THE 330th BOMB GROUP (VH)
314th Bombardment Wing
457th 458th and 459 Bombardment Squadrons

The 330th evolved from a B-24 training group formed at Biggs Field, Texas in April, 1943. In March, 1944, the unit was moved to Walker Army Air Field, near Victoria, Kansas and became the 330th Bomb Group (VH). Training of its combat crews in B-29s began in May, continuing until March, 1945, with brief TDY in Cuba for over-water navigational training. While there, the group shared Batista Field with a B-29 outfit called "Silver Plate" from Wendover Field, Utah. No contact with the other group was permitted. Ground echelon personnel left Seattle for Guam in January, 1945 aboard the ATS Howell Lykes. Aircraft and crews began arriving at Guam in March.. By April, the 330th was ready for combat under the leadership of Col. E. D. Reynolds, a feisty Texas A&M alumnus.

The first of the 330th's strikes against Japan was flown on April 12th, 1945, a daylight raid by 17 aircraft against a chemical plant at Koriyama. The success of the mission was tempered by the loss of two aircraft and 13 airmen, including the commander of the 458th Squadron, Col. Doyne Turner. From that day until August 14th the 330th would fly 47 sorties, dropping
8,568 tons of high explosive and incendiary bombs on Japanese cities. One of the group's B29s, Sentimental Journey, flew 31 missions, most with the same crew, and is now preserved intact and glistening at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, AL (see below).



The last mission for the group was flown August 14th, the day Japan capitulated. POW relief missions followed and Superfortresses of the 330th were part of the armada of B-29s that flew over Tokyo Bay while the surrender documents were signed below on the deck of the USS Missouri. The group was formally deactivated in December, 1945.

The 330th received two Presidential Unit Citations. Individual acts of courage, valor and sacrifice in combat were recognized by the award of a number of Distinguished Flying Crosses, Air Medals, Purple Hearts and one Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second highest award for valor.

Inhuman and inhumane as war is, medals and awards tell only one side of the story. Another side is told with the figures from the 330th ground echelon: 2500 after-mission inspections, 546 prop-governor changes, 849 engine changes, hoisting 8,568 tons of bombs into bomb bays, a crew chief (T/Sgt. Rafferty) whose two airplanes each flew 40 missions, and, of course, the list of the bomb group's killed and missing.

330th Killed In Action
1/Lt Robert R Ziegele, 2/Lt George R Longsdorf, 2/Lt Willard W Lersch, M/Sgt Ray M Cline,
1/Lt Charles E Cooper,1/Lt David R Anderson, S/Sgt Arthur W Johnson, Capt Carl R Bauer,
Jr, Sgt. Clifton E Coker, Cpl. Nicholas G Brando, 1/Lt Jett W Foster, Sgt Ralph W Dugan,
Sgt Richard A Morel, 2/Lt Gordon E Kimball,1/Lt James D Gilbert, 2/Lt Leslie A Evans, Jr,
Sgt Donald A Olson, Sgt Elmer Kalman, Capt Arthur Behrens, PFC Victor W Wright

330th Missing In Action

Lt Col Doyne L Turner+, Cpl James H Davidson, M/Sgt Donald A Stoner, Cpl Edwin S Caw,
Sgt James P Finucane, PFC Eldon S Peterson*, Col Leo H RIchards, 2/Lt Clyde L Wood,
2/Lt Andrew J Litz+, 1/Lt Herbert R Williams, T/Sgt Jim W Verhines+, 2/Lt Daniel R Myers,
Cpl Darwin J Muller+, 2/Lt Rpbert G Scott, 2/Lt Allen M Cohen, Sgt Francis A Boulay,
2/Lt Arthur V Howe, 1/Lt James F Lawrence, 2/Lt Robert D Harkelrode, 2/Lt Jon T Price+,
S/Sgt George C Reed, S/Sgt Samuel M Mikill, Cpl Edward B Neary, Sgt. James N Fisher
Sgt Robert R Underwood, 2/Lt George J. Kruse , 2/Lt David H Skillin, Sgt Jacob A Fisher
1/Lt Clarence A. Davis, 2/Lt Ronald F Heemann*, Cpl Allen L Morsch+, 1/Lt Donald J Schiltz,
Cpl Calvin R Raymond+, 2/Lt Anthony A Picciano, 2/Lt Rowland S WIlson, Jr,
Sgt Jacob A Fisher,T/Sgt Lawrence C Seery, Cpl David W Grunigen, S/Sgt Richard R Berg,
Cpl Casimir J Cwiakala, 1/Lt Alphous G Carle+, F/O Robert A Schneider,
2/Lt George R Farmer*, S/Sgt Lawrence T Duffy+, 2/Lt William F Muhlenberg+,
F/O Kenneth W Rich, PFC Edwin P Lund+, F/O Leonard W Holm, Maj Douglas H Neill,
PFC Byron K Chatham, Jr.

* = Survived as POW

+ = Died in Tokyo prison fire. During the May 23rd fire raid (in which 330th Group took part), the prison caught fire. The Japanese guards let the Japanese prisoners escape, shot several American prisoners who tried to escape and refused to unlock the cells in which Carle, Turner and the others from K43 were held. They died in the flames. The Japanese guards responsible were convicted in the war crimes trials and put to death.


To these men this brief history is dedicated as well as to those who never survived the training phase at Walker, Batista and the many overseas training units that provided the 330th BG airmen.




War weary 44-70016, K-40 Sentimental Journey, a.k.a. "City of Quaker City" (there was already a plane name the City of Philadelphia), survived its 32 bomb missions and two milk runs, many in the hands of Lt Lester E. Gilbert, 0-810862, whose name was carefully etched into the metal under the A/C's window with a scratch awl, along with the mission symbols and the Morse Code symbol for V. In November of 45 it was flown to Victorville AAB, California, where it was stored by the 4196th Base Unit. In June of 46 it was flown to the 4117th Base Unit, Robins Field. Georgia, probably for storage. On 1March 1951, it was redesignated a TB-29, probably modified as an RCM aircraft, and on the 15th transferred to the lot RDC Squadron at Griffis AFB, Rome, N.Y. In March of 1954 it was transferred to the 4713th Radar Evaluation Squadron at Griffis, with which it served until it was retired to the Arizona Aircraft Storage Branch at Davis-Monthan in June of 1959. Ten years later the old war-horse was loaned to the Pima Air Museum through the Air Force Museum loan program, and there it shall remain for posterity.

(Note: The Crew Chief of the K-40 was Staff Sgt. Harry Temple, and it is thought that he was responsible for the permanent record of the pilot's name and mission symbols).


20th Air Force wall at PIMA


 

The following was something that was given to everyone as they prepared to head home. Even in the worst of times one can find some humor!

INSTRUCTIONS TO SOLDIERS RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES

Communique: In view of the fact that some of the personnel now overseas will be forced to accept an assignment in the U.S. we are printing this short, practical guide on that foreign country:

  • A. The United States is composed of land bisected in the center by the Mississippi River. Everything East of the river is known as New York and everything West of the river is known as Texas. There are a couple of other states that have been admitted to the Union, but they are not important.
  • B. Americans have the disgusting habit of bathing twice a week. Care should be taken when stepping into the shower as hot water is common, stay away from same, as people have been known to turn white from using it too frequently.
  • C. Food is generally plentiful. But in some localities, powdered eggs are almost impossible to obtain. You will probably be forced to eat the shell-covered kind on most occasions. Remember - do not eat the shell. Simply crack the egg and toss the covering away.
  • D. Dehydrated vegetables are almost extinct in the United States. Stores feature spinach, carrots, potatoes, and turnips in their raw and natural state. You will probably notice pieces of soil still clinging to these items. Wash them before eating.
  • E. In many restaurants you will see an item called STEAK on the menu. This dish is to be eaten with a knife and fork. Do not attempt to tear it to pieces with your fingers. Steak has a meaty taste, and isn't too revolting after one gets used to it. Of course, it doesn't come up to the luscious delectability of our own SPAM.
  • F. One should be cautious when ordering drinks in bars or saloons. Bartenders will try to sell aged stocks of Bourbon and Scotch. Do not be taken in by such practices. Some of the whiskey is 50 years old and is obviously spoiled.
  • G. The country is run by Democrats, Republicans, and Frank Sinatra. It is a big place, stretching all the way across the country. Keep on your toes, however, and you will get along all right.

Click here for the 330th Bomb Group's Official Web Site

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