2013 Squadron Awards
Al Benzing Leadership Award Above & Beyond Award Professional Crew Member Award and nd 2 Place Chili Cook-off!
Congratulations to all award winners (see inside)
B-29/B-24 Squadron Officer & Staff Listing Position
Adjutant & Personnel Officer
Debbie Travis King
Operations Officer & B-29 Tour Coordinator
Public Information Officer
Safety & Training Officer B-29 Scheduling Officer
B-24 Scheduling Officer
The Flyer Editor
In this Issue: • Spring 2014 AirPower History Tour Schedule • Officer Reports • 2014 Superfortress Calendar • Diamond Lil B-24 Go Team Report • “Keep Diamond Lil Flying” Fundraiser & Website • Member News • 2013 Squadron Awards • Feature Story: “Continuing the Family Legacy” by Stefan Bocchino • Feature Story: “Captain Taylor” by Konley Kelley • Special Feature “2013 in Pictures” • Editor’s Corner • Squadron Contact Information
In this issue Special Feature “2013 in Pictures”
Santa visits the hangar! Crew Chief Rick Garvis gets a candy cane. He’s been good this year! Photos by Angie Whitney, Kurtis Kelley
Spring 2014 Tour Midland, TX
Dec 17, 2013 - Feb 15, 2014
2014 Florida Pensacola, FL Leesburg, FL Clearwater, FL Sarasota, FL Naples, FL Ft. Meyers Lakeland, FL Vero Beach, FL Orlando, FL Deland, FL Jacksonville, FL
Feb 13-16 Feb 17-19 Feb 20-23 Feb 25-Mar 2 Mar 3-5 Mar 6-9 Mar 11-16 Mar 17-19 Mar 20-23 Mar 25-26 Mar 27-30
B-29 B-29 B-29 B-29 B-29 B-29 B-29 B-29 B-29 B-29 B-29
Check www.AirPowerTour.org for tour updates and news on other aircraft joining FIFI. Schedule subject to change.
Squadron Report I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Leading up to that, our Squadron had a festive meeting complete with a chili cook-off and a huge amount of wonderful desserts prepared by our members. It is amazing the great cooking talent our Squadron possesses. FIFI is in deep winter maintenance at the moment. You will see from Don and Rick’s report that FIFI will undergo a very extensive maintenance program this winter, including the hanging of our newest engine. They are running a tight schedule to have all this work done so she is ready for a short training regimen and then headed for Florida. Given our bouts with “old man winter” so far, I imagine the Florida tour will be a welcome one. Please be sure to sign up to work on it. Speaking of signing up, be sure to mark down the Squadron Ground School the weekend of February 8-9. It will be here before you know it.
Lil will be spending part of the winter on display in Midland at CAF HQ. She has had a good year and I am expecting that Al Benzing and the tour planners will put together another successful summer tour for her. The plan is for her to do some touring on her own and then for both planes to tour together later in the season. There are plenty of great opportunities for everyone to get involved in the Squadron’s activities. I hope everyone has a joyous holiday season and I look forward to seeing you next year. Neils Agather Squadron Leader
Angelle Tibbets, Paul Tibbets IV, John Schauer, Robert Wickman, Neils Agather in McKinney, TX at the AirPower EXPO (Oct, 2013) *Who is photo bombing from the cockpit?
Executive Officer Report This month Kon Kelley has written a feature on Captain Herb Taylor in The Flyer. I first flew with Herb over 40 years ago and always enjoyed his company both in and out of the cockpit. He’s a true gentleman and one of the best pilots I ever had the pleasure of flying with. Born in West Virginia, Herb learned to fly from his father at an early age and his first love was – and remains – little airplanes. When asked about his military service he would say something like, “Oh I flew the ‘Ol 24” and change the subject to light airplanes. Only after reading his co-pilot’s log, which appears in this issue, did I realize what Herb had been through during the war. Herb was a superb pilot and always made it look so easy. I recall one particular flight into Reno, NV with a strong westerly wind. At that time Reno only had two runways – 16 and 25. The crosswind component on runway 16 was well outside the limits for a 727 so Herb selected the shorter 25. It was rough during the approach and I looked over at Herb who appeared completely relaxed. After a very nice landing, we were taxiing to the terminal when fire trucks raced by us. A Cessna Skymaster had attempted a landing on runway 25 and the wind had picked the airplane up and deposited it in the intersection of the two runways – upside down. For many years Herb and his wife Babs enjoyed flying and camping in their Bonanza and Champ. They had a Honda Trail 90 motorcycle that would knock down and fit in the baggage compartment of the Bonanza. The two of them would find a nice little grass strip somewhere and set about exploring the countryside on the Honda. Their flights took them as far south as Guatemala and as far north as Point Barrow, Alaska. The trip to Point Barrow, according to Herb, was to pay tribute to Wiley and Will – Wiley Post and Will Rogers – who were killed there in a seaplane accident. For several years, Herb spent a month each summer flying and camping in Idaho’s back country. Today Herb and Babs live in Salida, CO. I hope you’ll take time to read Kon’s article on Herb and his co-pilot’s log. Tom Brokaw called it, “The Greatest Generation.” I think he got it right. Merry Christmas to you and your family and all the best for 2014. See you at ground school. Tom Travis Executive Officer 6
Maintenance Report Crew, We are once again at the end of another year and I am very proud to say that both aircraft performed very well! We got FIFI out on time at the beginning of the year and by mid-year we were finally able to get Diamond Lil back online. As always, there were a few issues on the road from time to time, but it wasn't anything that the maintenance crew and the dedication of the volunteers couldn't overcome. As everyone knows, we are now heavily into winter maintenance with FIFI at her base of operation in Addison, Texas. Diamond Lil is wintering in Midland until mid-February. I know this time of the year is a very busy time for a lot of people but we have to remember, we still have to get FIFI inspected, put back together and back on the road by the end of January. We can't do this without volunteer support. We really need your help! Any time you can give is valuable, and for those of you that are out of town, I always have a standing agreement that if you give me 40 hours work, I will cover your hotel expense. We've accomplished a lot so far but we still have a long way to go including prepping, painting and reinstalling the left and right leading edges of the wings, recovering of spare elevators, gear swings, prepping and painting areas on the fuselage, resealing all of the cockpit windows and of course reassembly of the aircraft including all exterior panels engine, cowlings and props. As you can see we still have a lot of work to accomplish before January 31, so please give some of your time to help get FIFI back on the road on schedule. Come on out and help support FIFI! I would like to personally thank all the dedicated volunteers who have made this a very successful season for maintenance on both aircraft. I truly believe we have the best volunteer maintenance team in the CAF! And of course, a very big thank you to my maintenance staff to include Don Thurston, Ben Powers and Jim Neill. Their dedication throughout this year is outstanding! So with that said, please take a moment when you get a chance and thank them for all their hard work. Also a big thanks to our Maintenance Officer, Don Obreiter, for keeping us on the centerline! From all of us in the B-29/ B-24 maintenance department, have a happy and safe holiday! Rick Garvis Crew Chief B-29/B-24 Squadron 7
Rickâ€™s recent pics
Where is my nose?
Rick might know.
Don gets into his work.
Beautiful day for Lil to depart to Midland.
Flight Operations Report 2013 Year in Review I came onboard as a member of the Squadron about four years ago. The B-29 was not flying and the B-24 was waning itself through an air show season. Our hangar was down at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum and we had yet to move into our current facility. Today, I still see many familiar faces but they have a new kick in their step, a new smile on their face. It’s all of those old familiar faces mixed with all the new faces that makes me so proud of where we have come. I have been receiving so many positive comments about the Squadron and where it is headed. We have always been a strong CAF unit and I think we should be proud of our heritage, but nothing should bring us more joy than knowing that we are headed towards bigger and better things. The CAF AirPower History Tour was a big success this year. We have quickly moved to the top and received much attention from other CAF units. Allen Benzing and I attended ICAS this year and received so much interest from all types of groups for a visit by the CAF AirPower Tour. I’m pleased to see our own CEO Steve Brown encourage other units to open lines of communication to find out what our B-29/B-24 Squadron is doing well. We are proud to hold our heads high in the industry. Many warbird groups have taken notice of our efforts and sought to be a part of it. But none of it would be possible without YOU! So with pleasure I reflect back on our unit and am so very proud of our membership. The future holds so much potential for this unit to grow and thrive. I believe we should be poised to seek out new opportunities and push for new membership and involvement. We started as the B-29 Squadron years ago and have grown to adopted the B-24, C-45, & T-6. Who knows what the future may hold but when you attract good people, hard workers, and those who are dedicated to the cause, we have all the ingredients for success. YOU are what makes it successful. I am proud of our veterans and proud of how our members honor their legacy. We love the aircraft and support them but there is no price that could be paid to see the smile and tears of a veteran, or a veterans loved one, as they touch the precious metal of our aircraft. Those are the things which our unit can not fabricate without the dedication and perseverance of YOU as members. God Bless, Merry Christmas, & Keep ‘Em Flying….. David Oliver Flight Operations Officer
Training & Safety Report In last month’s Flyer, we announced our new B-29/B-24 Squadron Safety Management System and promised additional information in future issues. Our first step was to establish our Squadron’s safety policy. On the following page is our Squadron safety policy: Continue to look for more information on our Squadron Safety Management System in upcoming issues of The Flyer.
REMEMBER, IF THE JOB IS DONE RIGHT, IT IS SAFE! John Flynn Safety Officer
PIO Report What do I do exactly? My business card says marketing and media liaison because that better explains my job relative to the tour. Press releases, communication with media contacts, purchasing of advertising, ad design and placement, the unit newsletter (see why I love Kon Kelley?) and overseeing social media and website content are the nuts and bolts of the PIO position. However, the job description includes some other less tangible but very important responsibilities. The stature of the Commemorative Air Force has increased significantly over the past few years. We are now one of very few general aviation organizations who are both profitable and increasing our membership. Other aviation organizations are eager to collaborate with us. Our aircraft and members have been the subject of stories in nearly every significant aviation publication throughout the past couple of years. This prosperity is the result of the exceptional leadership of Steve Brown. Face it, the man knows marketing. His efforts to build the CAF brand have been very successful. Steve has good ideas, but good ideas mean nothing unless you have the talent and pertinacity to see them executed. He does. However, there can be no great leader without correlativity with those who follow and we should be mindful that the hard work we have done has contributed to this progress. CAF members everywhere have stepped up huge over the past few years, believing in Steve’s leadership and working hard to achieve this success we all share. Believe me when I say I have seen how painful it can be for members to face the challenges of change put before them. But I have also witnessed the pride (and surprise, sometimes) that comes with members achieving those difficult goals. So, first and foremost, the unit public information officer’s job is to protect this CAF brand we have all worked so hard to build. While it is the responsibility of every member to represent the organization with integrity and in such a way that will convey the proper image; the PIO’s role within the unit is to oversee that. From insisting we wear the correct uniform (or “Steve Brown shirt” as Chief calls it) and correct patches on our flight suits, using the proper CAF logo on PX merchandise and publications, selecting the crew members who best represent us to talk to the press, and making sure photographers and videographers understand the rules regarding images of our aircraft – these are just a few of the many things that fall within my purview. As they say, “Image is everything,” and I want the B-29/B-24 Squadron to shine. I want to thank all of you who help me do this job; and particularly Kon Kelley, Gerald Oliver, David Oliver, Leah Block and Steve Schapiro for their help this year. Even though I whine a lot about how crazy it gets, I do love doing it. Happy holidays to all of you! I’m looking forward to seeing you all at ground school. Kim Pardon PIO
Financial Report Some of my favorite pics of 2013. Merry Christmas and see you in 2014! Gerald Oliver Finance Officer
Some start early.
Bob in Palm Springs
Neils and David selfie in a Steerman
I thought you put gas in it.
FIFI in Osh
The year 2014 marks FIFI’s 40th year of flying with the CAF. To celebrate we have produced the SUPERFORTRESS 2014 collector’s calendar to honor FIFI and the men and women who keep her flying. We are pleased to send you one of these great calendars as our thanks for your donation to FIFI. But her continued flight is at risk . . . The exhaust system on the plane is original equipment manufactured in the 1940s. It is becoming old and needs replacement. Without a new system she can’t continue to fly. . . Our goal for this year is to raise $75,000 to replace the exhaust system. Now we know an exhaust system is not a fancy thing that gathers lots of imagination. But it is VITAL to her ability to fly. So please help us. SUPERFORTRESS 2014 CALENDAR The SUPERFORTRESS 2014 calendar is unique and fabulous. It is large with vibrant colors showing FIFI flying over our great country. You will be proud to display this calendar on your wall, or keep it as a collector’s item. There are 12 fabulous, full color pictures of FIFI and her friends. Plus there are a number of historic photos of B-29s. The overall size is 14 x 20 (it is huge). Included on the inside cover are historic pictures of FIFI and the story of her recovery and return to flight.
Here’s the best part… This calendar is limited to 1,000 editions ensuring it is a collector’s item for years to come. And it is signed by five Squadron leaders who help keep FIFI flying. They are: Neils Agather – Son of the original FIFI (Josephine “FIFI” Agather, namesake of the CAF B-29) and current B-29 / B-24 Squadron Commander Lt. Charles Chauncey – 35 mission pilot of the B-29 Goin’ Jessie from WWII and a current Squadron member Scott Slocum – Internationally known aviation photographer who took the color panel photos of FIFI in the calendar David Oliver – Squadron Operations Office and the current B-29 Instructor Pilot Rick Garvis – Squadron Senior Crew Chief on FIFI Your $50 donation ensures you will receive one of the limited edition calendars with all five signatures. But please act fast as we have only have printed 1,000. When those are gone, that’s it. . . Special Offer for Serious Aviation Historians We have obtained a very limited supply of these calendars that are signed by Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk. Dutch was the navigator on the B-29 Enola Gay that bombed Hiroshima. He is the only remaining crew member from that plane’s fateful mission. Paul Tibbets IV, grandson of the Enola Gay pilot, will also be signing these calendars. Your donation of $500 ensures you will receive this special collector’s calendar with Van Kirk and Tibbets’ signatures. Only 29 are available so please order soon. Make A Memorial We are also offering several options for creating a living memorial for your loved ones. For your donation of $1,500 we will emboss your name, or the name of your loved one on the back right bomb bay of FIFI in half inch letters. You will also get a special calendar signed by Van Kirk, Tibbets and the five Squadron leaders. For your $5,000 donation we will emboss your name or the name of your loved one on the front right bomb bay in one inch letters. You will get a special calendar signed by Van Kirk, Tibbets and the five Squadron leaders. In addition, you will be given a certificate good for a ride in FIFI in the front cockpit section with the pilots. All donors will also receive a certificate for free admission for a family of four to all CAF AirPower History Tour events. Check our web site for schedule locations, dates and times. . . www.AirPowerTour.org. Donate Now So please help us today to keep FIFI flying by going to https://www.formstack.com/forms/caf-2014_calendar. Your tax deductible donation is much appreciated. . . and you’ll get a copy of this fabulous SUPERFORTRESS 2014 limited edition calendar. The Calendar makes a great Christmas gift so get several and pass them to your loved ones and friends. Each one helps us keep FIFI flying.
B-24 Go Team Report As we wrap up 2013, I'd like to thank the many Squadron members who worked so hard to make this a successful season for Diamond Lil. It seems long ago, but last year at this time, Lil sat in the corner of the hangar missing a nose gear, much sheet metal and the greenhouse nose. There was a plan in place to make the repairs, but many unknowns as to when or how this project would come together. Touring since July, Lil has made her mark with the public, with many compliments on how well she looks, and the crews know how well she's been running. Exactly the reintroduction we had hoped for and needed. Well Done! As I write this, ice has DFW at a standstill so our final event for 2013, flying Lil to Midland to participate in the December 7th program, has been stymied. But, once the temperatures moderate, she'll fly to Midland for the remainder of December, all of January and part of February. The CAF HQ Museum is planning to perform aircraft tours during this time and we hope to also do some ride flights when we prepare to fly back to Addison around Feb 15th. David Oliver and I attended the ICAS Convention in Las Vegas, to showcase our Squadron to Airshow Directors. It was a great learning experience for me, and gratifying to see that our AirPower History Tour is so well respected. It was a pleasure to discuss Diamond Lil, and our aircraft, with prospective Airshows. We'll be busy the next weeks putting together 2014 Tour Stops and Airshows. Work on updates to the B-24 Aircraft Manual continues, targeting March 1st. A draft of the B-29/B-24 Squadron Operations Manual is being reviewed. Look for this Ops Manual to be published by Jan 1st. Many of our Squadron policies and procedures will be in written form for the first time. This should be helpful to our operation, especially new members. B-24 Ground School is currently planned for Saturday, April 12th. My apologies to anyone who made plans based on my last article, when I posted the 19th - Easter weekend as the date. Again, this is a tentative date, but is provided to give you an idea of the timing. Lil should be ready to fly near this date, and allow us to appear at some local events in Spring. Thanks to all who work to Keep â€˜Em Flying, Al Benzing B-24 Go Team Leader
Member News December, 2013
B-29 / B-24 Squadron membership fees are due January 1, 2014. You can renew online at www.cafb29b24.org or mail a $75.00 check to Debbie Travis King, Squadron Adjutant and Personnel Officer:
Things may slow down at the North Pole after Christmas but not at the hangar. Come volunteer your time!
If you have any membership questions, please feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org Dues and new member applications can be mailed to: Debbie King 13562 Braemar Drive Dallas, Texas 75234 B29/B24 Squadron Adjutant 469-688-1709
February February 8-9, 8-9, 2014 2014 Addison, Addison, Texas Texas
For all your Christmas shopping or Ground School needs, visit the Px!
B-29 / B-24 Squadron PX http://www.b29b24px.org/
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2013 Squadron Awards November 16, 2013 Our November monthly meeting doubled as an awards ceremony honoring the hard work, professionalism and dedication of our Squadron members throughout the year. There was plenty of delicious food capped off by our first-ever chili cook-off. Squadron Leader, Neils Agather, took the grand prize for his chili. 2013 B-29/B-24 SQUADRON AWARDS Bob and Mildred Freeman Touring Award
Professional Aircrew Member Award
Phil Pardon Dan Owens Curtis Wester Paul Maupin John Flynn
Al Benzing Steve Zimmerman Tom Travis Debbie King Bill Goeken Mark Novak Archie Taylor
Jonathan Oliver Kim Pardon
Professional Maintenance Award
Px Person of the Year Alma Smith
Leadership Award Al Benzing
Lifetime Achievement Award Charles Chauncey
Up & Coming Award
Bob Kirby Mike Schmidt Joel Kimmel Joey Narciso Tom Bailey Steve Rabroker Ray Whiteman Jim Gentry Steve Swift Shad Morris
Greg Pitoniak Ken Ruggiano Jim Neill Henry Bordelon Michel Van Hee Leon Stirm John Chauer Don Obreiter John Flynn
Golden Wrench Award
Mike Szemplinski Kyle Householder Jake Baldwin
Steve Rabroker Bob Kirby
Above and Beyond Award
Sam Mangram B-24 Restoration Award
Al Benzing Kathy Oliver Duane Moreland Sarah Blakesley Gene Oâ€™Neal Kon Kelley Cindy Kirby Caren Landis
Ken Kovar Bruce Granger Jim Gentry Charley Rodriguez Brad Pilgrim Jim Neill Paul Torcoletti Mary Torcoletti
Vic Agather B-29 Restoration Award Don Thurston
Here are as many pics as I could fit on the page of our award winners. I apologize if you do not see your pic. Not every pic came out clear. Congrats to all! The Editor
“Continuing the Family Legacy” By Stefan Bocchino, 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs, Air Force News Original story 10/27/2011. Reprinted with the permission of Paul Tibbets IV
Col. Paul Tibbets IV, Air Force Inspection Agency commander, is the grandson of retired Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., the pilot in command of Enola Gay when it dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. Tibbets, who took command of the AFIA in July, has been in the Air Force for 22 years. He said that while growing up, he was aware of what his Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. and Col. Paul Tibbets IV in FIFI.. October 2, 1998, Midland, TX grandfather had done during WWII. His father spent a 30-year career in the Army Reserve as a pharmacist and hospital administrator, retiring as a colonel. “My father had the biggest influence on me joining the Air Force,” said Tibbets. “When I was in 9th grade, I became involved in youth service projects. It was a passion of mine to serve. My father said ‘you seem to be very interested in serving – what do you want to do with your life?’ I told him I was interested in serving, and he told me to look into something like the ROTC or service academies.” Tibbets applied to the service academies and was accepted to the Air Force Academy, where he spent four years training for his Air Force career. “The time that I spent with my grandfather was very limited growing up,” said Tibbets. “It was an honor being a Tibbets, and I will always consider him a hero. The last time I saw him before leaving for the Air Force Academy, he told me ‘Paul, just remember, people are going to know who you are because of who I am. You be who you are and don’t worry about who I was,’ What I found out later was that he was really concerned his service would somehow have a negative effect on my career. I took his advice to heart the best I could.” During his time at the Academy, Tibbets was interested in flying. Following graduation, he was selected to attend Air Force pilot training, where multiple factors went into which aircraft a student 21
pilot would be assigned to fly. According to Tibbets, the first is needs of the Air Force. From there, consideration is given to one’s ‘Dream Sheet,’ listing the planes the students would like to fly, and then the instructor’s evaluation as to which weapon system the student would be best suited for based on performance. “There was no favoritism when I was chose for bomber,” said Tibbets. “The Air Force can’t afford to put someone in the job for which they’re not qualified. I was told that it wasn’t because of who I was, but because I was the best fit.” During WWII, General Tibbets flew B-17s in Europe. Later in the war, he returned to the United States to test-fly the B-29 Superfortress. He was selected to command the 509th Composite Group that was connected to the Manhattan Project. On August 6, 1945, he flew a B-29 during the bombing of Hiroshima he had named after his mother, “Enola Gay.” “Even though there was controversy over the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, my grandfather said he never lost one minute of sleep,” said Tibbets. “He emphasized that ‘my country asked me to do something, and I set forth with the men in the 509th Composite Group to accomplish it to the best of our ability, and it helped bring the war to an end.’ It is interesting being a senior officer now and thinking about the challenges those men went through. They never lost focus on the mission they were to carry out and they did it beautifully.” Tibbets was previously assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, MO. That was the same unit his grandfather commanded during the bombing of Hiroshima. “I competed to go to the 509th and was selected,” said Tibbets. “It was quite an honor to be in that organization. It’s a highly skilled, highly capable organization with a very unique mission. Later I was selected to command.
Tibbets commanded the 393rd Bomb Squadron, an operational squadron of B-2 “Spirit” aircraft within the same wing his grandfather commanded.
“Legacy” Painting by Ronald Wong www.ronaldtkwong.com
“The wing commander made the decision that commanding the unit was where my skills were needed,” said Tibbets. “It was one of those opportunities that the Air Force has given me, to command an operational squadron and I’m obviously honored and thrilled to be a part of something like that. You add on that it was my grandfather’s squadron and it meant just the world to me. Just as my grandfather did, I was focused on serving those entrusted to my command to the best of my ability. I thought, ‘I won’t let them down, I can’t let my grandfather down, and I don’t want to let my Air Force down.” During a deployment in 2010, Tibbets spoke on Veterans Day about the attributes of his grandfather and the crew of the Enola Gay. “These were men of courage, in the air and on the ground,” said Tibbets. “In the latter days of WWII, the Allies were faced with a terrible dilemma. The Japanese had proven to be a proud, courageous and determined people, willing to die for their emperor. Invading Japan was necessary to end the war. The decision was pending that would cost an estimated one million allied casualties and possibly five to six million Japanese casualties. The alternative was dropping a bomb on two cities in Japan which would result in significantly less bloodshed and hopes of ending the war. The bombing was a choice made by our leaders to swiftly end the war, thereby guaranteeing our future and freedoms.” People have different perspectives on the rights and wrongs of this decision. “We should not shy away from intellectually discussing this with people who are 180 degrees off from your opinion,” said Tibbets. “That’s one of the reasons why I wear this uniform, so people can have the right to voice differing opinions. I think it’s important for me as ‘Paul Tibbets’ to think about what my grandfather went through.” Tibbets spoke about the decision-making that directs military action. “We execute military orders from our commander in chief, who decides what needs to be done,” said Tibbets. “People who think my grandfather and his crew were warmongers are missing the Paul and his wife, Angelle, with FIFI in McKinney point. They had a military mission to carry out. They were also told that maybe it would help end the war. Would you not want to be a part of that? You might not, but at least understand what they did. It came down to a simple fact. ‘can we end the war and save lives.” Retired Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. died in Columbus, OH on November 1, 2007. “It is a real privilege to serve our great nation, being part of something bigger than ourselves,” said Tibbets. “I am so proud of all our Airmen and joint partners, who are a very small percentage of all Americans who are wearing the uniform and defending freedom. I love it.” 23
“Captain Taylor” By Konley Kelley With special thanks to Dr. Arlene Shovald for assistance with story content and pictures I first met Captain Herb Taylor and his wife Barbara “Babs” at the wedding of his granddaughter, Katie, in May, 2011. Captain Taylor is the father of Jeff Taylor. Jeff is married to Karen. Karen is my wife’s cousin. During the wedding reception, I had a chance to learn a little more about Captain Taylor’s service in WWII. Captain Taylor is a member of the “Lucky Bastard Club,” an honor bestowed to crew members of the 8th Air Force who completed 30 missions. Captain Taylor was the first pilot for 35 combat missions aboard a B-24 Liberator. I had joined the CAF B-29/B-24 Squadron about five months prior to Katie’s wedding so I filled him in on Ol ‘927 (Diamond Lil’s name at the time). Captain Taylor also told me he ferried some famous people in post-war Europe including a celebrated female aviator. He said she gave his crew gifts of perfume after the trip. It wasn’t until late 2012 while working on a presentation with Lisa Foster aka “Rosie the Riveter,” when I figured out who this aviator was and I checked the facts with Captain Taylor. In 1949, Captain Taylor flew Jackie Cochran from Vienna to Paris in a B-17. Along with being a pioneering pilot, air racer and founding the WASP during the war, Jackie Cochran owned a cosmetics company. This explained the unique gifts to Captain Taylor and his crew. Captain Taylor flew other interesting passengers but let’s learn more about him. His father was a pilot whose parents opposed flying in WWI because it was too dangerous. His dad and a friend acquired several small planes. Captain Taylor learned to fly on a 40hp J-2 Cub when he was 13 years old and eventually flew every plane with his dad. He was studying for a degree in aeronautical engineering when war broke out. At 18 years old, he enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program and at 19 had earned his pilot’s wings and commission. 24
Captain Taylor’s crew trained on B-24s in Lincoln, NE and continued combat training in Caspar, WY before heading to Topeka, KS to pick up the B-24 they would fly to England. Captain Taylor’s co-pilot was Joseph Mulhern. Mulhern kept a private log of their missions (an activity not allowed by the military). The incredible story of their WWII experience can be found via a link at the end of this article. On the way to England, they buzzed the Mulhern’s house in Manchester, NH. Although you could get arrested for doing this today, at the time it was seen as a patriotic act. They were close enough for Joseph’s younger sister, Pat, to see clearly see the hats on the pilot and co-pilot.
Front (L-R) S/Sgt. Monroe Gray, nose gunner; S/Sgt. Vernon Nelson, tail gunner; T/Sgt. Virgil Rippetoe, top gunner/engineer; S/Sgt. Stephan Bilous, waist gunner; T/Sgt. Charles Rainey, radio operator Back (L-R) 1st Lt. Herbert Taylor, pilot; 1st Lt. Joseph Mulhern, co-pilot; 1st Lt. Robert Davis, navigator; 1st Lt. Clifton Moss, bombardier; S/Sgt. Forrest Keener, waist gunner
They were assigned to the 389th BG, 566th BS at Hethel, England and flew their first mission in late August, 1944. There is a reference in the log to “Lt. Col. Stewart.” An accomplished pilot, actor Jimmy Stewart flew bombers for the Army Air Corp. in the war. Captain Taylor remembers sitting beside Lt. Col. Stewart at a mission briefing around the time of the Battle of the Bulge. On a mission in November, 1944, a traffic jam in the bomber formation required them to make a right turn instead of left back to England. The turn resulted in their bomb group being in the rear of the formation. An enemy 88m flak gun mounted on a rail car tracked them and the flak was accurate, exploding less than 20 feet from the cockpit. At one point, the flak was also colored orange – a signal to fighters to attack when the flak stopped. Thankfully, his group returned to base and no one was shot down. Their CO, Colonel John Herboth remarked to Captain Taylor “That was a close one.” Captain Taylor heard later Col. Herboth was killed when his B-24 was rammed by an enemy fighter.
Restored warbird, Delectable Doris, and 3D art of Delectable Doris by Konley Kelley. Captain Taylor’s crew flew multiple B-24s, including Delectable Doris, which they flew on at least one or more missions. 25
In late December, on a mission to Kaiserslautern, flak was again heavy and accurate. A piece of shrapnel came flying through the cockpit floor. No one was hurt and Captain Taylor saved the piece as a souvenir and keeps it in a shoebox. All of the missions are captured in the log of co-pilot, Joseph Mulhern. After the war, Mulhern became a Dominican priest. In 1960, he returned to active duty in the military. In his words, he recalled praying with soldiers on the “brink of eternity” in forward areas in Vietnam. Colonel Mulhern died in 2009 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Captain Taylor’s souvenir
Captain Taylor finished his combat tour at 21 years old. He married Barbara, a childhood sweetheart, and started a family. After earning a degree in Meterology at the University of Chicago, he was stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany, where he flew in the Special Air Mission (SAM) unit which today flies our President and other U.S. officials and dignitaries. On a mission to Berchtesgaden, he flew Gen. Clayton Bissell III, a 3-star General who had been head of the CBI. During the trip, they were invited to join the General for a drive in his staff car to see Hitler’s “Eagle’s Nest.” Captain Taylor remembers touring the villa, which sustained minor damage from British aircraft. On later trips, Captain Taylor visited the “Eagle’s Nest” again with Barbara as well as other sites and military installations once occupied by Goering, Himmler and the SS. Captain Taylor also flew a DC-3 with supplies and provisions to West Berlin during the blockade by the Soviet Union. Retiring from the Air Force in 1954, Captain Taylor was briefly employed by North Central Airlines and a Cessna distributor in Ypsilanti, MI, home of the Willow Run B-24 plant. He remembers a memorable day touring the the plant with flying legend, Roscoe Turner. After being furloughed by North Central Airlines, he was fortunate to be hired by American Airlines. He found out the best AA site to be stationed was Fort Worth, TX and moved his family there. This included a daughter born in Germany and his son, Jeff. Captain Taylor flew with American until 1984 when the mandatory age for requirement was 60 years old. He has fond memories of his career with AA which included some very interesting passengers like Henry Fonda, Elvis and Jimmy Durante. On several of his commercial flights, his co-pilot was a young Tom Travis – yes – Tom Travis our Squadron’s Executive Officer. Tom had this to say: “I can honestly say Herb Taylor was my favorite captain. Back in the old days we used to have to submit paper bids for our next month's flying. It could be a frustrating and time consuming process. I would take my bid sheet and scrawl across it, ‘Any trip with Herb Taylor,’ Apparently lots of the senior copilots did the same because it wasn't until I gained some respectable seniority that I could hope to get my bid with Herb. It didn't really matter where the trip went because flying with Herb Taylor was such a pleasure. One month I got my first choice and it turned out to be a miserable all-nighter. I called Herb and asked him why we had gotten such a terrible schedule. Herb said, sheepishly, ‘I forgot to tell you I'm on vacation next month. I just bid that for pay.’ He was always calm and kind to everyone and the flights seemed to go so smoothly. I began to realize that it wasn't just luck that made the flights go so smoothly, it was Herb's way of managing his crew to get the best performance from everyone. The flight attendants loved Herb and therefore their smiles and good attitudes extended to the passengers. Herb Taylor was the epitome of what an airline captain should be.”
His son, Jeff, remembers flying with his dad in a Bonanza his father bought in Ft. Worth. Captain Taylor continued to actively fly until he was 84 years old before “he figured it was time for me to quit.” Today, Captain Taylor and Barbara live in Salida, CO. He just celebrated his 90th birthday.
Captain Taylor’s Bonanza
At the Air Power EXPO in McKinney, Jeff and his family came to visit. Jeff sat in Diamond Lil’s left seat. It was an emotional experience for him to see our B-24. One thing that made him smile was the pilot seat being slid back. Jeff said his Dad flew his plane the same way he drove his car, with the steering wheel right up against his chest.
Jeff and Katie in Lil’s cockpit during the Air Power EXPO in McKinney, TX
I hope Lil gets up to Colorado again and we can link up with Captain Taylor and Babs. In total, he has logged more than 30,000 hours in the air after 70 years of flying. From what we can infer from the log, Tom’s remarks and knowing Captain Taylor personally, I am sure he’d be any crew member or passenger’s first choice for the pilot’s seat. Cheers and our many thanks to Captain Taylor for his remarkable flying career and service to our country. For access to Col. Joseph Mulhern’s log, click this link: http://issuu.com/lgarvis/docs/b-24_mission_log_j._mulhern Jeff standing in front of the B-24 banner. One of his father’s missions is recorded on the banner. McKinney pics by Travis Williamson and Karen Taylor
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John Schauer Heather Douglas Brown John Mccullagh
28 Jim Gentry
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Rod Reilly Michael Szemplinski Mike Meadows
29 Al Benzing
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Raymond Jeffcoat Scott Slocum
30 Curt Lewis
Editor’s Corner Dora Dougherty 11/27/21-11/19/13 The March, 2013 issue of The Flyer had a special feature “American Women in WWII” which included an article on WASP Dora Dougherty and Dorothea “Didi” Moorman, two qualified B-29 pilots. It is fitting we have a story in our December issue about Paul Tibbets and his grandson Paul Tibbets IV. Lt. Col. Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay, recruited Dora and Didi to fly the B-29 Ladybird to bases around the US. The two WASP received four days of training on the B-29. Their demonstration flights on the B-29 persuaded male pilots, who were apprehensive about flying the B-29, that it was not more than they could handle. Dora and Didi’s mission worked and they never again flew a B-29.
Lt. Col. Tibbets with Didi, Dora and the crew of Ladybird
Photos by Steve Shapiro
Pictured are Dora and Debbie King with FIFI in 2012. Debbie is the 3rd female pilot in history to qualify on a B-29. Dora passed away on Nov. 19th at the age of 91.
THE FLYER WANTS YOU! You are welcome to contribute a story, photographs and artwork for this decades-old newsletter. If you are a veteran, please tell us your story. Squadron members continually meet veterans at the hangar, on tour and in everyday life – let us know their stories. We’re also looking for contributors for “This Month in History” and news spotlighting our aircraft and members. Thank you and “Keep ‘Em Flying!” Konley Kelley THE FLYER editor email@example.com
B-29 / B-24 Squadron Addison Airport 4730 George Haddaway Drive Addison, Texas 75001 www.cafb29b24.org 972-387-2924 (Hangar) 432-413-4100 (Ride Desk) 32