TSgt. Vinton A. Vesta, ASN 16076964

Engineer / Gunner - Densberger Crew

10th Air Force / 7th Bombardment Group / 9th Bombardment Squadron

Enlisted: 6 Aug 42    Separated: March 45

35 Missions; 335 Combat Hours

Distinguished Flying Cross    Air Medal w/Oak Leaf Cluster

Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon w/3 Gold Stars

(Images/Info Courtesy of Vinton A. Vesta)

Memoirs of Vinton Vesta

On December 7, 1941, I was working at the Glen L. Martin aircraft factory in Baltimore, MD., producing B-26 bombers for the United States Air Force. On July 6, 1942, the day after my 21st birthday, I drove back to Creston to pick up my father Oliver and went to Camp Grant to enlist in the United States Air Force.

After reporting to Fort Sheridan, Illinois on December 1st, 1942, I was transferred to the San Antonio Air Cadet Center. From there my journey continued to Wichita Falls, Texas for basic training, and after six weeks, moved on to Aerial Gunnery Training at Laredo, Texas. Next stop was Kessler Field, at Biloxi, Mississippi for 6 months of aircraft mechanics school. I was promoted to Sgt. and moved on to Salt Lake City personnel processing center. We were organized into 10 man crews; pilot, co-pilot, navigator and bombardier, (all officers), flight engineer/gunner (myself), radio operator, and four other gunners. From Salt Lake City we moved on to Biggs Field (El Paso, Texas) for three months overseas flight training.

The U.S. Army had evidently taken control of several floors of the Empire State Building, because that is where we received the needed equipment for the tropics, and special immunizations - we were going to fight the Japanese! It was now April, 1944. We departed Idlewilde Airport (now JFK) on a DC-4 cargo plane of the Air Transport Command. Final destination - 10th Air Force in India. Our trip to India encompassed stops at Goose Bay, Labrador, the Azores Islands, Casablanca, Tunis, Tripoli, and Cairo, Egypt. From Cairo we proceeded on to India, with short stops in Tel Aviv, Israel (then Palestine), Basra, Iraq, Kuwait, and finally Karachi, India (now Pakistan).

Out of our semi-permanent base of Calcutta, India, we flew bombing missions against the Japanese throughout Burma, Thailand, and the islands in the Bay of Bengal. In addition to the combat missions, we hauled aviation gas over the Himalayan Mountains (the Hump) to bases of the 14th Air Force, including the Flying Tigers.

In early March, 1945 after completing 35 missions, and 335 hours of combat, I received orders to return to the United States. Before my discharge on September 17, 1945, I managed to be stationed at Chanute Field, Illinois, Santa Anna R&R Center, and Borden General Hospital in Chickasha, Oklahoma.

During my tour of duty I achieved the rank of Tech Sgt. and received the following citations: Distinguished Flying Cross; Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster; Asiatic/Pacific Ribbon with 3 gold stars. Also, the Nationalist Chinese Government awarded each of us their Silver Flight Wings and the China War National Medal.

9th BS Personnel

7th BG Personnel