The Arrowhead Club

Budd Peaslee – Part 9

Budd Peaslee – Part 8 was published December 13, 2017 here.

Budd Peaslee – Part 9 concludes my series of posts on the first commander of the 384th Bomb Group, Budd Peaslee.

In the final pages of the final chapter of Heritage of Valor, Budd Peaslee recounted the statistics of the 384th Bomb Group’s “enviable” combat record in WWII. The 384th Bomb Group:

  • Flew 316 missions
  • Dropped over 20,000 tons of bombs on enemy targets
  • Lost 159 B-17’s
  • Lost 1,625 men
  • Were credited with the destruction of 165 enemy fighters in combat, plus 34 probably destroyed and 116 damaged

At the end of hostilities in Europe, the 384th moved to Istres, France where they participated in the evacuation. The airfield at Grafton Underwood was returned to its original tenants for the use of grazing cattle and sheep.

Peaslee wrote that the designation of the group was “no longer a proud identity in the armed forces” but for a select and honorable group of men for whom 384 will always have a special meaning. He would probably be pleased to find that the special meaning of 384 has been passed down to children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews of those men. He would probably be pleased to know the pride we have in the group and of the men of that group, who were represented by that number – 384.

Budd Peaslee died before the 384th Bomb Group website was developed, before the 384th Bomb Group photo gallery became filled with priceless photos, and before the 384th Bomber Group Facebook group started its first discussion. I think Budd Peaslee would be very proud that we have no intention of letting the number 384 become simply “a number preceded by 383 and followed by 385.” We will remember the acts of valor by the men of the 384th and we will make sure future generations learn what these men did for us.

During his military service, Budd Peaslee was awarded the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Croix de Guerre, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, five Air Medals, service and campaign medals, and a Presidential Citation.

After WWII, Colonel Budd Peaslee served in Formosa as head of the Far East Air Force Section. He retired from the military in 1953 because of physical disabilities. In civilian life, he was the director of the Salinas, California airport and enjoyed flying his Cessna 195.

Budd Peaslee’s wife, Evelyn, died May 8, 1980, and three years later, Budd died on April 3, 1983 in Salinas, California. They are buried in the Garden of Memories in Salinas, Monterey County, California.

I want to close this series on Budd Peaslee with the closing words of his book, Heritage of Valor. Of all the stories written about WWII – the battles, the personal accounts, the self-published, and the best sellers – Budd Peaslee’s final words of Heritage of Valor affect me more deeply than any other.

The tumult and the shouting have died away. The B-17’s and B-24’s will never again assemble into strike formation in the bitter cold of embattled skies. Never again will the musical thunder of their passage cause the very earth to tremble, the source of sound lost in infinity and seeming to emanate from all things, visible and invisible. The great deep-throated engines are forever silent, replaced by the flat, toneless roar of the jets and the rockets. But, on bleak and lonely winter nights in the English Midlands, ghost squadrons take off silently in the swirling mist of the North Sea from the ancient week-choked runways, and wing away toward the east, never to return. On other nights the deserted woodlands ring with unheard laughter and gay voices of young men and young women who once passed that way. Recollections of all these fade a little with each passing year until at last there will finally remain only the indelible records of the all-seeing Master of the Universe to recall the deeds of valor excelled by no other nation, arm, or service. These sacred scrolls will forever remain the heritage of the free and untrampled people of this earth.

Budd Peaslee, courtesy of Quentin Bland via the 384th Bomb Group Photo Gallery


“Heritage of Valor” by Budd J. Peaslee.

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.

Budd Peaslee – Part 8 was published December 13, 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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