39th Bomb Group (VH)

bomb.gif [Bombardier's Badge]




Army Air Force Good Conduct Medal

Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal

Click on the name of the Decoration, Service Award, or Ribbon Device on the left to learn the criteria

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1st Lt Bernard Greene
Bernie Green, was born in Brooklyn, NY, and graduated from New York University before entering the aviation Cadet program in 1943. He graduated first in his class, 44 -11, from Bombardier/Navigation School at Carlsbad, NM. 12 August 1944. 
He received B-29 training at Pyote, TX and was then assigned to a replacement crew with the 61st Squadron of the 39th Bomb Group. The crew later designated the plane, named the "City of Cleveland." "Little Bully," in memory of Clarence "Bully" Beevers, their flight engineer. Beevers was flying with another crew when their plane was shot down. By war's end P-31 had flown 22 missions, some of which were among the longest strikes of World War II.

On a raid against an aircraft: plant at Kobe, his plane was hit by heavy Anti-aircraft fire and closely pressed fighter attacks, Many of the attacks, being frontal, were repulsed by Bombardier Greene who succeeded in destroying one enemy fighter. Their plane, extensively damaged, had one engine knocked out, another severely impaired, their hydraulic system rendered inoperable, elevator trim tab controls shot away, and the electrical system damaged making it impossible to release ten 500-pound bombs or close their bomb bay doors. This necessitated Bombardier Greene at great hazard to enter the forward bomb bay to release manually those bombs while the aircraft commander was compelled to take violent evasive action because of continuing fighter attacks. The Crew survived by keeping the plane in the air to Iwo Jima where they made an emergency landing. Lt. Greene and six other members of his crew received the Distinguished Flying Cross for this mission. 

He was discharged from the Army Air Corps in 1946, but remained in the Reserves, during which time he flew at Mitchell Field, NY and also taught Junior High School Math and Industrial Arts. 

In 1951, during the Korean War, he was recalled to active duty and served in Germany where he negotiated contracts as a Procurement Officer for USAFE and NATO. He went on graduate from Wharton Graduate School in 1959, and Armed Forces Staff College in 1963. He became Procurement Manager for the Military Airlift Command until his retirement 1963 as a Lt. Colonel. 

Following his military career, Greene has been a stockbroker, Program Manager in a telecommunications firm and an Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Hempstead NY.

Retired now, for a second time, he and his wife, Bernice live in Merrick, NY. They have 3 sons. 

When A Bombardier Became A Pilot

After VJ Day, Bombardier Greene, by verbal order of his Airplane Commander, assumed the position of Pilot. This act occurred after Lt. Sam Le Neve, P-31's regular pilot, had been assigned elsewhere.

Two round trips to Iwo Jima were flown by Greene before a replacement pilot was assign.

To read Bernie Greene's mission diary of Bernie Greene, click here

1st Lt Bernie Greene took his Final Flight on 7 Aug 2015

Crew 31 Main Page
Replacement Crew 31
61st Squadron Crew Index
Source: "History of the 39th Bomb Group"