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Sgt Peter J. Ciucci
Aircraft Mechanic

Offutt AFB
Peter Ciucci was born in Dudley, a small coal-mining town in southern central Pennsylvania. His mother was of Irish English decent; his father of Italian decent. He was the first born of eight children - five boys and three girls. Though his father had come to this country directly from Italy to work in the coalmines, he was adamant that none of his children would pursue this as a occupation, and none of them did.

Pete attended elementary and high schools, graduating from the latter in May 1942 at the age of 17 years. During his senior year in high school, he had taken a Civil Service test for a job with the U.S. Army Air Corps as an aircraft mechanic trainee at Olmsted Air Base, Middleton Air Depot, PA. He passed the examination with a 94.00 grade and received word from the Commission that he would begin training the day following school commencement exercises. On 28 May 1942, Pete left his home in Dudley for the 100-mile trip to Harrisburg. Thus, his career in the Air Corps had begun.

The length of the course was three months and the trainees were paid 900.00 per annum. Studies included aircraft fuselage, wings engine and propeller repair and rigging as well as final assembly.

Upon completion Ciucci was transferred to Olmsted Field to repair aircraft. This brought a promotion to General Aircraft Mechanics Helper at $1,500.00 per year. He worked mostly on fighters - P-38, P-39, P-40 and P-41. Bombers included B-17, B-24, B-25 and the B-26. He also got experience in the C-46 and C-47 - both cargo planes.

After a reclassification that resulted in a promotion to Aircraft Mechanic at a salary of $2,200 year, he received notice from his draft board that he was needed for active duty. Although he could have received deferment, he elected to accept active duty.

On 10 September 1943, he reported to the induction center at New Cumberland Army Depot, Harrisburg, where he spent eleven days. He was shipped from there to Greensboro, NC for basic training and on 1 December 1943 was sent to Chanute Air Base in Illinois for specialized training as an aircraft electrician.

After a 15 delay en route home, he reported to Lincoln Army Air Base in Nebraska for his next assignment, which turned out to be the 39th Bomb Group at SHAAF, Salina, KS. There, for the first time, he worked on B-29s, a task that he had been trained for.