Flight Jacket With Patches. Coupon Codes For Airfare.
Lewis Wells Crew Photo in Front of B-17 with All Original Crew Members, March 1945
This photo was taken at the end of their 35 mission tour with the 95th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, flying out of Horham, England. Pictured here are: (standing L-R) Jack "Smitty" Smith (Engineer/Top Turret Gunner), Rulon "Curley" Paramore (Tail Gunner), James "Hank" Henrietta (Radio Operator), Carl "Pop" Gavens (Waist Gunner), Lynn Starr (Ball Turret Gunner). Kneeling L-R: My grandfather, Lewis Wells (Pilot), Lester Morris (Co-Pilot), Tony Silva (Bombardier), Thomas Narum (Navigator). I was fortunate to spend many hours interviewing my grandfather, Lewis Wells, as well as Lester Morris, Tony Silva, and Hank Henrietta and to read hundreds of letters and the journals kept by most of the crew. My grandfather was the last to pass, in 2005. There was originally a second waist gunner, George Carter, but he was removed from the crew half-way through the transit from the U.S. to England to join the fight. While stopped for rest and refueling at a remote Labrador airstrip, he holed up the the plane with a bottle and got angry drunk, eventually getting a head start on the shooting by repeatedly discharging his .45 from inside the airplane. He refused to be coaxed out and had to be forcibly subdued by two Military Policemen. One M.P. approached him from the front of the airplane and distracted him while the other came in the tail door and wrestled him down from behind. My non-politically-correct Grandfather attributed Carter's behavior to his being an "Indian". Carter or the other waist gunner, "Pop" Gavens, probably would have been reassigned anyway as, by the time this crew joined the 8th Air Force in England in August of 1944, German fighter attacks were much less common (with increasingly-intense, ground-based anti-aircraft fire being the primary danger) and planes were being sent out with only one waist gunner manning the both the left and right waist guns to save weight for bombs and fuel. This group flew nearly all of their 35 missions together with the exception of the Co-Pilot, Lester Morris. He was also an "Indian" (half-Cherokee) but without any flaws my grandfather could attribute to that fact. After 15 missions, Morris had taken the offer of joining a lead crew where he would sit in the tail position of the lead plane and assist in organizing the formation. There had been some friction just after the crew was formed, I understand from my grandmother, because Morris believed he should have been a pilot with his own crew. I don't believe they ever had any real problems, however, and I never heard anything but positive comments about him from my Grandfather. Overall, the original crew was very tightly knit, something which may have proved frustrating for the series of co-pilots assigned to replace Morris. The frustration was mutual, unfortunately, since my grandfather's reputation as a skilled and dependable pilot resulted in the assignment of a series of co-pilots with what my grandfather called "pressure problems". These were mostly pilots whose crews refused to fly with them, who had been involved in questionable accidents, etc and had therefore been demoted to co-pilot and reassigned. This resulted in more work for my grandfather since he couldn't let his guard down and allow the co-pilots to take over when he needed a rest from the physically demanding work of flying a heavy four engine bomber by cable and pully for 9 hours and nearly resulted in the crew being killed on a few occasions when the co-pilots were flying. One such incident occurred just after lift-off while on a special assignment ferrying a patched up bomber which had emergency landed on the continent. The co-pilot was glued to the window taking in the view of that city's cathedral instead of paying attention to what he was doing. When my grandfather asked him to pull back on the throttles after take-off, he pulled the controls too far back and sent the engines into idle cut-off. This resulted in a stall and sent them falling toward the cathedral. My grandfather was able to get the engines started just in time to pull out and barely miss one of the spires. They happened to have on this flight, as passengers, a General and his entourage who they were taxiing back to England. A major stuck his head up through the curtain demanding to know what was going on while my grandfather was still fighting to restart the engines and he snapped back and yelled for him to sit down and let him fly. After they got up to altitude he explained that the stall was the result of some ice which had built up on the wings and engines. When they finally landed, the General got out and kissed the ground and vowed to never fly again. The truth about the stall eventually got out and this co-pilot was removed from flying duty permanently. My grandfather had originally been assigned this set of officers (kneeling) with a different set of enlisted personnPSD, Instructor Patch, Beale AFB, SR-71, U2R, TR-1A
This is the PSD patch, worn by SR-71 and U2R support personnel from the Physiological Support Division. The PSD personnel are the technicians who maintain the survival equipment, parachutes and Full Pressure Suits for the Reconnaissance Programs. PSD personnel also dress and undress pilots and RSOs, escort and integrate them into the aircraft system, and recover the flight upon termination. The PSD facility also contained the flight Kitchen, where a high protein, low residue meal was served before all missions to the crews. PSD personnel are recognized by their WHITE uniforms and (sometimes) Nomex flight jackets, at Beale they wore bright blue ball caps marked with a yellow PSD on the front. The white PSD vans (with a red stripe on each side) were used to bring the crews to the aircraft, all the while maintaining a close watch on their health. PSD was a part of the Hospital Squadron, and operated the Hyper and Hypo-baric Chambers, parachute swing-landing trainer, and provided survival training and ejection training to the crews. The OIC of PSD was usually a Colonel, and a Flight Surgeon. PSD had 125-135 personnel assigned from the Aircrew Life Support, and Physiological Training career fields. Training for certification at PSD took a full year, and the Special Experience identifier X399 was appended to the technician's AFSC upon completion. PSD assignments were locked under Code 41 and Code 52, for 3 and 5 years, requiring an extension of service to accept the assignment.
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