New England Air Museum
Vernon B. Hall

 

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Vernon Hall - India

 

Recent Address:

3440 Darcy Street, Louisville, KY 40215

Email:

 

Family Information:

Parents: Everett and Cora; Wife: Jean; Children: Cheryl, Karen, Terry

Hometown:

Louisville, KY

Date Entered Service:

March 6, 1943

Service Number:

35698531

Bomb Group:

22nd Air Depot Grp., 97th Repair Sqdn., Kharagpur, India

Squadron:

 

Location of Unit:

Tinker Field, OK - September or October 1943

Missions Flown:

 

Hump Missions Flown:

 

Targets:

 

Awards/Decorations:

Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Meritorious Unit Award, WWII Victory Medal

Service Schools Attended:

Airplane Engine Mechanic-AIT, Long Island City, NY Apr-Sep 1943

Military Specialty(ies):

MOS 719-Oxygen/Acetylene Plant Operator

Rank Upon Discharge:

Staff Sergeant

Crew Type:

Ground crew

Airplane Serial No.& Name:

 

Were you a POW?

No

If so, where?

 

Were you interned?

No

If so, where?

 

Date Transferred from the 58th:

 

Date Discharged from the 58th:

January 20, 1946

Post-WWII Military Service:

 

Post-WWII Civilian Occupation(s):

Bluegrass Cooperage (Barrel Factory), Louisville, KY; Schinley Distillery (Mash Room Operator), Louisville, KY; Louisville Railway (Coach Operator), Louisville, KY (39 years.)

Thoughts on the 58th Bomb Wing:

I learned a lot of things that I would never have had an opportunity to learn otherwise, but I wouldn't want to do it again. A trip around the world and special training to use in real life; something you never forget.

Comments:

I left Louisville, after being drafted into the Army Air Corp, on March 6, 1943. Went to Camp Atterbury, Indiana, for processing. Then to Tent City, Florida, and on to A.I.T. school in New York. When we arrived in New York there was no one to pick us up, so we walked to the camp. I can't remember how far, but it seemed like it took hours. From New York I went to Tinker Field, Oklahoma, to work on the planes (engine repairs). We had been issued winter gear for our next departure, but they shortly traded that gear with warm weather gear. At first we thought we might be going to Alaska, but after our gear was changed, we knew what was next.

On January 11, 1944, we left Newport News, VA, boarded on the "Empress of Scotland" headed for Capetown, South Africa. Arrived January 26, 1944. Left for Bombay, India, January 28, 1944; arrived February 8, 1944. Left Bombay, India, February 10, 1944, headed for Kharagpur, India (Camp Salua); arrived February 14. As we were setting up shops, for engine repair, getting things ready for planes to arrive, someone discovered they had no one trained to run the oxygen plants. There were 3 planes set up, but no one to run them. An Army 'snafu' (situation normal -- all fouled up). So I was one in the group sent to Assam Valley, India, for a one-month crash course in how to make oxygen (O2 school). We left May 1, 1944, and arrived back at Camp Salua June 2; we were transferred by C-47. We were taught in O2 school by a chemistry college student (a corporal in the Army), who was only 2 years away from earning a degree that only 7 people in the U.S. had ever earned. He was one very intelligent person. (I always wondered if he ever earned the degree and what he ended up doing with his life. I can't remember his name but his father was a chemist in the U.S.) Those of us who attended O2 school were given our corporal stripes when we graduated our training.

The oxygen plants were mobile units, set up on trailers, so they could be moved if necessary. There were 2 plants operating at all times, and one backup, because the oxygen had to be available at all times for the airplanes because of the altitude they were flying B-29's. It was also used in the hospitals. When we first arrived back we had to purify a 12 x 20 ft. oxygen holding bag (they were rubberized/canvas bags). We ran oxygen through for 24 hours until it reached the purity level. Then it was used to store the oxygen as the plant processed it. We filled the individual tanks and delivered it to planes as they arrived on base for maintenance.

On June 16, 1945, we left for rest camp in Rhaniket, India, (Himalayan Mountains). Returned on July 7, 1945. Then left Salua by train; boarded ship at Calcutta July 12; arrived Ceylon on July 18; left July 19; arrived in Freemantle, Australia, on July 27 (no pass). Left Freemantle July 29 for New Guinea (Holandia); arrived August 9; left Holandia August 10; arrived Samar August 13, left same day; August 16, 1945, arrived Okinawa. We learned of the war being over several days before we arrived at Okinawa. But we were on Okinawa for 5 to 6 months after we landed, helping to get everything in order. The Marines had already cleaned up most of the area before we arrived. We left Okinawa headed for California, then to Camp Atterbury, Indiana. I was discharged on January 20, 1946.

 

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Vernon Hall

 


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