Please remember that all photos are the personal property of Carroll F. Markowski
I did not go into the service until October of 1942 when I was sworn into the army reserve following passing a test I took for the Aviation Cadet program at Wright-Patterson field where I was working. In January I was called up and was sent to Centenary College in Shreveport LA. for the CTD program before going to Classification at San Antonio and then Preflight ( I had taken the Pilot option as my first choice). From here
At Lincoln I met the other four enlisted men for our B-29 crew. From Lincoln we were sent to Davis Monthan in Tucson AZ and on the train met the 6 officers assigned to our crew. From the start we all got along very well. I was in contact with our Airplane commander until about 5 years ago was. He was an excellent pilot and saved our crew on more than one occasion. He had been after me for years to get the crew together but it was a problem with all of us scattered all over the country and it never happened.
Of the pictures herein, some I took myself and the others are ones I had sent to me after the war from fellows in our group who “took orders” for pictures they had taken before we went home. The negatives of the best pictures I had originally taken on Tinian ended up under our tent that was destroyed when the tail end of a hurricane went through sometime in late September or October of ’45.
Our crew did not arrive on Tinian till the early part of August 1945 so we did not get in on any missions up to Japan but we did go on some “special missions”. We had many unique experiences both on the ground and in the air during the time we were over there. We were assigned initially to the 58thBomb Wing (located on W. field ) but eventually we were transferred to the 313th Bomb Wing and the 6th Bomb Group. When I first found your web site I wrote to Joe Majeski and we corresponded back and forth about the 6th bomb group and our lifestyles growing up before the war in the US. He told me he had written a memoir of his growing up and his life during the war and told me I should do the same. He said it would be good for future members of our families to know what we did and also our lifestyle before and during the war. It’s amazing what you start to remember, not necessarily dates but things you did and at most of our ages now we sometimes cannot remember what we did yesterday. It is so good to have members on the site discussing some events as it does help to shake loose other events in our own lives during the war which we might have forgotten.
I remember at first it was hard taking pictures on Tinian as the film was rationed and slide film was just not to be had. After I got used to a lot of things and worked my way around I solved this problem. My first few rolls when I got overseas were the ones I bought and (possibly my best pictures ) and I asked the Sgt. in charge of the photo lab on line if I could develop them and they were hanging in our tent drying when the tail end of the hurricane hit us and the films ended up in the mud. After this I got smart by recovering an empty 35MM film can and then going to the line and asking the Sgt. in charge of the photo room if I could use the dark room to load my bulk film in my 35mm camera. He said ok so I obtained film to put in my empty film can along with loading my camera and my film procuring days were over.
Other views of messed up tent
After transferring into the 6th BG, 313 wing we now had a Quonset hut. Ours was right across from the Mess Hall. We did not do much flying with the war over so some of us "volunteered" for some jobs. I got a job several times a week being in charge of the KP's that made the drinks for the meals. The good part of this was I could eat at any time and had access to the mess hall off hours to cook something "special". I was always invited when the meat arrived to get in on something. The mess officer was a nice guy, in fact with some of the group going home he kept up his same rations so we had "extras". One of my friends that I had gone through CFC and gunnery in the states was in charge of the beer rationing and another buddy was running the projection booth in the 9th bomb group next to our 6th. So we really had a set up the last three months overseas.
6th BG Nose Art
Me cleaning our hut and George Monroe and I on the porch
Our crew was very remorseful in so many ways. I think our Engineer was the one that somehow got hold of an old Jap truck that was abandoned and all the crew helped in fixing it up, put a fake Motor pool on it ( so we could get gas at the other motor pools and we all got use of it. It came in very handy when we needed ice we "borrowed" it from the Seabees. They had one of those ice machines in the center of their compound that scraped the frost off of a condensing plate and made snow. On those occasions when we were drinking warm beer we would drive down to their area when they were at evening chow and with this machine in the center of the compound we could get quite a bit in our barrel before they came running out of the mess hall and we escaped in our "Jap" truck.
We once made a boat out of three dropable gas tanks. We put an old Jeep engine in the middle. What a time we had with this. We were a resourceful bunch of guys doing the best we could under the circumstances in which we found ourselves. After all these years, I remember it well.
Some of my buddies on Tinian
As mentioned previously we had some fun times on Tinian. Below are some photos from our "beer hall", the Rec Center and more.The beer garden had picnic tables and after the war we would run the projector and show films.
On Tinian, the West Field was where the Hellbirds were based and on the North field the 313th was based. In the photo below you can see the Isle of Tinian with a small Japanese air strip on the left. The Japanese still occupied parts of Tinian and at night they would come down and collect the beer cans "to get whatever small amounts of beer were left inside them." We knew the Japanese were up there in the hills somewhere and that they had spotters which would radio home when our planes were entering or leaving. We would always leave one man in watch by the planes to make sure the Japanese never came down to the line.