Headquarters Eighth Air Force
Headquarters Eighth Air Force Service Command
Headquarters Third Strategic Air Depot Area
Headquarters 465th Sub Depot Class I, Special
The 465th Sub Depot, Class I, Special, was activated in the European Theater of Operations by General Order #212, Headquarters VIII Bomber Command, dated 29 November 1943. Therefore, it does not have any previous history. [The orders provided a total authorized strength for the Sub Depot of seven officers and 238 enlisted men.
The General Order quoted above officially brought the Sub Depot into the AAF family. However, it was not until 1 December 1943 that any Enlisted Men were transferred to actually bring the Sub Depot into operation. On this date, 172 Enlisted Men were transferred from the 74th Service Squadron per paragraph 26, Special Order #84, Headquarters, 392nd Bomb Group (H) dated 1 December 1943. These men were to form the backbone of the organization as they were all skilled technicians with several years of training and practical experience.
The officers who were to assume the command functions of the Sub Depot were transferred on the same date, by authority of paragraph 5, Special Order #79, Headquarters, 2nd Bombardment Division (H), dated 1 December 1943. These officers, with their duties, were as follows:
Major James W. Wall, Sub Depot Commander (transferred from the Service Sqdn)
Captain Alfred S. Carter, Sub Depot Supply Officer (transferred from Detachment A, 317th Service Sqdn)
Captain Richard W. Couch, Sub Depot Engineering Officer (transferred from Detachment A, 317th Service Sqdn)
1/Lt Donald H. Pollard, Asst. Sub Depot Engineering Officer (transferred from 74th Service Sqdn)
2/Lt George L. Griffith, Sub Depot Adjutant (transferred from 74th Service Sqdn)
WOJG Morris M. Feys, Asst Sub Depot Supply Officer (transferred from 74th Service Sqdn)
These then, were the Enlisted Men and officers around whom the organization was to be built.
In the ensuing few weeks the problem of changing over from a Service Squadron with its vastly different T/O and T/E to a Sub Depot occupied the main place in the organization's functions. New equipment was received and placed in immediate operation, and shops and offices were moved or rearranged to meet the requirements of the newer and larger organization. A complete warehouse was taken over by Air Corps Supply, giving them two large warehouses to meet the new level of supply which had been increased from a ten-day level to a thirty-day level. The Engineering Section was now operating at an increased tempo, expanding shops and hangars, setting up new sections and at the same time, expediting delivery of battle-damaged aircraft back to the operational units on the field. The Headquarters Section of the organization was busy with the many details peculiar to the activation of any new organization and was preparing to receive, house, and supply new members expected from the Replacement Depots to fill many shortages. These were hectic weeks and the credit for the successful change-over must go to all the Officers and Enlisted Men, many of who worked as much as sixteen hours a day, getting ready for things to come.
After this period of expansion of departments, offices, and equipment came the problem of the personnel in the organization. The first few replacements began to trickle in about the first week in January 1944. This trickle turned into a flood in a few days' time and shipments of as high as thirty men at a time began to pour in from the Replacement Depot. Somehow, these men were housed, fed, clothed, and paid. They soon were assigned to the duty for which they were qualified and very quickly lost their identity as replacements and became regular members of the organization, pulling their share along with the older members of the organization. As an illustration of the rapid expansion of personnel during this period, the strength of the organization increased from 163 Enlisted Men on 25 December 1943 to 228 Enlisted Men on 10 February 1944. The majority of these replacements had had no experience on the type of aircraft which was operating from this field and so had to be given training and practical experience by the older members of the organization.
The Sub Depot now had the men and equipment to do the job for which they were activated. But the fact must not be overlooked that, during this period of expansion, the task of servicing and repairing aircraft had gone steadily on. During the months of December and January, a total of twenty-one planes had been transferred to the Engineering Section for repair or modification. At the end of this period, nineteen of these planes were transferred back to the Bomb Group, completely operational. At least two of these planes were almost complete wrecks and were pronounced repairable only by a narrow margin.
Not much has been said about the activities of the Sub Depot Supply Section. This section has the task of supplying the bombardment units on the field with all items of equipment peculiar to the particular type of aircraft operation. Some measure of their success may be gained when it is realized that during the last six weeks of this December-January period not one plane was classified A.O.G. (Aircraft On Ground) for lack of parts. This fine record was also due to the efforts of the Salvage and Reclamation Section in returning parts from salvaged aircraft to stock and also to the controlled policy of removing critical parts from planes belonging to the Sub Depot undergoing major repairs for use by the operational aircraft of the Bombardment Group.
Thus the 465th Sub Depot has progressed steadily during the months of December, January and February. It had become fully activated and was now contributing its share to the task which lies before the Air Force in the European Theater of Operations; that is, getting the bombs over the target.
Unit Diary January 31, 1944
The activation of the 465th Sub Depot Class I was effected by General Orders No 212, Headquarters VIII Bomber Command, ETOUSA, dated 29 November 1943. This order brought about the breaking up of the 74th Service Squadron which was a well-molded outfit. The activation of the 465th was an overseas transaction and therefore does not have any station history.
The original number of men transferred to the 465th totaled 172 men as shown on paragraph 26, SO #84, HQ 392nd Bomb Gp dated 1 December 1943. These men were all experienced men and gave the 465th a solid foundation on which to operate efficiently.
Paragraph 5, SO #79, HQ 2nd Bomb Division, dated 1 December 1943 designated the officers and paragraph 1, Sub Depot Order No 1, HQ 465th Sub Depot, dated 6 January 1944, assigned the officers to the following duties:
Major James W. Wall, Commanding
Captain Alfred S. Carter, Air Corps Supply Officer
Captain Richard W. Couch, Engineering Officer
1/Lt Donald H. Pollard, Ass't Engineering Officer
2/Lt George L. Griffith, Administrative Officer
First Sergeant Joseph L. Gaffey and Sergeant John F. Kobylars, clerk for Major Wall, joined the outfit per paragraph 5, SO #84, 2nd Bomb Division, dated 6 December 1943. Our new Supply Sergeant, S/Sgt Thomas A. Atkinson, joined the organization 16 December 1943 per paragraph 12, SO #84, HQ 2nd Bomb Division, dated 16 December 1943. S/Sgt Richard L. Pennell, former Supply Sergeant, was transferred to the 517th Service Group Headquarters, per paragraph 12, SO #84, HQ 2nd Bomb Division dated 16 December 1943.
The original 74th Service Squadron was split wide open and changes in personnel were being made during the month of December. The cadre of the 74th Service Squadron was attached to the 465th for administration, quarters and rations and on 5 January 1944, a cadre of 36 enlisted men under command of First Sergeant Emil Perez converged on the Wendling England Station early in the morning, boarded the train for AAF Station 455 for VOCU, 2nd Bomb Division. GO #5, HQ VIII Bomber Command, dated 1 January 1944, came in to our office on 8 January 1944 to confirm this movement. In the transfer of Squadron Funds, the 465th received $54.08. The money is in cash and is carried on the books in English currency.
All papers pertaining to the 74th Service Squadron were packed and shipped. The Squadron Property Book was cleared and closed and all allied papers were sent on.
From the original 166 enlisted men, the squadron strength has increased during the month of December and January to 223 assigned and 29 attached bringing the total to 252 enlisted men. The officer strength remains unchanged.
Outstanding event in the squadron's station life happened on or about 5 December  at approximately 0230 hours. The night was quiet except for the usual hub-bum of ground crews preparing their ships for an early take-off. Our barracks are located along the perimeter track west and the gas dump is in the center of two sites and most of the men were sleeping when suddenly a terrific explosion rent the air, shaking the barracks somewhat. Some of the men got up to see what was happening but the second explosion which occurred several minutes later broke windows, split barracks' ends open and knocked articles off of the shelves in the barracks. In no seconds flat the whole area was cleared by the men. Our men were dressed in "long johns" on up. Major Wall ordered all personnel to report to Mess No. 2 until the danger was over.
The plane was not over one hundred yards away from the barracks and was completely demolished. The morning after found bomb fragments and sleepy men trodding off to breakfast. This event took several days before its affect died down.
The Christmas Day dinner provoked considerable admiration. The turkey dinner was served in the elaborately-decorated mess hall on which each table was a burning candle and Christmas tree, mimeographed menu, candy and cigarettes. Holly decorated the beams, two gaily-decorated trees in the center of the mess hall. The men were served at the table. A record player furnished the music.
The 1287th Ordnance Company and members of the old 74th Service Squadron held a Christmas Dance in the right wing of Mess No. 2. The room was converted from a drab, sad-looking place into a highly-decorated dance hall. There were 200 enlisted men and ninety girls, which was a mixture of WAAFS, ATS and civilians. Sergeant Adams' twelve-piece band entertained while refreshments consisted of seven kegs of beer, sandwiches, candy and cigarettes. Plenty of mistletoe branches were advantageously placed about the room. The party was a smashing success.
During December and January, Sub Depot Supply, its level of supply increased, took over two buildings from the Quartermaster and moved in, setting up bigger departments, re-lighting the buildings and a round-the-clock schedule inaugurated.
The Engineering Department with increased personnel began to expand. The Administrative Office was moved from the Group Engineering Building to the Sub Depot Headquarters to expedite work. Most shifts were put on a daily schedule of two eight hour shifts and Hangar No. 1 on three eight hour shifts.
The Sub Depot's Reclamation and Salvage Section had their first major salvage projects during December. Two airplanes were completely salvaged and two partially salvaged during the December and January period. Critical parts obtained by this section enabled Air Corps Supply to fill many A.O.C. and I.O.R. requisitions.
Critical parts obtained from Reclamation and Salvage plus the controlled policy of removing critical parts from planes belonging to the Sub Depot undergoing major repairs resulted in a constant flow of needed items to the "front line" planes operated by the Bomb Group. There were no Bombardment Group planes classified A.O.C. from lack of parts during the latter six weeks of this period. Consequently, the 392nd Bombardment Group was rated number one in the Division four consecutive weeks during December, having only 12% of their assigned planes out of commission for all causes.
Twenty-one planes were transferred to the Sub Depot for major repair or modification during December and January. The Engineering Section, laboring twenty-four hours a day, made nineteen of these planes completely operational and transferred them back to the bomb Group.
Outstanding Engineering accomplishments of the 465th Sub Depot were found in the work performed on Ship No. 42-7510 and Ship No. 42-7174.
Ship No. 42-7510, known to the boys as El Lobo, was admitted to the "Engineering Hospital" on 21 December 1943. El Lobo's tail section was chewed off by an unidentified friend during a mission. Old Jerry punched holes through the bomb bay doors, nose doors, left wing tip and the leading edge of the outer left wing panel. With a very small portion of right rudder remaining, El Lobo staggered home. By a narrow margin, she was pronounced repairable.
A complete tail section was salvaged from a plane, less fortunate, that had been classified as "salvage". The Sheet Metal Department was called upon to furnish personnel to temporarily perform duty as "salvage masters" in order to expedite the procurement of the needed tail section. The new tail section was cut off just forward of the horizontal stabilizers, thereby necessitating the trimming of El Lobo's fuselage to meet the specifications of its new tail section. By splicing skin and stringers, Sub Depot personnel were able to attach El Lobo's new tail section. A new tail turret was obtained to be installed in the place of the one "chewed out" over Germany, and after this particular unit of work was completed, electrical and hydraulic installations were made. The "trimming" suffered by El Lobo was also responsible for the installation of new horizontal and vertical stabilizers. Commendable work by the Sheet Metal Shop erased all outer appearances of the best Jerry could offer. Two weeks of work by the Sub Depot resulted in El Lobo's appearance on the starting line waiting to carry another load of Allied devastation to be dropped on the Fortress of Europe.
Ship No. 42-7174 became the property of the Sub Depot on 7 January 1944 after being "shot to hell" on its twelfth mission over Germany and Occupied Europe. The plane suffered severe battle damage as a result of twenty millimeter shells and machine gun bullets finding "their mark" on the wings and fuselage. One shell from twenty millimeter cannon exploded in the left trailing edge, raising havoc with hydraulic lines, aileron cables and flap tracks. Concussion of the explosion sent pieces shattering through the rear spar and penetrated the main gas tanks. The right inner wing panel was on the receiving end of another twenty millimeter shell just to the rear of number three engine. The damage caused by this shell amounted to a hole through the top of the wing, puncturing of the gas tank and fragments of the shell penetrating into number three engine. The third cannon shell damaged the right wing panel, aileron, and came to rest in number three auxiliary gas tank. Another shell went through the horizontal stabilizer. Both vertical stabilizers were "perforated" by Jerry machine gun fire. Old man "flak" certainly did not play any favorites that day, because he added some more to the already many holes on this plane.
All departments of the Sub Depot coordinated their activities in order to expedite the delivery of this plane back to the Bomb Group. Engineering called on Supply for the various items to be furnished and after some were procured, set about to the task of installation and repair.
The entire left trailing edge was removed and replaced from stock. Hydraulic lines and control cables required were obtained from Supply, who in turn received them from a salvaged plane through Reclamation and Salvage. The main gas tanks were removed and replaced. All the stabilizers on this plane were removed and replaced by new ones. The old ones were then repaired and returned to stock. Sheet Metal personnel once again had the opportunity of displaying their ability due to the large amount of sheet metal work caused by twenty millimeter shells, flak and machine gun fire. On 31 January the airplane proudly took off for a test hop and as it circled the field one could get an impression that the plane was looking down at the hangar and saying, "Well done, boys."
In order for the Sub Depot to carry on its activities to the greatest advantage, it necessitates the use of many various machines. Machinery of various types was requisitioned to increase the efficiency of the Sub Depot and cut down the time element. Some of the machinery received thus far is:
a. Do-All Machine
b. Milling Machine
c. Heavy Duty Sewing Machine
d. Propeller Balancing Stand
e. Magna Flux Machine
f. Bench Grinder
g. Heavy Duty Grinder
h. Heavy Duty Break
Other activities were of regular station routine.
Feb 7. Pfc Cecil F. Burkhead was promoted to Cpl.
Feb 8. Captain George L. Tamm attached for indefinite Temporary Duty; assigned to the duty of Training Liaison Officer for men placed with the Sub Depot.
Feb 11. S/Sgt William C. Burzlaff returned from Hollingwood Works, Manchester, where he received a two-week technical training course in instruments.
Feb 16. 2/Lt Paul H. Jones, QM, joined the squadron for indefinite temporary duty. Lt Jones was placed in Air Corps Supply under Captain Carter to learn Air Corps Supply Procedure.
Feb 25. S/Sgt Bart Harris returned from attending a month's course in Bombsight Maintenance at AAF Station 582. Sgt Harris said they worked him hard but he liked the place because the buildings were steam heated.
Feb 29. Cpl Warren C. Roe, for cause, was reduced to the grade of private.
The Engineering Section under the supervision of Captain Richard "Dick" Couch and his assistant Lt. Donald H. Pollard operated at full steam ahead this month and accomplished a multitude of work. This section handled 38 aircraft. The number of work hours required on each ranging from 45 to 1800 hours. The various engineering shops handled some 750 individual work orders, the work hours ranging from 1 to 600 hours.
The Parachute Department packed approximately 850 parachutes, making all the modifications required by Technical Orders. This department did a lot of equipment sewing to relieve the pressure on the Fabric Sewing Department which has only one sewing machine.
The Engine Department is working night and day to keep engines built up for required engine changes and preparing repairable engines for shipment.
Reclamation and Salvage strip-teased a Hangar Queen.
Twenty-nine enlisted men arrived on Detached Service for training in the various Engineering Departments.
The boys in the hangar fell in love with aircraft 42-7527, better known as the "Black Widow". Black Widow went out over Germany and stuck her poisonous mandibles into one of Germany's important fighter producing factories. Enemy opposition made it necessary for her to get religious and she came home on a wing and a prayer.
Upon landing, a tire blew out which pulled her off the runway into the soft grass, stopping just short of a drainage ditch. Black Widow wiped the perspiration off her brow. After the tire was changed, she was towed carefully to Hangar No. 1 and given a diagnosis. The Inspector's diagnosis showed a direct hit by flak or cannon shell in the left training edge of the wing, ripping apart the flap, trailing edge, control cables to both flaps and ailerons, and the hydraulic lines to the landing gear. Cannon fire had scored two hits in the top of the wing and into Nos. 5 and 6y gas tanks. A hit in No. 1 engine had severed an oil line rendering the engine completely useless. Quick thinking and action by the co-pilot in feathering the prop saved the engine from further damage.
After thirty days of hard labor, the hangar boys breathed a sigh of relief and satisfaction when Black Widow was discharged from the hangar. The Black Widow is at 'em again and woe to any fighter who gets caught in her web.
Air Corps Supply, under the direction of Captain Carter and his able assistant, Warrant Officer Feys, has been a bee-hive of activity during February. All you have to do is look around and you can see improvements. For instance, the mud outside the oil dump area has been eliminated and replaced with 100 cubic feet of concrete.
The large Technical Supply Trailer, in which Class 29, Commercial Hardware, was stored, was prepared for shipping. The items that were in the trailer were removed and placed in the Air Corps Supply Warehouse. A small room which had been previously used for instruments made an excellent storage place for these materials.
As the office for the Sub Depot Supply Officer and his assistant was too small to accommodate the two officers, the Stock Record Section was moved into the old Rubber Storage Room, and the Assistant Supply Officer and Chief Clerk moved into that office. This change called for a considerable amount of remodeling and rearranging, all of which was accomplished by Sub Depot personnel.
Six enlisted men have been sent here on Detached Service for supply training purposes. These men had quite a bit of difficulty in locating the various property classes. Therefore a separate sign was painted indicating each property class. This simplifies the locating of these classes and also adds to the efficiency of the warehouse.
To handle the Memorandum Receipts which were increasing daily, a memorandum section was set up. Abstract cards were not obtainable through regular channels. Therefore, they had to be procured through local purchase. The Assistant Sub Depot Supply Officer drew up the form and local purchase in the QM purchased the cards. Now the Memorandum Receipt Section is in full operation and is very satisfactory.
Since the six enlisted men on Detached Service were not familiar with Air Corps Forms, Circulars, and Technical Orders, the Assistant Sub Depot Officer began having classes to teach these men the necessary technical information. These classes were attended over and above their regular duties.
Although the men are working long hard hours, their morale is good, because they can see the results of their work in the daily formations above the field on their way to deal death and destruction to the enemy.
Promotions were announced on the first day of March 1944. Twenty-five men were promoted to various grades, from Master Sergeant to Private First Class.
During the last few days of February and the early part of March 1944, many enlisted men were sent to the organization for training and "Trade Testing." These men were newly arrived in the ETO and were attached for the purpose of receiving training on the type of airplanes operating from this theater. They were assigned to our regular departments and received valuable training from our more experienced men. After a period of about four weeks training, they were sent out to their Sub Depots for duty. In addition to the Enlisted Men, two Officers, Capt George H. TAMM and 2/Lt Paul F. JONES, were also attached for training in Sub Depot procedures.
During this period many improvements in the buildings and grounds assigned to the Sub Depot were made. The office of the Commanding Officer and Supply Officer was painted and pictures hung. The grounds surrounding the Supply warehouses were graded and grass planted, a concrete road was laid by the Station Engineers from Hangar #1 to the workshops, thus saving considerable time on trips to and from the hangar.
In order to accommodate surface controls in the Bulk Storage Warehouses, racks were built on the walls, enabling more controls to be stored and also protecting them from damages often occurring in regular racks. A small counter was built outside the main issue counter in Warehouse #1 giving personnel ample room to look up parts numbers and filling out various forms. In the Sub Depot Supply Office a system was devised for quickly filling AOGs for aircraft on the field. This consisted of a large board giving the Aircraft number, estimated time for repair, organization, and a list of parts removed from the aircraft.
Each month since its activation the Sub Depot has been inspected by the Station Technical Inspector, the results of the inspections revealing fewer discrepancies at each inspection. During the March inspection, the Sub Depot received its best inspection to date, all departments receiving either a Very Satisfactory rating or a Satisfactory rating.
The month of March saw a new peak reached by Sub Depot personnel in turning out aircraft, both for modifications and battle damage. A total of 69 planes were returned to the Bombardment Group during this month. In some cases, passes were withheld for a few days until the pressure on the shops and hangar was eased and the peak of production had been passed. During this time, three shifts were operated, thus working steadily for 24 hours a day. [Per the Daily Plane Turnover for the Month of March report, the 465th received 81 planes in with 69 planes out.]
Spring unleashed its beauty on the area with green grass, budding trees, blooming hedges and the symphonic caroling of the birds put new life into the drab barracks existence of weary winter nights. Paragraph 25, SO 59, HQ 392nd BG dated 1 April 1944, announced promotions for the enlisted men which helped make life more beautiful for them.
Talk of the coming invasion brought a flood of Elsan Can rumors of restrictions and longer working hours. On 4 April, Major Wall broke the news deftly to the men that the much-discussed rumor of cancellation of furloughs and passes was no longer a rumor but an official fact. He then discussed the importance of tighter security and added that a huge task and responsibilities were ours to share.
An advanced phone call on 14 April brought the good news that Major Wall had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Official confirmation was received next day in the mail delivered by the Courier.
Extensive training in extended order drill was given the squads that compose the Mobile Defense Force for this station. Enemy activity over nearby stations increased the interest in this all-important phase of training.
Through efficient coordination and a will to work, the Engineering Section turned out a maximum amount of work for the month of April. A total of 55 aircraft were handled with the length of time for repair ranging from one to 29 days and 40 to 1500 hours. Additional serviceable parts were obtained from one aircraft which crashed on this station and was stripped-teased by Reclamation and Salvage. T/Sgt Richard V. Johnson's crew in Hangar No. 2 worked long hours and kept a suitable supply of built-up engine changes. The night Aero Repair Crew and the Crash Crew did a commendable job by working all night to clear the runways of three incapacitated aircraft returning from a late mission.
"You can't keep a good ship down" is what the boys say of Bull Bat [42-7472]. Bull Bat is a B24-H and squats in its dispersal suite which is right up against the barracks occupied by our men and it is rightfully looked upon as the 465th Sub Depot baby. Bull Bat has 37 missions to her credit and on the last mission was giving the other planes in the ground formation the "Come On" glance over her outboard rudders.
Over Germany her four engines were hit and her fuselage, wings and tail section were peppered worse than the dart board at the local pub, "The Lord Nelson." The hydraulic system pooped out and instrument needles made frantic and unprecedented moves. Bull Bat indeed was in a bad way, but the pilot coaxed her back and set her down on her tail at another field and tore stringers, bulkheads and formers from the belly turret. A repair crew was dispatched and they changed her engines and fixed her up so she could come home.
Like bees around a cone, the Engineering men climbed, crawled and clambered all over Bull Bat, put four new engines on her, repaired the hydraulic and electrical system, patched her flak rounds, and put a new fuselage section from stations 7.0 to 9.2. In 30 days, the sweetheart of the 465th was again belching fire and smoke from her exhaust and giving out deep-throated roars. To prove her sophistication, Bull Bat has flown three more missions to bring her total up to 40 missions in which she has spit in Hitler's eye.
Air Corps Supply's chief concern this month has been flying clothing. A huge amount of flying clothing is needed on hand and storage space is now being provided by using one end of the Quartermaster Warehouse across the street.
Preparation is being made by the Sub Depot to permit the Bombardment Squadrons to operate independently for a period of ten days by assembling kits of parts and tools, assembled on the basis of actual consumption under combat conditions. These kits will be put on the planes. A larger kit has been planned which will be crated and carried by the group. These kits are so planned to provide a 30-day level for 48 planes.
A new tank for emergency storing of aircraft oil has been procured by Air Corps Supply because, in the past, space for storage of aircraft oil was only sufficient to meet daily consumption requirements.
In Springtime a young man's fancy usually turns to thoughts of love, but the boys in the Engineering Department turned to moving. The contractors on this field finally completed the new shop building that was assigned to our unit.
The Fabric Shop moved from the Group Equipment Building near Utilities to its rightful place. Sgt Braquet was very pleased to get a larger room and the two new sewing machines which will relieve the great amount of repair and modification work done on flying clothing.
The Electric Shop, which heretofore was operating in a small compartment, moved into its new home and the boys were pleased to have additional space. The long-awaited Generator Test Stand came just in time to be set up in the new Electric Shop.
From a cramped corner of the Machine Shop space, the Hydraulic Shop came into its own in having a large room for itself. A new Super-charger Regulator Assembly Stand was also procured.
The newly-arranged Battery Shop is a definite credit to our Sub Depot and the Power Plant Repair Shop has finally acquired the space it needed. Reclamation and Salvage has a room on the end of the new building next to the hangar and is much more convenient and more readily accessible.
In coordination with the moving of the above-mentioned shops, additional space was gained for the other shops. The Prop Shop now has room to set up their Magniflux Equipment and arrange the entire shop for better working efficiency. The Machine Shop received a new lathe and a large shaper and with their additional space has been able to move its trailer equipment into the shop proper. This will eliminate many wasted steps. A new Forge was added to the efficient Welding Shop and a Hibbling Machine added to the Sheet Metal Shop. A Harness Machine was added to the Parachute Shop.
A small brick building was added to the end of Work Shop #2 to house the emergency power plant for shops #1 and 2 and also an emergency Power Plant was set up for the new shop buildings.
A storage room is in the process of being added to Work shop #1 for storage of sheet metal and steel stocks, thus getting this stock out of the working area. The Sheet Metal Department has been busy making covers to patch up the hole made by the removal of the Ball Turret which is the latest modification to date on the aircraft on this station.
The Paint shop has done a commendable job in changing the Group Designation on the outboard rudders of each aircraft in the Group.
A total of 28 aircraft was handled by this department. Over 50 percent of this total entailed work requiring 10 to 25 days to put back into operational status.
In the newly acquired warehouse from the Quartermaster, Air Corps Supply personnel have constructed large racks for hanging flying clothing and the room in which they are stored has been partitioned off so that plenty of Napthalene Flakes and Moth Balls may be put with the clothing to protect it.
Air Corps Supply Officer submitted its first gasoline report this month. There has been 959,536 Imperial gallons consumed in 31 days, which makes it an average of 31,000 Imperial gallons of petrol used in one day. This petrol is 100 Octane.
Most of the activity of Sub Depot Supply has been of a routine nature but there has been some unusual activity in the back of the warehouse and also along the side. M/Sgt Murray has purchased some rabbits and according to the latest census, the tribe has increased greatly which called for "Maximum Effort" on the part of the big black and white Buck Rabbit.
A Victory Garden has been planted alongside the warehouse. This garden contains onions, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce and a variety of other plants. Lime was obtained from the Clerk of the Works and fertilizer from an abandoned barn. At present, the plants are growing rapidly and look strong and healthy.
Extra-curricular activities during the early months of this year found the Sub Depot boys doing quite well for themselves on the basketball floor at the post gymnasium. When we chose the name "465th Cletracs" we had in mind that a cletrac will run over most obstacles. In the whole season, the boys on the team displayed excellent spirit and close teamwork and didn't lose one game. Fast passing and a will to win, the 465th Cletracs ran rough shod over all opposition and snitched the 392nd Bombardment Group Championship. In the last six elimination games, the Cletracs scored a total of 315 points to the opponents' 150. The Trophy Cup sits on the Adjutant's desk. A group picture of the members of the team was taken and publicity for each man was given to the folks back home through the cooperation of the Group's Public Relations Officer, Lt McCammond.
The Second Front, D-Day, is being sweated out by all of us. Intelligence reports indicate that German Paratroopers are expected at any time to attempt landings to harass and delay the impending invasion. Precautionary measures are evident in that every man is required to carry his weapon everywhere he goes while on duty. Dry runs are being held more frequently by the Station Defense Officer to iron out all the wrinkles in the Station Defense Plan and to keep us on our toes so that we will not be caught short in the event of a Paratroopers visit.
Every dog has its day, but in the case of "Jocko", the monkey which is Air Corps Supply's mascot, he has had it. Captain Carter purchased him from somebody and at first his presence was a novelty and he was reclassified from civilian to basic. Jocko's aptitude for curiosity soon became apparent. If he wasn't searching for cooties in someone's hair, he was tipping over ink wells to see what was on the bottom, or lifting the receiver off the phone, or biting someone on the hand. He also soon learned to scribble on paper with a pencil, fill a pipe with tobacco and destroy any loose papers that happened to catch his fancy. Jocko had his other qualities, for on closer study he resembled an ETO Happy Soldier and made us think more of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution as advanced in his book, "Origin of the Species." Now Captain Carter is willing to sell him at any price to any bidder but at the time of this writing, Jocko is very much a member of Air Corps Supply.
A Squadron meeting was held on Pay Day on the cement ramp between the offices and the Work Shops. Colonel Wall read the Court-Martial Orders and praised the men for their excellent record for only three Court-Martials in over six months. In connection with the men having to bear arms at all times during duty hours, Colonel Wall warned the men that he has a "Dim" view on careless handling of Ordnance individual equipment.
[Photo not available]
Front Row Left to Right: Cygnarowicz, Macko, Morrison, Piekarz, Schicchi, Martin Leo, Kneeling, Napier, Rayha, Malfe, Eberheart, Mantie
Second Row L to R: Smith, Holt, Nawrocki, Neale, Mall, Johnson Richard, Nolan, Schneider, Ulstad, Dietrich, Condon, Hylton, Evangelo, Reed
Third Row L to R: Kaylor, Urton, Allen Frank, Barnes, Urton, Martin Tom, Klein, Volkman, Higgison, Naill, Speigel
[Photo not available]
Front Row Left to Right: Parker, Mears, Cunningham, Greiner, Janeczek, Zemman, Helderman, Bromberly, Pran, Laskowski.
Second Row L to R: Pray, Anderson, Barker, Freidberg, Dragoo, Ranweiler, Barie, Nixion, Dukevik, Kent, Childs
[Photo not available]
Front Row Left to Right: Joyce, Robinson, Clark, Reynolds, Tevlin, Mahan, Nuccio, Girard, Riecks, Groth
Second row L to R: Nelson, Neilson, Burke, Hitchins, Wortman, Casale, Montross, Neville, Killough, Lyons
The month of June 1944 started very inauspiciously, giving no indication of the important events to come. Tension began to increase about the second day of the month with continuous bombardment of "Fortress Europe." The speculation reached fever pitch on the night of 5 June when, suddenly and without previous warning, all passes were cancelled and the planes "bombed up" for a night mission, the first of its kind to be flown from this field. That night was a hectic one, with Sheet Metal men being called upon to meet a 2100 hour deadline for twenty-one ball turret covers; confidential meetings being held throughout the field.
The mission took off, as it was disclosed later. This was the last mission before the actual invasion, the planes dropping their bombs only ten minutes before the troops were scheduled to go in. Just as the planes were returning, the word flashed from the German radio that the invasion was actually under way. From then on, when the Allied radio confirmed the news, flash followed flash and we knew that the long-awaited day had finally come, the day we had been waiting for since arrival overseas, the day when all the small jobs we had been doing for months would suddenly emerge as one gigantic blow against Hitlerite Europe.
In conjunction with the grand successes of the Allied Forces in the invasion, came a flow of rumors which flooded the ship and were widely discussed. Some of them were as follows:
* We were going to be paid in American money in July.
* The 392nd Group with its detachments was going to either Wendover Field, Massachusetts, or Texas to be re-equipped and trained as a B-29 unit for service in China.
* Russia was our next stop.
* The South Pacific Theater is a sure bet because the Supply Sergeant had requisitioned mosquito headnets, etc.
The thorough planning for D-Day was shown when at approximately 0900 hours, 6 June 1944, a message from General Eisenhower to the Allied Forces was passed out to each officer and enlisted man in our outfit. This was a terrific morale booster and will be a cherished souvenir in years to come.
Memorandum No 80-1Headquarters VIII Air Force Service Command, dated 14 June 1944, entitled "Instructions Governing Historical Officers and the Compilation of Histories" was received and the suggestions made brought out some of the weaknesses that existed in our previous historical records. In compliance with this directive, the Shop Chiefs were interviewed and some very valuable information was obtained.
For instance, T/Sgt Rolla Martin, Engineering Chief Clerk, brought in the report that since activation of the 465th Sub Depot six months ago, some 6,000 individual work orders had been handled by the various Engineering sections. This figure does not include Turret Shop, Bombsight and Gunsight Work, Engine Build-ups, Propeller Shop, Parachute Shop nor the aircraft work accomplished in the hangar.
The Propeller Shop was afforded more room with the moving of the Battery Shop. The various machines such as the Magni-Flux, Governor Test Stand, Portable Propeller Test Stand and Balancing Stand were placed in convenient places and a board partition was erected between the Prop shop and the Carpenter Shop. S/Sgt Janezcek is still bitching because T/Sgt Murie, Prop Shop Chief, talked him out of seven inches of space. In the six months as a Sub Depot, the Prop Shop overhauled from repairable to serviceable, 117 propellers and 800 governors. When you see the intricacies of the prop and governors, above figures are amazing and show the skill of the men in the Prop Shop.
The Parachute Shop, under the supervision of T/Sgt Thomas R. Jones, is in a building all of its own. The well for hanging chutes is built in the middle, storage racks on one side and the long packing tables on the other side. Three sewing machines, one light model, 31-53, one medium duty, 7-34, and one heavy duty, 97-10, complete the equipment. T/Sgt Jones says he claims a record of 43 parachutes being modified and packed on one table in 13 hours.
The Parachute Shop has the distinction of never being written up by the Technical Inspector, Lt. Barnhill, for having a dirty shop and, according to Sgt Jones, has been highly commended by other Inspectors for its cleanliness and efficiency. Up to date, the Parachute Shop has knowledge that 100 chutes have been jumped locally without a failure. They have modified over a 1000 Mae Wests, mended truck covers, repaired and modified heated flying suits and do all the sewing work for the Dinghy Shop. Other odd jobs have ranged from mending trousers to making sterilized glove kits for the Station Sick Quarters. Several thousand yards of thread and material have been used in this process.
S/Sgt Dimitri P. Harizi and S/Sgt Edgar Anderson are rather proud of the fact that two of the Group gunners walked into the shop and personally thanked them for packing the chutes that saved their lives when they bailed out over France. The one gunner told them that he landed in a tree and was suspended about two feet off the ground by the harness while a dog sniffled at his feet.
The men in the Parachute Shop say that they are willing to jump any chute that they pack.
At the end of Sgt Jones's report he added this poem:
When a chute blossoms white, against the sky
And a crew drops safely to rest
That's the time that we
Know our job to be,
Just first, and always the best.
We claim no prizes and we won't ask for a raise,
For we deal with life and death.
And a hearty "Thank You" with a fervent grip
Is much more than a waste of breath.
The other specialist does a fine job
Their work is worth lots of mention
But when all is said and done and the crewmen have jumped,
It's the Rigger who gets all the attention.
The Welding shop, under the supervision of T/Sgt Leonard J. Lyon, started out with only an old English forge and a Drill Press, and odds and ends that were packed in the shop men's barracks bags. As time flew by, as it does in the ETO, the present equipment consisting of an Arc Welder, Acetylene Welder, Nine Welding Sets and a Grinder, Portable, was procured. Over 2,000 steel helmets have been modified so that they could be worn over the ear phones. Sgt Lyon says that he never kept track of the exact figures on other jobs but he has fixed or worked on everything from "soup to nuts." They have worked on gun mounts, machine gun safety luds, tail skids, aircraft instruments and various other parts of the Flying box-Cars, the b-24s. Many crew chief stands have been built.
The Instrument Shop, supervised by M/Sgt Thomas Harper, didn't have any exact figures. However, Sgt Harper reservedly claims that in the past eleven months, while working on all kinds of B-24 instruments on this field, his shop had a serviceable output of 90 percent, the average turnover of serviceable instruments being 250 per month. In the last two months, the shop manufactured about 125 resistors of 3.445 Ohms, for propeller governors. As a side line, they repair watches and make plexi-glas crystals for all kinds of watches.
The Sheet Metal shop under M/Sgt Donald Leahy is one of the busiest shops in our Sub Depot. No matter what time or day it is, whenever you go inside you can see men working and usually there is a lot of noise. Most of the work in this department is patching up battle-damaged ships, flak holes causing most of the headaches. Sometimes a ship will make a tail skid landing and this usually tears up one to three bulkheads. In the last six months, this department has repaired twelve such ships. Four ships which landed on the nose were repaired. Near the end of May 1944, a B-24, No 41-28862, landed lop-sidedly and consequently all the weight was put on the right landing gear. This ripped out the auxiliary spar and required replacing the whole spar assembly. The boys of the Sheet Metal Shop got to work and removed the broken spar and procured another spar from a salvaged wing. The removing of the spar entailed removing sixty rivets that were heat-treated in the factory and were impossible to get at this station. Consequently, the holes had to be reamed out most carefully to avoid having off-size holes for over-sized bolts. The bearing surface of the bolts had to be the same the whole way round or else the wear on the bolts in landing would soon cause the landing gear to collapse again. However, the boys took great pain to see that the complete assembly lined up and was as secure as the original one. It took the men four weeks to complete this ticklish job. To date the plane has flown three missions, once landing with a full load of bombs and the landing gear is still as good as new.
Six Hundred fifty (650) work orders in the last six months were filled by this department, the nature or the jobs ranging from dust pants to making parts and sometimes complete assemblies for ships on the line. Besides work orders and battle damage, the department spent about 1800 man-hours in the last six months in repairing parts for Reclamation and Salvage to go back in Air Corps Supply stock.
S/Sgt Wesley Keefer, in charge of Reclamation and Salvage, has submitted some interesting information. In the last three months, the "AOG" Section, as his shop is usually called, has handled 594 items ranging from a flap assembly to pilot seats. This section receives all reparable and serviceable items from the bomb squadrons on this field and distributes them to the various shops for repair and returns them to the proper place.
Promotions for enlisted men were announced in paragraph 5, SO #99, Headquarters 392nd bombardment Group (H), dated 1 June 1944.
The emergency power plant got its first trial this month when the power on the field was shut off for a period of twelve hours. It proved very effective and our engineering shops went on doing their work as if nothing happened.
Another airplane was assigned to the sub Depot this month. It is a P-47D which gives crew chief, S/Sgt David Reed, a double headache. The other ship which has been with us a long time is an Oxford Trainer. The Oxford has just had two new motors and steel props installed. A new coat of silver paint and a shapely Vargas lassie adorns the left side of the nose section. S/Sgt Reed is either coming or going which accounts for the excellent condition of both ships.
1/Lt Donald H. Pollard, Assistant Engineering Officer, received many congratulations when paragraph 5, SO#153, Headquarters ETOUSA, dated 1 June 1944, announced his promotion to Captaincy or what is commonly called "Railroad tracks."
T/Sgt Cardwell, Chief Clerk in Sub Depot Supply Office, dug up some interesting figures which are quoted from his report: "On checking the records of the handling of materials, it has been found that approximately 261,200 items have been received and issued since 1 December 1943. This figure: approximately 36,000 items a month. It is estimated that at least 30,000 of these items are aircraft parts. Judging from these figures, it can be estimated the amount of work accomplished. To strongly emphasize the amount of work done by dub Depot Supply, imagine how long it would take one man to look up in a parts catalogue and write down the nomenclature and part numbers of just one thousand aircraft parts."
In Colonel Wall's office there is a map of England enclosed in a wooden cabinet attached to the wall. Map pins mark the bomber Commands, fighter commands, Engineer Corps Supply Depots, Sub Depots, and a number of other things. At a glance it gives a comprehensive picture and is constantly consulted.
The office of Mr. Feys, Assistant Sub Depot Supply Officer, looks more like a Navigator's Briefing room for there are all kinds of charts and maps. The progress of the war is charted by use of colored pencils.
The Orderly Room has come into its own. Up until last month, the office was located in a small picket post in the barracks area which is a good mile from the tech site. The new Orderly Room was formerly occupied by quartermaster located across the street from the shops and the Engineering and Supply Offices, but when Quartermaster moved to the New Communal Site, this large warehouse was divided into two sections, with Class 13 in one half and the Orderly Room in the other half.
In the picket post only routine administrative matters were handled. The Service Records, Payroll and Form 20s are kept at Group Headquarters Building but maintained by our own personnel. However, upon completion of the space allotted to the Orderly Room, this office now handles all the administrative practices. Each man has his own table with a name plate and a sign suspended from the front indicating what records he maintains. 1/Sgt Gaffey and the Adjutant have regular desks which were made by the Carpenter shop. A mahogany-stained railing in the front of the office gives the office a bankish business look. The personnel consists of Pvt Towbridge, running Message Center; Sgt Kratt, Service Records; Sgt Helmus, Pay Roll; Sgt Ball, Duty Roster and Passes; 1/Sgt Gaffey, Morning Reports and Correspondence; and the Adjutant, who has strong wrists and several fountain pens.
A few administrative facts give a picture of the unit as far as personnel are concerned. The month of May 1944 was picked for the following happy medium and it shows that out of a total Pay Roll of $22,156.67, an amount of $7,757.76 was collected for Allotments and Insurance, $4,040.00 was sent home by PTT; and $1,118.84 saved by Soldiers Deposits, making a total of 58% of the total payroll being saved. The average Army General Classification Test Score comes high at 107½. For religious preference, the figure runs like this: Protestant, 58%; Catholic, 33%; Jewish, 2%. Seven percent showed no religious preference. The political situation is rather a touchy subject but it is noticed that a great majority of the man have mailed the Official War Ballot Card.
Hangar #1 was cleared on 17 June 1944 to make way for the 100 Mission Party given by the Officers of this Station to the Enlisted Men. Two bands were hired, an English Carnival was brought in and truck loads of girls, civilians and service, were unloaded at the hangar. Ice cream, cake, sandwiches and plenty of beer was served for refreshments. From the letters censored, the men in this outfit had a good time; a few big heads were observed the following day. The English girls, old and young alike, had a jolly old go at the free ice cream which sent them "right out of this world" for it was the first ice cream they had since the beginning of the present World War No. II. Hmmm?!!!
The officers and men of the 465th Sub Depot, being an integral part of the 392nd Bombardment Group (H) and in accomplishing its own individual mission, feels that the citation for distinguished and outstanding performance received from 2nd Bombardment Division was indirectly a thank you note from Major General HODGES.
Lt McCammond, Public Relations Officer for this Group, is strictly on the ball. He provided a form which was filled out for each individual and will be sent to his hometown newspaper.
The unit Historical Officer came into his own the earlier part of the month by a visit of Major Harold M. Sheels, VIII Air Force Service Command's Historical Officer. Major Sheels perused over the Unit History and complimented the Historical Officer for maintaining such a complete history. The provisions of Memorandum No 801, Headquarters, VIII Air Force Service Command, dated 14 June 1944, were discussed and Major Sheels offered some highly useful suggestions which will be incorporated in this month's Unit History.
The morale of the men took a nose dive on 7 July 1944 when a base order restricted all members of Station 118 to the limits of the field. It all came about when a Negro soldier and a white soldier engaged in fisticuffs on the Market Square at Kings Lynn, the town designated for liberty run of this Station, which almost resulted in a riot. An extensive investigation was held to determine the cause of the fight. All members of the station who were on liberty run to Kings Lynn on the night of the fight were called to Headquarters and interviewed. All Squadrons were instructed to hold formations and "The Policy of Negros," Headquarters ETOUSA, signed by Lieutenant General Eisenhower, and several letters regarding the racial problem were to be read to all personnel.
Our own Squadron formation was held in hangar No 1 on 12 July 1944 and LtCol Wall gave a brief talk on the subject, after which the letters and memorandums were read. On 20 July 1944 the restriction was lifted.
It took over six months to get the 465th Sub Depot on the mailing list of Special Service for the Unit Sets. The Unit Set arrived this month and contents consisted of the magazines Life, News, Popular Photography, the Infantry Journal, Look and several Penguin books. The magazines and all books were distributed among the barracks. The men appreciate this reading matter which helps wile away off-duty hours.
A letter from Major Hillman, Adjutant of the 3rd Strategic Air Depot at Watton, announced a meeting of the Sub Depot Adjutants and their Classification Specialist to be held at the Brown Derby, located in the Officers' Quarters area at Watton, on 21 July 1944 at 1330 hours. The meeting was in charge of Captain Morril and a lengthy discussion with reference to changing job titles, converting unauthorized MOS's to new MOS's in accordance with AAF Manual 35-1, Headquarters, Army Air Forces, Washington, D.C., dated 3 April 1944.
3rd Strategic Air Depot Public Relations Officer was introduced and he gave a brief talk on the subject of giving Sub Depots and Sub Depot personnel publicity to the hometown paper.
Next to be introduced was Captain Latiner, Plans & Training Officer for 3SAD, who gave out some useful information with reference to Memorandum No 50-1, "Plans for Training in Strategic Air Depots," Headquarters VIII Air Force Service Command, dated 14 June 1944, and the training forms Nos. 1, 2, and 3, which the Sub Depots have to submit. These forms 1, 2, and 3 are used to keep track of the training of personnel in Sub Depots within the Sub Depot. Our first report shows cross-training in welding, sheet metal, machine shop, shipping and receiving, Warehouse Procedure and Operation of Gas Dump.
Captain Latiner emphasized the importance of cross-training for two reasons. One was that cross-training would increase the production capacity of the Sub Depot and secondly, that any Sub Depot might at any time be made into a Service Squadron and move out to some other theater of operations. A Service Squadron is a mobile unit and does third echelon repair and maintenance work on aircraft and therefore must have well-trained and flexible personnel who can do more than one job if the situation demands it. Our Sub Depot training is aimed at the purpose.
Sub Depot Supply lost one of its main pillars, WO (jg) Morris M. Feys, Asst Sub Depot Supply Officer, who came overseas with the boys in the 74th Service Squadron and set up Air Corps Supply before being transferred to the 465th Sub Depot. Mr. Feys had keen business acumen and if he didn't have an article, he would get it. Mr. Feys was assigned to the 5th Mobile Repair & Reclamation Squadron at Watton as a Technical Inspector. 1/Lt Hector M. McNeill, who originally trained as an Engineering Officer, comes to us with about six months' training in supply procedure.
The present 30-day level of Air Corps Supplies, which is the level of supplies to keep 60 aircraft supplied with parts for a 30-day period without any replenishment from any outside sources, has been increased this month to a 60-day level. This accounts for the numerous stacks of boxes and crates which have been stored on the cement ramp between Air Corps warehouses and the Engineering workshops.
These boxes, every one of them a grayish color, are known as "Kelly Pack-up Boxes" and named after Colonel KELLY. Colonel KELLY conceived the idea of packing supplies in boxes in such a manner that it an otherwise stationary Air Corps Supply set-up, usually on an established station, on a portable basis. The supplies are so packed and marked that a unit in the field can operate from the boxes without the benefit of warehouses. Each box contains related family groups of supplies and are so packed and marked that a unit operating independently in the field can function without the benefit and conveniences of warehouses. When supplies out of a certain box become exhausted, they are not ordered itemized but by that box number and a newly-packed box of the same number will be forwarded. This system affords, in addition to speed and cut-down paperwork, a great amount of secrecy in requisitioning critical items. For instance, Box #96 contains Photographic Supplies. If these items were ordered by nomenclature and fell into enemy hands, they would immediately know that their installations could not be photographed by reconnaissance planes; but if they got hold of a requisition with nothing but a group of numbers, they wouldn't know what the unit was short. The supplying agency knows exactly what Box #96 contains and in all probability would have a completely assembled box ready for immediate shipment.
Some of these boxes containing flying clothing were picked up by the platform lift and carried into the yawning door of one of the warehouses which brings S/Sgt Peter Weilandich into the picture.
S/Sgt Weilandich is responsible for Class 13, Flying and Combat Personnel Equipment. His warehouse is located in the other side of the partition of the Orderly Room and also a section of Air Corps Supply Warehouse No 2. When Sgt Weilandich was asked why so many boxes all of a sudden, he explained that this month he had issued flying clothing such as sheep line helmets, electrically heated clothing, type 702, fur-lined boots, trousers and gloves for 15 new combat crews, or 180 men, and a lot of replacements for worn-out clothing to old crews. He also issued 100 Sherling Lined Leather Jackets to mechanics and over 50 new parachutes. Taking into consideration the amount of clothing received and checked, stored and used, those transactions assume an enormous proportion in time and paper. Besides running Class 13, Sgt Weilandich runs a small hand-tool crib, which carries tools ranging in size and variation from a small socket wrench, files of all sizes and drills, hammers, chisels, planes and up to and including heavy machinist vices. Sgt Weilandich is well-qualified to handle this department for he has a keen mind, patience, good judgment and has been at this work for well over a year and has never made a serious mistake.
Another section of the Sub Depot Supply which figures prominently in the Supply set-up is Shipping and Receiving. Likeable T/Sgt Chester Blair is the man in charge. Sgt Blair is proud of his section and is convinced that his section is the hub. The words "shipping and receiving" usually make the mind associate such a department with pushing big boxes around by men with weak minds and strong backs. In this case, nothing could be further from the truth. Besides being able to move boxes, etc., there is a terrific amount of paperwork with Sipping tickets, Stores Credit and Stores charge Forms, Tally Ins and Tally Outs, making the bulk and any time of the day, you can walk into the Shipping and Receiving Section and see a man down in hunkers or leaning on a table with a form in one hand and the other reaching or plodding over some item of supply; for each for each item is checked either in or out; for damage and completeness of article shown on the form. T/Sgt Blair said it was nigh on to impossible to reckon the total number of parts that come and go through his department, because through his department passes all items of Air Corps Supplies for all units on the station, and the items range from the smallest screw to complete Aircraft Engines for the B-24s. T/Sgt Blair's staff consists of Sgt Byron T. Shuttleworth, Cpl Virgil Bombardo and Pvt Stanley From. These men have become adept at identifying the items of supply, and it is amazing how many numbers of parts they can quote from memory.
In the Engineering Section things were rather quiet this month. The number of ships with major battle damage is the lowest in four months, with a total of ten planes. Minor battle damage reached a record low mark of only one plane.
With things being rather quiet, it was a good chance to dig into the doings of several Engineering Departments and obtain some historical information.
In the Sub Depot Table of Organization there is no provisions made for Power Plant Maintenance. No two better men that S/Sgt George Greiner and Pfc Miles Clemmer could have been chosen for this all-important work on Energizers, type C-10, commonly called Putt-Putts. These putt-putts furnish the extra electrical power for the B-24s and are used mostly while the ship is on the ground, and sometimes used during take-off thus saving the generators and batteries for use when the aircraft becomes air-borne.
During the first months of operation, many planes were grounded due to faulty energizers. New energizers were almost impossible to procure and spare parts were always a headache. As time went on, many improvisions were made and coupled with the experience and skill acquired through actual work, energizers became a less troublesome item. Today a faulty energizer is quickly and systematically repaired and installed on the waiting plane within a few hours. Sgt Greiner modestly estimates that over 500 energizers have been repaired. In his spare time, Power Plant maintenance has branched out and now repairs countless compressors, rivet guns, air-crew drivers, ground cabin heaters and other mechanical appliances used by the various shops in the Sub Depot and bombardment Squadrons.
T/Sgt Jones of the Parachute Department is rather proud of the number of parachutes completely modified and repaired in 13 hours on one table. The total number being 54, which is an increase of 11 over the figure he submitted to the history last month. Eleven hundred (1100) parachutes were packed this month. The department is rather braggish about their new and additional packing table which the boys in the Carpenter shop built for them according to Sgt Jones' specifications. With the two tables now in the Department, the night shift has been eliminated.
Cramped into one section of Work Shop #1 is one of the most important departments in the Sub Depot. This department is the Machine Shop. It is under the supervision of T/Sgt Walter Tevlin, an expert machinist in civilian life before the Army got him. Sgt Tevlin has 14 men under him and has four Turning Lathes, two Drill Presses, one Shaper for plane cutting, one Miller which cuts gears and teeth and angle cutting, one Do-All, for contour-steel cutting, one press, 50 pound pressure, one power hacksaw, which cuts heavy material and one Pedestal Grinder, with which to do his work. This department repairs all kinds of small items which are needed urgently for planes when they are not in stock in Sub Depot Supply. Parts holding a plane on the ground are given priority over all other work. In the past six months, the machine shop has completed approximately 900 work orders.
Back in the early days after our arrival in the ETO as a Service Squadron, the machine shop had only three machines and its working space was a trailer. Even today, Sgt Tevlin is proud of the fact that his department received a letter of commendation from the Chemical Officer for construction of 5000 retaining rings and retaining wrenches, which at the time were not available through Supply channels, and if they had not been manufactured by the machine shop, it would have greatly curtailed the use of incendiary bombs which are rained on Hitlerite Rats.
The other machinists in the department are T/Sgt Arthur Girard, S/Sgt John Kay, S/Sgt Michael Casale, S/Sgt Francis Mahan, Sgt Harold Clark, Sgt Henry Jones, Pfc Harry Sedor, Cpl Floyd Montross, Cpl Donald Hagaman, Pvt John Wortman Jr., Cpl Ettore Nuccio, Cpl Aubrey Burke and S/Sgt Frank Neville.
Another busy Engineering Department is the Dope & Fabric Shop, located in the south end of Work shop #2. Congenial and cooperative T/Sgt John Zemma is in charge. In civilian life Sgt Zemma was employed in one of the largest paint firms in the states, is an expert paint blender, and also adept at fabric work. Other personnel consist of S/Sgt Taylor Kent, an expert sign painter in civilian life; S/Sgt Richard Ward, a fine draftsman; S/Sgt George I. Robson (better known as G.I.); Cpl Lawrence Childs and Pvt Patrick Walters; all three men are adept at Dope and Fabric work.
This Department's work has never been criticized; in fact, it did a commendable job in changing the Group Designation on the outboard rudder of the aircraft on the station from the circle "D" to the black streak on a silver background. You can walk into the Group Statistical Office, Group Operation's Office, S-2 Office and see the splendid work done in marking chart boards, etc. In the last six months, over 200 sign boards of various sizes have been painted for the military police, 50 "No Smoking" signs for the hangars and other shops, and a tidy sum of special signs for Headquarters and base operations. Many status boards, both large and small, and lettering of numerous vehicles for the Motor Pool have been accomplished.
In addition to regular line and shop work, the painting of special Squadron designs, pictures and special art drawings on practice bombs used for our door signs, on leather jackets, planes, Mess hall walls, plus numerous amounts of desk signs, both plain and fancy have been accomplished without hindrance of regular duties.
The figures quoted will give you an idea of the amount of material used in the last six months. Over 2,542,000 square inches of airplane fabric has been used in recovering surfaces, more than 10 miles of pink-edged tape for marking and stripping repaired sections and 180 gallons of airplane dope.
Some 500 gallons, or enough paint to give 33 seven-room bungalows a new coat in Spring, have been used. In applying this paint, the men used paint brushes of various sizes plus two dozen special sign-writers' lettering brushes have been work out through fair wear and tear. All you have to do is tell the boys in the Dope & Fabric Shop what you want done and they do it.
Behind a partition in the Dope Shop you will find one of the neatest, cleanest and business-like sections of the Sub Depot. S/Sgt Jesse Melanson and Pfc Zelo "Zeke" Volkman run the section known as Technical "Tech" Supply. A desk and several ten-foot high tool bins make up this section which is responsible for requisitioning, receiving and maintaining the Sub Depot Organization Equipment. Tech Supply procures heavy machinery for the Sub Depot shops, Special Purpose Vehicles, wrenches, 40-foot trailers, etc. for the Sub Depot Crash Crew; testing equipment for the Sub Depot Electrical Department; Propeller Assembling and Testing Devices, Power Plants and Generators, engine Hoists and Mounting Units for the Hangar Section. Tech Supply also handles mechanic's small hand tools. Each mechanic is issued a tool kit and tech supply is responsible for securing the original kit and checking out tools that are not in the kit.
Over 150 Shipping tickets have been used to secure the Sub Depot Organization Equipment, and records show 71 Memorandum Receipts since January. Hand receipts for tools let out for 48 hours average 50 a day which totals 9000 hand receipts in the past six months. This department also handles the heavy sheep-lined clothing for mechanics, so that adverse weather conditions, in this instance, do not stop the Army Air Force. Pfc Zeke Volkman is the adroit handler of this clothing.
All sizes and shapes and different colored markings, Fluid Basins, Testing Stands and equipment is what you run into when you walk into the Hydraulic Shop, managed by small but mighty S/Sgt Wayne Joyce and his erstwhile assistant, Sgt Warren Watts. The hydraulic system in a B-24 is something like the artery, vein and capillary system in the human body in its intricacies and importance. This department is responsible for the 3rd Echelon maintenance of hydraulic systems on the station and in one instance, Sgt Joyce is proud of this accomplishment where over 200 feet of tubing was put in one plane which was hit by an exploding shell.
A scan into the Service Records shows that 42 states represented in the Sub Depot. California leads the states with a representation of 22 men, New York coming in close at 21 and Pennsylvania third with 19 men. The rest of the states are moderate in proportion. The six states not represented are Maine, New Mexico, South Dakota, Delaware, Florida and Nevada.
With 27 major battle damaged and 6 minor battle damaged aircraft coming into the Engineering Department and each department so closely linked together in the mission of repairing the planes, the month of August was an exceptionally busy one. Splendid cooperation and a willingness to help the other department out, which is found among our Sub Depot men, makes for excellent teamwork and assembly line efficiency.
The Sheet Metal, Machine, Welding and Carpenter Shops coordinated their skills on a special job for the signal corps unit working on secret installation of radio-controlled bomb dropping mechanism.
The Parachute Department's packing job has risen on a steep incline and is now averaging 50 parachutes packed a day due to the arrival of several new combat crews. This is in addition to the many routine modifications and repairs made on the parachutes of old combat crews has caused the men to put in a great amount of concentrated effort during regular hours and at night.
The Welding Shop men, with their aprons, work hats, dark goggles, the gas lighter dangling from their belt and leaning over the edge of a table looking intently at the junction of flame and welding rod, look more like a man from Mars than an ordinary GI at work. This department was snowed under an avalanche of steel helmets of new combat crews that needed to be modified before the crew member can wear his ear phones and modifications of pilot and co-pilot seats due to the arrival of new and transferred aircraft on this station.
The Paint and Dope Shop had their hands full this month. The battle-damaged planes sustained a great amount of ruptured control surfaces and with the influx of new and transferred aircraft the 392nd Bomb Group designation had to be painted on the twin outboard rudders of the Liberators. In order to complete these jobs so that the aircraft could once again carry its load of devastation over enemy territory, the men worked many hours overtime.
During the month of August 1944, Sub Depot Supply was kept hopping with routine matters of requisitioning, receiving, stocking and issuing the regular run of supplies. However, one department in particular was kept busier than usual. This department runs Class 06, Fuels and Lubricating supplies; Class 07, Dopes Paints and Related Materials; and Class 24, Chemicals and Acids.
It all goes back to before D-Day, 6 June 1944, when 10,000 gallons of Aircraft engine Oil was shipped to Sub Depot Supply for storage. The oil was shipped in five gallon tin containers which were packed in cardboard boxes. No storage space in any of the warehouses was available, so these 2,000 five gallon containers were neatly stacked on the cement ramp outside of Sgt Eddie Schenck's department building which is located near the Guard House and about a three-minute walk from Sub Depot Supply's main office.
No one knew exactly just what this oil was for except for an "emergency." On D-Day the conclusion was reached that this oil was for D-Day use, in case it was needed. Permission from 2nd Bombardment Division was finally granted to put this oil into the Sub Depot storage tank, located outside of warehouse #2, for current use.
It took Sgt Schenk and his assistant, Cpl John H. Ingram, approximately 18 days to put these containers on a 2½-ton truck, bring them over to the storage tank, tear off the cardboard cover, punch a hole in the corner of the tin container, and pour the oil into the tank. This is a commendable job accomplished considering the physical labor required and that the task was carried on in addition to performing the many duties necessary to just running the department.
As is mentioned in the June installment of this diary, the Sheet Metal Shop worked long, fast and hard a few days and nights before D-Day, making sheet metal covers to put over the hole left by the removal of the belly ball turrets from the planes. The responsibility of crating the turrets for shipment fell to our Sub Depot. The tough problem of securing the lumber held up the packing and crating for some time but this month finds close teamwork between the boys in Sub Depot Supply and the Engineering Carpenter Shop. There are still a few more of these turrets to be packed but there is no particular hurry as the turrets have to be held here until the ship to which the turret is assigned either goes down in action, becomes salvageable or war weary, or is transferred to another station. The packing and crating of the turrets is not an easy job due to their shape and weight. Much credit is due both departments for this splendid and efficient teamwork, the same kind of teamwork that the paper headlines proclaim is being used by the Allied Armies in making a rat race out of the German forces in France.
The manning table for Sub Depots does not make any provisions for personnel to operate the Gas Dumps located on our station but reliable men were selected and put to work. The personnel are under the supervision of Sub Depot Supply.
Petrol installation is the proper Royal Air Force term used to designate the gas dumps, but petrol still remains a vague English word which in Yankee lingo means gasoline and gasoline to the Liberator means that certain vapor that makes the engines go round and round.
No gasoline is manufactured in the British Isles so every drop of this precious stuff is shipped from American and other allied countries or colonies to this country and then transported by rail (incidentally, many of the rail tankers are American-made) to carefully selected and strategically-located petrol storage depots. Great Massingham is the depot that serves this field in addition to many other air stations in Norfolk County.
Present facilities consist of two petrol dumps with a 144,000 Imperial gallon capacity. Dump #1 is composed of six 12,000 Imperial gallon storage tanks. These tanks are underground and the gasoline flows into them by force of gravity. It is then pumped out by electrically-operated machinery. The pump house, located in the center of the dump and over the tanks, is an intricate system of valves, pipes and meters which control the flow of gasoline to and from the tank.
Gas Dump #2 is the main dump with six 12,000 Imperial gallon tanks, installed side-by-side above ground. Brick retaining walls are built in between the tanks and dirt filled in and around and over the tanks and retaining walls. A pump house with the same amount of pipes, vales and meters is located in the center of the installation.
Extraordinary precautions are taken to assure that the gasoline is kept from all foreign matter and that the danger of fire is kept to a minimum. As a petrol lorry pulls up to the installation, it is personally checked by one of the gas dump personnel to see that the lead seals, which are two solid lead washers connected by a wire, are fastened over the intake and outlet openings on the lorry tank. Before the gasoline is hosed from each lorry tank into the storage tanks, samples of the gasoline are poured into a glass jar. This is called the visual-eye test. The color of the gasoline must be green for that is the color of the dye used by the British to designate 100/130 aviation petrol. The hose is then backed up to the tank pipeline and before the gasoline reaches the tank it passes through a fine wire mesh filter to assure that no dirt gets through into the tank.
Once inside the tank, the gasoline is given a daily test for presence of water. This is accomplished by sticking a long square brass pole, called "Dip Stick," down through the six-inch hole at the top of the tank called the air ventilator. This water test is accomplished by smearing the dip Stick with a pink water-testing paste and putting it down into the tank and then pulling it out. The paste on the stick will turn blue if there is any water mixed with the gasoline. This stick is graduated and is also used to take readings on the number of gallons in any one tank. It is made of brass because brass will not create a spark.
When gasoline is drawn from the tank it passes through the outlet pipe which contains another wire mesh filter before going past the pump. Another wire mesh filter is to be found in front of the register meter which registers the total gallonage being poured into the refueling truck for use on the field.
The pumping machinery is electrically operated and requires many fuses. The fuse boxes are reinforced with heavy steel plates so that no sparks can possibly escape. Fire extinguishers and "No Smoking" signs dot the dump area. As final protection, bomb vaults are constructed along the side and center of each dump which can house several bombs. These vaults, in case of threat of dumps falling into enemy hands, would be loaded and when the proper time came, would be detonated by a master switch from the Clerk of the Works' office.
Since D-Day, 6 June 1944, Sgt Harvey Moss and his staff, consisting of Cpl Joshua Chase (who incidentally was three days out to sea during the last war when the Armistice was declared and is the oldest man in the outfit at the ripe old age of 49 years), Cpl Murl Pearson, Pfc Carwin Thomason and Pvt Jack Hinton, have handled 3,249,000 Imperial gallons. In doing this, they have emptied 1,624 British lorries and refueled 1,015 American refueling units which hold 4,000 gallons. This flood of gasoline has enabled 1,533 Liberators to take off and carry their lethal loads to target Germany. No wonder Sgt Moss can be proud of the job he has done.
The gas dump men live in a picket post located close to Dump #2 for they must be available for duty at all times. The men claim, without reservation, that their day is just 48 hours squeezed into 24. Thus in another way the 465th Sub Depot is doing its part in helping to win the war.
Another very important section of our Sub Depot is Personnel Supply. In a regular Nissen hut in the barracks area, likeable and efficient S/Sgt Thomas Atkinson with his staff, Sgt John Haughney (an Irishman from Pennsylvania), Cpl William Orrell (a typical southerner with an unmistakable Tennessee drawl and a knack for figures), Pfc Ellman Hinson (a confirmed cigar maker and responsible for, in addition to his other duties, the maintenance of ordnance weapons with which the organization is armed), and Pfc Frank Maciog (who hails from Derby, Connecticut), handle all the multiple functions of this department.
To the men in the outfit, Personnel Supply is the place where they draw their clothing, turn in their weekly laundry which averages 1,800 pieces per week; dry cleaning which averages 702 pieces per month; get their shoes repaired with 105 pair average per month; get their clothing exchanged for size and when it is salvageable. It is a personal transaction to them and although they realize it, they do not stop to think that the bed they sleep on, the blankets they use, the disinfectant they use in the latrine, the toilet paper, the table in the barracks and all other items like rakes, sickles, mops, brooms, buckets, cleaning material for their weapons, the ammunition, ball gloves, bats, balls for recreation and reading material they use are items for which unit supply is directly responsible.
Table of Equipment No 21 prescribes the individual clothing for each soldier and it covers everything a man wears from shoe laces to the cap on his head, plus his working clothes, his individual equipment such as knife, fork, spoon, canteen, cartridge belt, steel helmet, and his gas mask with all the other items that go along with the mask. Before coming overseas each man was individually checked to ascertain that he had all the clothing and equipment called for. Laundering, salvaging, exchanging and procuring lost or worn-out articles consume a great amount of detailed paperwork and physical labor. Sgt Haughney, Pvt Hinson and Pvt Maciog are mainly responsible for this.
The Table of Basic Allowances governs the organization equipment referred to by unit supply men as "housekeeping equipment." Five branches of supply make up the sources from which this housekeeping equipment comes from. They are as follows: 19 CHEMICAL WARFARE items such as decontaminating apparatus, protective clothing, gas mask, eye shields, protective ointment, etc.; several ENGINEER CORPS items as a generator 3-EVA; 18 MEDICAL CORPS items ranging from surgical instruments to bottled medications, dressings, first aid packets; 18 ORDNANCE items such as Carbines, Thompson sub-machine guns, pistols, ammunition, and motor vehicles from jeeps to 2½-ton 6 x 6 trucks. Bicycles are issued from Ordnance to unit supply and this particular item is a headache to all concerned, yet essential for getting about on this dispersed station and for local pubbing; 48 QUARTERMASTER items ranging from ramrods, office equipment, stationery, to toilet paper (plainly marked "Government Property"); the last item being the handy flashlight which comes from the SIGNAL CORPS.
The Unit Supply Officer is responsible to the Commanding Officer for the requisitioning, issuing, upkeep and maintaining complete records for this property but the actual work falls into the capable hands of Sgt Atkinson. The boys in the Fighting 465th swear by Sgt Atkinson because of his complete impartiality toward rank and his willingness to get everything he can for them. To Cpl Orrell falls the detailed task of keeping the requisitions, Form 32s, in which the men's clothing is recorded, the Company Property Book, Memorandum Receipts, Statement of Charges, Reports of Survey, correspondence and other records in proper order.
Personnel Supply is the Army's way of showing to the folks back at home whose son, husband, or father is taken away from them, that they intend to take care of his personal needs.
In connection with technical training, a study of the Cross-Training report submitted each month to the 3rd Strategic Depot at Watton shows cross-training completed by two men in woodworking, one in Sheet Metal work, two in Machine shop work, one trained in Shipping and Receiving, one in Storekeeping and one man in Gas Dump operation. S/Sgt Frank Dallezotte returned on 30 July 1944 after attending a thorough course in Automatic Pilot work at Warton, England. Sgt Dallezotte said he really learned a lot about automatic pilots. This gives our Sub Depot another highly trailed technician.
There is keen interest in the Soldier Voting program. In compliance with current directives, each man was issued the application for Absentee Voting card on or before 15 August 1944, appropriate posters with latest instructions have been posted in conspicuous places and the Soldier Voting Officers are well-informed on all matters and are available for consultation anytime a man wants detailed information about any particular problem concerning the whole voting procedure.
The last and most thought-provoking happenings this month brings up a word rarely used until the month, the word being "redeployment." A secret letter came in requesting the names of the enlisted men in the outfit that have 15 months overseas service or more. Each man was evaluated according to points governed on how many months served in the United States since September 16, 1940 and the number of months overseas since that date. One point was given for each month served in the states and two points for each month served outside the continental limits. Percentage for the first child under 18 years brought six points, second child and third child under 18 years brought three points each. Eight men in our Sub Depot were considered for this redeployment. They are, 1/Sgt Joseph Gaffey, S/Sgt Thomas Atkinson, S/Sgt John Kobylars, Sgt Herbert Helmus, Sgt James Urton, Cpl William Orrell, Cpl Dallas Ferril and Cpl John Ingram. The names were submitted and another secret letter was received listing Sgt Atkinson, Sgt Kobylars, Sgt Urton and Sgt Helmus to be frozen in that they cannot be promoted or transferred. These men are really sweating it out.
A Table of Distribution, No 1-2865S (8) dated 1 March 1944, Headquarters, Army Air Forces, Washington, D.C., modified by General Orders No 15, Headquarters Eighth Air Force Service Command dated 26 August 1944, was also received at the end of this month which changed the Sub Depot set up. It authorizes six cooks, a mess sergeant and makes a few minor changes in the various shops. In other words, the Table of Distribution sets up a mobile unit and that means a SERVICE SQUADRON.
Secret letters have been coming through distribution requesting reports on the number of overseas boxes on hand, amount of lumber on hand, etc. Another secret letter advised us to prepare for movement on short notice. Lt H.M. McNeill and Sgt Walter Stover have attended a Packing and Crating school and this all-important work will fall to them when the time comes. Whether it be back to the states or to the Pacific Theater, a change will be welcome for as the war news gets better and better, the men are getting restless and want to move somewhere. No matter what you say, there is no place like home.
The first day of this month found the former members of the 745th Service Squadron, which makes up three-fourths of the Sub Depot personnel, reminiscing over the day that marked their arrival here on the station. After an all-day train ride from Glasgow, Scotland, the train pulled into the small Wendling station about 0130 hours and we were promptly corralled into waiting Army trucks and then driven into the dark and rainy night. Half an hour later found the men and barracks bags huddled around a weapons carrier drinking coffee and eating doughnuts and sandwiches. After that the men went to their assigned Nissen huts and no sooner had fallen asleep when the Tannoy system tersely announced "ATTENTION ALL PERSONNEL, AIR RAID WARNING RED." A few minutes later the air raid warning was BLACK. Not until the next morning did they learn that a RED warning meant enemy aircraft five minutes away and BLACK meant enemy aircraft overhead. From the next night on, air raid discipline was excellent. Each man, however, has his own impressions and they are varied as the colors in a Scottish clan's tartan.
Morale of the men went up somewhat as 48-hour passes were resumed this month. It really sky-rocketed when seven-day furloughs were again granted two weeks later. With 48-hour passes, furloughs, the good war news and the appearance of Major Glenn Miller and his 50-piece band which played to a packed hangar with the music sweet and low down, the men entered into the spirit of our unit party on 26 August with such a cheerful spirit that there is no wonder that the party was a huge success. Captain Carter and Captain Couch and their enlisted committee went all out in the way of refreshments and many new and prettier faces were seen. Most of the girls were ATS and WAAF personnel from nearby bases, the remainder being the regular crowd from Kings Lynn and a truck-load of fruit pickers from somewhere outside of Lynn. Beer, women and song was the order of the night and the party was a fitting climax to such an eventful month.
Supply has been pretty active for the past few weeks making some changes in the system. In olden days stock chasers of the bomb squadrons and other organizations served by the Sub Depot were required to go to the warehouse to draw their supplies. The paperwork was all accomplished in local issue, located in the main warehouse #1, the paperwork then being brought to the office for posting, filing, or whatever it needed. Now everyone is required to come to the office, stock record section, to have their paperwork properly processed before taking it to the warehouse for filling. A large counter was built across one end of the stock record section for use by persons wishing to draw or place orders for material. The lighting arrangements had to be altered, new vouchering, credit and debit, systems had to be set up, the method of incoming paperwork, debit vouchers, had to be rearranged to fit the new set up, the pigeon holes, for contact with the bomb squadrons, Utilities, Radar, sub depot workshops, etc. were moved to the office, and the Stock Lists and Tech Orders were also moved to the office so they would be available for use at all times. Up to the present time, the new system has worked perfectly. It is believed that there will be a much closer coordination between the warehouse and the office crews. This is necessary to keep correct balances on his cards, for stock record clerks to learn something about airplane parts other than just on paper, and to have a little closer control on all stock in general.
A change in the department head of the gas installations took place during this month. Sgt Moss was reduced to the seventh grade after having a run-in with the administrative heads of this organization and also for a few inefficiencies noticed during a 2d Division technical inspection. Cpl Chase, who has been working at the installations since activation of this unit, assumed the role of the "whip-cracker." So far, the procedures and policies instituted by Sgt Moss have not changed a great deal.
Materials for packing when the time comes for re-deployment are dribbling in now. There is to be nails (of all sorts and sizes), lumber, waterproof packing paper, banding machines and banding, masking tape and a number of other materials which will be needed to pack for overseas shipment. All these materials are received via the automatic issue method from the 3d Strategic Air Depot. When the time for the use of a shipping number arrives, it will not find this Sub Depot standing short, as machines, materials and supplies which are not now in use are being packed for overseas shipment. Also a few items that are definitely known to be needed in another theater of operations are being collected and prepared for shipment. For instance, it is known through experience that paperwork is essential so a large number of blank forms and office supplies should be available at all times. Therefore, a program is being supervised so that conservation of these supplies will be kept to an absolute maximum.
As things were getting a little dull around supply, someone thought up the marvelous idea of getting a radio with three speakers, one for each of the two warehouses and one for the office. The good-natured Signal Corps loaned supply the radio. The radio was set up in the office and then a discovery was made that only one speaker could be used on this set. Since the radio was already set up in the office, there it remained. All football games, the Hit Parade, most popular music and everything that goes with a good radio set is now enjoyed by the office crew while indulging in work. The ire of the fellows in the warehouse was temporarily aroused but after a few days, harmony prevalent in the Sub Depot was noticed among the supply boys.
With the ever-increasing aerial offensive against Axis targets, the Engineering section has had very little idle time on their hands. Cancellation of passes and furloughs was imminent after the group's planes suffered battle damage on several successive missions, including the low-level supply mission to the airborne army in Holland, but through the maximum effort on the part of all Sub Depot personnel, this drastic step proved unnecessary.
Of interest again this month has been the activities of the Sub Depot hangar. Thirty aircraft have been received for battle damage repair, no small amount when it is remembered that each airplane that is brought into the hangar requires 36 hours or more in which to complete repairs.
However, merely mentioning the number of aircraft received does not give the true picture of the activities of the hangar personnel. Each airplane is an individual problem in itself, requiring extensive inspection on the part of M/Sgt Leo J. Martin and S/Sgt Edgar Eberhart, the Sub Depot inspectors. As each plane is brought into the hangar, it is thoroughly inspected by these two men and every small flak hole is noted and marked for repair. Each individual item for repair is then listed on a work order and these items are checked off as they are completed.
In the event any parts are damaged, these must be removed and new parts must be requisitioned from Sub Depot supply and the new part installed by the maintenance crew.
All of this would appear to be a simple procedure to the layman when in fact some of the apparently easy jobs are back-breaking in nature. Take for instance the replacing of a wing fuel tank. Twenty-three operations must be carried out before the tank can be removed. It involves disconnecting the tank, collapsing the cell and removing it through a hole about the size of an average man's waist. A veritable "tug-of-war" is waged, trying to work the unwieldy cell out of its position. And then the whole process is repeated when the new cell is installed.
Replacement of damaged fuel cells is but one of the smaller, if more troublesome, jobs done by the hangar crew. Occasionally, whole wing panels or tail assemblies are removed and replaced, or, again, a whole nose section may be installed. Each job requires intensive study of the technical orders applicable to the particular job or part.
No small wonder then that the mechanics in the hangar hold their breath and cross their fingers every time the ships return from a mission. They know that if they met concentrated flak over the target they will have a week's work cut out for them.
The boys in the Transportation section of the Sub Depot were always proud of the two-story shack they had built out of scrap lumber. It was a sturdy shack and they used it to keep tools and to lounge around in when they weren't busy.
On 3 September 1944, a typically quiet Sunday afternoon, at approximately 1525 hours, Cpl Schrader, Pfc Finkbeiner, Cpl Rowe, Pfc Luna, all of the Transportation section, and S/Sgt Eberhart, assistant inspector, were sitting in this shack "batting the breeze." Cpl Schrader was occupying the second floor reading, ironically enough, a book entitled "TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE", when whoom came the sound of a low-flying A-20 and before the boys knew what had happened they found themselves under a pile of lumber. The A-20 had hit their shack head-on. S/Sgt Eberhart, Pvt Finkbeiner, Cpl Schrader, and Cpl Rowe crawled out from under the rubble of boards, tools, etc. and counted themselves lucky that they weren't hurt. Cpl Rowe manned his crash crew truck and helped move the parts of the plane that almost took his life. Pvt Luna was the only one who did not come out of the shack, and the boys dug him out. His head was bleeding furiously so he was taken to Station Sick Quarters where a long gash in his skull was given prompt medical attention.
The gremlin of good luck must have been hanging around for the wing of the plane cut right in the middle of the shack and a few more inches up or down would have meant instant death to either Cpl Schrader on the upper story or the rest of the men on the ground floor.
Like a fire stirs up a peaceful town, so did this occurrence stir up considerable conversation, with all types of stories and rumors, on an otherwise sleepy Sunday afternoon.
The A-20 was loaded with 500 pound bombs and they were scattered all over the field in back of the shack and hangar #1. The plane was manned by RAF personnel.
Since the original shack was eliminated, S/Sgt Butterbaugh and his versatile crew settled down to the arduous task of constructing a new structure and, at present, a bigger and better shack stands in the place where "death had taken a holiday."
Reclamation and Salvage section once more came into the limelight when a B-24 aircraft returning from the low level supply mission to Holland [on 18 September 1944] was forced to crash-land on this station. This section immediately set about the replenishment of their formerly-deleted AOG stocks. The crash crew removed the ship from the field and placed it alongside the hangar thereby giving Reclamation and Salvage a more convenient place to strip down the bomber for all useful stocks.
Activity in and about the Instrument Shop is at a new high, since this section has taken over the checking of electronic supercharger units, in addition to all of their former duties. The instrument trailer is literally a "bee-hive" and all the fellows are kept very busy.
The Carpenter shop's efficiency remains very high. In addition to performing almost all of the station carpentry, Sgt Janezcek and his "Joes" are now involved in the process of crating the machinery not in use at the present time and also in the construction of a standard packing crate to expedite the packing of this organization when shipment becomes an actuality.
The Engineering office and the hallway in this building have recently been renovated by the talented paint shop. The office has been painted a light blue and white whereas the hall, with light blue paint at a premium, had to be completed with light green and white. Receipt of several new aircraft this month necessitated several evenings of extra work by this department so that these planes were available at the required time.
The Engineering section turned in their usual commendable job in completing 750 work orders, 22 major and two minor repair jobs on aircraft and modification of three aircraft.
The monthly technical inspection of the Engineering section caused many complimentary remarks inasmuch as it is one of the best technical inspections that this organization has ever had.
On the second of this month, the Eighth Air Force Victory Squadron War Bond Drive ended. The drive started officially on the 29th of July 1944 but the promoting material did not arrive until one day after pay day. A squadron meeting was called immediately and the first three prizes were announced. They were: First prize, five minute telephone call to any person in the United States; Second prize, appearance on the Eagle Radio Program so you could say "Hello" to the folks; Third prize, dinner-theater party as guest of Bebe Daniels in London. Three supplemental squadron prizes were then announced. First prize, three-day pass; second, a quart of scotch whiskey, plus one day off to consume same so as to recover from the effects; third, a two-day pass. The squadron prizes sounded appetizing so in the next few days the orderly room staff was extremely busy making out Victory Squadron Membership cards, value tickets for the draw and getting the forms 38 and 1044 and money to balance.
Interest was further aroused by the initiation of a War Bond Thermometer which showed the daily sales and a chart posted on the bulletin board which showed the percentages of personnel in each department who had purchased bonds. Sales up to near the end of August showed total sales of $6,940.00 out of our $8,000.00 quota.
The wind was taken out of the sales talks as 48-hour passes and seven-day furloughs were announced. Our hopes of reaching the quota looked rather dim as every argument advanced as to why it was advantageous to purchase bonds was answered by the remarks that the money could be saved for the furlough or pass.
Pay day found the sales rising to around $7,500, and in the last two days of the allotted time, the orderly room boys came through with the skin of their teeth to a total sales by cash, sign-up sheets and new or increased allotments of $8,060.00. Whew!
3 September 1944 found an informal squadron gathering in front of Sub Depot supply warehouse #1, and Cpl Aubrey Burke won the first prize and his ticket was submitted to Watton to compete with the Division draw. M/Sgt John Murray won the scotch and Sgt Custer Vincent won the third squadron prize.
The final sales report was submitted and the BOOK, an expensive sheet of paper on which every bond purchaser placed his signature, was wrapped and sent to Watton, from there it would go through many hands to its final resting place in the Archives Building in Washington, D.C.
In computing the standing of the units assigned to the 392nd Bombardment Group, AAF Station 118, the quotas were computed on the ability to buy bonds in amount of actual cash received on the pay roll for each unit. Our Sub Depot quota was placed at $5,261.23. Our final standing as announced in the Daily Bulletin was twelfth out of fourteen units assigned or attached to the group and our percentage was 153%.
Final results of the Victory Squadron War Bond drive, as reported in the Daily Bulletin, were:
|2101ST Fire Fighting Plt.*||$ 305.26||$ 1,360.00||446|
|577th Bomb Squadron**||$17,354.86||$47,500.00||274|
|806th Chemical Co.||$843.95||$2,100.00||249|
|576th Bomb Squadron||$17,884.57||$38,150.00||213|
|10th Station Complement||$4,275.62||$8,650.00||202|
|586th Army Postal Unit||$206.50||$395.00||191|
|465th Sub Depot||$5,261.23||$8,060.00||153|
|578th Bomb Squadron||$18,118.01||$25,090.00||138|
|579th Bomb Squadron||$19,734.08||$23,905.00||121|
*Winning Unit on the Station
**Winning Tactical Unit on the Station]
Maximum effort was still the watchword for the entire organization inasmuch as work concerning repair of battle-damaged aircraft, salvage and modification was a bit above average for an ordinary month.
The engineering section carried the brunt of the work and one of their finest accomplishments resulted in the modification of an ordinary B24 aircraft turning same out as a PFF ship. This particular task involved many man hours but the men working on this job were proud to see their efforts result in a necessary item for the bombing going on through varying degrees of cloud.
S/Sgt Frank Allen, who is in charge of crewing the P-47D and C-64A, was a victim of a very unfortunate circumstance the latter part of this month. On the night of the 26th at approximately 2130 hours an explosive missile of some sort fell, presumably from a passing night fighter, hitting the left wing leading edge on the C-64 parked at the west end of hangar #1. The explosive damaged the wing extensively requiring the entire wing to be changed, but fortunately the missile did not hit the gas tank or more serious damage would have been the result.
Old man winter was definitely sneaking in on the ETO and since the boys of this unit have never quite been able to perform the arduous task of producing heat from an English stove, they have called on T/Sgt Lyon and his welding shop to construct potential furnaces for various shops, offices and billets. One of these heating units is located in Colonel Wall's, Sub Depot commander, office and he is proud of the accomplishments of the welding shop. Incidentally, the colonel is from South Carolina so the heating units had to be nothing but good.
After numerous difficulties appearing in the engine build-up section at Hangar #2, Lt McNeill, Assistant Sub Depot Supply Officer, was designated as Engineering Officer to supervise the work at Hangar #2. Lt McNeill has already done a commendable job at this new duty and is now receiving cooperation from all units on the station.
Due to the shortage of clerks, the engineering charge of quarters was discontinued and Pfc Roe, permanent charge of quarters, was dispatched as a clerk in the hangar #2 office.
During the month the Sheet Metal department performed an all-time record job at this Sub Depot by patching up 392 holes on aircraft #040 [42-95040, Silver Streak]. The holes were caused by flak and were scattered over the entire aircraft.
Capt Barnhill's technical inspection was complimentary to the entire engineering section.
The total number of work orders handled by the various departments during the month amounted to 1,200. There were 31 planes handled this month; 24 for major repairs, 3 minor repair and 4 modifications.
The boast of the engineering officer, supported by the men under his command, is that when better repair jobs are turned out, the 465th Sub Depot engineering section is just the outfit that will do them.
During the month a call was submitted to the organization for some crack carbine rifle marksmen. Same resulted in sharp competition and after some difficult elimination shooting the following men were selected, by virtue of highest scores, to represent this unit in the station elimination match: M/Sgt Thomas Harper, S/Sgt Edgar Anderson, S/Sgt Lee Nelson, S/Sgt LeRoy Bronson, Sgt James Wilson, Cpl John Johnson and Cpl Martin Groth. They started off like an oil-well fire but in the semi-finals their trigger fingers stiffened and they were eliminated from the match. The purpose of these rifle matches was to determine which unit had the best rifle team in the Eighth Air Force.
The nemesis of Friday the 13th held true as far as this unit is concerned. Approximately 2130 hours a loud roar was audible from the barracks all over the station. At first general opinion concluded that it was an aircraft coming in for a crash landing. However, when the missile was overhead, people who had experienced buzz bombs in London informed station habitants that same was a buzz bomb. For the majority this was the first encounter with Adolf's V1. Of all men on the station each man was ready to sweat that the bomb flew directly over his head. First one to land fell at Little Fransham near the outer perimeter lights. Only casualties of this particular bomb were one field mouse and one rabbit. Rumors flew around fast and heavy as to the exact number of missiles that passed over this section of the country, varying from three to five. However, after conversing with Civil Defense officials on the following day, they revealed that there were three, one falling at Little Fransham, one near Watton and the last near March, constituting all of the buzz bomb activity in this vicinity for the night of the 13th. Through this minor encounter, the people of London gained the respect of all Joes in this outfit. Since then no buzz bombs have come over this area but the men still perk their ears at all sounds which they are not familiar with.
Administrative sections of this organization have caught hell during this month. Inspections were a predominate feature of this hell. Traditional good showing was displayed by this portion of the Sub Depot.
The major inspection was conducted by Major Morrill, 3rd Strategic Air Depot, who looked over the service records, morning reports, classification cards, etc. and found same to be in a very satisfactory condition. He also complimented Sub Depot headquarters for their promptness and efficiency in submitting required reports.
Major Daughtrey, station inspector, examined the records of this unit during the month and, as Major Morrill, was quite satisfied with the appearance of all records maintained by headquarters.
Captain Lartner, 3rd Strategic Air Depot Training Officer, called on this unit to glance over training form TR-3, which shows the amount of cross-training in our various shops and he was highly pleased with the amount of training this unit has accomplished and the manner in which records related to this training were kept.
When considering November as a thirty-day month and on the other hand surveying the results, it will be found that the productive powers of the Sub Depot maintained their maximum peak.
The engineering section, as usual, carried the brunt of the work. Nineteen planes were handled by this department, of which ten were battle damage, six were general maintenance and three were modification. In addition to this, 900 individual work orders were handled by the various shops.
To present a verbal picture of what goes on in the Sub Depot to the Station Commander, a new report was instituted by the engineering section. This report lists each department and the work performed during the month.
During this month, the parachute department repacked, modified and cleaned 1,050 parachutes; repaired nine tarpaulins; repaired three Jeep tops; manufactured one hundred safety flags; modified ten one-man life rafts; and performed 75 miscellaneous sewing jobs.
The sheet metal shop repaired ten battle damaged aircraft; repaired one aircraft nose section; modified three sets of waist windows; modified one navigator's table; modified one automatic Pilot; manufactured 120 wind deflectors for tail turrets; manufactured six instrument panels; repaired seventeen control surfaces and bomb bay doors; manufactured forty inspection panels; modified eleven rudder assemblies; manufactured thirty brackets; modified exhaust tail pipe on C-64 aircraft; manufactured steam table for the Combat Officers Mess; and performed 62 miscellaneous jobs.
The machine shop modified 164 waste gate arms; removed three studs from ships on the line; modified 18 bomb hoists; and worked on 136 miscellaneous jobs.
The welding shop modified one engine hoist; manufactured four wheel yokes; rebuilt salt spreader; installed a steam table; modified three C-3 hoists; rebuilt seven crew chief stands; modified 188 waist gate arms; modified 36 waist guns; and welded 117 miscellaneous jobs.
The propeller shop repaired 14 propeller assemblies; salvaged two propellers; removed eight propeller assemblies; installed four propeller assemblies; and repaired 91 propeller governors.
The carpenter shop repaired a C-64 aircraft wing; manufactured 114 signs; manufactured 19 cabinets; manufactured five desks; repaired 21 chairs; manufactured ten engine stands; repaired four bulkhead doors; manufactured 63 forms and holders; enclosed three trucks; and performed 163 miscellaneous jobs.
The paint and dope shop painted call letters, group insignia, etc. on 15 aircraft; repaired 13 rudders; repaired 13 ailerons; repaired five elevators; repaired C-64 aircraft wing; painted 250 signs; painted and lettered eight status boards; painted and lettered five units (Cletracs, refueling trucks, etc.) and numbered 285 bicycles.
The instrument shop checked and repaired 219 various instruments; checked and repaired 170 supercharger units; checked and repaired 18 Flux Gate compass units; manufactured six propeller governor resistors; modified 15 navigator instruments; and modified 14 pilot and co-pilot instrument panels.
The fabric shop repaired 31 jackets; replaced zippers on 20 jackets; manufactured 18 pitot covers; replaced cuffs on 19 jackets; modified 243 face hoods; repaired ten flying coveralls; sewed 31 miscellaneous jobs; and manufactured 15 safety flags.
The hydraulic shop repaired 7 brake assemblies; repaired 14 pump assemblies; repaired 4 hydraulic pressure switches; checked and repaired 46 fuel pumps; checked and repaired 10 fuel booster pumps; checked and repaired 5 fuel transfer pumps; repaired nose gear cylinder; repaired unloading valve; repaired 3 engine-driven hydraulic pumps; repaired 1 bomb door cylinder; repaired 2 brake valves; repaired 1 fuel strainer; repaired one 6" accumulator; repaired 2 valves (check); repaired 2 relief valves; repaired tubing in 3 ships; manufactured 12 heater line plugs; reset 5 relief valves; refilled and repaired 22 wing jacks; and manufactured 272 pieces of tubing.
The cable shop swaged three cables on three line jobs; manufactured 48 cables (bomb hoist, gun charging, etc.) and manufactured and installed life raft release.
The electric and battery shop performed 41 wiring jobs on aircraft; checked and repaired 62 starters; checked and repaired 53 generators; checked and repaired 28 generator voltage regulators; checked and repaired 25 inverters; checked and repaired 62 aircraft batteries (recharged); and performed 129 miscellaneous jobs.
The power plant repaired 31 power plants; repaired five air drills and rivet guns; repaired three pumps and gas tanks; repaired two heaters; and made required inspections of all Sub Depot power units.
The Reclamation and Salvage section salvaged three B-24 aircraft; handled 32 fuel cells; handled 29 control surfaces and wing panels; made 16 assorted tools serviceable; and hand-checked 7600 spark plugs. Items turned in totaled 1,160; 99 to electric shop; 169 to instrument shop; 16 to hydraulic shop; 27 to propeller shop; 16 to sheet metal shop; and 833 to Sub Depot supply.
The bombsight maintenance section, consisting of three men from the Sub Depot and one from the group, repaired 40 aileron amplifiers, A-5; one amplifier rack, A-5; 18 bombsights, M-9; two bombsights, S1-M2; two control panels, A-5; 13 directional gyros, A-5; 36 elevator amplifiers, A-5; 20 erection amplifiers, A-5; two flight gyros, C-1; 34 follow-up amplifiers, A-5; 17 intervalometers; one pilot control box, C-1; 36 rudder amplifiers, A-5; one servos, A-5; three servos, C-1; 11 stabilizers, M-9; five turn controls, A-5; ten vertical gyros, A-5; 18 amplifiers, C-1; and 14 stabilizer mounts, B-7.
The turret shop, consisting of five Sub Depot men and two group men, installed nine K-13 gunsights; repaired five turrets in gunnery building; repaired four turrets in hangar; salvaged all turrets and armament equipment on ship #560 [42-7560, Blanid's Baby]; performed 12 miscellaneous Plexiglas jobs; and worked on bomb rack mock-up.
Personnel at Hangar #1 removed and replaced 17 main fuel cells; removed and replaced six auxiliary fuel cells; removed and replaced 15 control cables; removed and replaced seven leading edges; removed and replaced four ailerons; removed and replaced one wing panel; removed and replaced four flaps; removed and replaced one vertical stabilizer; removed and replaced four main gears and pivot housings; removed and replaced one nose gear; removed and replaced six bomb bay doors; completed three retraction tests; accomplished approximately 60 miscellaneous jobs; and supplied hangar #2 with six additional men for approximately ten days.
Personnel in hangar #2, consisting of ten Sub Depot engineering men, two Sub Depot supply men and 16 aircraft mechanics from the group, built up 37 engines and prepared for storage and shipped 41 engines.
The transportation section made seven trips with salvaged aircraft parts; made nine trips to Station 505 for engines, etc., swung 11 new engines for installation; changed 18 tires; pulled out two aircraft; and unloaded a concrete mixer and transformer for the Air Ministry. The 40-foot trailer and two men spent a week hauling for Station 505.
The Station Technical Inspector inspected the engineering section and found everything very satisfactory, several shops receiving excellent ratings. The 2d Division Technical Inspector paid this unit a compliment on his technical inspection. [He noted, "This Sub Depot engineering section is an outstanding one in this Division." signed Major Wilbur J. Simons, Technical Inspector]
The various departments of the supply section were kept rather well-occupied during this month. The progress of this section is apparent by the varied improvements noticeable from time to time.
A supply division was started at hangar #2 consisting of S/Sgts Dingwall and Zalinger under the supervision of Sgt Arledge. Preparatory action prior to the commencing of functions of this section included the construction of counters and bins, the work being done by personnel from supply. This department is conveniently located for the various squadrons needing parts when engines are being changed. The issues of this department are for A.O.G.'s and I.O.R's only and the supply consists of mainly engine parts. All these items are entered on bin cards thereby giving the department a further check on the availability of requested items.
The petrol installations settled down to a routine month. However, with new problems coming up, it was necessary to add an additional man to the crew, making six men working the two installations. These installations are inspected weekly by the Sub Depot Supply Officer and a report is made to the Sub Depot Commander and the RAF Liaison Officer on the condition of the installations. In addition, a monthly technical inspection is made by the Station Technical Inspector. His report this month found the installation in excellent condition.
The shipping and receiving section has been crating gun sights in individual wooden containers. This department is also holding a number of surplus items, bulk being modification kits, awaiting shipping instructions from 3rd SAD. Improvisation is coming into its own in this department in the form of setting up a power saw for the purpose of mass-producing overseas packing crates.
Warehouse #2 has maintained 24-hour operations throughout the entire month. This particular section is now faced with a problem of keeping rust from aircraft parts due to the damp weather prevalent throughout this island. Heavy rains caused a re-arrangement of the Kelly pack-up boxes. All of these crates have now been covered with large tarpaulins.
The Sub Depot supply offices started a new project this month in the form of a statistical section. However, morale of the office has not been up to the usual "snuff" since the warehouse drubbed them in a football game by the score of 24 to 6, and for 36 gallons of beer too.
The administrative sections of the organization weren't beating the middle of their sacks down on enemy time this month. Around the first of the month, all overshoes in the possession of the men had to be picked up and turned in to Station Quartermaster to be sent to our brothers in arms on the continent. However, you can still get an argument as to who needs them most when considering the English weather.
Approximately the 15th of the month another appeal was submitted for the turning in of 90% of the field equipment consisting of shelter halves, ropes, poles, pins, canteens, canteen covers, meat can and lid. Inasmuch as the fellows had no use for this equipment, they were rather glad to get it out of their possession. Now the majority of the men keep hoping that "Ike" needs some small arms.
Since the CBI theater failed to requisition the services of this outfit, the boys have carried out a campaign whereby living can be more bearable throughout the winter. Looking at the same four walls in a barrack got rather tiresome so the men took it on themselves to paint the nissen huts. Choice of color was to be the discretion of the men and, although there is a great improvement of the huts in appearance, it is doubtful that any two huts were painted along the same lines. T/Sgt Zemma and his boys set the pace on the painting and as work progressed, each hut tried to outdo the other.
With painting at its peak, the latrines came in for a bit of rejuvenation. This painting eliminated the artistic figures draped on the walls. The elsen cans in the latrines were also cleaned, repaired and painted. The urine cans proved to be inefficient for their purpose, so construction of larger ones was under way. Fifty-gallon oil drums, modified with a hole cut out and handles welded to the side, served the urine can purpose adequately. "Used Beer" was painted on each drum inasmuch as the contents of the can amount to just that.
By courtesy of the procuring ability of the Adjutant, each barracks was presented with a framed picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. Demoralizing aspect of these pictures was the painting on the frame, "Golden Gate in '48." If Mayor LaGuardia is cooperative, each barracks, in due time, will have a picture of our symbol of democracy, the Statue of Liberty.
November 18th found this organization in another social whirl. This could be directly attributed to the organizational dance on that date. Committees did themselves proud in furnishing some delightful feminine pulchritude in sufficient numbers and also in the matter of refreshments. To date, no registration has been made of any complaints about failure to have a swell time.
The personnel supply room was also repainted at the same time the other huts were. Major Daughtrey inspected the administrative portion of the supply room, finding no discrepancies and a rating of very satisfactory being given for the inspection.
The Soldiers Voting campaign came to an abrupt ending when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was re-elected for another "hitch" as our Commander-in-Chief. Excessive posters, cards, Federal ballots, etc. were destroyed in accordance with current directives. Political discussion was at a new low and news of the outcome aroused only a few people. Believe the majority had a hunch on the winner.
By proclamation of the President of the United States, November 23rd was set aside as Thanksgiving Day. Captain Coppola and his personnel maintained maximum effort to give the boys as fine a dinner as was possible under existing circumstances. The mess hall was decorated, chairs were substituted for benches, table cloths and candles covered the tables and soft lights added to the aristocratic appearance. Even the most vociferous appetites were amply satisfied. The menu was nothing but superb. In the evening the first attack of a mighty engagement started and G.I. toilet paper was on the losing end. Seems that the turkey featured in the meals had become slightly unfit somewhere along the line, thereby causing mass diarrhea. When the G.I. trots came to a conclusion, many interesting and amusing stories about individuals were related among the men.
Captain Riha pulled a dental inspection of all our personnel on Sunday, 19th November, and after each man was inspected the following percentages were compiled: 76%, Class IV; 15%, Class II, 3½ %, Class ID, and 5½%, Class I. At the closing of the month, Captain Riha informed this office that Class I and ID were all taken care of and Class II men were entered on the appointment sheet. According to Doc Riha, the 465th was right up on top as far as dental conditions in comparison to other units on the station.
A call from the hospital for type "O" blood for use on the continent was well-received by the personnel of this organization and quite a few men with this particular type of blood donated a pint to this cause. [In the Appendix was a letter from Major Robert M. Holland to the CO of the 465th which named the 47 members of the 465th who donated blood and said, "Since the men receiving the blood and the doctors using it cannot thank each of the donors, I wish you would extend their thanks to these men."
Station Ordnance called for an inspection of all the small arms of this unit this month. After a thorough inspection of the weapons, the inspecting men found only two carbines in the organization which did not meet the requirements of the ordnance section. One carbine was dirty while the other had a speck of rust on the rear sight. This was one of the best gun inspections this organization has had and rated tops as far as other units are concerned.
Hopeful as many were in the 465th Sub Depot to be home by Christmas of 1944, December proved to be a more or less routine ETOusian month as far as the majority of the personnel were concerned. Even though morale during the holiday month was not exactly at a maximum, the usual high caliber of repair and maintenance ruled throughout.
For a second month running, the engineering section submitted to the Sub Depot Commander a listed accounting of all the man-hours expended by each department. The figures amounted to approximately the same as for the month of November which were enumerated in the November 1944 issue of the 465th diary.
Engineering handled a total number of 23 aircraft; seven of which were battle damage; five for general maintenance; and 11 for modification.
Although modification doesn't sound like very much work, many man hours were put in altering the waist windows in accordance with the latest directives. Another job included in this particular category is modification of the main landing gear pivot housing. Bomb bay control modifications were also accomplished on four aircraft. This type of work, even if it seems trivial without further investigation, is one of the necessary tasks to insure the maximum performance ability of the Liberators on this station.
Seven hundred and sixty five (765) individual work orders were handled by the various shops in the engineering section, this being in addition to the work performed on aircraft turned over to the Sub Depot and repaired in the hangar.
Not to be outdone by the engineering section, Sub Depot supply instituted their statistical report this month. This report included all of the tasks, which are quite numerous, performed by the supply personnel in their routine duties.
Services such as the petrol installations, reclamation and salvage and breathing oxygen are taken for granted by the majority of the personnel on the station, but to supply these prove to be one of their biggest headaches. Reclamation and Salvage personnel are constantly kept busy tagging items turned in by the bomb squadrons on this station. The petrol installation personnel and breathing oxygen personnel have to maintain an operational level of their particular items on hand, knowing that if they fail, the efficiency of the group would not be up to the expectations of higher headquarters.
To offset the demoralizing aspects referred to in the opening paragraph, social activity was stepped up considerably. Commencing the hob-nobbing was the celebration by the enlisted personnel on the station of the 200 missions completed on 11 November 1944. This affair took place on the 2nd of December. At noon enlisted men were relieved from K.P., guard duty and charge of quarters. There were dances at the Enlisted Men's club and the Red Cross club, with a sufficient amount of beer and the appearance of many girls on the station to add charm or excitement to many a G.I. From the indications the next day, it was far from over on the scheduled time. Six days later, the officers knocked off for a day and held their celebration of the 200 mission fete. Comments on both of these gatherings showed that a successful day was spent on each occasion.
On the 10th of December official notification was received from Headquarters Eighth Air Force that the Sub Depot had been re-assigned to the Second Bombardment Division, this bringing us back to the status of December 1943, before we were transferred to Air Service Command. This change will not affect our present operating procedure, but will serve to give added cooperation between the Sub Depot and the bombardment group.
Routine duties occupied the administrative section during the first part of the month. S/Sgt Lux, a skilled sheet metal worker, was transferred from the bomb group and put to work in the Sheet Metal Shop. This shop welcomed the services of S/Sgt Lux as sheet metal work is one of the most important items in the engineering section and additional skilled workers are always welcome.
Christmas dinner at Mess Hall #2 proved to be excellent and up to the standard set at Thanksgiving and last year's Christmas dinner. The mess hall was attractively decorated and lighted with individual tables for eight men each. Turkey with all the fixings was provided on Christmas and it is certain that no one left the table hungry. Better turkey was provided on this occasion than was on Thanksgiving and diarrhea results were nil.
Quite an unexpected treat was provided on Christmas night by the first two grades of the engineering section and the First Sergeants. These men donated two barrels of beer for all men of the engineering and headquarters sections and at 1630 hours everyone gathered in the Sheet Metal shop to celebrate Christmas Day, the second Christmas overseas for most of the men and with a few unfortunates putting in their third. Carol singing was led by LtCol Wall. After the two barrels of beer were consumed, the men drifted off to bed after spending a very enjoyable Christmas.
One of our men, Pfc Neil W. Finkbeiner, received considerable publicity in the English papers, being the first American soldier to have his daughter baptized by an American chaplain. His daughter, born on 21 October 1944, was baptized by Chaplain Clark on the station on 3 December 1944.
Brief reference was made to the possibility of receiving pictures of the Statue of Liberty as a morale aid for each of the Nissen huts in the November 1944 diary. Personal attention of Mayor LaGuardia of New York City made this unit fortunate enough to receive these fine pictures the latter part of this month.
The Charge of Quarters picket post was given a new paint job of white and blue. A bookcase was procured and books and magazines supplied for reading pleasure. 1/Sgt Gaffey called the Staff Sergeants together and put the proposal of "chipping in" five shillings, one dollar in American currency, to purchase a radio for the use of the C.Q. This met with the whole-hearted approval of everyone concerned. From a bare four-walled room with only a desk, alarm clock, chair and stove, the rough task and heavy responsibility of putting C.Q. is now much more pleasant with the new cheerful paint job, reading material, an easy chair, a hot fire and a radio to keep him company during the long, silent hours of the night.
Teletype from General Kepner dated 7 November 1944:
Be it resolved, that in the good year of our Lord nineteen hundred and forty-five, the 465th Sub Depot will do its utmost to obtain the usual high maintenance record so far so closely associated with it and aid in bringing this theater of war to a conclusion at the earliest possible moment. Further, we resolve that it is our best intention to make the famous slogan of "Golden Gate in '48" strictly a farce.
The engineering section, as usual, was the Sub Depot "work-horse." Pages of elaboration could be included here and now, but the most concise manner of showing the duties of this section is through their monthly report to the Sub Depot Commander.
It is a known fact that a strange rivalry exists between the B-17 Joes and the Liberator backers. Approximately the 23rd of this month, we witnessed a sudden flare-up of this "rub" when a B-17 returning from a mission was forced to make a landing at this station. The plane did its best to eliminate the headquarters building with all "big wheels" therein but it hit and damaged the old S-2 briefing room and completely demolished a mobile link trainer which was parked there. However, being a bunch of good-natured individuals, we simply passed this off to Reclamation and Salvage as another job. As is customary, whenever we do get an operation of this type, the first man arriving finds the airplane clock among the missing, this case being no exception. This often causes the imagination to wander, thinking that when a pilot sees he is going down he grabs a six pence from his pocket and immediately proceeds to remove the two small screws holding this instrument on the panel. The Sub Depot's fame for removing damaged aircraft was fully established on this base by the efficient removal of the "remains" in three days.
The infantry call from the Sub Depot took two engineering department men. These men will be missed, but as they were working on Detached Service to other units on the base, the operating efficiency of the engineering department will not be affected.
The severe cold weather brought a flood of mechanics and A-2 jackets in for zippers, cuffs, or other repairs, some 200 being handled by the Fabric Sewing department, making this department the busiest single department for the month.
The Instrument Shop which earlier in the history of the Sub Depot had to look for work, now has as much as can be handled due to the many modifications to be done on each aircraft.
During the month of January 1945, the Sub Depot supply department performed the major task of requisitioning all O.E.L. shortages for the bombardment squadrons on this station. This required several days and nights of inventory, checking the amount of items authorized by the new O.E.L. against the former O.E.L. and further checking the number of authorized items on hand and shortages that had to be requisitioned.
A slight campaign of re-organization was held throughout this section to elevate the shortages caused by the local draft to the infantry. M/Sgt Jordan and Sgt VanHuss were transferred from the Stock Record Section to the Shipping and Receiving Department. Cpls Landes and Chivington replaced the shortages at the Sub Depot gasoline installations, thereby causing a shortage of two more men in the Stock Record section.
One result of the reassignment of the Sub Depot from Air Service Command to Second Air Division, which was reported in the Diary for December, was the transfer of our payroll activities, service records, and allied papers to Station Headquarters. Sgt Wilbur Kratt, who has handled these activities since May 1944, was also assigned to Station Headquarters to supervise these records.
Prior to the removal of the records to Station Headquarters, an administrative inspection of the Sub Depot was made by Major Daughtrey, the Station Administrative Inspector. This inspection covered such items as the morning reports, sick book, files, company punishment records, service records and forms #20, military courtesy and discipline appearance of the orderly room and squadron areas and all other miscellaneous items. On each one of the items inspected, the Sub Depot was given a rating of "EXCELLENT."
Since D-Day, our men have watched closely the fighting on the continent. We have all appreciated the hard fighting being done by our infantry men and the appalling conditions under which they live and fight. At the end of this month this fact was brought home to the men of the Sub Depot when nine men were picked for transfer to the Infantry Reinforcement Training program. The Sub Depot Commander, after conference with his department heads, detailed the following men for transfer: Pfc Neil W. Finkbeiner; Pfc Ellman Hinson; Pfc James R. Trowbridge; Pfc Alexander V. Roe; Pfc Walter Maslowski; Pfc Coolidge Brooks; Pfc Melvin R. Spader; Pvt Angelo Gianfarcaro and Pvt Douglas Wainwright.
The men were ordered to be ready to leave the station at 0600 hours on 26 January which gave them only two days in which to ready themselves. Clothing was checked and shortages requisitioned, the men were given a thorough physical examination, records were checked and made ready for shipment and the men were given a partial payment. All this activity kept the Administrative Section busy all day long for two days.
On the morning of the 26th, the men were assembled at Mess #1 and given a hearty breakfast of fresh eggs and bacon, after which roll was called and the men entrucked for their destination. All the men of the Sub Depot wish these men the best of luck in their new venture.
The Sub Depot, as a result of the transfer of these men, is now 22 men short of its authorized allowance. This can only mean that more work will have to be done by each member of the Sub Depot and the effort of the Sub Depot will have to be increased even further to meet the requirements demanded of it by the operations of the 392nd Bombardment Group.
Since these boys have departed, other individuals have started crying the "infantry blues." On 30 January approximately 43 men, in so-called "non-key" positions were called for a physical examination. A small minority of this figure failed to meet the required physical examination in view of their eyesight. In addition to this inspection, a letter dated 31 January required all men in "key" positions, who are initially ineligible for transfer to the infantry, to report to station sick quarters to have their anatomy scrutinized. Only qualification a man had to possess to get in on this exam was to be under the age of 31. Who said it isn't rough in the ETO!
The month of January gifted Colonel Wall, the Sub Depot Commander, with another claim to fame. Since he is an enthusiastic participant in the English hunting program (the "Old Man" is still knocking down more than his share of this Etousian wild life), Colonel Johnson appointed him to the position of Station Game Warden. One item of this task has given Colonel Wall somewhat of a personal satisfaction and that was his ability to prove a discrepancy in the rules and regulations issued by the Eighth Air Force in regard to the "gun" and "game" license procedure in this country.
Weather man was re-classified for a short time to a status of a bad humor man when he foresaw all the snow that was to fall on us during this month. Old-timers of the outfit swear that this was and is the coldest winter in three in ETO and there certainly isn't even one argument against the fact that snow was plentiful in January. With so much snow, predomination of snow fighting could easily be predicted. The battle deserving most mention was when the Adjutant, 1/Lt Griffith, was riding down the road on his bicycle. Conniving between the Welding and Machine shops brought down a shower of snowballs on the man on the wheel. WHAT A BROADSIDE!!!!!
Personnel supply men were rather a relieving bunch of individuals when during the month they called in all small arms for storage in the supply room. Didn't make anyone mad except the boys in supply, who now have taken over the responsibility of maintaining these weapons in the best of shape. No one regretted turning in their entrenching knife, M-3, at this time either. This move brought the personnel down to an absolute minimum as far as field equipment was concerned.
On 28 January this station celebrated the third anniversary of the Eighth Air Force in true fashion. Seven of our men were called upon to participate in the guard of honor for this occasion. At approximately 1057 hours the bugle sounded "Taps," which was followed by three minutes of silence from 1058 to 1100 hours. After this, a recording of the National Anthem
was played followed by a rendition of the Army Air Corps song. The three-minute silence was a tribute of great meaning for the fellow men we have lost in aerial combat although it seemed such a small token. In conjunction with this celebration, an anniversary message from General Doolittle was distributed to all the personnel of this organization.
The American "doughs" on the continent maintained their standard brand of "guts" but were running a bit short on blood. A campaign was inaugurated on this station and this unit contributed a total of 37 pints. With the medics giving out with a double (and sometimes two) of American whiskey, it is rather amazing that some of the boys didn't institute a shuttle service to the hospital. Major remark during the blood donation period was "I'll trade 'em, pint for pint." Who wouldn't?
On 6 February 1945 the Sub Depot welcomed its first replacement from the ranks of the foot sloggers in France. Pfc John D. Moore, a limited service man was assigned to the Sub Depot and put to work helping to maintain Special Purpose Vehicles, a job for which he is qualified by reason of civilian experience. Pfc Moore was formerly a mortar man with Lt General Patton's Third Army in the Saar Basin before he was reclassified as limited service and sent here for reassignment. Pfc Moore finds a very enthusiastic audience among the boys when he recounts his experience as a mortar man. After listening to Pfc Moore for a time, the boys usually agree that life isn't too bad here in the U.K.
Saturday night, 10 February 1945, found the Sub Depot dance in full swing at the NCO Club. Festivities got under way that afternoon at 1615 hours when beer, crisps (American potato chips) and sandwiches were served in the Sub Depot area. Lt Griffith and his committee worked hard on all the arrangements for this party and were rewarded by the fact that this was the most successful Sub Depot party to date. Through untiring efforts of Lt Griffith, five truckloads of WAAFs were invited from neighboring RAF bases. Cakes, sandwiches and coffee were served by the Red Cross. The dance broke up at 2330 hours when all the boys were loaded on the flat-bed truck, hauled back to the site and put to bed.
The boys at Hangar #1 managed to acquire a load of bricks from some undisclosed source and proceeded to build themselves a new office building adjoining the hangar. Cpl Ettore Nuccio did the actual bricklaying while about 20 straw bosses supervised the job.
On 12 February 1945 the Sub Depot was proud to announce the award of the Bronze Star Medal to T/Sgt George E. Pearson by Major General Kepner, Commanding General, Second Air Division. The medal was awarded T/Sgt Pearson for outstanding work in the Bombsight field, Sgt Pearson having developed several outstanding labor and time-saving devices as well as superior work on bombsights in general.
Events on the Continent are still influencing the lives of the Sub Depot men. As reported in last month's history, the organization furnished nine men for Infantry Reinforcement Training. On 13 February 1945, we were hit even harder, being called upon to furnish ten men for transfer. Having been cut to rock bottom by last month's losses, this new call-up posed a serious problem for the Sub Depot Commander. After lengthy consultations with department heads, the following men were chosen for transfer: Sgt Harold F. Wells, Cpls Ettore C. Nuccio, Carwin A. Thomason, Jacob Landes, Elmore B. Chivington, Virgil V. Bombardo, Eldon D. Landon, Jonthan B. Rice, Warren C. Roe and Pfc Stanley From. These are all skilled men, experienced in their jobs, having been with the Sub Depot since its activation and it will be difficult to replace them. It was with considerable reluctance that the Sub Depot submitted their names, but we all feel certain that they will give as good an account of themselves as Infantrymen as they did as Air Corps Specialists.
To replace these men in their jobs, other specialists were taken from their regular jobs and retraining started in the vacant positions. Two men were taken from the Welding Shop, one from the Propeller shop and two from the Machine Shop. Air Corps Supply rearranged the assignment of their personnel to cope with the situation.
These transfers mean increased work on the part of everyone in the Sub Depot. However, we feel certain that the personnel of the Sub Depot will meet the increased workload with their usual enthusiasm and skill.
This month the Sub Depot assigned more men to Technical Schools for training than any other month in its experience. The men were detached to schools as follows:
Sgt Chris H. Martin, C-1 Formation Stick, 2 weeks
Sgt Reginald J. Carr, Martin Turret Maintenance, 2 weeks
Sgt George E. Schriber, Cletrac Maintenance, 2 weeks
S/Sgt William C. Burzlaff, Air Position Indicator, 2 weeks
S/Sgt Frank R. Dallezotte, C-1 Formation Stick, 2 weeks
Efforts to get a Day Room have finally been awarded. Back last year, there was a high hope of getting the old farm house, which is located between the two barracks areas, but increased activity along operational lines required the old farm house to be utilized by line men of the 579th Bombardment Squadron. Up until this time, the barracks were all needed for the men, but when the first shipment of reinforcements to the Infantry took place, it was concluded that one of the barracks could be utilized for a day room.
With the cooperation of Captain Emmit Fore, Special Services Officer, card tables, easy chairs, writing tables, a radio bookcase and magazines were supplied to us. The barracks was cleaned, painted white and blue and the fixtures arranged. Pin-up pictures procured from the studios of Hollywood a long time ago were brought out of the files in the office and arranged decoratively on the walls. The men seem quite satisfied now that they have a place to read, write letters, play cards, or sit around and listen to the radio. Pfc Frank Maciog was placed in charge of the Day Room and keeps the place spic and span.
The 465th Cletracs last year won the 392nd Bombardment Group Championship, riding high, wide and handsome over all opposition, never losing a game.
This year's season was started several months ago and with the advent of the new season, new green and striped cricket jerseys were bought from a sporting goods store in Norwich; khaki-colored GI shorts were shortened in the legs and a red strip put around the bottom and up the side and a leather emblem sewed on the front. Sgt Cygnarowicz, captain of the team, held several practice sessions. With the new season and new uniforms, a new spirit was in the team. With keep hoop eyes, fast passing and knowing that every team on the field was after their blood, the Cletracs took the first half of the league season in stride, winning ten straight games, scoring 309 points to 196 for their opponents.
The loss of Pfc Henry Gomez, lanky, hard-fighting, dead-eye dick, kind of a player was felt keenly at first, but with S/Sgts Thomas Dingwall and Philip Zalinger coming in to help out, the tension on the five regulars was eased at times.
The scoring of the individual players for the first half of the season is as follows:
S/Sgt Zigmund T. Kaminski, 76 points
S/Sgt Curtis H. Dragoo, 68 points
S/Sgt Leonard G. Killough, 63 points
S/Sgt Wayne W. Joyce, 56 points
S/Sgt Alfred Cygnarowicz, 34 points
S/Sgt Thomas Dingwall, 8 points
S/Sgt Philip Zalinger, 2 points
Pfc William L. Wasson, 2 points
Scores by games as follows:
465th Cletracs 44, Ground Officers 35
465th Cletracs 35, 576 Bomb Sq 19
465th Cletracs 18, 578 Bomb 465th Cletracs 35, QM 18
465th Cletracs 29, 10th Sta Comp 24
465th Cletracs 28, 578 Bomb Sq 12
465th Cletracs 26, 579 Bomb Sq 11
465th Cletracs 17, S-1 Personnel 12
465th Cletracs 33, Medics 18
465th Cletracs 44, 577 Bomb Sq 32
With the loss [to the Infantry] of our Squadron Barber, Pvt Angelo Gianfarcaro, the problem of getting a new barber for the Squadron was a pressing morale problem. We knew that we had several men in the Squadron who could cut hair, so these men were interviewed by the Sub Depot Commander. T/Sgt Chester A. Blair, a civilian barber, T/Sgt John Makuch and S/Sgt LeRoy Bronson, both men having cut hair before, agreed to wield the clippers and the scissors. These three men cleaned up the shop, the paint shop repainted the Barber Shop, certificates from the Medical Department were posted and these three men go to the Barber Shop when they are not busy on their regular jobs and the men in the Squadron are happy again.
Air Corps Supply during February had the office repainted with a white ceiling, grey floor and siding with a red strip running through the middle of the side wall where the two collars meet. This painting gives better lighting affect, neatness in appearance and gives the office a more business-like atmosphere.
In Warehouse No. 1, the old lighting was poorly arranged and did not do much to ease the strain on the eyes of the men who worked there. As a consequence, the warehouse was rewired and fitted with brighter bulbs located in more convenient places. Also the boys in the warehouse tore down the old brick Issue Counter, gathered up some scrap lumber and rebuilt themselves a new counter, with an entrance door which the old brick counter did not have. This saves men from hopping over the counter.
While in the fixing mood, the warehouse men built themselves new aircraft wire and cable racks which saves them time in storing their articles, as previously all wire and cable had to be rewound on spools that were built right into stands. All they have to do now is lay the wire and cable in a bin, which is labeled for that particular wire. As times goes by, this warehouse is constantly improving its issue and storage procedures. The Sub Depot, through such improvements as there are in the warehouse, has become a most efficient and cooperative unit.
March was just one of those months, and its counterpart couldn't be found anywhere other than the ETO. As far as the Sub Depot was concerned, it was just like a Mulligan stew, a little bit of everything thrown in, the result being a month that will long be remembered by the slap-happy Etousians.
Attacks by piloted enemy aircraft, sustained bombardment of the enemy, D-Day #2, passes to Paris, Infantry Reconversion training, Infantry Replacements, Inspections by the big brass from Washington, and work, work, and more work is, in a very small nutshell, what happened in March.
To attempt to arrange all these varied and sundry occurrences in some sort of chronological order would be a monumental task in itself, so the purpose of this particular history will be to describe some of the more important events.
Probably the main event of the month, so to speak, was the strafing job performed on this station by a German twin-engine job, its identification uncertain, who filtered through the aircraft defenses of Great Britain on Tuesday, 20 March 1945, and headed for this field, where he proceeded to do a bang-up job, concentrating in particular on the parked aircraft.
Two weeks previously another German aircraft sneaked through and shot up a GI truck which was returning to the Station and killed the driver [Cpl Edward D. Ferrell, killed 3 March 1945], so on Tuesday night when this nuisance raider put in an appearance the boys of the Sub Depot didn't require a second invitation, but took to the shelters but quick. Even the fact that they had about an inch of water in them didn't make the shelters seem any less hospitable. S/Sgt Anderson B. Barker, the CQ, made an attempt to check the barracks and order everyone out, but by the time he was halfway through, he found that pilot was trying to use his backside for a backstop, so he called the game off and jumped into the nearest ditch.
After the German's first pass, during which he strafed a few parked aircraft, the anti-aircraft gunners and the top turret gunners were called out to man the guns. However, before they could get to their guns the Jerry was back, this time to drop two small fragmentation bombs, one of which did not explode. The one that did go off raised particular hell with a group of parked aircraft, riddling them with fragments.
By this time all the gunners on the station had been mustered and were all ready and waiting for the Jerry to talk into their trap, but the Jerry played it smart and wandered home and instead, along came a Mosquito, buzzing along, trying to locate the enemy aircraft. No sooner was he over the field than pandemonium broke loose and about 150 guns opened up on him. That must have been one startled Mosquito pilot, who probably imagined he had somehow wandered over the Ruhr Valley. Anyway, he gave it full left rudder and got out of the way of the Wendling .50 caliber flak barrage.
That's about all there was to the night's activities. In the morning, the Sub Depot picked up seven very damaged airplanes for repair, a very costly result of the Jerry's junket to Wendling station.
Early in the month it was announced that the Air Inspector General would pay a visit to the Station with the announced intention of visiting every shop and activity, every hutment in the living sites and every latrine, with the added warning (or so it was rumored) of busting everyone from Captains down to Pfcs, if he didn't like the way they parted their hair. All this was announced about five days in advance of the arrival date, so it will be left to the imagination to picture the activity that ensued. For five days all you could see were backsides and elbows and the pilots reported you couldn't see the airfield for the dust. At the end of these five days you beheld a station that literally sparkled; roads swept, fences painted, trash hauled away and barracks so clean you could eat off the floors.
When the Air Inspector did arrive he proceeded to inspect in a very quiet and efficient manner, all out of proportion to the wild rumors that had preceded him. As yet, there are no reports of his having busted anyone.
As far as the Sub Depot was concerned, there were no discrepancies found either in the Technical site or in the living site. Only one recommendation was made by the inspector and that was a recommendation that a more detailed system of man-hour accounting be set up by the engineering Department. This recommendation is now under consideration and discussion and, if practical, will be inaugurated.
The month of March saw the largest continuous effort ever made by our Liberators against the enemy. Almost every day saw a large formation of planes dispatched against the enemy. The feeling prevailed that this was the last lap, this was the last big heave called for by Churchill and optimism ran high among the men. This sustained effort culminated in the now famous crossing of the Rhine, the Airborne operation on the morning of 24 March 1945 and the low level supply mission of our Liberators. Word had leaked out that we were to drop supplies and that could only mean that there was to be another airborne operation and that could only mean that the Rhine was to be crossed. The men all felt that the Rhine was the last barrier of German resistance and if this could be overcome then the end would really be in sight. They had this in mind on their way from breakfast that Saturday morning as they watched the huge tow planes with their gliders strung out behind, moving through the morning air toward the Rhine. They knew that if they were successful our stay in England might be nearing its end. As we all know now, they have been more successful than we dared hope and are now pushing far into Germany.
One result of all this aerial activity and one of the paramount interest to all Sub Depot engineering personnel, was that repair and modification work was handled on an increased scale, 30 airplanes being handled by the Hangar, an increase of four airplanes over the previous month. Of these 30 planes, 11 were battle damage, 12 were modifications, and seven were general maintenance. The shops put out their usual quota of production and Air Corps Supply continued its usual standard of efficient service.
We rear echelon boys of the Air Corps have, for a long time, wondered if we would ever get to see some of the historical places on the Continent and, like most ambitions of this kind, was dismissed as an impossibility. However, much to our surprise, a few of the boys are actually going to the big French capital. On 31 March 1945 the names of seven men were picked by lottery and will leave, by air, for Paris on 9 April 1945. We hope to have larger and more frequent quotas in the succeeding months.
The Sub Depot was again called upon to furnish men for Infantry Reconversion Training and Pfc Gilberto Luna, who was the only man available, was transferred on 26 March 1945. This makes a total of 20 men that have been transferred to the Infantry and leaves the Sub Depot with an assigned strength of 217 as against an authorized total of 244.
This manpower shortage, the result of these transfers, has worked a hardship on all sections of the Sub Depot. In order to meet the quotas and still do its assigned work the Sub Depot has had to shift men from section to section, which has resulted in an increased workload on all sections. Thus far, the Sub Depot personnel have been able to handle this increased load but it is feared that any future call for Infantry Reconversion Training will seriously affect the operation of the Sub Depot.
During the month, five Infantry Replacements have been transferred to the Sub Depot and have been assigned to various sections of the Sub Depot. These men are: S/Sgt William J. Mathews, Sgt James M. Pill, Sgt Rayford T. Wells, and Pvt Clayton B. Northrop. These men have not had any previous experience in Air Corps work but they be given the opportunity to learn technical jobs and so increase their value to the Air Corps.
The Sub Depot basketball team completed its second victorious season by winning the Station championship for the second successive year. The team was virtually the same as that which won the league last year. S/Sgt Alfred Cygnarowicz, player-manager, has done a very commendable job in leading his boys to victory. Everyone joins the team in hoping that this is the last championship they will have the opportunity to win in the ETO.
The second half of the league, usually called the elimination half, found the Cletracs smarting under the first defeat in the ETO by the 10th Station Complement to the tune of 34-25. The boys didn't like this at all and came back fighting mad, won the next two games only to be defeated again by the 10th Station Complement to the score of 30-22. This second defeat drew blood from our Cletracs and keen interest was evident by the large attendance of rooting sections for the final game. The Cletracs won this game against the 10th Station Complement by the score of 35-28. Total points scored for the Elimination half was 209 against opponents' 184.
As this history is being written the end of the war is plainly in sight and it's anyone's guess as to when it will actually end. When it does end all personnel of the Sub Depot are confident that they have done their share by applying their technical skill to the task. In the meantime, the place is flooded with rumors; e.g., the Group is off operations, we start packing next week, volunteers are being accepted for the Army of Occupation, and so on ad infinatum. Possibly by next month we will know whether or not these rumors contain any truth. In the meantime, the Sub Depot is performing its usual tasks and awaiting further developments.
The month of April started out almost too quietly to be an augur of anything that would affect the Sub Depot as it was this month.
Air Corps Supply sections worked in a routine way as did the Engineering departments.
The chief topic of conversation among the men was the rapid advances of the armies after the crossing of the Rhine; the Russian denunciation of the pact with Japan; and the pass and furlough situation.
With the Russians denouncing the pact with Japan came many rumors with broad implications such as: we would go to Russian air bases to pound Japan with our bombers; Russia would declare war on Japan and shorten the war in the Pacific. The rapid advances of our armies into Germany brought hopes of a quick end to the war on the continent and to wondering what would happen next.
The night crew in the hangar got excited when they watched the Station Commander, Col Lorin L. Johnson and some of his aides make suggestions on how to reconvert one of our B-24 Liberators into a plane that could carry 54 men. Our men worked on this modification all night and the next morning, near noon, the plane took off for a ten-hour trip. The results of this experiment turned out all right but the reason behind it is all shrouded in mystery and everyone has his own idea on what it is all about.
In regard to passes and furloughs, each man was allowed either one 24 and 48-hour pass or one three-day pass a month. He was allowed his pass privileges in addition to his furlough in the same month. A meeting of the officers in the Sub Depot brought out new orders to the effect that only three-day passes were allowed and no pass at all during the furlough month. This brought a storm of bitching which reverberated throughout the Technical Site and when additional instructions from higher headquarters directed that no pass would be issued 30 days prior to and 30 days after a furlough, the morale went down fast.
In connection with passes, our outfit was allotted seven men to go to Paris on a 48-hour pass. Transportation was by plane from Shipdham, and quarters and food were arranged in advance. The seven lucky GIs selected were S/Sgt William Burzlaff, S/Sgt Edgar Everhart, S/Sgt Joseph Macko, Cpl Ernest Welch, Sgt Arthur Hitchins, Sgt Charles Girton and Sgt Walter Klein. They left on 11 April and we all sweated out their return in order to get a bird's eye view of the French capital. They had no trouble in getting an audience on their return and from all accounts, making allowances for procrastination, Paris is all right and you can get what you are looking for. Name it and you can have it. LtCol Wall was the officer who went from the officers' quota.
Friday the 13th has for many years been marked as a day of ill-omen. Whether it was just a coincidence or an act bearing some truth to the superstition, Friday, April 13th was the day when the death of our beloved President and Commander-in-Chief became generally known. It was announced over the radio at 2400 hours, 12 April 1945, but many men did not hear it and when told about it the next morning, they just didn't want to believe it. There was not much discussion and the rather grave-side silence testified to the deep personal feeling of loss for the man who had guided our nation through one of its most trying periods in history. The flag at Station Headquarters is still at half mast and 1755, 14 April 1945, a five-minute silence was observed. Our Squadron party scheduled for 14 April 1945 was cancelled.
There has always been a question mark in our minds as to what was going to happen since the Table of Organization for a Service Group was distributed approximately a year ago. Everybody talked about it for a while and then speculation died down. Almost out of a clear blue sky, General Orders No. 52, Headquarters, Eighth Air Force, dated 12 April 1945 came through on the late afternoon courier, 15 April 1945. Col Wall called a meeting of all Sub Depot and other Unit Commanders affected at 2200 hours and so through the night, the Sub Depot came to a glorious end.
Special Orders No. 84, Paragraph 8, Headquarters, 392nd Bombardment Group AAF Station 118, dated 15 April 1945, assigned the Supply personnel to the 653rd Air Materiel Squadron, with Captain Carter as Commanding Officer and 1/Lt McNeill as Air Corps Supply Officer. The Engineering personnel went to the 829th Air Engineering Squadron with Maj Couch as Commanding Officer, Capt Pollard as Squadron Maintenance Officer and 1/Lt Griffith as Squadron Adjutant. Several of the Sub Depot men went to the 403rd Headquarters and Base Services Squadron. Col Wall was given the responsible position as Commanding Officer of the 403rd Air Service Group, which is comprised of the three squadrons.
Thus the fighting 465th SUB DEPOT ceases to function as a sub depot. We all feel that its footprints have made an imprint in the annals of the 392nd Bombardment Group, with the splendid record of efficient aircraft maintenance, cooperative supply functioning and in thousands of other jobs done for the station as a whole. The fighting 465th Sub Depot acted as a right guide in leading the columns of other squadrons in the parade of low number of court-martials, no AWOLs, few 104s, in matters of military discipline and bearing, appearance of barracks areas and high state or morale. No one has been patted on the back and told what a good job he performed but in years to come, when peacetime activities regulate our living, we can look back with a feeling of pride for being a member of a squadron that was "on the ball for Col Wall."
As this final chapter is written, there is much administrative work being done in connection with the disbanding of the 465th Sub Depot. The 465th Sub Depot is going out the way it came in-busier than hell.
For the Sub Depot Commander:
GEORGE L. GRIFFITH
1st Lt., Air Corps,