Tuesday, March 18, 2008

When men were men - 466th Bomb Group

My Dad, always the adventurer, didn't shy away from a sidehack ride either. Just had a hip replacement a few months ago but at 92 years old, he still was game for a cruise.
He had a few trail 90's and rode a 4 wheeler when he lived in the Montana Mountains,

Dad enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1942 and was trained as a navigator.
He flew out of Attlebridge England with the 8th Air Force, 466th Bomb Group, 785th Squadron. He participated in 35 bombing missions over Nazi Germany with Crew #555, flying B-24J Liberators. They also hauled gasoline in their
bombers into France to fuel Pattons Army during their advance into Germany.
They flew into hair raising anti aircraft fire, flak and tangled with Nazi fighters .
Their plane took many hits during many missions and they managed to make
it home each time. Sometimes with more than one engine shot out. Had to land on a small
steel mat English fighter aircraft field on one occassion. Damn near ended up
in the "channel"
Dad volunteered with the Air Transport Command in March 1945. They flew night missions in
black painted ,unarmed, unmarked B-24's into Stockholm Sweden. They flew as
"civilians" on these clandestine solo night missions, hauling arctic gear into Nuetral Sweden.
This gear for the 10th Mtn. Division was ferried overland into Norway in
support of war efforts there. Dad remembers being pursued by radar equiped Luftwaffe night fighters and flying at wave top level to evade the pursuers over the North Sea. This photo was of Dad as a "civilian " in Stockholm in April 1945.
They were laid over due to weather conditions.

Happy times as Dad made it home and got back to the business of being a real
civilian. His war experiences became dormant for many years and only in the
past few years have the numerous experiences been told. An avid fisherman,
I figure this photo was taken at one of his favorite trout streams.
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Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.