Bowman Diary - Page 01
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This is the diary of Major Marvin Bowman as compiled by Paul West.
Jan Riddling, 100th Bomb Group Historian, reformatted this version in July 2003.

 Nov 11, 1942

Gave lecture on Plane Identification, also and examination after lecture. Lecture was given by Lt. Arick.

Nov 12, 1942

Gave lecture on Plane Identification, also and examination on same following lecture. Lecture was given by Lt. Arick.

Nov 13, 1942

Gave lecture on Plane Identification, also and examination on same following lecture. Lecture was given by Lt. Arick.

Nov 14, 1942

Classes were held on Jan Grid and Communications. Jan Grid was taught by Capt. Shaw and communications was taught by Lt. Crowder, classes were for all combat crews. Attendance was 100%. 2nd Lt. Malcomb Clouter -- group communications.

The group was officially activated as of this date although it had been operating since Nov. 1 with four B-17s and four combat crews and a skeleton organization for each squadron.

Capt. Karl Standish (NMI), the adjutant, had whipped an organization together and started it going through the motions before Colonel Darr H. Alkire arrived to take command a few days before the 15th.

The second day after the Colonel came in he gathered the entire personnel; into the base theater and introduced himself and explained his program.

He said he had been a B-17 man since he Army first accepted them, and that he had been flying them since at least 1936.

He paid particular tribute to the enlisted men who kept the planes in service. At the risk of injuring the feeling of the men in combat crews he declared that these "prima donnas" weren't worth a damn if they didn't have a solid crew behind them to keep them in the air.

This is rather old stuff, but he gave it in a new twist by giving the slightest shift of emphasis. It wasn't that the ground crew was important, or that the ground crew was equally as important as the combat crew; the way he put it gave a slight edge to the ground crews -- a bit of psychological juggling that way he put it gave a slight edge to the ground crews-- a bit of psychological juggling that hasn't been tried before, so far as I know.

He appealed also to enlisted men - called then the backbone of the group. There seems to be a tendency in the air corps to keep the barrier low between enlisted and officer personnel. They fight together in the same team.

Also a few words on personal conduct. There would be no rules, he said. Soldiers in his command were men and hoped they would act like men. He said if they got in trouble and were right he would back them to the limit - go their bail and fight to the last ditch. However, if they were wrong better for them to stay in jail because he'd make more trouble for them than and jail. He asked for a spirit of friendship among the men in the group. "If you're walking down the street and see a buddy who is drunk, don't walk away and leave him to the mercy of some silly civilian. Get him off the street. Bring him back to camp and put him to bed. He's a buddy and he's on your team. " The "Old Man" is realist and no prude. His last remarks were about the Pro Kits that would be distributed free by the squadrons. "We've got enough for about one apiece," he said. "Don't let me hear of any of you Don Juan's grabbing two. "

The theater was full---maybe 400-- and the officers and men, a flattering audience. I think the thought the CO was a tough cookie and they were glad.

Nov 16, 1942

Classes were held on the following subjects:1. Jan Grid. 2. Communications. Jan Grid was taught by Capt. Shaw and Communications was taught by Lt. Crowder. Attendance was 100%.

Nov 17, 1942

Classes were held on the following subjects: 1. Jan Grid. 2. Communications. Jan Grid was taught by Capt. Shaw and Communications was taught by Lt. Crowder. Attendance was 100%.

Nov 20, 1942

Four crews were briefed before going on the Army Navy Joint Canadian Mission #2. The Officers that did the briefing were as follows: Colonel Darr H. Alkire & Capt. Shaw.

Nov 22, 1942

Crews returned from mission and was interrogated separately. Highlights: One crew lost and authenticator -- secret. It blew out the radio compartment window about 95 miles out over the Pacific. Reports and affidavits had to be submitted in duplicate and triplicate. Presumable it fell in the sea and was destroyed.

Nov 23, 1942

An examination was held and conducted by Lt. Arick for all member of the combat crews of the 100th Bomb Group. The examination was on Plane Identification.

Nov 23, 1942

The time for the first move had come. For two days every division has been gathering up equipment and preparing it for shipment. We have been informed that the next phase of training will be accomplished at Wendover Field, Utah. It cannot be said that the announcement of our next training base was received with mixed feeling. They were unmixed and all were unhappy. The word had come up by the grapevine. Living conditions were bad, tar paper shacks. little water, no town within a hundred miles, cold weather, coal stoves, nothing about it seemed to be good.

Two trainloads of men and equipment left at 4 this afternoon, 349th, 350th, 351st, and part of the 418th. Headquarters and the remainder of the 418th will go tomorrow. The trains are combination passenger -- tourist sleeper -- and freight cars. Jeeps and light trucks and staff cars on flat cars, baggage and equipment in box cars. Mess from a kitchen car. Service on paper plates.

Of course, this isn't the first move really since we have already moved once from the temporary headquarters at the base down to the big base operations office where S-2 had an office of it's own. That luxury was good only a week and couple of days. Our comfort there made moving to Wendover doubly disagreeable.

Nov 30, 1942

The last contingent of the 100th arrived this morning. Several score of men who had been shipped direct from parent groups and routing pools were already on the field awaiting the arrival of the group. Other began to come in almost before the Walla Walla Contingent was upacked. Non-com personnel was drawn chiefly from the 29th Group at Gowen Field.

The S-2 section was set up in a low one-story tar paper barracks building apart from the other headquarters groups. There is an office in he center of the long building. On one end there is a combination lecture room devoted chiefly to identification instruction. It is fitted with ship and plane models. Each room has it's own stove.

By nine almost everything was piled in the middle of the floor of the office. There was a typewriter missing and couple of table and a field desk. Not a bad record for the first move.

Dec 1, 1942

Everything is upacked. the field desk, the typewriter, and a few other odds and ends straggled in, but the tables are still missing. However this office is well equipped with two desks, some filing cases and a coupe of GI mess tables, so the won't be missed until we move.

This is second phase now and things are beginning to move with some speed. The big problem for S-2 is to conduct at ground school in cooperation with Operations. This means reports for everybody from squadron CO's on up. The instruction will include identification, aircraft and naval, map reading, combat intelligence, etc.

Some new flying officers came in today to round out our complement of 36 combat crews. Colonel Alkire called them together and gave the Keynote without mincing words. He told them that some of them would be killed -- that was part of the plenty of actions and do plenty of damage.

He explained that he did not intend to set any rules for their personal conduct. They were free, white and of age, he said, and should be capable of excising independent judgment should any turn out to be bad, they not only would suffer and that he would see to that they did.

The pilots seemed to have adequate training and appeared to be competent for their jobs. The co-pilots were green kids just out of school. Most had not time in multi-engined craft. They had just passed the single engine trainer stage.

Dec 2, 1942

Classes started today. Capt. Shaw gave the first S-2 lecture on Safe Guarding Military Information. There were more than 100 men attending and the lecture room was filled to capacity. These combat crews are very young - most between 20 and 24 - but they listened attentively. Capt. Shaw gave them an outline of the proper way to handle classified matter as explained in AR-380-5, and at the end of the period gave them a little examination. He announced before the lecture that he would do this and gained a real advantage in holding their attention. These tests will be given each day and attendance will be checked from the papers turned in.

The classes begin at 0815 and the session lasts until 1015. The first half is devoted to S-2 lectures and the second half is taken by operations. Two squadrons attend in the morning and two come in the afternoon from 1300 to 1500 to hear the same lecture.

Dec 3, 1942

Classes in Aircraft Identification were taught by Lt. Burr.

Dec 4, 1942

Lt. Arick taught classes in map reading today.

Dec 5, 1942

Capt. Dolan taught a class in naval identification today. Also today he was notified that he was being transferred to a new group on the field (379th). His assignment is Group S-2.

Dec 6, 1942

A class in naval identification was taught today by Capt. Dolan. Another order had came through revoking his transfer and he will remain with the 351at for a while yet.

Dec 7, 1942

No classes today. Major Graham of the Wing was in to look the situation over and advise Capt. Shaw concerning further training plans.

Dec 8, 1942

Capt. Shaw and Capt. Dolan collaborated today in the instruction of a class. They read a report prepared from an interview with Colonel Armstrong of the 97th which has been in action on England for considerable time. This is the last day of the S-2 school sessions. Group operations is taking over from now on.

Dec 9, 1942

Got rid of the school routine today -- passing out papers, checking attendance, making

reports, etc. It took a man a quarter a day to take care of this. Tomorrow we'll begin preparing missions.

Dec 10, 1942

The business of preparing missions outlines and reports together with the proper overlays began today. Jacklitz and Turner made the overlay, a triangular mission to Shoshone, Idaho, Preston and Corrinne, Utah, and back to Wendover. Dry bombing runs, gunnery practice, navigators, bombardiers, engineers alternation at the co-pilot's controls. Capt. Shaw briefed the crews and they were interrogated by Capt. Dolan after the mission. T/Sgt. Donald V. Cook reported for duty today. Personnel and investigations.

Dec 11, 1942

All hands busy today on overlays. Have one for Lt. Burr, one for Lt. Arick, two for Capt. Dolan, and one for Capt. Shaw to go to the 418th. Lt. Arick was temporarily assigned to the 350th on the 9th to get the squadron started. So far there are only four S-2 officers. Capt. Shaw is helping the enlisted men in the 418th.

Usually we make the overlays and the squadron men copy them. Five copies are required for each mission since we keep one in the group files. We have also started on practice problem - a raid on Lille for Capt. Shaw.

Dec 12, 1942

Fixed up a situation map today with some Plexiglas over a Communication Chart of the World.

Dec 13, 1942

All squadrons well launched on preparations and execution of missions now. Briefing, interrogation, all combat functions included.

Dec 14, 1942

Started overlays on Minneapolis - St. Paul area for objective folders.

Dec 15, 1942

Having a lot of trouble with these coal stoves. This morning we came in and found that during the night the one in the office had exploded and soot was all over everything. It's the third or fourth time this has happened. Further more when it's too warm the stove seems to run away with it's self. When it's too cold the fire doesn't burn worth a damn. Maybe the trouble is with the firemen.

So far the weather here has been unusually good. It has rained once and the flying has been interrupted only one day when a low overcast caused operations to be suspended. The temperature has been above freezing every day although the nights are cold. No snow yet although it has snowed some in Salt Lake. Back in the Midwest the early days of December have been exceptionally cold with temperatures reaching 17 below. Some of the fellows who went to Sioux City with the 97th Group have written of persistent below zero weather there that compensates for some of the inconveniences her.

Dec 16, 1942

S-3 said today that S-2 would take the school over again for a few days.

Dec 17, 1942

Capt. Dolan gave a lecture today on relations with our allies.

Dec 18, 1942

Lt. Arick gave a lecture today on map reading. Colonel Joesph A. Cella called to tell Capt. Shaw that he was sending 17 enlisted men and three officers to add to the S-2 complement. The officers are particularly needed since the 418th squadron has no S-2 and Lt. Arick has been sent to the 350th reducing Group officer personnel to Capt. Shaw.

Everybody who wasn't busy with essential duties was mustered out today to do a little drilling. There must have been more than 500 men out including all the headquarters detachment -- enlisted and officer personnel. The drilling went on for about two hours - 1330 to 1530 - quite a stint for the pencil pushers and typewriter pounders. At the end of the period the entire group assembled and Colonel Alkire said he hoped it wouldn't be necessary to hold such drills often, but he wanted to see a decided improvement in military discipline and courtesy. The concrete of the ramp is very rough - took about two months our of a pair of shoes according to the more extravagant estimates.

Dec 19, 1942

Lt. Burr lectured on Objective folders today.

Dec 20, 1942

No classes today.

Dec 21, 1942

A class in orientation was taught today by Capt. Dolan, who has been assigned to a new group which has not yet arrived at this field. Until it arrives he will fill in with the Group S-2 section.

Five new officers reported for duty today. They are Capt. Lathrop W. Arnold, S-2 at the 418th; 1st Lt. Ronald K. Merritt, P. I. at the 418th; 2nd Lt. Paul F. Mackesey S-2 350th; Capt. Edward L. Johnson, S-2 at 351st; and 2nd Lt. John E. Schwartz, P. I. S-2 at 351st.

Dec 22, 1942

Lt. Arick conducted a class in map reading today.

Dec 23, 1942

Lt. Burr gave a lecture on Objective Folders today. Got our first real snow. About 2 inches on the ground early this morning but it rapidly melted away and the weather was bright and clear all day - like May day in Illinois. Two more officers reported for duty today. They are 2nd Lt. Robert Hogg (NMI) P. I. at 349th and 2nd Lt. John E Gregg, P. I. At 350th. Lt. Arick is to be shifted back to Gp HQ.

First casualties today : Two planes out on practice missions came down early this morning. They encountered thick weather, snow and became lost. One ship 4252-91, 418th, made a belly landing near Rock Springs, Wyoming. The ship was pretty well washed up, but none of the crew was hurt. The ship was sent to the depot at Ogden for reconditioning.

The other ship, 4253-49 ran out of gas and undershot an emergency landing field near Mt. Pleasant, Utah. It came down in a meadow, a successful landing; ship and crew undamaged. Filled with gas and oil the next day and flown back.

Both crews were briefed before take-off and the weather situation was outlined for them.

Dec 24, 1942

Capt. Dolan gave a lecture today on ship identification.

Dec 25, 1942

Capt. Arnold gave a lecture on airplane identification in ground school to certain members of the 351st and 349th squadrons.

Christmas greeting were exchanged frequently among the officers and men who had occasion to meet in the S-2 office. The enlisted personnel looked forward eagerly to a Christmas dinner at the noon hour, but found only hamburgers and two vegetables, including potatoes, upon arrival at the mess hall. They wondered if any Christmas dinner would be at all forthcoming, and learned later it was scheduled for 2030. It was really 2100 before they served themselves, filling their mess kit plates as on any other day.

In the office business was carried on as usual. Work continued on objective folders.

The day began with pleasant weather, and a white Christmas seemed an impossibility, but in the afternoon the wind came out of the northwest and drove clouds of snow before it, thus fulfilling the requirements of a white Christmas. The cold increased with the growing intensity of the wind as the night wore on. Windows rattled and unbarred doors slammed back and forth under the onslaught of a strong gust. At bedtime the sky was clear and bright with the light of the white moon which outshone many of the nearby stars.

Dec 26, 1943

Capt. Arnold gave a lecture today on plane identification.

Dec 27, 1942

Sunday and no classes today. Capt. Shaw received word he was to head the advance party in Sioux City. He will leave tomorrow morning with four second lieutenants - one from each squadron.

Dec 28, 1942

Capt. Shaw gone and Lt. Arick in charge. Lt. Arick gave a lecture on photo interpretation.

Dec 29, 1942

Capt. Johnson gave the boys some more on map reading today. We started to pack up. Turner off. Jack and I stuffed books and papers and airplane models into packing cases all day. The big job is now done, but there still remains a lot of loose ends to care for. Two new - three new crates - have been made for us. Soon we'll have all we need for this moving job.

Dec 31, 1942

Continued with the packing all day. Getting ready for departure at 1600 tomorrow. New Year's Eve on the desert. Some celebrating in the Officer's Club and the Stateline Hotel was fully occupied, both the bar and the restaurant with soldiers and civilians. A few radios in scattered barracks patrolled the air waves from east to west as the New Year rolled across the country, but there seemed to be less celebrating than on Christmas Eve. The weather was ideal -- fairly warm and clear - a fine night.

Jan 1, 1943

The first day of the New Year and we're on the move. All the other squadrons left wither early this morning or last night. The 418th with headquarters detachment pulled out at about 1715 Pacific time this afternoon. The packing and loading went a little smoother than it did from Walla Walla. The group is learning more a bout moving. We left our transportation behind for the 379th, so there wasn't so much to move as there was from Walla Walla. Wendover supplied another one of those nice clear days for out take-off. The planes left after we did and went for a tour of airfields before coming into Sioux City.

Jan 2, 1943

All day on the train. A troop train is liked less by soldiers than almost anything else they experience in a peaceful country. They are dirty, cramped, without much ventilation and sometimes without much heat. Two in a lower and one in the upper just about takes care of the sleeping situation so that nobody gets too much sleep. Still it could be worse. One of the boys had ridden from Florida to Seattle in one of those old fashioned coaches with a pot bellied stove in the center for heat and rattan seats. That capped the hard luck stories and nobody bitched for a while.

Jan 3, 1943

Still riding, out of the mountains now, running through the level country east of Denver. The Chaplain gave a sermon today. Told us that he was man with all of man's innate sinfulness and weakness, but that he couldn't surrender to evil because of his convictions, because he was saved. The food on this trip was much better that it was on the trip from Walla Walla. Meals on time and three times a day.

Jan 4, 1943

The journey ended today. Pulled into Sioux City at a about 0430 this morning and remained on the train awaiting transportation until about 1030. Everybody very impatient to get off and get going. The weather was cold, but clear and sunny. Streets were a glare of ice. Could hardly walk on them; some snow but only in secluded spots. Managed to get part of our stuff off the train and unpacked. Moved in with operations, and then moved out - not enough room. Set up now in large room - pleasant but rather cold. Heating system is not too good. Got through about 2100 and went to the barracks. Steel beds had been taken out and trucks were bringing in wooden beds in paper boxes. We set them up and got to bed around midnight.

Jan 5, 1943

Moving in and getting started. A big job to do. Several new men coming in. 2nd Lt. Lawrence E. Baird reported for duty as assistant S-2. Privates Richard P. Wyatt and Joseph L. Smith joined the enlisted staff.

Jan 6, 1943

Still unpacking, trying get material for our new situation map case, supplies etc. Lost our upright typewriter and had to take a substitute - not so good.

Jan 7, 1943

The 99th left eleven planes here, and we inherited most of them. The 99th had tough luck with it's training schedule. When we moved in here they moved out to the satellite fields. Consequently our squadrons are all here on this field and we really have not yet begun third phase training. If things go well we may get across before the 99th. It is said the 99th lost a large proportion of it's men because of transfers before it left here. Morale was very low.

Jan 8, 1943

The Colonel was in today to find some material on Jan Grid. Unhappily our filing system failed and we couldn't find the material. that provided the stimulus for the job of overhauling our files. The job has been long over due. Worked most of the day on it with the help of one to two men most of the time.

Jan 9, 1943

Finished the files today -- overhauled the card index, the safe file and key and cabinet file. Things should be in place now where we can put our hands on them. Also got the situation map put together and set up. Our models are up now too and with cards attached to the wires to supply information abut wind span, length, speed, range, etc. Jacklitz was not notified today that he is to report for officer training school at Ft. Belvior (Engineers) on the 21st. He will be leaving soon and we will need another P. I.

Jan 10, 1943

Began working on missions today for the group. The first is a Rendezvous mission to be run by two squadrons. Each squadron sends three planes, each by a different route, to Kingman for the rendezvous and then to Emporia for a dry run and back to Sioux City.

Jan 11, 1943

Mission to Kingman and Emporia is all set and probably will run tomorrow -- 349th and 351st. Also started a reconnaissance mission -- Norfolk, Kearney and Great Bend. This will be strictly photos. So far those that have been taken are practically useless because they were improperly identified.

Jan 12, 1943

Bad weather held up mission to Emporia -- postponed until tomorrow. Have started working up a few missions to be kept on ice until we need them. One is an interception mission with he interception southeast over Sedalia, Mo. Two squadron missions.

Jan 13, 1943

Bad weather still holding up all but local flying, but there is plenty of that. The weather is now warm and the fields are muddy. Its the January thaw.

Jan 14, 1943

Mission to Emporia, Great Bend and Sedalia are all ready, but flying weather has been lacking. Squadron missions are going through pretty well, but conditions have been unfavorable for group missions. We also have a mission ready now to go over the southern part of Lake Michigan to Grand Rapids and back over Milwaukee.

Jan 15, 1943

Warm weather still continues making plenty of mud. No chances for a group mission yet. Lt. Arick and Lt. Baird are working objective folder for Dallas and St. Louis.

Jan 16, 1943

Cold weather has struck again. Started getting cold this morning and got colder and colder all day. In the afternoon it began to snow and the drifts started to pile up. Got some information from the Denver Chamber of Commerce and Turner is in town today trying to fill up the gaps. No flying at all today.

Jan 17, 1943

Cold continues today. Fifteen below zero - no flying - snow in the air with low over cast

Jan 18, 1943

Colder today, 22 below zero this morning. Attempts to start engines were unsuccessful. Hood engine heaters failed 'to produce enough heat to take the chill out of the engines.

Jan 19, 1943

The cold weather is breaking today and there seems to be a possibility that normal operations can be resumed tomorrow.

Jan 20, 1943

Thawing today, started mass production of missions this afternoon. Got orders for six as soon as possible. This means preparation of overlays, assembly of pictures and preparations of mission outlines.

Jan 21. 1943

Working on regular missions and an extended mission to Tampa. The Tampa mission is to be flown by planes from each of the squadrons. The first two missions were delivered tonight and are to be flown tomorrow. The others will be completed tomorrow - Grand Island mission is to be, Beatrice, Lincoln, Omaha, Des Moines and other towns within a 350 mile radius.

Learned today that the 100th is going to be held up for three months. Don't know the exact reason, but rumors say it has something to do with lack of shipping, need for replacement combat crews rather than groups, and the possibility of sending the 100th out with B-29s.

Jan 22, 1943

First group mission competed successfully. Flying weather OK; fairly warm, but getting colder toward evening. 349th and 351st flew the mission.

Jan 23, 1943

The blizzard is back, but not quite so cold. Operations not entirely suspended. Having some trouble with group missions. Field orders from S-3 don't coincide with S-2 mission outline - planes not available, etc. All are things that will have to smoothed out before a group can be ready for combat.

Lt. Burr brought his men up to the group office today and gave his weekly news summary. Colonel Alkire sat in and Lt. Gore from A-2 was there; it was a good show.

Jan 24, 1943

Sunday, and the place is rumbling with rumors about were we are to spend the three months and what we shall be doing. Kearns, Utah, Scott's Bluff, Neb. , Salina, Kansas are some of the candidates. Speculation on the function of the group is imaginative, but seems mostly centered on some kind of training assignment.

Jan 25, 1943

THINGS ARE COMING A LITTLE CLEARER NOW. WE'RE GOING TO KEARNEY, NEB. AND ACT AS A SORT OF PARENT GROUP FOR FOURTH PHASE TRAINING. COMBAT CREWS WILL BE SEPARATED AND SENT OUT WITH OTHER GROUPS. WHAT THE GROUND ECHELON IS GOING TO DO IS MORE THAN I KNOW. KEARNEY IS A BRAND NEW BASE AND FOR A WHILE THERE WILL BE PLENTY TO DO JUST TO GET AN ORGANIZATION OPERATING.

Jan 26, 1943

Major Davenport, A-2, 21st Wing, called Capt. Shaw yesterday a couple of times and today he and Lt. Arick, the group staff including Colonel Alkire and the squadron S-2s went down to Salina to look the situation over and learn the score.

Jan 27, 1943

Most of the Salina visitors came back today, but Colonel Alkire and Capt. Shaw remained for another day to look at facilities at Kearney. Lt. Arick brought back two boxes full of confidential material which we shall be using in the work at Kearney.

Jan 28, 1943

Marking time, Capt. Shaw away on 24 hour pass - have to start packing soon - not word has come through yet.

Jan 29, 1943

Started packing today. It looks now as though we would be going out about the middle of next week. Normal operations are practically suspended.

Jan 30, 1943

The 351st pulled out today. There seems to be a plan to send the group out a squadron at a time. The 351st is to pave the way for the others that follow; clean the place up, get a kitchen to operate etc. We are all set for departure anytime now.

Jan 31, 1943

Got the last weekly report in to the 15th Wing. Now we are officially finished with our three phases of training. The next report will be for the 21st Wing. 349th pulled out tonight.

Feb. 1, 1943

Loaded all our equipment on a freight car today. We're going down with the 350th so that we can be ready to begin operations as soon as possible. Capt. Shaw and Lt. Arick are driving down in the morning tomorrow; we'll leave later the same day.

Capt. Arnold, Lt. Baird, Lt. Galliman, Lt. Justice and Lt. Tatala received orders today to leave the group for about three months of detached service. Lt. s Baird and Tatala along with Capt. Arnold went to the 29th Group at Gowen and Callinan and Justice to some group at Casper, Wyoming.

Feb. 2, 1943

Killed time all day waiting for night to come so that we could get on the train and be off. At last we got the word to fall out. This was about 1830. After waiting an hour and half the train pulled in and we piled aboard. There was plenty of room in the coaches. It had been fairly warm all day and soon after we boarded the train it began to rain. Rain continued as long as we were awake. Spent about four hours switching around and waiting. Finally left Sioux City about 2230. The 350th takes good care of their men on a trip; we had sandwiches and fruit, besides a lot of stuff we brought along with us.

Feb. 3, 1943

Slept on the couches - laid the backs down and we could sleep quite comfortably. Laid over most of the night in Concil Bluffs. Left Omaha early in the morning and pulled into Kearney about 1000 today. Backed our train into the base and began unloading almost immediately. Had all our equipment in an office by 1500 and had the stuff fairly well unpacked. Have a pretty nice layout; large lecture hall, an office room, and a storage room with a brick vault.

Feb. 4, 1943

Getting settled today. Got a scare this morning when Capt. Shaw announced that he had been informed that we would be doing a briefing tonight. Everybody rallied around to get maps ready; eventually it was called off; the maps were pieced together and the routes marked in red tape. They will be hung in the theater when the briefing comes off.

Feb. 5, 1943

Word finally came through concerning our new location. We are to vacate t his building and move into an identical one which is now being used by the base. It is near the control tower and will be much more convenient for us. We have the same relative position in the building - an office, briefing room, vault and storage space. We'll probably use the briefing room for a library.

Feb. 6, 1943

Accomplished our first briefing today - S/A and S/P. Capt. Shaw opened because Colonel Alkire was called away. Did a good job and the boys ate it up. These fellows are a cocky bunch, but they listened respectfully. The session was a long one. Major Egan followed Capt. Shaw and he was followed by Lt. Iannaccone with Lt. Gonzales, the Group Navigator, next and that finished S/A. S/P was given by Capt. Bowman and a navigator sent up from the 21st Wing. He gave a swell talk drawing on a personal experiences. Capt. Hardy, 350th medical officer, wound up the show with a little medical briefing. The session lasted from 0830 until 1200.

Feb. 7, 1943

The moving into new quarters at Building 266 was the principal order of the day.

Although the buildings are identical, the stoves in 266 are in much better working condition. We are much nearer to Group Headquarters and other important offices of the base.

Feb. 8, 1943

Capt. Shaw, Lt. Arick, each of the Squadron S-2's Lts. Burr, Harritt, and Captains Johnson and Bowman left for Salina for the purpose of attending a briefing.

Feb. 9, 1943

Bad weather set in and grounded the visitors at Salina. In the evening lights and power failed without warning at 2100 hours, producing varied effects on the personnel on duty in the offices of our building. High winds with increasing velocity sent the temperature downwards, and raised a great deal of dust, giving noisy testimony to the fact we are in the great Dust Bowl.

Feb. 10, 1943

The temperature in the early AM hours reached the low level of 40 F. The lights were still out of commission. The bad weather abated somewhat in the he afternoon enabling Capt. Shaw and his visiting party to return late in the afternoon from Salina.

Feb. 11, 1943

Lt. Arick left in the afternoon to go to Sioux City for the purpose of securing maps for the new war room now under construction.

Feb. 12, 1943

Lt. Arick returned from Sioux City and distributed lecture assignments to the squadron

Rumors concerning the granting of furloughs becoming strong among personnel, both commissioned and enlisted.

Feb. 13, 1944

M/Sgt Kirkpatrick was off on a very important mission today. He was married to Thelma Marie DeMott of Chicago, IL. This is the first event of it's kind in the history of the Group S-2. Developments concerning furloughs took a more definite shape late in the afternoon when Capt. Shaw talked of traveling distances from Kearney, NB to the home communities of the office personnel.

Feb. 14. ,1943

M/Sgt Kirkpatrick requested of each enlisted man a memorandum specifying dates of first and second preferences for furloughs. It is planned to arrange them so that one enlisted man at a time will be away, and so that each will have from sent to ten days commensurate with he length of traveling time required to reach home.

Feb. 15, 1943

It becomes more and more evident we may have to move to new quarter, but there is no definite indication as to the exact location to be taken over.

Feb. 16, 1943

Today the first of the Group S-2 personnel got under way on his furlough, which in this case will be doubly important inasmuch as the trip is a honeymoon as well.

Feb. 17, 1943

In the middle of the afternoon we moved all our belongings to new quarters. With our personnel somewhat reduced due to the absence of M/Sgt Kirkpatrick it took a little longer to get things packed, and it was past supper time before everything was deposited safely in the new office. From now on we occupy the end of the west wing of building 102, along with the S-2 offices of the Squadrons. The windows in this new location are much larger and the amount of sunlight that comes in during the day augments the meager heating facilities (three old stoves) to the extent of obliging us to open the windows at noon.

Feb. 18, 1943

Today we were busy accomplishing the arrangement of the desks, chairs, packing cases, table, etc. to suit our greatest possible comfort and efficiency. The packing cases were placed to one side, ant the desks were so arranged that a definite line of demarcation is discernible. As we proceed we found documents and bulletins that could be of use to the 23rd processing group. This we dispatched to them as soon as possible. T/Sgt Cook was transferred to Group Headquarters, and at the present time we have available only three enlisted men.

Feb. 19, 1943

A slight mix up in the furniture situation gave us a little work today. The inventory begun in our former quarters was forgotten by most of us, and only one of us gave it an occasional thought. There were some visits made here by members of the S-2 section of the 23rd Processing Group, with the motive of getting information and organization. This may have given some of us an enhanced sense of our importance.

Feb. 20, 1943

Today Capt. Shaw suggested we take inventory of all things belonging to our office. This is a big undertaking and it is expected that it will take several days to complete. There will be of necessity a great deal of detail, and there will be by-products benefit of having the men doing the inventory get more fully acquainted with the organization and function of our offices. Most of them have been with us only part of the time that Group S-2 has been in existence. Consequently daily duties have prevented them from taking time to learn what this office has acquired before they were brought into the organization.

Feb. 21, 1943

Today we continued our work on the inventory. Capt. Shaw devised a training schedule of lectures of vital importance for the next two months. The subjects covered include the customs, history, political background and geography peculiar to the countries to be visited by combat crews. In a sense they are formalized department of a large scale briefing.

Feb. 22, 1943

The first examinations in aircraft and naval identifications were given on Sunday night and last night. They were conducted by our Squadron S-2 organizations because the 23rd Processing Group is not yet ready to function. The results showed that although the boys were pretty well instructed on aircraft identification, they were pretty weak on naval identification.

Feb. 23, 1943

Moved again today for the fourth time since we hit this base. This time we completed the circle and moved back into the rooms in which we first settled. There is no telling how long we shall be here since we have lost any priority we might have had for space to the 3rd Processing Group and are functioning merely as the adjunct to it temporarily.

Feb. 24, 1943

Hard at work on the inventory again. Sgt Turner left today to go back to New York on his furlough and Kirkpatrick returned. The weather has been extraordinary mild the last few days, and it seems as though spring must be just around the corner.

Feb. 25, 1943

The inventory was completed today, and we have begun a check on the receipt's we signed to determine whether we have all the material we are charged with. That is a big job, since it is not easy to locate all the stuff now. Of course quite a bit if it is missing temporarily or permanently. No shortage in confidential and secret classifications.

Feb. 26, 1943

Worked the files a little today, trying to make more room in the office safe.

Feb. 27, 1943

Colonel Alkire back on the and he requested today that the period of waiting should be utilized for instruction of personnel remaining with the group. S-2 was officially assigned a weekly news summary.

Feb. 28, 1943

Getting a program of instruction organized by Squadron S-2's. This will include weekly news summaries as well as lectures on specific topics for ground personnel.

Mar 1, 1943

Received a request from 2nd AF today to return all metal airplane models. Sent letter to the Squadrons requesting that models issued to them be returned.

Mar 2, 1943

All airplanes models packed in a big wooden box; weighs about 200 lbs. Enlisted

personnel taking turns taking off early in the afternoon - there isn't much to do.

Mar 3, 1943

Going through our restricted material to sort out items that we can spare to send back to the 2 AF with the models. The near zero weather of the last couple of days has moderated and the temperature is almost back to normal.

Mar 4, 1943

Drew up schedule for the use of the lecture room here by Squadron S-2 lecturers. Thirty-eight new co-pilots came in this afternoon to join the Group. Our first pilots are being sent out as flight commanders; our co-pilots are being moved up to first pilots; and these boys are taking over the co-pilot's jobs. We'll give them most of their ground school training and they will then join our first pilots on detached service to complete their training.

Bowman Diary - Page 01
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