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COLONEL KENNETH GIBSON

Commanding Officer

Colonel Kenneth H. Gibson, the Sixth's Commanding Officer for fourteen months of training and combat, was awarded the Legion of Merit when he left the Group in August 1945. The award was for "exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service". This was the highest award received by any Sixth man and was a fitting tribute to the Colonel's combat leadership.

After completing college in Salt Lake City, his home town, in 1931, Colonel Gibson enlisted in the Army and was assigned to the Air Corps at March Field, Calif. In February 1935, after fourteen months as an enlisted man airplane mechanic, he was appointed to the aviation cadets and received his wings and commission at Kelly Field a year later.

As a second lieutenant at Langley Field, Va., the Colonel co-piloted one of the first flying fortresses In 1937, he was assigned to the 19th Bomb Group, stationed in California. When the unit moved overseas to Hawaii in 1941, he was sent to England to train Royal Air Force pilots to fly B-17's.

At the end of his tour of duty there Colonel Gibson was transfered from England to Alaska where he was a unit commander with the 11th Air Force. From here, the Colonel was ordered to China and trained 14th Air Force pilots to use the B-25 as a low-level bomber. Then, he went to Army Air Force Headquarters at the Pentagon Building in Washington, D. C. He was assigned to the B-29 program in June 1944 and came to the Sixth at Grand Island as Group Commander.

On 28 August 1945, the Colonel was again ordered to Washington. This time his assignment was chief of bombardment at AAF, Headquarters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LT COL THEODORE W. TUCKER

Deputy Commander

Lt Col Tucker was assigned to the, Sixth in July 1944, assuming command of the 40th Squadron. On 4 Mar 1945 he became Group Officer and on 25 May he was appointed Deputy Group Commander. He became Group Commander on 31 August and is serving in that today (1944). After two years at Ohio State he entered the Air Corps cadets and was commissioned a 2d Lt in the reserve I Feb 1939. A year later he was appointed to the

Regular Army. From 1940 to 1943 he served at various airfields inthe U.S. and was director of training at Albuquerque AAB in August 1943 where he was promoted to his present rank. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff school at Ft. Leavenworth and the AAF staff school in Washington. He is a rated B-29 aerial observer.

LT COL ELMER A. DIXON

40th Squadron Commander

Lt Col Dixon, the only ranking officer of the Sixth lost in action, was missing after the 9 July mining mission. He was commissioned in the Regular Army after entering the cadets in 1937. He had served in the Carribean Area before joining the Sixth as 40th Squadron Operations Officer. He became Squadron Commander on 4 March; was promoted to Lt Col 14 May 1945.

LT COL JOHN W. OSBORN

39th Squadron Commander

Lt Col Osborn assumed command of the 39th Squadron in May 1944 and served in that capacity until after V-J Day. He joined the Air Corps cadets in 1937 and was commissioned a year later. From 1941 to 1943 he was a B-17 pilot in West Coast anti-sub patrol. Following that he was assigned to the B-17 training program.

LT COL LOUIS M. SOWERS

24th Squadron Commander

Lt Col Sowers was the 24th Squadron Commander from March to June-1945 when he became Group Operations Officer. Receiving his wings and commission in May 1941, he joined the 11th Bomb Group and served with this group in Hawaii and the Southwest Pacific where he flew forty-six combat missions. He returned to the U.S. in Feb 1943; joined the Sixth in April 1944.

LT COL H D. KENZIE

Deputy Commander

Lt Col Kenzie was graduated from West Point in 1938 and won his wings at Kelly Field a year later. For over a year he was director of training at Lubbock AAB. Lt Col. Kenzie became 313th Wing Intelligence Officer 25 May 1945 after serving as deputy commander of the Sixth for thirteen months.

LT COL R.K. ORT

Group Operations

Lt Col Ort, Group Operations Officer from July 1944 to March 1945, entered the Air Corps cadets in June 1938 and was commissioned a year later, serving pursuit pilot. Before entering the Army he attended Hardin-Simmons University in Texas, his home state. He had been a squadron commander and an engineering officer prior to his joining the Sixth.

LT COL C. L. CONE

Group Executive

Lt Col Cone joined the Sixth as Group Executive Officer while the Group was at Dalhart and served in that capacity until March 1945. He enlisted in the Army in 1935 and was commissioned in the reserve corps in 1939. He bad a record of four years as an administrative officer prior to joining the Group.

MAJOR R. P. TATUM

Group Adjutant Major

Tatum joined the Sixth at Dalhart in April 1944 as 40th Squadron Executive Officer and was appointed Group Adjutant in July. In civilian life, Major Tatum was a lawyer and held a commission in the officers' reserve corps. He became Group Executive Officer 12 March 1945. Since his return to the U.S. he has been promoted to Lt Col.

MAJOR F. W. SPEERS

Group Intelligence

Major Speers served as Group Intelligence Officer from April 1944 to September 1945. The Major was a newspaper editor at North Platte,Nebr. in civilian life, and entered the Army in 1942. For his work during the war he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. He was Group Executive Officer in October and November 1945, returning to the U.S. in December 1945.

CAPT F. M. DETERDING

Group Maintenance Control

Capt Deterding was assigned to the 40th Squadron as an aircraft engineering officer at Grand Island in September 1944. In May 1945 he was appointed Group Maintenance Control Officer and held that position until the end of the war. His services in coordinating B-29 maintenance earned him the Bronze Star Medal, awarded in September 1945.


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