by Harry H. Crosby
Late in 1945 I was talking to a young pilot who had just been assigned
to the 100th Bomb Group. Although he was supremely, even
brashly, confident about himself and his crew, he was worried. Yes he
was afraid. He said that when he was in the States training, he had
already heard of the Bloody Hundredth, the hard-luck outfit of World War
II. He had heard the story of how the Luftwaffe was waging its own
special war against our Group. He told me stories about our Group, most
of which I, from one of the original crews who had come over on May 31,
1943 had never heard. The Bloody Hundredth was already the group about
which legends were developing. Fittingly, ironically, and sadly, that
young pilot became a part of the legend. His crew arrived on the base in
the afternoon, were assigned to their barracks, rousted out the next
morning for a mission before they had unpacked their bags, and were shot
down. He was from then on known as The Man Who Came to Dinner…
I have always been amazed that I was so late in coming to know Horace.
As Group Navigator I flew only when the Group led the Division or the
Eighth Air Force, which meant that whereas other flying crewmen could
finish a tour and go home, I had to stay. Since I was in the flying
echelon I spent most of my time with flight crews, who would come, stay
few weeks, and then either get shot down or go home…At the time Horace
was the Squadron Adjutant of the 350th and therefore lived at
the Squadron site. It happened, however, that he had just been promoted
to Group Adjutant and would be looking for a barracks in the "WAAF
Site," where headquarters personnel were quartered. (I should add there
were no WAAFs there) I therefore introduced myself to Horace and told
him of my problem. Since he was looking for a room anyway the new Group
Adjutant moved in with the Group Navigator. It was, on my part, a wise
As Group Adjutant and later as Ground Executive, Horace knew everyone
and was a friend to officers and enlisted men alike. Horace was the man
who could get stuff done, whether it was finding a bricklayer to build
an oven for a new bakery, or making sure that a corporal was treated
fairly during a court-martial. When he left the 350th the
officers and men chipped in and bought him a fine silver cigarette case.
He received a Bronze Star for the job he did at the 100th and
he deserved it. Of all the great men I met during World War II, I have
always considered him one of the most impressive.
Horace never left the 100th. He attended two reunions in
Brooklyn soon after the war. When we held the 1969 Reunion at Andrews
Field in Washington, D.C., Horace served as chairman. Since then he has
been co-chairman of the 100th Group’s informal association.
As such, he carries on a voluminous correspondence with the members.
Every time one of the old gang hears about the Group and writes to join,
Horace writes a note bringing him up to date…
The anthology is his idea. He has been keeping the records and the
correspondences, and does not want the legends, and the history to die.
At first I was not impressed with the idea, feeling that the old stories
could to be fitted into any kind of coherent, meaningful collection. I
was wrong…I am sure I speak for all of you when I thank the man who
brought them together. Another job by Horace Varian for the 100th
.. a job well done.
This book is an anthology and nothing more nor less than that name
implies: a collection of selected writings by members of the 100th
Bombardment Group (H) and by others about the Group. It is not a history
of the Unit and there may well be areas of the Group’s life which are
not touched upon. Nearly all the material was written spontaneously
between 1942 and 1978 with no thought of publication. Only a few of the
shorter pieces were written at our request to include persons or
subjects we felt important.
Only after assembling this material did I realize that the writers
represent a remarkable cross-section of those who made up the 100th:
enlisted men and officers, flyers and ground pounders; and few who
didn’t belong to the Group but whose paths crossed ours. … Without
assistance from many people, I would never have been able to prepare
this book for publication. Harry and Jean Crosby rescued me from many
areas of inexperience. Norma Swenson took many hours from her busy life
to proofread the entire collection and to help shape the book’s title.
John Archer, the 100th’s staunch English friend, who knows
more about the Group than do most of its member, has contributed two
articles to this collection. Many more have contributed greatly and I
welcome this opportunity to express warm appreciation for such
unstinting help and encouragement from so many people.
It may be that all Bomb Groups were much alike. Certainly their day to
day lives and missions were similar. People who were in other Groups and
know of our friendships, the visiting, the reunions, and the continuing
esprit, tell me the 100th must have had something different.
Horace L. Varian
The Hundredth in Review by Storm Rhode
Though the 100th’s operational loses were spectacular, they
gave rise to grossly exaggerated figures. In a effort to restore
perspective, the Editor of "Splasher Six" in 1978 asked Storm to write
Our bittersweet memories of WWII encompass history, drama,
adventure, tragedy, romance in some cases – so many items in the full
spectrum of life at war in flak-blackened skies coupled with life in the
pleasant English countryside. Most 100th veterans probably would enjoy
some data from those days that they can think about, throw around, argue
over and harbor for the future. The Bloody 100th Bombardment
Group (H) was a very effective strike force which became renowned for
spectacular heavy losses at intervals during combat operations involving
intensive fighter – bomber battles, heavily defended targets, and
extremely cold and foul weather. Its first combat mission was flown 25
June 1943, and its last on 20 April 1945. Total missions of the 100th
were 306 including 6 food drop missions to the Netherlands in May, 1945.
Total credited sorties were 8,630 and total bomb tonnage: 19,257 tons,
plus 435 tons of food dropped on food mission. The average life of a
B-17 in combat with the 8th Air Force was 11 missions. In its
period of combat 1943-45, the 100th lost 177 aircraft missing
in action plus 52 missing in other operations for a total of 229. Our
gunners claimed 261 enemy aircraft knocked down, 101 probably destroyed
and 139 possibly destroyed. This included a number of ME-262 jet
fighters in the later periods of the war. The 100th’s most
costly combat missions were; Regensburg, 17 Aug 43 (10), Bremen, 8 Oct
43 (7), Munster, 10 Oct 43 (12 out of 13 put-up), Berlin, 4 Mar 44 (15),
Berlin, 24 May 44 (9), Ruhland, 11 Sep 44 (11), and Hamburg, 31 Dec 44
(12).-. the 100th
was third in total losses, but the first two Groups (91st and
96th) had longer combat tours. The 100th in WWII
was a great adventure for all of us and one in which we’re proud to have
served, yet humbled and sad in remembering our many friends who didn’t
come back – Heroes, all.
As a final note of interest, our old outfit later became a B-47 jet
bomber unit at Pease AFB in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. John Robinson,
Squadron Commander of the 418th in the 1945 period, was
Operations Officer in the 100th Bomb Wing at Portsmouth. Then
in the mid 60’s the B-47’s were phased out of the USAF and the 100th
became the 100th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, equipped with
U-2’s. Its B-47 Jet Bombers never saw the war in Southeast Asia during
1965-73 but many of its old-time veterans, including this writer, did.
Reprinted from "Contrails"
Near the end of our stay in England a group of enlisted men, with
backgrounds in publishing, began assembling,inI word and picture,
material for the widely distributed "Contrails, My War Record." The book
was completed within a year of the end of the War. These excerpts tell
of the training phase of the Group in the States and the somewhat
painful transition to overseas assignment. We do not know who did the
On October 27, 1942, the Japanese sliced through the thick jungles of
Guadalcanal, opening a major attack…In New York, the Times headlined the
news that the Red Army was still holding in Stalingrad….Presidential
candidate Wendell Wilkie spoke to the nation, urging the opening of a
second front…A page three cut divulged that Nazi airmen were harassing
English villagers...London had had two alerts.
There were men who were bored that day. At Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho,
the headquarters clerks read their local papers, yawned and turned out
Special Order Number 300. The 100th Bombardment Group (H)
came into being. It was small and inconsequential. So were all things in
the beginning. By far the majority of the men were civilians in uniform,
hardly indoctrinated in the business of war. There were a few veterans
of peacetime service to disseminate military wisdom and procedure,
though the 100th soon evolved a way of life which was
frequently at variance with old army tradition. On November 1, 1942, the
cadres entrained for Walla Walla, Washington…Inevitable, there was
considerable confusion as the budding group adjusted itself to its first
Men from other training centers began to swell the ranks of the group
twofold within the first three day self existence. The four bombardment
squadrons began to fill out. Commanding the squadrons were 1st
Lts. William W. Veal, 349th; Gale W. Cleven 350th;
John B. Kidd, 351st and Robert E. Flesher, 418th.
Each had an Engineering Officer, Adjutant and Supply Officer as well as
other administrative and technical officers.
it was not too difficult for the men of the 100th to span
the three miles and give Walla Walla the once over. They found a
reasonably hospitable, prosperous and quite undistinguished small city,
set in fertile, flat and monotonous regions of tilled fields. The town
contained the usual complement of resources for soldiers’ enjoyment: a
well-equipped Service Club and an ample number of saloons, purveying
only the feeble brew permitted by Washington state law.
The sound of four-engine bombers were heard on the base for the first
time. Straight from the Boeing factory at Seattle, four new Flying
Fortresses, B-17’s of the latest series (F), were delivered and divided
among the four squadrons. These were the implements with which most of
the personnel were to become more familiar than the family car. Now,
very few had ever been near a B-17, much less inside one.
Almost coincidental with the arrival of the first planes, the 100th
received it’s original aircrews, one to a squadron. The 349th
was headed by Lt. Oran b. Petrich; the 350th by Lt. Norman H.
Scott; the 351st by Lt. Roland T. Knight and the 418th
by Lt. Everett E. Blakely.
Practice flights began immediately. The crews needed this familiarization
course, needed to get the feel of their big airplanes. The pilots and
co-pilots had logged some time in B-17’s, as had some of the aerial
gunners and engineers. The ground crews, most of whom were graduates
fresh from technical schools which had given little practical; training
on B-17’s, approached the monsters in eager ignorance. The airplane
mechanics, communications men, armorers, ordnance men, all found that
their long school training was but a beginning, a scratch on the surface
of the work required. The men swarmed over the planes locating
positions, straining, grunting, swearing, knocking their heads against
every projection and removing several square feet of skin from the many
It was typical of the character of these men that within a matter of
weeks, the freshman mechanics', and armorers and communication men were
servicing their battleships of the air with the nonchalance, if not
quite the efficiency, of veterans on the line.
Even in this early phase of the group’s flying experience, the work of
the maintenance crews was competent beyond expectations. The planes flew
as often as the weather permitted – which was an average of one day in
three – without an accident. As the first month of existence raced to a
close, the group had shaped up remarkably. The four aircrews were
getting in considerable flying time despite the adverse weather, the
ground crews were beginning to handle their tasks with some assurance.
Thanksgiving of 1942 at Walla Walla was celebrated with a splendid
feast, and the variety and quality of delicacies could hardly have been
improved upon. Toward the end of the month, a rumor mill, working
overtime as it did throughout the war, ground out information as to the
location of the group’s next base. Those with the inside dope were
unhappy at the prospect, for they knew it would be Wendover Field , a
spot at the edge of the Great Salt Lake Desert on the Utah-Nevada line.
Wendover was well known as a desolate. Primitive camp and in the opinion
of many men, only the army with its vast knowledge of the country, could
have chosen so barren a place.
Wendover Field was found to be as unattractive and uncomfortable as
anticipated. Living quarters for men consisted of long, low, tar-paper
shacks, crowded with double-decker bunks and heated by pot-bellied
stoves, which consumed vast quantities of soft coal. The quarters and
shops were continually tracked with clods of white, hygroscopic goo that
dried like concrete and clung forever to anything it touched.
Flying, obviously, was what the group had came to Wendover to do, and
fly it did … about twenty hours our of each twenty-four. The original
air echelon of four airplanes was joined by new crews waiting at
Wendover. These, with others which arrived during the first week on the
new base, brought the 100th air strength up to thirty-six
crews and additional aircraft were delivered throughout the month, until
the group was operating twenty planes. It was beginning to look like an
outfit. New men for the ground sections were also waiting the group when
it arrived. These men came from various parent groups and pools; some
were from the Hundredth’s own parent organization, the 29th
Group, at Gowen Field.
The training at Wendover was a rough grind, both in the air and on the
ground. Four practice missions were scheduled daily, and each was more
than five hours average duration, which left less than an hour between
flights for the mechanics and armorers to service and re-arm the planes.
Most daylight missions covered bombing and gunnery, while the night
flights took care of bombing and navigation. Combat crews, numbering
more than the planes available, took turns flying. In some ways the
facilities for training at Wendover were excellent; in others they were
highly inadequate. There was good flying weather, an excellent airdrome,
and ample supply of all essentials and a perfect bombing range on the
vast salt flats. Perhaps the most serious lack was that of air-to air
gunnery practice. For some reason, no tow-target shooting was provided
during the group’s first session at Wendover.
Christmas of 1942 descended with a sudden flurry of packages and
thoughts of home. It was officially marked by sumptuous dinners at the
squadron mess halls. The 349th, in full spirit of the season,
decorated their feast with a great vase of carved ice in which actual
red roses, imported from a Salt Lake City hothouse, were magnificently
incongruous in the barren desert where not even cacti could find
sustenance in the salt-crusted earth.
On December 28, Captain Minor Shaw of S-2 left Wendover as head of an
advance party, composed of one officer from each squadron. Four days
later, on the first day of the new year, 1943, the entire group, less
the airborne contingent of approximately 175 men in eighteen planes, set
out for the new base…Sioux City, Iowa. The flying party took off the
following day and arrived in Sioux City by way of Tucson, Arizona, and
The rail travelers occupied two troop trains, the first of which pulled
out of Wendover shortly after daylight. Despite the fact that there were
a great many big heads among those who had welcomed in the new year, it
was a happy bunch. The men were delighted to leave the desert.
The eyes of the troop trainers failed to register the increasing frost
on the windows, and upon arrival at Sioux City, the initial nine degrees
below zero blast had a definite sobering effect. It proved to be one of
the warmer days. There was glazed ice on the ground, interspersed with
patches of snow. On the concrete apron and runways of the airdrome, the
ice was a solid two inches thick – making a fine, vast skating rink, but
a treacherous place for flight operations.
Living conditions, as well as working facilities, were superior at
Sioux City. Barracks were comfortable and not overcrowded. The post
afforded all the desired conveniences and minor luxuries. Sioux City
itself was a soldier’s Promise Land. A city of some 100,000 population,
its hotels, bars and places of amusement were well up to accommodating
the 100th. The people were hospitable, and the city had
escaped the war boom with all its congestion and shortages. It was a
liberal town, with an almost frontier atmosphere of tolerance and
conviviality. The 100th
gave it their stamp of approval. There were plenty of bright lights, and
the men were attracted to the Glass Hat Bar of the West Hotel, the
Rathskeller, and the Oasis, distinguished by Egyptian décor and fine
food. On the rougher side of the ledger, the Beer Cellar and the Alamo
were tailored to the tastes of a goodly number of the 100th.
For late suppers the Savoy was popular, but Charlie’s Steak House was
the supreme spot for sheer pleasure of the palate. No one seemed to lack
for dinner companions.
There were days on end when the thermometer never rose above zero. One
morning at daybreak the official thermometer at base weather registered
30 degrees below zero. In spite of the temperature the Group’s training
moved ahead. The program for this supposedly final phase called for
three practice missions daily. Stress was put on navigation, formation
flying and included bombing and air to ground gunnery on the ranges in
the wilds of the Dakotas. Two missions were daylight flights and the
third was always flown in darkness, all this when weather permitted.
Several days passed during which all the available engine-heating
equipment failed to warm the engines sufficient for them to start. Other
missions were scrubbed because of severe snowstorms. All told, the
planes flew but half of the scheduled missions and the aircrews added
little to what they had absorbed in the month of intensive training
operations at Wendover.
Although the ground crews did not have the volume of work they had at
Wendover, the weather made their tasks arduous. On the open flight line,
the men endured polar temperatures coupled with strong winds. There were
a good many cases of frozen extremities, particularly fingers, noses and
ears. Few cases of frost bitten feet were reported. It was a tribute to
the sound health of the group, as well as successful army attempts to
protect the health of the men that, aside from frostbite, there was an
extremely low rate of illness due to exposure. There was a mild epidemic
of mumps, and a serious set of lectures on the V.D. scourge.
Four days after the group arrived at Sioux City, the officers of the
group knew that the outfit was not slated to go overseas after finishing
up at Sioux City. General Olds, the patron saint of heavy bombardment,
gave the word at this time the 100th was scheduled to be
broken up. The news was quite a blow, but Colonel Alkire’s quick and
effective verbiage, plus his high standing with General Olds, saved the
group and got it transferred to Kearney, Nebraska. Colonel Alkire went
to Kearney in order to meet with the good townspeople with regard to
hosting the group. The morning of the Colonel’s arrival he was met by
members of the Chamber of Commerce, merchants, member of the local
churches and the dean of a local college. Arrangements were made for
clubs to host men of the 100th, and the incidentals of
welcoming a bomb group were ironed out. A remark from the Dean of the
college and the Colonel’s reply closed the meeting with laughter all
around. "How can I protect my girls?" asked the Dean. Colonel Alkire’s
instant reply was; "You take care of your girls and I’ll take care of my
Colonel Alkire assembled the outfit in the theater and related the
entire story, not without personal disappointment in his tone. There
were men who felt relieved, there were others who felt let down. To
spice what promised to be a dull future, he proposed that all officers
of the 100th
launch a moustache-growing competition during the three months that the
group was to stay at Kearney. The gentlemen sporting the poorest lip
draperies at the end of that time were to host a dinner for the more
hirsute. Needless to relate, this contest sprouted some ghastly growth
as well as some hitherto unsuspected talents in whisker culture.
The men of the 100th went back to packing for Kearney. The
packing was well along toward completion for what was thought to be an
ocean voyage. It was hastily finished for the overnight journey, and in
late afternoon of January 30th the first units entrained for
Kearney. The aircrews left by rail and plane to different bases
scattered over the Western United States. Some went to Blythe,
California, Walla Walla, Washington, Boise, Idaho, Pocatello, Idaho,
Casper, Wyoming, Pierre and Rapid City, South Dakota and Ainsworth,
Nebraska. It was to be three months of almost suspended animation.
Theoretically they were to instruct green crews; actually for the most
part, they were concerned with the passage of time and flying enough to
keep from going stale. For the ground echelon at Kearney there was
plenty to occupy their time. The one story pine barracks were as the
builders had left them littered with the debris of construction. The job
of cleaning up buildings and grounds required several days. The barracks
were not at primitive as those at Wendover, and were eventually made
into comfortable quarters.
The town of Kearney was, of course, the first and most important
objective of the pleasure-bent Century Bombers. Civilian buses made a
route through the base at regular intervals, and they were invariably
jammed to the doors. There were many eating and drinking places, but few
were the bistros of class or attractive atmosphere. The ubiquitous
Oasis, the Windmill, and the incredibly-named Arabian Nights were among
the most patronized bars. One first class hotel, The Fort Kearney, and
the Midway, a rambling shabby hostelry, did capacity business day in and
day out, while a few broken-down rooming houses catered to the overflow.
One of the most memorable of Kearney’s institutions, not excepting the
State College, were the fantastic Nifty Rooms, which catered to the
Momentous news for the 100th broke in mid-February.
Furloughs averaging nine days (depending on travel time to the
particular hometown) were authorized. The first vacationers left
February 15th, and other followed on their heels, until
virtually all members of the group had enjoyed what was to prove a
farewell visit home.
Toward the end of March, when belief solidified in the ranks of the
group that it would never go overseas as a unit, word began to circulate
that Col. Alkire’s assurance at Sioux City was to be fulfilled. On March
30th, the first of a series of showdown inspections was held,
and the men carefully laid out their worldly GI possessions to be
checked. Two weeks later the combat crews began to trickle back to the
group from their places of hibernation. They were issued new planes and
equipment. On April 20th, all of the original crews,
thirty-seven in number, took off on a mission to Hamilton Field in
California, led by Colonel Alkire. This trip was designed as a checkout
on high altitude formation flying, but was hardly a fair test, in view
of the fact that the crews had little experience in this type of
missions, and were stale from three months of comparative inaction. This
mission was a great disappointment and proved unfortunate for the entire
group, for it cost them their highly esteemed commander, not by a flying
accident, but by influencing his removal from command of the group. All
but three of the planes completed the mission, which included a flight
out over the Pacific Ocean and a climb to 30,000 feet, much higher than
a large majority of the crews had previously flown.
From April 21st to 26th while the mission was away, the
soldiering on the base was intensive. There were daily drills and
inspections, two showdown inspections, a shelter tent-pitching exercise
(few of the men had ever seen a pup tent erected) and a formal retreat
and a parade on the apron. The group groaned though calisthenics’ in the
morning for the first time since the early days at Walla Walla.
The air echelon returned to Kearney dejected at the showing that had
been made. Group Headquarters learned officially on April 26th
that Colonel Howard M. Turner, a former Washington staff officer and
assistant to General Arnold, had arrived to assume command. The men were
informed by Alkire himself, at an assemblage in the gymnasium. It was a
typical Alkire speech, in which there was no word-mincing and no
excuses. "I am being kicked out because of alleged incompetence," said
the Colonel. "It may be that the charge is just, but I am depending on
you men to vindicate me in the end. You are going into combat soon, and
I have every confidence that your conduct will prove I wasn’t such a bad
leader, after all." Perhaps there were no actual tears shed by his
listeners, but there were many a tightened throat among the men he had
treated with consideration and to whom he had been so accessible. There
were doubtless many silent resolves to uphold Pappy’s faith in the group
when the outfit finally hit action. How well such resolves were kept is
a matter of record in the combat history of the 100th.
On May 1st, 1943 the air echelon of forty planes and crews
took off for Wendover, where they spent twenty days of advance training.
The non-flying contingent left Kearney for Camp Williams, Wisconsin, for
a week of hectic training in warfare ala infantry. The men lived in
tents pitched between the oaks and pines. They dug trenches, fired on
the range with M-1 carbines and Thompson’s, handled explosives and
climbed mountains. On May 9th, with quickening tempo, the
ground echelon sped to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, the great port of
embarkation. For more than two weeks, there were clothing inspections,
issues, barracks bag packing and unpacking, roll calls and passes to New
Brunswick, Elizabeth and Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and to the Empire
City, New York. Men returned to camp just often enough to renew their
passes and duck out again through the hole in the fence, where the bus
line had instituted a regular stop. It was a last fling with a
vengeance, and the men sopped up enough bright lights and bourbon to
last for a long time.
On May 26th, the earth-bound personnel of the outfit boarded
trains at Kilmer, made a miserable, cramped trip to Jersey City, ferried
across the Hudson River and after hours of waiting in the pier shed,
filed aboard the former Cunard White Star Liner "Queen Elizabeth," now
His Majesty’s Ship. All through the afternoon of the 26th,
that night and following morning, troops and supplies poured into the
vast hull. Close to 0100 hours on May 27th, tugs nudged her
hull out into the stream and the Queen pinged her prow for open sea. Few
men of the 100th saw much of the sailing, since they were
restricted below decks.
Going down to the sea had none of the glamour of a Masefield poem. The
sea was placid; new rumors quickly made the rounds as the converted
liner knifed it’s convoy-less way to a pin point across the Atlantic.
The deck guns boomed out in practice flurries, the men munched crackers
between the far-spaced meals, and small whitecaps danced from the
giant’s path. Finally the ship nosed into the Firth of Clyde and nestled
against the Scottish seaport of Grenoch. The sun was climbing over the
railroad station as the 100th Bombardment Group arrived in
the British Isles. Mist-saturated rays licked at the surface of the
river and stirred clouds of lazy stream which ascended and descended.
The world seemed placid and unhurried … like the seagulls gliding and
wheeling in their element. The men bustled and grumbled as the harbor
slowly awoke to the momentum of a new dawning. Hills rolled softly into
the backdrop as a Scottish band on the dock broke into the morning with
a rendition of "Take Me Back to New York." The men shouldered their
bulging barracks bags and set foot to land. Before the train drew out of
the station, they received their first spot of English tea, the war time
concoction minus even a hint of sugar. They tasted, grimaced, drank, and
were aware they had been deposited into a rigid war-time economy.
Sleep was difficult that first night – the first night most of the men
had ever slept on soil other than that of the United States. They felt
an ocean removed from home, and it was a lonely feeling. The trio of
straw-filled biscuits which substituted for a mattress provided
something far less than comfort. There was much twisting and turning
until night closed in on a base at rest. The group remained at Padington
just long enough to enable the men to receive their indoctrination into
the ways and means of life in an English town. Northampton was a long
stone’s throw away, and contained streets which taxed the ingenuity of
GI drivers by their narrow, twisting routes. The British , a long
suffering people of eternal optimism, possess a genius for
understatement. A grueling two-mile hike up a winding hill and down
narrow alley become, by some magnificent cerebral imagery – "Oh, it’s
just a few turns off the first turn to the right – you can’t miss it."
From Padington, the men left for their final destination. Diss was a
point on the East Anglican map in the county of Norfolk. Thorpe Abbotts
was a tiny hamlet tucked away behind the base, unobtrusive except for
the fact that it lent an ancient name to modern arms.
On July 20th, 1943, the men stood at attention in front of
the curved huts of Headquarters. The ceremony was brief. The men in
blue, representing the Royal Air Force, officially turned over the base
to the United States Army Air Forces. Squadron Leaders Lawson and
Blomfield representing the RAF performed the ceremony. Colonel N.P.
Harding, our new Commanding Officer, acted on behalf of the USAAF. Royal
Air Force Station Thorpe Abbotts was now USAAF Station 139. It was now
official and a matter of record. The 100th had taken over.