380th Bomb Group Association

 NEWSLETTER #33 ~ Winter 2007/2008


From: Pete Minix
To: Barbara Gotham
Date: Oct 12, 2007 7:07 PM
Subject: Documenting the history of our World War II Veterans

I have been collecting and documenting the history of our World War II Veterans since 1998. I currently have over 200 veterans from all branches and ranks, in my "private library". I have always been interested in World War II and what better way to learn this is to talk to the men and women who lived it. It is my way of keeping their memories and stories alive. For every World War II Veteran we lose, a piece of history is gone forever. I believe that it should be told to someone who is willing to take the time to document their story. For the men and women, who served during World War II, they all have a great story to tell, whether they were in combat or sitting behind a desk. They answered the call to duty in a time when more the half the world was at war.

When it is my time to pass on, all this information will be placed in the General Patton Museum in Chiriaco Summit, CA, so that future generations will know what these men and women went through. One day, all of our Veterans from World War II, will have passed on and so will their stories.

If you are a veteran or a family member of and would like to share your / their personal experiences of World War 2 with me, please e-mail me at pdmmm@msn.com

Peter Minix
Former Marine Sgt.
Indio, CA

From: Billie Sutter
To: Barbara Gotham
Date: Oct 24, 2007 10:40 PM
Subject: 380th information


I am John and Mary Ellen (Harris) Porter's eldest daughter. My brother Mike and sister Donna and I have been working to put together information on our parents' service in Australia for the Aviation Military Museum of Louisiana.

The Museum is located in Monroe, Louisiana, at Selman Field - now a regional commercial airport - in WWII, the location for the Army Air Corps largest navigator school, and later the founding home of Delta Airlines. Monroe is also the adopted hometown of Claire Chennault of Flying Tigers fame and an astronaut - Jim Halsell. All this to say there's lots of air history here.

Our family lived in Monroe for many years; our parents died there and Mike still lives there. We donated some of our parents uniforms, pictures, and memorabilia and told the curator the story of how and where they met and eventually married. Now they have become something of a special exhibit in the Museum, which is being expanded and rededicated on November 10 this year.

Our parents met at Fenton Field (Momma was an Army nurse) and married in Adelaide in 1944 in a double ceremony with Jenny Krause (another nurse) and 'Ned' Brenholtz, Daddy's Co-Pilot. Daddy was part of the 528th, and he and Momma attended many of the 380th reunions - including the return to Australia.

Thanks for all your work in keeping the memory of the 380th alive.

Billie Sutter

From: Donald I. Jack
To: Bill Shek (copy to Barb Gotham)
Date: Dec 1, 2007
Subject: Your Dad's A-2 Jacket

Hi Bill, I really enjoyed your article in the October 2007 Flying Circus Newsletter! As an introduction, I am a former WW2 member of the 531st Bomb Squadron - Tom Cook's crew. You mentioned the "blood chit" (Nationalist Chinese Government Flag) on the jacket. Also, that the 380th BG squadrons at Fenton never used these patches. True, but when the 380th moved to Mindoro, P.I., the coastal Chinese areas occupied by the Japanese, came on the target menu and these escape FLAGS were issued to crew members. I STILL HAVE MY SILK FLAG! [see photo below]

As a living relic, I participated in the first 5th Air Force raid on Hong Kong Harbor (April 2, 1945, mentioned on page 330 of Glenn Horton, Jr.'s book, "The Best in the Southwest"). As the article mentions, due to a navigation SNAFU, the 531st Squadron became lost and wasted one hour of precious fuel! We finally went in alone over Hong Kong Harbor and we were greeted by "heavy and accurate flak." I'm old, but I remember it all as if it was yesterday! Being very low on fuel for our return trip to Mindoro, we stripped all possible weight from the plane! This included throwing the gun barrels overboard! There were several times when we were not sure if we had enough fuel to make it "home" and resorted to tossing everything we could out of the plane! Especially if the plane had been flak damaged or had mechanical problems!

Tom Cook's crew is shown on page 360 of Horton's book [reprinted here]. I'm the blonde kid standing 3rd from the right in the picture. I was age 18 when the picture was taken - maybe that's why I'm still alive - I was very young back then!

My Best Regards,
Donald I. Jack

Escape Flag   Cook Crew

    From: James Chastain
Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2007
To: Gotham, Barbara J.
Subject: A soggy Veterans day at Hill Aerospace 5AFMC

Dear Barbara

The 5th Air Force Memorial Circle big plaque was dedicated last 13 October and looks and reads pretty nice. The flags and flowers got a bit drenched. We had quite a nice dedication last month and things are coming along slow but fine. I have two new plaques in the works, one from the 38th BG "The Sun Setters" and the other concerns the 19th BG who were operational in the Philippines at the beginning of WWII.

As ever,
Jim Chastain


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Last updated:  02/26/2008 09:19 PM