Budd Peaslee – Part 2 was published February 1, 2017 here. (Scroll to the end of this post for links to Parts 1 and 2).
Budd Peaslee and his 384th Bomb Group left Wendover, Utah on April 1, 1943 and headed to Sioux City, Iowa. In Sioux City, the Group received their new B-17’s. They were beautiful, but there was a problem with the engines. The problem was blamed on the never-ending dust that blew across the airfield, but some thought the problem was actually poor workmanship and metallurgy due to production pressures.
While at Sioux City, the Group was ordered to the West Coast for joint maneuvers with two other combat groups in training. They were based at Salinas Army Air Base in central California and the highlight of the excursion was a show of a hundred bombers over San Francisco as a display of air power. Returning to Sioux City, the Group had their only accident in the United States.
Major Selden “Mac” McMillin, deputy group commander, brought up the rear on the flight back to Iowa. He had been the Group’s dispatcher, sending B-17’s off at three-minute intervals from Salinas, so he was the last to take off. As he approached Sioux City, he could not lower the landing wheels on his bomber.
Technicians worked with him from the tower as McMillin circled the base while attempting to lower the gear, but it was not to be. He had no choice but to land the bomber on its belly, with the ball turret grinding against the runway. It came to a stop after sliding along the runway for about half a mile. The bomber was not badly damaged and there were no injuries.
Training was complete for the first members of the 384th Bomb Group by the end of April. From classroom study, to combat training in firing machine guns and dropping bombs, to mock briefings, and even drills in how to ditch in the North Sea, they were as ready for combat as they could be. The 384th was the first group on record that completed its training without a death.
All that was left was the final inspection by the Second Air Force. The inspectors studied the Group’s training records, made final checks of the combat groups, and examined the state of the organization. Pop Dolan’s intelligence section was commended as the best in the Second Air Force. With every other section satisfactory, the Group, now over a thousand strong, packed for combat duty and took final leaves to visit their families for the last time before shipping overseas.
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384th Bomb Group Model Crews
The first crews assigned to each squadron, and the dates of assignment, are given in the following section. These crews were termed “Model Crews” in the squadron histories.
- Assigned to the 544th Bomb Squad on 31 December 1942: 2nd Lt Kelmer J Hall
- Assigned to the 545th Bomb Squad on 31 December 1942: 2nd Lt Richard T Carrington
- Assigned to the 546th Bomb Squad on 31 December 1942: 2nd Lt Philip A Algar
- Assigned to the 547th Bomb Squad on 27 January 1943: 1st Lt James W Smith
384th Bomb Group Initial Aircrews
The following 12 aircrews were assigned to the 384th BG on Gowen Field (Idaho) Special Orders #32 dated 1 February 1943. Personnel on this list were transferred from the 29th BG at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho, to the 384th BG at Wendover Field, Utah.
- 2nd Lt Halseth, Edwin S, 544th
- 2nd Lt Estes, Thomas J, 544th
- 2nd Lt Hausenfluck, Jesse D, Jr, 544th
- 2nd Lt Edwards, Floyd C, 545th
- 2nd Lt Armstrong, Lloyd R, 545th
- 2nd Lt Mattes, Frank G, 545th
- 2nd Lt Henderson, Lykes S, 546th
- 2nd Lt Dietel, William, Jr, 546th
- 2nd Lt Kelly, James H, 546th
- 2nd Lt Pulcipher, Ralph R, 547th
- 2nd Lt Ogilvie, Don P, 547th
- 2nd Lt Disney, Frederick G, 547th
Final Allotment of 384th Bomb Group Aircrews
The following 20 aircrews were assigned to the 384th BG on Gowen Field Special Orders #70 dated 11 March 1943. Personnel on this list were transferred from the 29th BG at Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho, to the 384th BG at Wendover Field, Utah.
- F/O Erickson, Gordon B, 544th
- F/O Wheat, Delton G, 544th
- 2nd Lt Kilmer, Robert B, 547th
- F/O Cuddeback, Thomas A, 544th
- 2nd Lt Way, John R, 544th
- F/O Burgoon, Howard C, 544th
- 2nd Lt Myer, Lawrence W, 545th
- 2nd Lt Manning, Raymond W, 545th
- F/O Lecates, Robert L, 545th
- F/O Bishop, Charles W, 546th
- F/O Rosio, Joseph, 546th
- F/O Wilson, Clayton R, 546th
- 2nd Lt Kowalski, Elwood D, 546th
- F/O Lee, Roy J, 545th
- F/O Hall, Ralph J, 545th
- 2nd Lt Riches, George T, 545th
- 2nd Lt Olbinski, Robert J, 545th
- 2nd Lt Witt, Francis J, 547th
- 2nd Lt Koch, William S, 547th
- 2nd Lt LeFevre, Charles H, 547th (Frink, Horace Everett “Ev” replaced LeFevre before going to England)
To be continued…
- “Heritage of Valor” by Budd J. Peaslee.
- List of Original Air Crews from the 384th Bomb Group’s website: http://www.384thbombgroup.com/_content/_pages/orig.php
Budd Peaslee – Part 1 was published January 4, 2017 here.
Budd Peaslee – Part 2 was published February 1, 2017 here.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017
Excerpts from Heritage of Valor by Budd J. Peaslee, © Budd J. Peaslee, 1963