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Crew Training

Stateside pictures of flight school training, personnel and aircraft leading to deployment at Tinian Island.

Original photos depicting Shaw Field in South Carolina. PHOTOS: ©Eichelman, ©Frank Barrella, ©Percy Tucker, and the Air Force Historical Research Agency. All Rights Reserved.

After graduation from their respective schools, air crew were assigned to crews, and those crews would – in general – stay together for the duration of the war. They went on several training missions in Nebraska to learn to work together as a team. Later crews trained in the B-29 at Alamogordo, New Mexico. After arrival at Tinian, each crew went on one or two training missions.

PLEASE ALLOW GALLERY BELOW TO LOAD THEN YOU CAN CLICK AND VIEW

Roma Conroy, wife of Corporal Harold J. Conroy, 39th BS maintenance, stands by the memorial. PHOTO:  Provided by their son, Phil Conroy, who was born in Grand Island after the war.

THE PLAQUE

The men and women of the 6th Bomb Group Association thank the people of Grand Island for their warm hospitality when we trained here in 1944/1945 before leaving for the Pacific Theatre of war to fly 1,750 World War II B-29 combat missions over Japan. We of the 20th Air Force were the first to use air power to end a major war without an invasion of the enemy’s homeland. The 16′ 7″ propellor is just one of the four which pulled each giant B-29 into the sky!

Dedicated by The 6th Bomb Group Association – Oct 1993
Design by Ed Allgor

AWARDS

Here are some of the close calls that 6th Bomb Group men had while training:

1944 – Air Medal to 1/Lt Charles S. Gipson
First Lieutenant Charles S Gipson, O726372, 40th Bombardment Squadron, 6th Bombardment Group, Air Corps, United States Army. For meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight on 16 December 1944. As Airplane Commander, he was leading a formation of B-29 aircraft on a fighter interception training mission at 5,000 feet over an airfield at Miami, Florida. Lieutenant Gipson displayed superior airmanship and outstanding courage when his number two engine burned off its mounting and rolled over the top of the wing, tearing off the left horizontal stabilizer. Applying full aileron and rudder, he was able to keep the airplane from rolling on its back. With a fire still burning in the wing he ordered the crew to prepare for an emergency landing. Losing 5000 feet of altitude in a 180 degree diving turn he lowered the gear and skillfully maneuvered the aircraft to a safe wheels-down landing. Lieutenant Gipson’s professional ability, calmness and good judgement reflect great credit on himself and the Army Air Forces.

From General Order #90, 19 May 1945, transcribed by David Wilson


1943 – Accident Report for 2/Lt Richard E. Holtzman
Report of Aircraft Accident, War Department, 25 January 1943 (Excerpts)
Place: Athens TX. Aircraft: BT-13A, AF # 41-22571. Station: MAAF, Greenville TX.
Organization: AAFGCTC, AAFBFS, 830th Basic Flying Training Squadron.
Holtzman, Richard E., O-659128, 2nd Lt., U. S. Army Air Corps.

Pilot’s mission: Navigation training.
Damage: Both propeller blades badly bent.
Description of Accident: The taxiing accident followed a forced lending caused by becoming lost on a hooded instrument flight and running low on fuel. A second airplane landed in the same field and drained fuel to service the forced down airplane, after which the second airplane took off without incident. The forced down airplane was taxying to take-off position through loose sand with about half throttle. Upon reaching firmer ground, the airplane attained 5 to 7 mph when the right wheel dropped into an obscured stump hole about 18″ deep.  At the time the wheel dropped into the hole, the pilot closed the throttle.

The combination of:
(1) Sudden stoppage of airplane’s forward movement.
(2) Simultaneous loss of propeller blast over horizontal tail surfaces caused the airplane to stand on its nose. The only damage was both propeller blades badly bent. Both pilots had looked over the ground before taxiiing for take-off end had failed to see the hole partially obscured by sticks and grass.

A. D. Moore, Major USA AC, 2 February 1943
Transcribed by Bill Fogle

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