39th Bomb Group (VH)

Air Crew


br_oak2.jpg [Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster]

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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S/Sgt Richard A. Wachs
Radio Operator

A buddy and I enlisted in the Army Air Corp in Dec of 1942 at Baer Field in Fort Wayne , IN.

We first went to Miami Beach, FL for physical training and indoctrination. We were then sent to Kutstown, PA at the State Teachers College. We were the first Cadets to attend there and we were treated royally.

We flew 10 hours in a Piper Cub as part of the training at Pottstown, PA along with the studies.

We were sent to Nashville, TN to await our classification as to Pilot, Navigator or Bombardier. We would watch the bulletin board every day to see what it would be. Mine was Pilot and I was over joyed at this.

That's what I enlisted for. We went to Montgomery. AL for further study and a taste of "Chicken Shit" that all cadets went through. I guess that was to install discipline and honor.

We were then transferred to Lakeland, FL for pre-flight training and more studies. We flew in PT Sterman double wingers. While at the flight line it was announced that I was to ride with a check pilot that day.

I was shaking in my boots by that time.

I flew to an auxiliary field to shoot 8landings. I bounced him on 2 of the landings and he said he was going to put in for elimination. I went before the board and protested but it done no good. At that time they were in need of gunners. I finally ended up as a radio operator and attended radio school at Belleville, IL (Scott Field).

After the radio school I was assigned to a B-29 and went to Pyote, TX for Training

We were sent to Guam, finally, and flew 22 missions. In November of 1945 we flew to Sacramento, CA and was discharged at Baer Field in Fort Wayne, IN.

I married Nov. 13, 1943 to Dorothy Jane Wiley on in Montgomery,AL while attending pre-flight school at Maxwell AAF.

After discharge I returned home to Mishawaka, IN. The crew used to say, chidingly, we bombed that place. I went back to my old job as a tool designer at Dodge Mfg.Corp. and then was manager of the Tool Engineering Dept.

We had two boys that went to Purdue Un. The oldest boy is a swimming coach and the youngest is a guitar instructor.

We moved to South Bend, IN. In 1952 and I took early retirement in 1973.

I still keep in touch with Bombardier, Bernie Greene. We are the only two left from my combat crew.

My hobbies are Amateur Radio and Computers.

Richard A. Wachs passed away 06 July 2005

"I lost one of my all time wonderful friends, dick wachs, he was an ideal crew member, anxious to please, competent, loyal, faithful, of exemplary character and all around great american and human being.

His family had every reason to be proud of dick, an unassuming hero of WWII .

We will all miss this delightful man. may god bless him, his family and Helen Kelly who did a phenomenal job tending him in the final years of his life".

- Bernie Greene,
Bombardier, Repl Crew 31

Services were held 9 July 2005 with intermnet at Fairview Cemetery, Mishawaka, IN.

List of Dick's missions can be seen here

Dick's Radio Logs of their missions can be viewed on his crew's web site by clicking the following link:

Source: R. A. Wachs, Radio Op; Bernie Greene, Bombardier