A HISTORY

OF THE

16th BOMBARDMENT GROUP (VH)

FROM

1 JULY 1944 TO 31 JULY 1944



I N D E X

Organization-------------------------Page 1
Personnel----------------------------  "  1, 2, 3
Supply & Equipment-------------------  "  4
Training-----------------------------  "  4
Maintenance--------------------------  "  5
Facilities---------------------------  "  5
Morale-------------------------------  "  5
Biographies--------------------------  "  5, 6
Pictures-----------------------------  "  Last 4
       Pages



HEADQUARTERS
16TH BOMBARDMENT GROUP (VH)
Army Air Field, Dalhart, Texas

                                         31 July 1944

THE HISTORY


ORGANIZATION

      This organization was activated pursuant to GO #5,
Sec 5, Hq Second Air Force, Colorado Springs, Colo, dated
12 Apr 44. In accordance with the authorization in the above
general order, on 10 Jul 44, three squadrons were organized;
the 15th Bomb Sq (VH), 16th Bomb Sq (VH), and the 17th Bomb Sq
(VH)(*1), and administrative functions as squadrons began
immediately. The 23d Photo Sq was organized at this base,
(*2) also in accordance with the above general order. The
breakdown of personel into squadrons was accomplished
rapidly and with a minimum of change by actually and physic-
ally dividing the personnel equally by MOS, experience in
MOS, and grade. After this actual division was judged
satisfactory, orders were cut immediately for assignment to
the respective squadrons. A pool was then set up to the
various squadrons as the organizaton grew in strength.

      The 16th Bomb Gp (VH) was in the stage of early develop-
ment throughout this month, and certain phases of its training
were retarded through the circumstances of a very new group at
a new field with limited equipment and facilities. Nevertheless,
due to concentrated effort, the initial organizational develop-
ments have been accomplished, and the training program is well
under way.

PERSONNEL

       The strength table at the end of the month is as follows:

           Actual Strength           Authorized Strength
                850           --            2014

The apparent discrepancy in strength figures is caused by the
absense of the majority of the members of the flight echelon.
       There were quite a few changes in key personnel since
many officers were assigned duties requiring immediate attent-
ion and then later assigned to duties more aptly suited to
their previous training.

*1--SO #10, Par 1-7, Hq 16th Bomb Gp (VH) AAF, Dalhart, Tex.
dd 10 Jul 44.
*2-- SO #13, Par 10-11, Hq 16th Bomb Gp(VH), Dalhart, Tex.
dd 13 Jul 44.

-1-



PERSONNEL (con'd)

Capt WILLIAM H. HOSLER JR, one of the first officers assigned
(*3a) and he was acting Commanding Officer (*3b) until relieved
of that duty and given the duty of Eng & Tech Inspector (*3c).
The task of Acting Commanding Officer (*4a) wa then taken
over by Major RICHARD W. LAVIN (*4b) and he was subsequently
assigned the duty as Group Operations Officer (*4c). Col
SAMUEL C. GURNEY JR eventually took over the command of the
group from Major LAVIN. (*5a&5b) Lt Col ANDRE F. CASTELLOTI
joined (*6a) the organization as Dep Group Commander & Tactical
Inspector (*6b). Lt Col KARL L. SPRINGER joined us (*7a) as
Group Executive (*7b). Major CHARLES B. LEWIS joined
us (*8a) and from temporary duty as Group Executive (*8b) was
then assigned as Executive Officer of the 15th Bomb Sq (VH)
(*8c). Major COLMAN STRIPLING joined us (*9a) and after
temporary duty as Deputy Group Commander(*9b) was assigned
as Commander of the 16th Bomb Sq (VH) (*9c).

**********************************************************
(*3a) SO #171, Par 11, Hq 271 AAF BU (SB) Kearney AAF, Kearney,
Nebr. dd 19 Jun 44. (*3b) SO #1, Par 1, Hq 16th Bomb Gp (VH),
AAF, Dalhart, Tex. dd 24 Jun 44. (*3c) SO #4, Par 5, Hq
16th Bomb Gp (VH) dd 3 Jul 44.

(*4a) SO #130, Par 17, Hq AAF, Casper, Wyo, dd 25 Jun 44.
(*4b) SO #3, Par 2, Hq 16th Bomb Gp (VH), AAF< Dalhart, Tex/
dd 1 Jul 44. (*4c) SO #13, Par 12, Hq 16th Bomb Gp (VH),
DAAF dd 13 Jul 44.

(*5a) SO #11, Par 11, Hq 16th Bomb Gp (VH), DAAF, Dalhart, Tex.
dd 11 Jul 44. (*5b)

(*6a) SO #184, Par 3 & 15, Hq 2 AF, Colo Spgs, Colo. dd 5 Jul 44.
(*6b) SO #17, Par 6, Hq 16th Bomb Gp (VH), DAAF, Dalhart, Tex.
dd 17 Jul 44.

(*7a) SO #186, Par 14, Hq AAB, Alamogordo, N.Mex. dd 4 Jul 44.
(*7b) SO #23, Par 18, Hq 16th Bomb Gp (VH), DAAF, Dalhart, Tex.
dd 23 Jul 44.

(*8a) SO #171, Par 11, Hq 271 BU, KAAF, Kearney, Nebr. dd 19 Jun
44.
(*8b) SO #3, Par 3, Hq 16th Bomb Gp (VH), DAAF, Dalhart, Tex.
dd 1 Jul 44. (*8c) SO # 23, Par 17, Hq 16th Bomb Gp (VH),
DAAF, Dalhart, Tex. dd 23 July 44.

(*9a) SO #179, Par 26, Hq AAB Souix City, Ia. dd 28 Jun 44.
(*9b) SO #6, Par 2, Hq 16th Bomb Gp (VH), DAAF, Dalhart, Tex.
dd 6 Jul 44.
(*9c) SO #10, Par 7, Hq 16th Bomb Gp (VH), DAAF, Dalhart, Tex.
dd 10 Jul 44.

-2-



PERSONNEL (con'd)

Major COLLIER H. DAVISION joined (*10a) and was assigned as
Commanding Officer of the 17th Bomb Sq (VH) (*10b). Major
WILLIAM J. GARLAND joined us (*11a) as Commainding Officer
of the 15th Bomb Sq (VH) (*11b). Capt OLIVER C. MOSMAN
joined us (*12a) as Group Intelligence Officer (*12b). Capt
HABER H. FELTS entered the organization (*13a) as Group Ad-
jutant (*13b) and has remained in that capacity. Capt WILLIAM
R EUBANK joined (*14a) and was assigned Group Flight Surgeon
(*14b). Major JOSEPH H. HOWARD joined us (*15a) and assigned
as Group Bombardier (*15b).

*********************************************************
(*10a) SO #183, Par 17, Hq March Fld, Riverside, Calif. dd
1 Jul 44.
(*10b) SO #14, Par 14, Hq 16th Bomb Gp (VH), DAAF, Dalhart, Tex.
dd 14 Jul 44.

(*11a) SO #186, Par 10, Hq Fairmont AAF, Geneva, Nebr. dd
1 Jul 44. (*11b) SO #11, Par 10, Hq 16th Bomb Gp (VH), DAAF,
Dalhart, Tex. dd 11 Jul 44.

(*12a) SO #184, Par 15, Hq DAAF, Dalhart, Tex 3 Jul 44.
(*12b) SO #5, Par 2, HQ 16th Bomb Gp (VH), DAAF, Dalhart, Tex.
dd 4 Jul 44.

(*13a) SO #79, Par 16, Hq 236 CCTS (H), PAAF, Pyote, Tex.
dd 17 Jun 44. (*13b) SO #2, Par 3, Hq 16th Bomb Gp (VH), DAAF,
Dalhart, Tex. dd 27 Jun 44.

(*14a) SO #95, Par 6, Hq 212 AAF, BU, (CCTS) (H), Gowen AAF,
Boise Idaho dd 27 Jun 44. (*14b) SO #4, Par 3, Hq 16th Bomb Gp
(VH), DAAF, Dalhart, Tex. dd 3 Jul 44.

(*15a) SO #91, Par 26, Hq LAAF, Lincoln, Nebr. dd 15 Jul 44.
(*15b) SO #15, Par 1, Hq 16th Bomb Gp (VH), DAAF, Dalhart, Tex.
dd 15 Jul 44.

*********************************************************

      In a general summary the personnel fitted well into their
jobs. A small classification board was installed in the very
beginning and each incoming member was interviewed in order
to facilitiate his proper placement in the organization. The
only difficulty encountered was the superfluity of EM in the
first three grades only. Their experience in general warranted
their grade, but in some instances the T/O did not coincide
with the men on hand.

-3-



SUPPLY & EQUIPMENT

      Office material, binders, manila folders etc., were
requisitioned repeatedly and insufficient results were obtain-
ed through ordinary methods. Unorthodox measures were taken
to obtain the necessary materials for proper administrative
function by the arrangemens for air transportation from
other air bases, where certain ranking officers of this
group had been previously stationed. This method obtained
satisfactory results.

      Technical Orders, WD Tng Manuals, Tech Manuals etc.,
have not been received as yet in sufficient quantity or with
a wide enough scope to cover technical functions.

TRAINING

      When Maj LAVIN took over the problem of ground training
it was established that the "Ground Echelon Training Program
for all Ground Personnel of a VH Bomb Gp Operational Training
Units, dd 24 Jun 44 2AF", would be used as the basis for
our program. This directive was supplemented by a Military
Basic Training Course as outlined by the "Technical Training
Program, Dalhart AAF". Despite the fact that the dates of
arrival of all personnel were highly unpredictable, there-
fore necessitating postponement of the training program, we
are approximately on schedule for the month in accordance
with the above mentioned 2nd AF Ground Echelon Training Program.
To date we have accomplished:

        4 hrs -- Army Orientation         2 hrs -- Gunnery
       1 hrs -- Chemical Warefare        4 hrs -- Intelligence
       1 hrs -- Camouflage               3 hrs -- Medical
       16 hrs -- Physical Tng

      Members of this group have been sent out on Detached
Service to specialized schools:

        AAFTAC, Orlando, Fla (70 O & EM)
        A/C Engine Sch, Amarilo, Tex (30EM)
        Electrical Specl, Chanute Fld, Ill. (3 EM)
        Boeing, Seattle, Wash. (44 EM)

      To date 93% of total personnel have accomplished Basic
Military Tng.

       The only hindrance in the training program that might
have been avoided was the lack of 16mm. projectors for the
use of training films.

-4-



MAINTENANCE

      No activity at this stage of development.

FACILITIES

      The facilities on this field were limited but in general
were considered adequate for the stage of development the
group has now reached. The equipment which would enable us
to use these facilities were to a great extent lacking, and
makeshift appurtenances were utilized by our own improvisation.

MORALE

      The morale of this organization was unstable when the
group first assembled as most of the duties to be performed
were of construction and cleanup nature, and the true purpose
of the group was not made clear. Subsequently the Group
Intelligence Section gave a series of lectures in which were
explained the purpose of the group in relation to the war in
the Pacific, and at the same time the activites of our
precedent B-29 groups were emphasized. This brought about a
perceptible lift in morale, and tended to create a sense of
pride in being a member of a "Super-Fortress" outfit. A contest
for the group insignia was announced and this helped to make
the men feel that they were a part of an elite organization.
Morale was generally good as evidenced by the fact that there
are only two men AWOL in the entire unit.

BIOGRAPHIES

      The Commanding Officer and his two principal aides have
shown distinguished service in the AAF. Some idea of their
records are contained in the following.

      Col SAMUEL C. GURNEY JR graduated from the US Military
Academy at West Point in 1937 and completed flying school
in Oct 1938. He was then assigned to the 9th Bomb Gp at Mitchell
Fld and that organization left for duty in Panama shortly
afterwards. Col GURNEY did not return to the US until Aug of
43 and during his service in Central & South America he
proved himslf highly competent in the many tasks assigned him.
He was on an important 3 months survey of the airways in
Central and South America that covered all the nations of that
continent. During this tour of duty Col GURNEY established
cordial relations with the executives of most of the South
American Republics.

      He has held a post of responsibility beginning with
Executive Officer of the 6th Bomb Gp at Guatemala, then he
was the CO of the 74th Sqdn in that same group. In April
of 1942 he was given the post of both A-2 and A-3 of the
6th Bomber Command at Panama.

-5-



BIOGRAPHIES (con'd)

      Upon his return to the US he was assigned as Station
Commandant at Dyersburg, Tenn and in May 1944 he assumed the
duty of Commanding Officer at Grand Island, Nebr. Col
GURNEY at present has approximately 2800 pilot hours to his
credit, thereby assurring a thorough understanding of the
flight problems.

      Lt Col ANDRE F. CASTELOTTI came into the AAF on May
1942 after a 2 year period of service in the RCAF. His
experiences in the RCAF sent him to Labrador, Greenland, and
Ireland in costal patrol and anti-submarine duty. In
recognition of the excellent performance of his duties and
as a mark of his dependability he was chosen personnel pilot
to the Chief of Air Staff, RCAF. He now has the remarkable
record of 5,200 pilot hours to his credit since his first
commercial licence was granted in 1931. His past record
indicates that he is well suited for his duty in this organi-
zation as Deputy Group Commander and Tactical Inspector.

      Lt Col KARL L. SPRINGER has received the best possible
training to suit him for the duty of Group Executive Officer
in this organization. He entered the Air Corps from the
Infantry and was assigned in an administrative capacity at
Davis-Monthan Fld, Tucson, Ariz. His next duty was Executive
Officer at Blythe Fld, Calif, in Sept 43. In January 1944
he left Blythe Fld and subsequently aided in organizing the
491st Bomb Gp, El Paso, Tex. and the 492 Bomb Gp, Alamogordo,
N. Mex. In March 1944 he attended the Command General Staff
School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was one of the first
members of the AAF Service Staff to attend this school, the
highest authority of its type in the US Army. After completing
this course he then attended the AAF Staff Course which afforded
him an opportunity to gain a complete and comprehensive survey
of the AAF in the US. This course of study took him to the
Material Command, Proving Ground Command, AAFTAC, Airborne
Command, Anti-Aircraft School, NY Port of Embarkation, Re-
distribution Center at Atlantic City, and ultimately Staff
Duty at Hq, AAF, Washington D.C. Shortly afterwards Col
SPRINGER was assigned to this group in his present capacity.

       For the Commanding Officer:



                                         OLIVER C MOSMAN JR
                                         Capt, AC
                                         Gp Intelligence O

Incl 1
       All SO of this gp
       pertinant to the
       foot notes contained herein.


Editorial Notes:

Several photos are included in the history, but have not yet been reproduced for inclusion on this web page.

There also exists several pages of documents, that have yet to be transcribed. This data consists of special orders, memorandum, report forms and copies of TWX messages. This will take a long time to transcibe and I wanted to focus on transcription of the unit history first. Hopefully, my fingers will be able to stand this.


Content 2005, Larry Miller
September 20, 2005