was born in Barron, Wisconsin on June 10, 1919. After graduating
from high school in 1937,I played semi-pro baseball in Wisconsin.
The following year I played professional baseball in Refugio,
Texas. After playing only a short time, an injury to my arm forced
me to end my baseball career. At this time, I moved to Chowchilla,
California where I went to work with my father in the construction
August 7, 1941 I was drafted into the Army, spending four weeks
basic training at Ellington Field, Texas. Following basic training,
I was transferred to Mather Field, California and from there was
sent to Wright Engine School in Patterson, New Jersey for six
returning to Mather Field, I volunteered for the B-29 program
and was sent to Flight Engineering School at Lowery Field, Colorado.
Following this training I was transferred to Smoky Hill Army Air
Field in Salina Kansas at the time the 39th Bomb Group was formed.
After three months of training our Group was sent to Guam.
have a very vivid memory of one of our missions to Tokyo. Major
Carpenter, our Squadron Commander, was flying as our co-pilot
when we were caught in searchlights and our airplane was being
damaged by flak. With the very efficient maneuvering of our airplane
commander and copilot we returned safely back to our base.
another mission, we lost the Number Three engine at takeoff. At
the end of the runway there was a bluff about three hundred feet
high with the ocean below. When the plane came off the runway
we always dropped within a few feet from the water, but on this
mission altitude had to be gained before we could feather the
engines in order to salvo the bombs. Thanks again to our airplane
commander for such steady nerves and good judgment for our safe
Being a lead crew, we were sent to Muroc, California, which is
now Edwards Air Force Base, for thirty days of radar bombing training.
After returning to Guam we flew several more missions before the
end of the war. I returned home as Flight Officer in December
1945 and was discharged at Santa Ana, California. Following discharge
I returned to Chowchilla, California joining my father and brother
in the construction business of Kolb, Kolb and Kolb. I continued
in the construction business until I retired in 1982.
In June of 1948 I married Lavelle Wooten and we just celebrated
our fifty-second wedding anniversary. In the past we enjoyed snow
skiing, fishing, hunting and exploring the high Sierra Mountains
in our Jeep. I am now an avid golfer and Lavelle is an artist,
painting in watercolor. We spend a lot of our time at our cabin
at Sugar Pine, near Yosemite National Park in California.
April 2005: Ben Piteo notified us that Gene
C. Kolb passed away on 7 April 2005 in a hospital in Clovis,
22 April 2005: Funeral services for Gene Kolb
were held today April 22, 2005 at Chowchilla United Methodist
Church, in Chowchilla, CA. ; He was buried late in the afternoon
at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery in Gustine, CA. -
Ed and Kelli Reimer.