The Earl E. Myers Story
Chapter 12 Moving On
|After Sebring I was transferred to Lincoln AAB, Lincoln, Nebraska, for crew pick up and then on to the ETO. We were crewed up at once and waiting for orders and all of a sudden I was on my way to Barksdale AAF, Shreveport, LA., instead of the ETO. I was placed in a pool awaiting transfer to a B-29 aircrew crew training base. In the meantime, I was flying at every opportunity to keep me out of the bars and poolrooms. They had numerous types of aircraft available PT-17 Stearmans, BT-13s, AT-11s, B-25s and B-17s. I checked out in each one, but concentrated on the B-17, mostly. Again I was riding the hog,"HIGH" without a saddle.
On one occasion I flew over Palestine, Texas, not far away. My Mother and her husband lived there and I buzzed their plumb and peach ranch. Most likely all the fruit was knocked off. [You could get away with buzzing then.] I dropped a note with a streamer out of the aircraft not knowing if they would see it or not. I told them that I was going to shoot touch-and-go landings at the Palestine Airport. They got there before I did, as the note landed in their front yard. After making several touch-and-gos, I made a full stop and taxied back. Of course when we passed the tower and terminal building I had to slow down to a crawl and open the window and wave to them.
Later on, they drove to Barksdale which was only about 160 miles away. They were there without my knowledge and surprised me. I, of course, took them through a B-17 and they were thrilled more than I was. Almost!
While at Barksdale, a B-17 crashed and all aboard, about 12, were killed. I was to report to the dispensary for overseas shots and on arrival there were all the body bags laying out near the back entrance of the Base Hospital. Quite a sight, even though they were in body bags. I had become accustomed to seeing bodies at the Ott and Mitchell Funeral Home in Independence, MO, where I had after-school duties and learned about the funeral business. But not that many at one time. It was awesome and a lesson to be learned regarding Flight Safety.
For relaxation on Saturday afternoon we would go into Shreveport to The Washington Yourie Hotel and have a drink and perhaps a movie which was just around the corner. After the movie, when we arrived back at the Washington Yourie Hotel, there would be car after car waiting for some Military Guy to come along and they would honk at him. If the guy did not like the lady’s looks, he would motion them on and another would drive up. They were like taxies waiting at the airport. I GUESS THEY WANTED TO GO OUT DANCING, which I deplored dancing that is.
The honeymoon was over and orders came through that I was being transferred to Pyote Army Air Base at Pyote, Texas to become a co-pilot on B-29s. I was not too thrilled about being assigned as a co-pilot, but at least the war in Japan was far from being over and I wanted to go overseas. Pyote is West of Monahans about 16 miles and Odessa about 30 miles further to the East. At Monahans their was a perpetual black smoke column from the oil wells. It was a good visual marker for Pyote. It could be seen from 150 miles away.
My Aircraft Commander, who I will not name, but remember well, had been flying B-17s at Yuma, AZ., for several years, as part of an aerial gunnery school operation. He reminded me of Gary Cooper in appearance tall, thin and lanky. It took 186 hours of dual to qualify him as an Aircraft Commander. I never knew if he was just dumb, to old and set in his ways, after flying B-17s for so long, or just plain yellow. I was to find out later on during our tour on Saipan which category he fit. Normal training hours were usually about 50. Even though I did not relish setting on the toad stool, I observed with great interest and I learned one hell of a lot.
The B-29 crew has completed final stage training at this Second Air Force field. L to R Front: Sgt. John P. R. McFarland, Staten Island N.Y; Sgt. Mark Litchfield, Jr., Pomona, Cal.; Cpl. Felix N. Copeland, Antelope, TX; Sgt. Anthony B. Dattilo, Old Forge, PA; and Cpl. George B. Crosthwaite, West Chester, Ohio. Back: F/O W. Temple Lewis, Louisville, KY; Lt. Earl E. Myers, Independence, MO; Lt. William W. Weirauch, Carmi, IL; Lt. R. E. Mansfield, Woodside, NY; Lt. Stanley B. Brush, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Official AAF Photo
|Rattlesnake Army Air Base was well named as it was not uncommon to find a rattlesnake around the wheel well or up and inside the wheel well. Rather than kill them, we called the MP's and they had an animal control set up they would catch and relocate the snake. My training as a copilot was routine and I had no problem learning to retract the gear and flaps. My hands-on flying of the B-29 from the right seat and under the hood went just fine and I had no problem passing my portion of training in the allocated time.
End of Chapter 12 Go to Chapter 13