Vol. 29 No. 1 - the 91st Bomb Group!
THE PRESIDENT'S CORNER BY HAROLD E JOHNSON TODAY? OK! IT'S HAPPEN NG - AS I\4ANY OF OUR [,4EI\,4BERS. WHO wete bombatdiers know Velerans' groups are beginn ng to close-up shop. Bombard ers, lnc wil hold iis 11th and last Reunion l\,4ay 15- 19, 1996 jn Hampton. VA. The organizaiions pubicatior CROSSHAIRS; lasi edition wi be pubished in Dec 1996. The organizaton itseli wil be d ssoved shorty thereafter E C "Ned'Humphreys Executive Director, lounder of the associalion and CROSSHAIRS edioT recenlly ceebrated hrs 77th b rthday. H s pub caton (usually near book size) probably assembled more WW I bornbardier dala than any olher pub icalion, Fot the benefit of our bombardier members who may have neverjo ned Humphrey's group l' ljust add CROSSHAIRS back ssues are avalabe by wrting CROSSHAIRS, Bombard ers, lnc, 500 Jackson St, #1407 Daphne AL 36526-7029. I'm sure que es regard ng attendance at lhe [,4ay 96 Hamplon, VA reun on afiiv ng al that address will aso be we - comed and atlended lo. The news ol what regreflaby seems to be Bombardier, lnc's 'Last Hurrah" hl me whie complacency regarding lhe 91sl BGI\,4Aseemed the order oi the day. We are in good shape. Our dues maintaln a satslaclory bank account, required records are well kepi and currenl, the memberships' opin on of our newsletter, The F/|, is apparent whenever it is overdue. (lnrmediately mounting phone calls ndlcale it's missed and wanted.) And, lor the t me, somehow our total membership temains about the same. Sec/Trea Johnson's records ndicate 67 91st BGlvlAers d ed in'95. Somehow'leachoui" efforts aways seem to reiurn and/or add enough members to keeo Fl/l -a lirgs between 1.300r.400 cop es per i,sue Perhaps parl ol my euphoria was reco lect on oi my Mar'95 attendance as a guest of the Norfo k, Vlrg n a Convenlion and Vslloas Bureau - aong with about 25 other oflicas lrom other I\,4i1 lary Betirees organizalons. T"e avaiable .oLrs. lodg:1q a-d _eals we.e mpressve Since the 1998 91st BG[,4A Biennal Reunon sscheduedfor the Eastern th rd ol the IJS I lniend to suggest Norlo k, VA as a possible reunion ste durng our nearing Sept 25-29 1996 Tucson, AZ Bienn a Reun on. Other site proposa w ll be given the same consdeTalon as Nodolk, you can be sure. According -o SecT.ea Asay Johnsol p'e -inary c04espon dence ind;caies "a good to great t!rnout" atTlcson. Tucson lour and related eveniswl be soon f nal zed and details perta n ng to attendance wi be pubished in the nexl R/ . I must say the compleiion of my first year as presideni has really been educatonal. Despte the scattering ol 91st BG[,4A officials lh ngs do qet done because of the dedcaton oi our incuTabents and, ollen, considerabe membersh p assistance. As presdent, lcan only thank everyone for lheir more than considerabe contribulions to the past yeafs bus ness. The coming Tucson Reln on w be an exce ent forum ior a arge group ofour membersto discuss ouriuiure. Undeniabywe are ageing. W we be able to contnue independent reunions much longer? lnstead of Reunions would rnore Rally Rounds be more practrca ? Should we consider umbrella group associalion? lhope d scussions ofthe preceding and other sim ilar subjecls are pop!Lar lop cs at Tlcson and my partclpation, when poss - be, s wecorned - even n the sma lest, nlorma groups, OPERATION REVIVAL (Cont nued irorn page 1) ed 36 81 7s came nto the f e d and took off with the first load. During that firsl day 900 Brtish prsoners were llown back to England, 25 in each a rcralt. From that successfu operation we were able to figure out the number ol planes that would be needed the fo lowing day. 'That evening we sent a message to Frsl Air Divson headquarlers requesling 20 a rcralt per hourior 10 hours the next day. And we asked for spares to be sent in case of breakdowns.The ground was very soit and we were afra d the planes mighl get stuck and flub up operai ons. Eary next morn ng the planes slarted to come ln and we completed the evacualion ol the Brlish prsoners. There were T500 oi them. Some had been in the camp for 5 years. "By reducing the plane crews 10 five nstead of ien we were able to carry 30 prisoners in each ship. And during lhat second day they took oul 6.110 prisoners. The Americans were flown to France. All the ground organizalion for this evacuation was carr ed olt by personne of the First Combat Wlng and the 91st BG(H). And must say the whole thing ran like c ockwork. The prisoners were maTched from ihe camp which was about three m les frorn the air strip and slationed in groups of 30 around the i e d. The p anes taxied n, picked up a group and took olf again wthoLrt even cutting the I engines. On the 3rd day 54 planes landed and the last Americans were laken olf. The job was completed without a hitch. lt was the most satisfy nq iob I have ever done. One of the p lots said to me, We'd work day and night after see ng the look on the laces ol1hose liberated prsoners.' "The first n ghl slept in my plane. Bul on the second n ght went into town and was introduced to Group Capl Weir, the ranking BriUsh officer. He look me to vis t the German F ak schoolwhere the Germans were taught how to operate their F ak guns. lt had been practcally demolshed by the retreating Germans. Then he took me to a house where three Russian majors iived. They had just finished eai ng; so had we, ior lhat matter. But they inssted on us havng something. They gave us tea. At leasl lhey ca led il tea. Bui t was hot waler poured over prlnes and a g ass of milk. I was a little dubious about the milk bui Capt Weir iold me it was qu te saie to drink t as ihe Russ ans never drink an\,'thinq un ess it s bo led. One of the majors played an accord on ior us. He p ayed t very well, too. Col Zemke had g ven him lhe accord on and a letler as a token of friendsh p. The Russ an was very proud ol lhai letter. We were told later that he always p ayed an accordion before going into batlle. He was one ol the toughest iighters in the Fussian army. I quite enjoyed that visil and talking to those three maiors, though we had to use an interpreter, of course, "Laier, Capt Weir and stroled through the town. Just alongside ihe POW camp was a large concenlration camp where French, Greek and S avs had been kept - slave abor working n a nearby German aircraft factory. lt had been iiberated and the R!ssians had set up a hosp tal. But the camp was still pretly horrible. And the stench irom t was appalllng. '"fhe whole place, Barth, had a desolate, depressed aspect and I was very g ad to leave. On the 3rd day after the Fortresses had left with the lasl of ihe pr soners, we ciosed down fly ng controls. got into our p anes and lax ed to the end oi the runway. I thoughl Gen Gross would take-otf first, bui he nrotioned me on. So. he was ihe lasi American to (Conunued on Page 6)
CRUMM'S CREW SURVIVOR HAS ENVIABLE MEMORIES BEING A I\,4EMBER OF ONE OF TH E ORIG NAL SURV V, ing 91st BG(H) crews eaves Peie F DeBoy wllh some lruly, uniorgetlab e and p easanl war-tme memores (DeBoy was the Radio-Operator of then 2/Ll Wilam J Crumm's 324th Sq's JACK THE RIPPER crew) Among the original 9Tst BG(H)'s complernent, Crurnm's was the f rst 8th AF crew returned to lhe Slates. After completing 11 m ssions n Feb'43 they were relurned to set up traning techniques and share the knowedge combai experrence had given them. (A iew months afler their return an nstruct on manuaL by the AAF School of App ied Taciics was published. The book, a procedures handbook for combat crew training, was caled "Bombing the Nazis. " Crumm and his crew were the authors. After the book's completion the crew toured more than 30 cit es. lectur ng training combat crews and address ng civi an groups to promote war bond sales- Part oi that port on of DeBoy's service time provided "unforgettable pleasant memotes" he wishes all returning servicemen had exPerienced. Medla and otficlal AAF pholographers covering the Hollywood "stop" Crumm's crew made during ts' 30 city tour of the Siales n '43 account ior DeBoy's uniaded memories. THE 324th SQ'SJACKTHE RIPPER CFEWANDTWO OF THE HOL. lywood slars who helped welcome lhem home early in 1943. Feading L-R, fro.t, are: 1/Lt Mark H Gilman, CPt S/Sgt Fulus W Youngblood, WGi T/Sgt Karl L lrlasters. Engi (?) and T/Sgt Peler F DeBoy, RO, L-R, rear, are: Sgl G F Wilson! TGt 1/Lt William C Leasure, Nt Capr William J crumm, P; (?); 1/Lt Fobert L Kleyta, Bt S/Sgt Andrew Markte, B/I and S/SqtJBODonnel,WG. That stop's purpose, ikelhe other 29, was the promotion of war bond savings sales. The other 29 stops, he remembers, were just as enlhusiastic and warm as the "Hollylvood stop." B!1, the Holyvvood "siop" remains vivd because Crumm and hls crew were awarded "Star status" and photographers dutlully recorded the fratern zation flm stars sought wlh lhem. Big 8x10 back and whte photos record, recal and reiresh memor es of those t me in DeBoy's souvenir albums. Five oi Crumm's crew, including DeBoy, are 91st BGl,4Aers. (Then-Capt W llam J Crumm laler rose to the rank ol [,4/Gen and was scheduled for Stale-side assignmentand promotonwhen hewas kiled in a mid-aircolision during the Vietnam War.) Two other membeTs are now deceased whie efforts to ocate WG J B O'Donne and TG G F Wlson have been unsuccessful, DeBoy says. ln the accompanying Holywood "stop" pholos of JACK THE RLPPER'S crew its 324lh Sq veterans are identified on y i_ lhe f'sl pho.o to dvoid reparitveness The Hollywood stars appearng in the photos are not identfied to tesl the memories of R/l readers. Fans of old movies on TV should be able to identify lhem but, ii anyone is slumped ihe identily of the stars sharing the lmel ght wlh Crlrmm's cTew may fnd their ldentty on page 6.