P-15 flew to Cuba in a C-47 cargo plane and spent two
months in over-water navigation, bombing and gunnery.
Major Howard was the commanding officer in Cuba. Other
crews there included P-17's, 1st Lt Donald Barton, Airplane
Commander from Spokane WA. P-15 and P-17 flew air mattresses
to Jamaica. Barton's plane caused some excitement as
his pilot has locked the rudders preventing rudder control.
Upon landing, the plane ran off the runway and Jamaican
workers scattered everywhere. On another day, as we
left Batista Field at Cuba, Don O'Hara noticed that
the crew chief had left the cap off the gas tank and
gas was being sucked out of the tank by the air flow
over the wing and was running down no.3 engine. Engine
No. 3 as shut down and plane returned to Batista Field
and refueled. Upon completion of training in Cuba Crew
15 flew a B-17 back to Salina, KS and qualified for
signed for a new B-29 and overseas equipment at Herington,
KS in March 1945. Enroute to Mather Field, Sacramento,
CA bad weather forced a landing at Muroc, CA. The next
day we flew to Mather Field and John Rogers Refueling
Base and received embarkation orders 9APO 246, San Francisco,
CA. The Crew arranged to have voluptuous "Cherie" painted
on the plane. Upon inspection a voluptuous "Sherry"
was found. No time to rectify the situation it was time
to go overseas. (Later several missions, Mrs. Roosevelt
interceded and all aircraft artwork was ordered removed.)
We left Mather Field, opened sealed orders and learned
that Guam as our destination. Three hours into the flight
we lost radio contact and were forced to return to Mather
Field for repairs. We finally made it to Guam via Oahu
and Kwajalein. On Kwajalein the engine was repaired
twice and the carburetor was replaced.
had been done to establish the base on Guam. After familiarization
flights, night landings, dropping incendiaries by radar
etc. we flew our first combat mission. It turned out
to be our longest: 3800 miles! 18 hours in the air.
1 hour 35 minutes to refuel on Saipan. This turned out
to be the war's longest combat mission 19 hours 35 minutes!
were oil and gas supplies, industrial areas, airfields
and military bases bombed from altitudes of 7,500 to
25,000 feet. The shortest mission was when an engine
failed a few minutes after take off. We were able to
get the prop feathered and returned to base.
our twelfth mission we flew a war-weary B-29 back to
Muroc for additional radar training. We returned to
Guam after two months to resume combat status. Our thirteenth
mission was a night raid of 3,200 miles flown in 14
hours and 15 minutes. As we were abreast of Saipan we
received a radio announcement that President Truman
confirmed Japan's intent to surrender on August 13,
13 missions we dropped 110 bombs - 80 tons or 160,200
pounds. How lucky we were during the whole campaign.
We had a few holes in our plane but we had meals, a
place to sleep and no fatalities. All eleven of us went
Thomas E. Addison was not listed as a member of our
combat crew, but he was the most important member serving
as Flight Crew Chief. He and his crew got us to Japan
and kept us in the air. We will never forget him.
were selected to be lead squadron of the "Power Display"
over the Battle Ship Missouri on September 2. 1945. On
approach, the formation broke rank and Indian file conducted
a low altitude (some 200 feet) "fly over" Tokyo prior
to winging over the Missouri. We lost an engine at that
time becoming a prominent silhouette in the sky! We ended
the post-war era assigned to special missions and instruction
flights. Ultimately our crew broke up. Bill Graves and
Don O'Hara drew clean up duty. Andy Vanyo having enlisted
in 1940 qualified for early discharge. I flew a war-weary
B-29 back to Mather Field. It was several weeks before
all reached home.