New England Air Museum
Ralph "Stub" Roberts
 
Recent Address:   838 Ivy Lane, Eagan, MN 55123-2425
 
Email:    
 
Family Information:   Parents: Alton F. and Abby B.; Siblings: Horace, John, Mary, Howard
 
Hometown:   Marquette, MI
 
Date Entered Service:   February 23, 1942
 
Service Number:   0889845/ 19075424
 
Bomb Group:   468th Bomb Group
 
Squadron:   792nd Bomb Squadron
 
Location of Unit:   Salina, KS; Dec. 1943
 
Missions Flown:   16
 
Hump Missions Flown:   14
 
Targets:   Anshan, Formosa, Omura, Mukden, Singapore, Rangoon, Kuala Lumpur, Saigon, Bangkok, Shanghai
 
Awards/Decorations:   Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal (1 cluster), Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon (4 Battle Stars)
 
Service Schools Attended:   Airplane Mechanics Spring 1942; B-29 Maintenance School Winter/Spring 1943; Flight Engineers School Fall 1943
 
Military Specialty(ies):   Aircraft Mechanic, MOS 1028-Aircraft Observer, Flight Engineer (VHB)
 
Rank Upon Discharge:   2nd Lt.
 
Crew Type:   Flight crew
 
Airplane Serial No.& Name:   42-6255 (unnamed), 42-6271 (Helin' Helen), 42-63395 (unnamed), 42-63500 Gravel Gertie, 42-24471 Chat'nooga Choo Choo
 
Were you a POW?   No
 
Were you interned?   No
 
Date Transferred from the 58th:    
 
Date Discharged from the 58th:    
 
Post-WWII Military Service:
Air Force Reserves (inactive)
 
Post-WWII Civilian Occupation(s):
33 years with Wisconsin Central, North Central, Republic Airlines and these three were all the same airline, bought by Northwest Airlines in 1985 and my retirement is from Northwest, funded by North Central.
 
Thoughts on the 58th Bomb Wing:
Proud of the fact that I played a part in the development of the B-29 into the great weapon it turned out to be - development by a bunch of young people which helped bring WWII to conclusion without the need of deploying troops by sea and land and fight a war on Japan itself. We lost a lot of good people in this development, not due to enemy action but operationally as we not only learned to fly the airplane itself but to overcome designs/manufacturing problems encountered with the aircraft and the equipment. I was able to use this experience in civil life in the development of Wisconsin Central/North Central Airlines.
 
Comments:
I was one of the 600 flight personnel from the four original groups who were not blessed with bringing an aircraft to India - we went by train to Patrick Henry in Virginia, boarded the GENERAL BUCKNER transport and sailed off to Casablanca across the Atlantic in early spring of 1944. At Casablanca, we were shipped to India - 10 guys per C-54 along with two B-29 engines, ATC took us to our bases in India. This bit, in itself took several weeks to accomplish.

On our first mission over the HUMP on May 1, 1944, bailed out in the North end of Assam valley after we lost two engines on same side and couldn't salvo our load. Lost our radar operator who drowned in a stream in an attempt to join others across the stream. 37 days later, June 7th, jumped again, Western China, after runaway prop as we started our descent into our China base. Lost two on this bailout. Pilot was Jim Pattillo.

 


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