WWII 8th Air Force

493rd Bomber Group

860th Squadron

A Pilot’s Story

Military Life Begins

The last days as a civilian before Dad went to his first training assignment in Omaha, Nebraska. Creighton University.

March 28, 1943 – This story begins from information provided by the scrapbook.
July 1943 – Santa Ana, California – Pre-Flight Training
January 8, 1944 – 29 Palms, California – Graduated Primary Training
Lemore, California – Basic Training
May 23, 1944 – Marfa, Texas – Graduated Advanced Training

The following is from the Diary account

  • January 2, 1945 – Sleeper Train from Lincoln, Nebraska going East to meet ship for overseas.
  • January 8, 1945 – On board ship “Il de France” bound for European Theater.
  • January 17, 1945 – Disembarked ship that docked Garisck, Scotland, took train to Stone, England.
  • January 22, 1945 – Took Train to Ipswitch, England.
  • February 15, 1945 – First Combat Mission, Cottbus, Germany.

Additional Literature

Books can be ordered that tell more about WWII, the Bombers, Bases and Crews. Two of the finest books describing air battles of the Eighth Air Force were written by navigators.

  • The Fall of Fortresses – Bendiner, Elmer, 1980, The Fall of Fortresses, Putnam’ s Sons, New York, 258 p. Crosby, Harry H., 1993. Bendiner tells of the early days of the Eighth when “things were really rough”, including the difficult attacks on the ball-bearing factories at Schweinfurt, Germany.
  • The Mighty Eighth – Freeman, Roger A., 1970, A History of the U. S. 8th Army Air Force, Doubleday, New York, 311 p. Freeman, Roger A., 1984,
  • One Last Look – Philip Kaplan and Rex Alan Smith Abbeville Press Publishers , New York. 1983
  • The Greatest Generation of Silver Wings – Don Ward, The memorial press 2004
  • Half a Wing, Three Engines and a Prayer – Brian D. O’Neill – McGraw Hill 1999
  • A Wing and a Prayer – Harper Paperbacks, New York, 398 p. We owe thanks to the English historian, Freeman, for the most readable descriptions of the Eighth Air Force in action. His books describe not only the battles of the Eighth but give a marvelous description of the complex organization.

The Mighty Eighth War Manual, Motorbooks International (first published in 1984 by Jane’s Publishing Co. Ltd.), 320 p. For those doing research on a family member or relative that participated in WWII.

NOTE – I found in my research that there were several sources and websites that can provide more detail among those I have listed a few below: