The Arrowhead Club

Budd Peaslee – Part 8

Budd Peaslee – Part 7 was published December 6, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee thought that WWII was a different type of war. He believed historians have left unsaid “a million words” in the telling of the impact the air war had on the outcome of WWII. He also believed that

Due to the nature of the conflict, no airman could reach the stature to be remembered a hundred years hence.

I doubt that Budd Peaslee would have believed that almost seventy-five years after he lead a heavy bomber group in WWII that he would be remembered so well and so fondly by men who served under him, 384th veterans who only heard of this legend from those who went before them, and by us NexGens, the next generation, who never tire of hearing about this great man who was the first Commander of the bomb group in which our fathers served.

After Budd Peaslee left the command of the 384th, he lead the First Scouting Force, of which he was the primary founder. Peaslee suggested the Scouting Force to 8th Air Force Commander Jimmie Doolittle as a way to gather real-time intelligence in advance of bombing missions by the Eighth Air Force. Peaslee described his idea as:

The First Scouting Force was born in the tormented mind of a bomber commander when his formations were broken up by unpredictable weather conditions along the target route.

Peaslee went on to describe the mission of the Scouting Force:

The mission of the Combat Air Scouts was to range out in front of the penetrating bombers, reporting back by radio any facts of weather, opposition in the form of enemy fighter gaggles, or smoke screens in the target area. On the return flight to England, their mission became that of escort to crippled bombers forced to abandon the cover of defensive formations for one reason or another. They were also to observe and report on any other unusual enemy activity noted along the routes and to search for and report clear areas where the bombers might descend to their bases without the long tedious process of descent on instruments, in cases where conditions of poor flying weather prevailed over the British Isles. Not the least of the Scout function was to prevent the bombers from being forced into conditions of weather by the mass of their formations and the momentum of their flight. The Air Scouts, led by former bomber commanders, investigated all weather hazards and kept the bomber leader informed by radio.

Peaslee explained that the Scouts were not in the air to become aces, but to save bombers, which he notes they succeeded in beyond expectation. He quotes an official evaluation in a citation which states the Scouts were of “inestimable value to the prosecution of heavy bombardment operations.”

Plaque in the Road to Berlin exhibit in the WWII Museum in New Orleans

Regardless of his founding of and continued role in the Scouting Force, Peaslee’s heart was still with the 384th Bomb Group in Grafton Underwood.

To be continued…

Sources

“Heritage of Valor” by Budd J. Peaslee.

www.384thbombgroup.com

384th Bomb Group photo gallery

Budd Peaslee – Part 1 was published January 4, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 2 was published February 1, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 3 was published March 1, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 4 was published April 5, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 5 was published May 24, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 6 was published November 29, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 7 was published December 6, 2017 here.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017

Excerpts from Heritage of Valor by Budd J. Peaslee, © Budd J. Peaslee, 1963

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