher 'n hell again and all over the place. Had to drop on Akyab. 8 hrs. 20 min. (9th Bomb Squadron also involved in this Mission.)

May 23 - Homalin (Burma). 7 hrs. 40 min.

June 8 - Bangkok (Thailand) - laid mines in river. Hell of a long mission. Spurrel & Pitts

14 hrs. 20 min. Played gin rummy and slept.

June 11 - 24 - Monsoon!

July 4 - flew the Hump into China - cold as hell - had waist gun - My son born while over Hump - Crew bailed out on way back. [Ship #90, piloted by Lt. Chapyak, with Lt. Hopkins (CP), Lt. Ueleke (N), TSgt. Kennedy (E), TSgt. Rose (RO), Sgt. Edward Moss (G) & Sgt. Charles Motley, Jr. (G)] 4 hrs. 20 min.

July 5 - Hit down drafts and got hell scared out of us!

July 11 - Canton (China) [Mission No. 175, Ship No. 267] Turned back with engine trouble - 1st mission with 14th AF. Lost 2 engines. 1 hr. 30 min.

July 14 [July 13, according to historical accounts] - Yochow (China) [Mission No. 176] Paluchi (Pailochi) Airdrome - night - got lost - No. 1 engine blew cylinder. Salvoed bombs - threw out ammo. Nearly bailed out. 9 hrs. 30 min.

July 15 - raining and black as hell!

July 16 - Changsha (China) [Mission No. 177] Japs just moved in and we were told to level city - Overran lead Sqdrn. - (Tom) Glover lead bombardier - Good job. 9 hrs. 45 min.

July 17 - Changsha [Mission No. 178, aboard 42-100267 "80 DAYS"] - again hit city. Bad weather. 13 bombs piled up against side. Had to throw 'em out - funny feeling with no chute. 9 hrs. 00 min. pins were out of bombs. Real dangerous as bombs could explode. [From recollection of Navigator Harold Crawford: "Our original bombardier was in a plane crash going over the Hump. The rest of the crew was not along. He refused to fly after that. So we had several bombardiers that flew with us, some were good and some were not so good. I remember your grandfather as one of the very good ones. Most of our missions were quite similar, go to the target, drop bombs and return. What made it exciting was when we were attacked by fighters or ack-ack was pretty heavy. In my very short diary I told about missions but not crew members therefore I don't know how often your grandfather flew with us. I do remember one mission vividly that I am sure Walt (Kaestner) told you about. The only difference Walt was flying the plane and even though my station was in the nose I had come back to the bomb-bay to see what was the problem. Flying home we had to get rid of bombs that hadn't released properly and that we couldn't land with! Naturally the crew was pretty excited. Your grandfather was trying to get them to release. I remember he was either on the bombs or between them with some kind of tool, maybe a screwdriver, trying to get the shackles to release the bombs. I remember he appeared as calm as if he had done it many times! He got the bombs out and we were able to get back to our base and land safely. As I said before I didn't normally mention crew members names but I sure mentioned his and was really impressed by his actions that day."]

July 25 - Yochow (China) [Mission No. 181] jumped by Zeros - one came very close - one of best missions ever pulled - P-40s got 8 Zeros and we 2. Got some stick time. 8 hrs. 40 min.

August 3 - Yochow [Mission No. 192] - R.R. yards - again jumped by Zeros. Got 2 Zeros 9 hrs. 00 min.

October 22 (Having returned to duty with 10th Air Force) - Moulmein [Burma] - docks had 1/2 hr. air battle with Zeros. Lost 3 B-24s. Fired the right waist gun - fun as hell 11 hrs. 40 min.

Details of Loss of B-24s (From Robert F. Dorr's 7th Bombardment Group/Wing, 1918-1995)

"Lt. Blair was in a five plane formation of B-24s that departed Pandaveswar to bomb targets at Moulmein, Burma. After leaving the target area, the formation was jumped by five to eight enemy fighters. On about the third of fourth pass, Lt. Blair's No. 2 engine caught fire. He pulled out to the left slightly and feathered the engine. The fire went out, and Blair made a diving left turn into the clouds. He was not seen afterwards."

Blair's Crew - B-24J 44-40588 493rd Bombardment Squadron

1st Lt. Donald E. Blair (P)

2nd Lt. Adrian P. Payne (CP)

2nd Lt. Paul R. Kuhns (N)

2nd Lt. Nicholas Stumpf (B)

S/Sgt. Everett F. Whitten (E)

PFC Leo E. Sorenson (RO)

Sgt. Arthur A. Martin (G)

S/Sgt. Benjamin J. Cassmer (G)

PFC Thomas Mclean (G)

PFC Marlin E. Kinter (G)

"Lt. Bodmer also was part of the five plane formation that departed Pandaveswar to bomb targets in the Moulmein, Burman area. After dropping their bombs and leaving the target area the formation was jumped by enemy fighters. Major Bradford was flying a rough formation in the #4 position, but none of his movements was violent. Sliding to the left and upward, his plane came uner Bodmer's, and his vertical stabilizer went into Bodmer's bombay doors and apparently Bodmer's No. 3 and No. 4 props cut the tail off, just behind the waist window, of Bradford's aircraft. Bothe planes spiraled down and hit the water about 200 yards apart and exploded."

Bodmer's Crew - B-24J 44-70414 493rd Bombardment Squadron

1st Lt. Arthur J. Bodmer (P)

1st Lt. Joseph W. Coffman, Jr. (CP)

1st Lt. Ernest R. Ford, Jr. (N)

2nd Lt. Fred H. Reed (B)

T/Sgt. Herbert P. Slesrick (E)

T/Sgt. Glen S. Morton (RO)

Sgt. Carter P. Bedard (G)

Sgt. Clifford H. Grierson (G)

Sgt. Marvin L. Caffery (G)

S/Sgt. James J. Soptick (G)


Bradford's Crew - B-24J 44-40992 493rd Bombardment Squadron

Major Jack Bradford (P)

2nd Lt. John J. Mcinerney (CP)

2nd Lt. Robert P. Colgan (N)

2nd Lt. Ralph E. Hurd, Jr. (B)

2nd T/Sgt. Harry H. Harkins (E)

2nd T/Sgt. John B. Weigand (RO)

S/Sgt. Charles W. Meitzler (G)

S/Sgt. Andrew B. Aldridge (G)

Corp. George M. Johnson, Jr. (G)

S/Sgt. John C. Sweet (G)

October 23 - Thailand

October 29 - Bangkok Thailand - docks and supplies - lots of ack-ack. Several planes hit.

November 7 - searched sea for a B-24 crew that went down (likely B-24L 44-41440, A/C #49. Lt. Thomas C. Cheaney & Crew on a sea search mission, were later found to have crashed atop the Banjhikusam Ghati Range). Monotonous as hell. 10 hrs. 20 minutes.

November 8 - went to Tavoy (Siam) to look for a Jap convoy. Told to rid ourselves of bombs went back to drop on Basseium [Bassein, Burma]. Major (Hilliard L.) Gandy jumped by Zeros 13 hrs. 30 min.

December 19 - Maymo (Maymyo) Burma went to within 1 hr. of target. Had to turn back when No. 4 engine feathered. 7 hrs. 20 min.

December 23 - Taungup, Burma. Ammo dumps. Difficult target to see, but hit it. Easy mission. Col. (Howard F.) Bronson along. 8 hrs. 25 min.

1945

January 10 - Target bridge over (illegible) R.R. 9 hrs. 10 min. Bullseye!

January 21 - Ramree Island (Siam) easy - bullseye. Flattop and more ships. 8 hrs 45 min.

January 23 - Mandalay (Burma) - R.R. yards 14,000 ft. bullseye. 10 hrs. 20 min.

January 26 - Rangoon (Burma) - docks. Good mission. Ack-ack light. 12 hrs. 40 min. real cold. 21,000 ft.

February 10 - Burma - R.R. yards and trains. Strafed with nose turret.

February 11 - Came home!!!


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