enlisted in the U.S. Army at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas
Dec. 3,1937 and assigned to Fort Riley for duty. Recruit
training was only 2 1/2 days and then to a special exercise
in the field. I was never returned to the recruit training
requested a transfer to the Army Air Corp in February
1939 and received the transfer to Lowry Air Force Base
July 12 in Colorado. September 1939 I was shipped to
Chanute Field for a year in the Aircraft Mechanics School.
Back at Lowry I was crew chief on a Beach Craft F-2.
Returned to Chanute to Aircraft Instrument School and
assigned to the base instrument shop at Lowry AFB for
a period of time. December 1942, I was one of twelve
other mechanics to go to Boeing Seattle for training
on a new Boeing AC. On Jan. 2, 1943 we were to meet
the all new B-29. The school was very good as we were
working with the engineers that had -helped develop
the bird. In Feb. as we were to enter the mess hall
the one flying B-29 made its first takeoff run and we
were impressed. After lunch and back in class, the head
instructor stated that Eddie Alien and crew had crashed
in to the Frye Packing Plant killing a total of 32 people
including the entire crew on the plane.
in 1943 the entire class of Boeing trained personnel
was transferred to Bell Aircraft at Marietta, Georgia.
At Bell we worked on the production line in most all
sections and also had one aircraft on flying status,
which we kept up the maintenance on. It was at this
time that I was checked out as a Flight Engineer. I
had the opportunity to fly in different positions, which
was a great help in months to come. In
and Ruth Abell 1989
1944 I was transferred to Salina and assigned to the
58th Wing. I was left in a training cadre to lead the
next group when the 58th went to India. When the 73rd
Wing moved overseas I was again left behind. The 314th
was next and by this time I had the training schedule
well worked out and was ahead of many of the problems
that had occurred in the past. In early March 1944,
I was assigned a new aircraft from the mod center in
Denver. All of the other craft that were received at
this time had the new air operated bomb doors, except
the one assigned to me. Some one had goofed. I received
a new one a couple days later. That was the day I was
introduced to the crew to fly 44-69908 in combat.
we were ready to leave Guam, the plane had over 1100
hours on the log. The R-3350 engine I you might say
talked to me, and I was able to avert a failure in flight.
I had changed only 5 engines in that time span. The
flight engineer was Jim Cnenault, no kin to Gen. Clare
Chenault. Jim would leave his dog tags with me and take
mine into combat. He felt he would be executed instantly
if he wore his tags and that if I was reported captured
I would know what happened. I was more than glad to
have it that way.
was in Okinawa during the Korean Conflict with the B-29
for a very short time. I was evacuated due to health
problems. I was back in Okinawa during Nam but this
time I was furnishing logistic support for the units
stationed in Nam. Jet planes were a whole the ballgame.
Example: an engine change. With luck and 5 good mechanics,
2 days was a minimum on a B-29, with jets it was a matter
of a few hours. We changed an engine on the Boeing B-47
in as little as 50 minutes and met take off schedule.