BATTALION SPONSORS "EMPIRE EXPRESS"

....There is such a thing as an "Empire Express" and it was so named by its pilot, Lt. James, because it is a non-stop express from here direct to the heart of the Japanese Empire. A distinctive feature is the fact that it has a "pay load" only one way, always returning empty but with the satisfaction that the little yellow cosignees paid dearly for the loads it has left.

....We have a special interest in this particular B-29 express for the big silver streamliner will carry our Battalion emblem with it on all its future runs to Tokyo. Lt. Commander Lawlor has completed arrangements for the Battalion to sponsor the plane and its crew, and has instructed our painter to paint the name and our emblem on the big bomber for all to see.

....Request have come from several crews that our Battalion sponsor their planes but the Skipper was reluctant until T. Sgt. Bill Cunningham, formerly Crew Chief of "Slick Chicks", called on him personally and asked in behalf of his ground crew and pilot, that the Battalion sponsor their plane. Bill turned the trick when he pointed out that our Battalion had been so friendly and had treated him and his crew so well while they were assigned to "Slick Chicks" that they all wanted to remain "adopted" by us

....The crew of "Empire Express" has really been delivering the goods to the Rising Sun Empire Headquarters, being accredited with eleven missions already. They had chow with us last Sunday evening and are a swell bunch of of young fellows. (Two of the four officers are barely 21). As soon as practical they will be presented to the Battalion at our theater.

....We are pleased that these men want to carry our name with them. With it goes our sincere wishes for their safety and success.

....We know you will want to meet the flight crew of the "Empire Express" who are : 1st Lt. Newton James, pilot, Kerrick, TX; 2nd Lt Robert Minto, copilot, Missoula, MT; 2nd Lt Robert N. Smith, bombardier, Sterling, KS; 2nd Lt Darrell Mesnard, navigator, Decatur, IL; M/Sgt Dan Cheeseman, engineer, Kansas City, KS; S/Sgt Joe Lavetsky, radio operator, Scranton, PA; Sgt Tom Foster, radar operator, Philadelphia, PA; Sgt Tom Duff, tail gunner, Philadelphia, PA; Sgt Jim Hillis, right gunner, Charlotte, NC; Sgt Stanley Hartman, left gunner, Ravenna, NE; Sgt Paul Carmen, central fire gunner, Baltimore, MD; T/Sgt Bill Cunningham, crew chief, Malden, MA.

....Sgt Cunningham's ground crew are: Sgt Bill Patton, Hamilton, KS; Sgt Tom Atkins, Tulsa, OK; Sgt Alton Holmes, Jonesboro, AR; S/Sgt Benny Falcowski, Bronx, NY.

I would, once agian, like to thank Jim Meeks for making this newsletter from Tinian Island from March 23, 1945, available to all of us. Thanks, Jim !!! - Sallyann