Search billions of records on Ancestry.com


 

 

 

 

 

 


 
330th Combat Maintenance

Headed by CAP Delmar Lee & MSGT Robert Warren

The pilot was everyone's hero. He was brave, he was bold, he was grand. As he stood by his battered airplane with his goggles and helmet in hand. But for each of these flying heroes there were thousands little reknowned. And these were the men who worked on the planes, but kept their feet on the ground. We all know the name of Lindberg, and we've read of his flight of fame. But think if you can of his maintenance man, Can you remember his name? And think of the wartime heroes and the acclaim that they all got. Can you tell me the names of their Crew Chiefs? A thousand to one you cannot. Now pilots are highly trained people and wings are not easily won, But without the work of the Ground Crews, our pilots would march with a gun. So when you see a powerful airplane as it makes its way through the air, remember the grease-stained man with the wrench in his hand, For he is the one who put it there.


Air Service Group

The B-29 units in the Pacific were the first to utilize Air Service Groups or (ASG)'s. The Combat Maintenence men of the 330th typically performed what was called 1st Echelon Maintenance only. This would include typical equipment breakdown and repair that would be required of an aircraft under normal combat conditions. Engine overhaul and replacement, general maintenance etc. More complicated tasks were called 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Echelon Maintenance. For example, major FLAK or structural damage, wing replacement, etc. The primary function of the Air Service Groups was to perform 2nd and 3rd Echelon Maintenance for their assigned Bomb Group. So when a maintenance task was too complex for the Ground Crew's to perform, it went to the ASG. Things that were even more complicated would go to an 502nd Engineering Squadron (Air Depot Unit). The 330th was supported by the 89th ASG. "The 89th did 2nd and 3rd echelon's work and the 502nd engineering squadron did 4th echelon work as far as RADAR was concerned. I don't recall ever getting a repair job that we couldn't fix." says Wilfred Childress of the 89th ASG.


457TH ENGRG:
 
CAP Harold Dillee
MSGT Charles Jensen

458TH ENGRG:
 
CAP Daniel Pettit
MSGT William Powers

459TH ENGRG:
 
CAP Ralph Rose
MSGT Fred Steele

457th engineering


combat maintenance

2,500 After Mission Inspections, 545 Propeller Governor Changes, 349 Engine Changes…, and so the record runs. Short on manpower, short on replacement parts and tools, and short on parking space. Always racing against the clock. "The Line" made records and then cracked them. Nobody thought to cheer watching a 459th Crew Chief at take-off time sprawled over a prop, changing governors on a red hot engine. While his helper sprayed him and the governor head with a fire extinguisher to cool his blistering hands, or when the 457th changed an engine in eleven hours flat. Luckily ther was no stateside inspector around to growl at the sight of a Superfort being towed backwards out into the taxiway with engines running, or jacked in a twelve knot wind! Or a crew man working 30 hours without rest between missions. It was hard work, spirit and initiative that kept the Group's "Airplanes Operational" . Figure up with the best and put the aircraft over the target. In July alone the Group flew 5,920 hours and put 95.1% of its airborne aircraft over the primary target. The highest in the Air Force. The pictures on these pages more vividly than statistics, show the effectiveness of the worry, hurry, work, and perspiration of "The Line" The Crew Chiefs and their sunburned assistants! The specialists, the clerks and tech supply, the inspection crews, the men of SGTs Warren, Jensen, Steele, and Early and countless others. Our hats are off to them!


This great shot shows CPL William Baker of K-6 working on her main gear. Looks like a brake pad replacement?


Here is K-13's proud Ground Crew standing in front of her.


Personal Equipment

Radar

SSGT Eli F. Bascom, Jr. with an IE Bomb near the 330th's Bomb Depot.Thanks to Homan's daughter, Kristine, for this and other photos on this site.

MOS 867

Radar Mechanic, Bombardment

Rank
First
MI
Last
SN
SSGT
Ballard M Bonham
15019691
SSGT
Hubert A Homan, Jr.
16080711
SSGT
Arthur J Newberg
19169071
SSGT
Charles J Souchuns
31336903
SSGT
Eli F Bascom, Jr.
11101823
SGT
Dale D Crowther
13129278
SGT
Jacob T Dameron
38442820
SGT
Elmer R Decker, Jr.
17134346
SGT
Ralph Eley, Jr.
13179566
SGT
Robley B Evans
19172218
SGT
Joseph E Harrigan, Jr.
35805524
SGT
William D Iliff
37446126
SGT
Mitchell A Polkowski
16086903
SGT
Richard L Thompson
12201953

Looks like Kellner on the Left next to Eli F. Bascom, Jr. SGT Harvey W.Kellner I have down as a Radar Mechanic in the 458th, but he must have changed to the 457th.

Here is Kellner again, with Homan and Bascom. These guys were inseperable. Good Comrades always are.


Unkown, Bascom, Homan and another Unknown. A little clowning around between work.

Here are SSGT Theodore Fees, unkown, SSGT Eli Bascom, SSGT Stanley Urban (Turret Mech) and SGT William IIiff in front of an F7F Tigercat just prior to shipping home after the war.


L to R: TSGT Rudolph Eskra (Crew Chief), SSGT Hubert A Homan, Jr. (Radar Mech Bmb/457th), SGT John J. Jung (Radar Mech Bmb/458th), ?? Segel, SSGT Francis J. Lohr (Radar Mech Bmb/458th). Now, what in the heck are these "Radar Mechancs" doing on this engine? It was a publicity shot for a newspaper.


Communication

That is PFC William C Roth (459th) on the far right receiving Radio Repair training at Walker prior to shipping out to Guam. Notice the Civilian (probably from Boeing) on the far left overseeing the process. (Thanks to Roth's son, David, for the photo)


Many a man of the Ordnance and Armament crews had never handled a live bomb when they began loading for their initial strike 11 April 1945. By V-J Day their aching backs and crushed fingers had helped hoist 8,568 tons of bombs into B-29 bays and unnumbered millions of rounds of .50 cal into B-29 turrets. Working against time, crews did, what couldn't be done. The 457th one night loaded two ships with 368 bombs within 12 minutes after the planes taxied in from slow time. Half an hour later they were airborne enroute to the Empire. This record was later lowered by the same section, tied by the 459th and lowered by the 458th. Such was the spirit of the crews of MSGT's CarlStandifer, Anton Meyer and Lloyd Hemming.

First harmonization range on North Field and the best harmonized planes in the Marianas were the work and boast of TSGT Urban and his CFC men, Blanchette, Persicano, and Fahrenbrink. No coincidence that this group received fewer fighter attacks than any other group in the wing. Most completely integrated PLM MSGT Day and Shift Chiefs SSGT Florian J Lux of the 457th, TSGT Glenn C Boomgarden of the 458th and TSGT Anders of the 459th. Though its workday was 26 hours long and though it was blamed for all stray electrical troubles on the plane the Radio Maintenance Section under MSGT B.B. Edwards met its deadlines and kept the abort slate clean. Veiled in G.I. censorship were the Radar Maintenance teams of SGTs Arthur Newberg, Wieceki, Leon R Werner and Darrel D Lingle. As the months passed "in commission over the target" and "tons dropped by radar" figures rose and rose. Now, so the saying goes, Bombardiers can't even find their way to the mess hall without the aid of Mickey (Radar)


Auxiliary Equipment

Ordnance

Here is the Ground Crew for K-13, including the Armorer's. The only Ground Crew listing I have for her is SSGT Theodore Petrilack. He is somewhere in here.


Transportation

RCM

Here is a mix of Radar Mech/RCM and Acft Elec Mech Spec men of the 457th, 458th and 459th soaking up some South Seas sun and fun in early 1945. From L to R, back row: SSGT Earl Conrad, TSGT William Jones, Noody and SGT Donald Morse. Kneeling: Wates, Brealt and Walsh. I only have two of these men listed in the 330th.., not sure where these other men are from. Thanks to Kathryn Conrad for these photos!


Back Row, L to R: SGT Joe Lang, SSGT Hubert Homan,Jr., K??asman, Johnson, MSGT Richard M Hoe, SGT Orie Kramer. Front Row: SSGT John Kennedy, SSGT Salvatore Presutte, Herbert, M, SSGT Irving Mann. According to Kristine, Homan's daughter, these names were written on the back of his photo. Some were illegible. Anyone recognize anyone?


Here are the 457th's Crew Chief's receiving their Bronze Service Stars on 12 Oct 45. They are from L to R: COL Douglas Polhamus (330th BG Commander), CPL Charles Jones, LTCOL Virgil G Kinnaird (457th Ops Officer), TSGT Richard Branagan, MSGT Joseph Knowles, MSGT Lee Shubert, TSGT Thomas Jones, Jr., TSGT Theodore Petrilack and SGT Orwell Erickson(Photo courtesy of SSGT Philip Pecquet's son, Andrew)


458th

This site was last updated 1/06/2007