New England Air Museum
Homer E. Bates

bates1
Homer Bates, WWII

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Email:

 

Family Information:

Wife:  Helen (dec.)
Children:  Bruce, Tom Bevin, Jill, Tim, Janis

Hometown:

Ft. Wayne, IN

Date Entered Service:

December 12, 1942

Service Number:

15354862

Bomb Group:

40th

Squadron:

45th

Location of Unit:

Pratt, Kansas

Missions Flown:

33

Hump Missions Flown:

17

Targets:

Bangkok, Yawata, Palembang, Anshan, Okayama, Formosa, Singapore, Rangoon, Kure, O Shima, Nagoya, Hamamatsu, Tokyo, Osaka, Toyohashi, Tokushimi, Okayama, Sendai, Namazu

Awards/Decorations:

Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 1 Silver Service Star and 1 Bronze Service Star for participation in Air Offensive Japan, Central Burma Campaign, China Defensive Campaign, India-Burma Campaign, Western Pacific Campaign, and Air Combat Campaign, WWII Victory Medal, Distinguished Unit Citation emblem with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Aviation Badge, "Aircrew Member" Wings, Good Conduct Medal.

Service Schools Attended:

AFTS Seymour-Johnson Fld., NC--Aircraft Mechanic Feb 1943;
AFTS Chanute Fld., IL-- Elecrical Specialist;
AFTS Lowry Fld., CO -- Central Fire Control

Military Specialty(ies):

MOS 1685-Airplane Electrical Mechanic-Gunner

Rank Upon Discharge:

S/Sgt

Crew Type:

Flight crew

Airplane Serial No.& Name:

42-6303 Typhoon McGoon, 42-24685 Outlaw, 44-61554 (unnamed), 42-63555 Dark Eyes, 44-61556 USS Comfort's Revenge, 44-70085 Patches, 42-63407 Shoot You're Faded, 42-24739 (unnamed)

Were you a POW?

No

Were you interned?

No

Date Transferred from the 58th:

August 22, 1945

Date Discharged from the 58th:

February 11, 1945

Post-WWII Military Service:

Indiana Air National Guard, USAF 17 Jan 1954 -- 30 Sep 1961;
Extended Active Duty, USAF ANG US 1 Oct 1961 -- 20 Aug 1962;
Indiana Air National Guard, USAF 21 Aug 1962 -- 2 Apr 1982.

Post-WWII Civilian Occupation(s):

General Electric Corporation. Farming (share cropper) including hauling grain and livestock to terminals with return loads of fertilizer. Owner/operator of a dump truck. Plowed and prepared town gardens for planting. Indiana Dept. of Transportation. Fill time Indiana Air National Guard Employee Aug 1954 - Sep 1982

Thoughts on the 58th Bomb Wing:

I am pleased to have had the opportunity to serve in the 58th Bomb Wing during World War II. My feelings regarding the end of the war. Thank God for the Atomic Bomb! Those bombs saved my life and the lives of perhaps a million Americans by making the invasion of the Japanese Islands unnecessary.

Comments:

After being assigned to a crew, we began to learn a bit about our crewmembers backgrounds and families. I certainly enjoyed being part of a team that worked so closely together. We followed all of our orders and assignments to the best of our ability.

If I had the option to choose a Bomb Wing and aircraft again, it would be the 58th Bomb Wing.

On the 20 February 1944, our Aircraft Commander and his crew were dispatched to Washington, DC in a B-29, Typhoon McGoon III to land at Bolling Field. No reason was given to the crew for making the flight. The landing strip looked mighty short! It was built for WW I aircraft. We buzzed it to look it over. I have never seen so many people (civilian employees, military, etc.) lining the buildings on the outside, in upper windows and on roofs. After landing, our Aircraft Commander said he was grateful "Boeing makes great brakes."

After off-loading, our Aircraft Commander was met by General Hap Arnold and his staff and they greeted each one of us as we stood at attention in front of the nose section. General Arnold then requested each one of our names and crew duties. He also briefed us on the visit. General Arnold insisted we explain the aircraft to him so he could brief the President.

It was then we learned the purpose of the flight was to show the B-29 to President Roosevelt, our Commander in Chief. This is perhaps the first and only time he ever saw a B-29.

They put a guard on the aircraft overnight. Security was very tight!

After the inspection, each crewmember was directed to take his position and move everything that would move except the landing gear. After starting the put-put, we operated the rudder, elevators, ailerons wing and cowl flaps, landing and taxi lights, Bombay doors and all of the turrets through range of movements. During these moments, the limo moved clockwise around the aircraft. Yes, the President seemed very pleased that afternoon.

Considering the B-29 project cost more than the atomic bomb project - $3 billion to $2 billion – this was a significant occasion.

Our return flight to our training base was routine.

 


Homer Bates, 2006

 


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