A new search has provided me with some new information regarding one of the original waist gunners, my dad George Edwin Farrar, of the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group in World War II.
To view my original post and other information about George Edwin Farrar, please see the links at the end of this post.
Continued from George Edwin Farrar, Update – Part 1
George Edwin Farrar’s Education and Civilian Employment prior to his Military Service
An entry on George Edwin Farrar’s WWII Separation Qualification Record reveals his pre-war Civilian Occupation as “Vending Machine Repairman: Was employed 18 mos. by C.D. Harris Cigarette Service, Atlanta, Ga. Serviced, repaired, and restocked cigarette vending machines.”
The timeframe of 18 months prior to his WWII enlistment and entry into active service (4 June 1942) would mean he started the vending machine repairman job in December 1940. This leads me to believe Ed Farrar’s last complete year of school was his 10th grade year in the 1939 – 1940 school year. He may have begun 11th grade in the Fall of 1940, but left school to take the job with C.D. Harris in December 1940.
Entry into WWII Military Service
Following in his older brother’s footsteps
George Edwin Farrar’s older brother, Carroll, Jr., enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps on 13 August 1941. One of his stateside training stations was the Enid, Oklahoma Army Airfield in Army Air Forces Training Cd class 43H – Station Aircraft Maintenance Squadron / Air Base Squadron. He later served in the Pacific Theater.
Information from a Farrar family history book written by Clarence B. Farrar in 1988 notes that Carroll,
Served 1941 to 1945, was Technical Sgt. Decorations include American Service Medal; Asiatic Pacific and American Defense Medal. WWII Victory medal; Air Forces Service Squadron 315th Army Air Forces. Battles India, Burma.
Ed always looked up to his older brother and followed in Carroll’s footsteps into the Army Air Forces.
George Edwin Farrar registered for the draft on 15 February 1942. According to his draft registration card, he was 20 years old, born on 3 September 1921 in Atlanta, DeKalb County, Georgia, and lived at 79 East Lake Terrace, Atlanta, DeKalb County, Georgia.
The name of the person who would always know his address was his mother, Mrs. C.J. Farrar, of the same address.
His employer’s name was Harris, Inc., at the Hurt Building, Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia, which was his place of employment.
George listed his height as 5 ft. 9 in. and his weight as 142 pounds. He had gray eyes, brown hair, and a ruddy complexion. He also noted, as an “obvious physical characteristic that will aid in identification,” a scar on his right ankle.
George Edwin Farrar enlisted in the US Army Air Forces at Ft. McPherson, Atlanta, Georgia on 4 June 1942, beginning his entry into active service on that date. His residence was noted as Fulton County, Georgia, although the area of Atlanta – Kirkwood – in which the Farrar family lived was in DeKalb County rather than Fulton County.
He also noted he was born in Georgia in 1921 and his education was two years of high school, which means he left school after the 10th grade. His civilian occupation was “Skilled mechanics and repairmen.” His marital status was single, without dependents.
George Edwin Farrar began his military training with one month of AAF Basic Training 521 as a private.
Following Basic Training, he attended Flexible Gunnery School (30 and 50 caliber machine guns) for six weeks at Kingman, Arizona. He may have gone to a classification center before gunnery school, but I do not see any record of it. George Farrar was part of the 4th Student Squadron at Kingman, AZ in October 1942.
I see additionally that he was part of the 383rd Student Squadron in Albuquerque, New Mexico at Kirtland Army Air Base during the same timeframe, but do not see a formal record of him there. I have two pieces of evidence that he was in Albuquerque.
One is a news blurb in the base’s Bombsight newsletter, news reported from the 383rd Student Squadron,
Lfc. Farrar made high score of the class with the Thompson Sub-Machine gun on the range. (Gee guys, better not fool with his gals.)
George was such a good shot with the Thompson Sub-machine gun, aka Tommy gun, that he earned the nickname “Tommy”.
The second piece of evidence was that he was in Albuquerque at the time of the filming of the Bombardier movie, which was filmed on location between October 12 and December 18, 1942. In this photo with one of the movie’s stars, Anne Shirley, you can see the 383rd School Squadron sign on the desk.
During his time in Kingman as a gunnery student, George Farrar attended the ACGS flexible gunnery school there for a six-week course. In a notebook he kept, he titled a section “4th Student Sq., Kingman, Ariz.” In that section are notes dated October 8 and 9, 1942.
His notes cover gunnery subjects such as small arms, Thompson sub-machine gun (cal.-45, model 1928), “US” Browning automatic rifle (cal.-30, M-1918), U.S. rifle (cal.-30, M-1917, Enfield), Shotgun (M-31, Skeet & Riot), and Browning machine gun (cal.-50, M2, Aircraft, Fixed & Flexible).
After gunnery school, George attended AC Instructors School in Fort Myers, Florida for six weeks. The course included “instruction and practical training in teaching methods and Student Psychology as well as fundamentals of advanced Aerial Gunnery.” I assume he was given the opportunity to become a gunnery instructor after performing so well as a student.
Following AC Instructors School, George became an Army Air Forces Gunnery Instructor with the 328th Hd. Sq. at Kingman. Beginning in May 1943 (Dad wrote a letter to his mother on May 23, 1943 giving her 328 Hd. Sq., Kingman, Ariz. as his new address, stating that he had just moved), he instructed military personnel in flexible gunnery for 7 months at Kingman, Arizona. He conducted and administered training classes and gunnery tests.
George Farrar left Kingman for an instructor’s position in Ardmore, Oklahoma about December 1943. In Ardmore, he administered phase checks, and organized students and instructors for training in aerial gunnery for six months at the 222nd Combat Crew Training School at Ardmore OTU. The Ardmore assignment lasted until May 1944.
On June 8, 1944, while at the 222nd Combat Crew Training School in Ardmore, George Edwin Farrar and future crewmate, Eugene D. Lucynski, received written orders “as a combat crew member requiring regular and frequent participation in aerial flights.”
George Farrar left Ardmore around June 22, 1944 with the John Oliver Buslee B-17 combat crew heading to England to fly heavy bomber missions over Europe. The crew made several stops in the states before finally departing the states June 29/30.
Combat Duty with the 384th Bomb Group
Morning Reports and other military documents of the 384th Bombardment Group indicate the following for George Edwin Farrar:
- On 22 JULY 1944, George Edwin Farrar was assigned to the 544th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), per AAF Station 106 Special Orders #144 dated 22 July 1944 as a waist gunner (classification AAG, Airplane Armorer/Gunner, with the MOS, military operational specialty, of 612), for the John Oliver Buslee crew. His pay per month was $140.40. His rank when assigned was Sergeant. He listed his home address as Mrs. Raleigh Mae George Farrar (his mother), 79 East Lake Terrace, N.E., Atlanta, GA.
- On 9 SEPTEMBER 1944, George Farrar was promoted to Staff Sergeant on AAF Station 106 Special Orders #180.
- On 28 SEPTEMBER 1944, George Farrar went from duty to MIA (Missing in Action). He was subsequently declared POW (Prisoner of War) on that date.
George Farrar was credited with 16 completed combat missions with the 384th Bomb Group.
On his sixteenth mission, the B-17’s of the James Joseph Brodie crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group collided with the Buslee crew’s B-17 over Magdeburg, Germany. Three of the Brodie crew survived the collision, but George Edwin Farrar was the sole survivor of the Buslee crew’s Flying Fortress.
More about George Edwin Farrar as a prisoner of war in my next post…
Previous post, George Edwin Farrar, Growing Up in Atlanta, Georgia
Previous post, George Edwin Farrar, Update – Part 1
Carroll Johnson Farrar, Jr. photo courtesy of Fold3 and Find a Grave
George Edwin Farrar’s Personnel Record courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group
MOS means Military Occupational Specialty
Thank you to the 384th Bomb Group and especially Fred Preller and Keith Ellefson for their research and obtaining and presenting records of the servicemen of the Group.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2022