A HISTORY

OF THE

16th BOMBARDMENT GROUP (VH)

FROM

1 AUGUST 1944 TO 31 AUGUST 1944



I N D E X

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



HEADQUARTERS
16TH BOMBARDMENT GROUP (VH)
Army Air Field, Geneva, Nebraska

                                         1 September 1944

THE HISTORY


ORGANIZATION

      The 16th Bomb Group utilized the month of August in preparation for
training as a group and in accomplishing certain phases of organization.
On 14 August the organization departed from the Air Base at Dalhart,
Texas, where it had been formed and arrived at the Fairmont Army Air Base,
Geneva, Nebraska, on 15 August 1944 (*1). The balance of the month was
spent in paving the way for the arrival of the Air Echelon now on detached
service at AAFTAC, Orlando, Florida (*2).

      Organizational difficulties at FAAF were numerous due to the presence
of the ground echelon of the 504th Bomb Group (VH) which had not departed
the base on the scheduled date. The greatest problem was lack of office
space and living quarters.

      Two offices in the Base headquarters building were assigned to the
Group and Squadron orderly rooms were first set up in tents and later in a
BOQ. The only available living quarters for enlisted men were pyramidal tents
and considerable discomfort was caused by heavy rains.

PERSONNEL

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

           Actual Strength           Authorized Strength
                736                          2030

      The absence of a majority of the members of the air echelon accounts for
the apparent discrepancy in the strength figures. Furthermore, at the end of
the month there was insufficient living spaces at FAAF for a larger number of
men.

*1--SO #224, Paragraph 6, Headquarters, Dalhart Army Air Field,
     Dalhart, Tex., dd 12 Aug 44.

*2-- SO #211, Paragraph 2, Headquarters, Dalhart Army Air Field,
     Dalhart, Tex., dd 30 Jul 44 (Copies unavailable).

-1-



SUPPLY & EQUIPMENT

     The presence of the ground echeclon of the 504th Bomb Group(VH) re-
sulted in supply problems as well as problems of space. Equipment which
normally could have been requisitioned through facilities of FAAF was need-
ed for the training of the 504th.

      Even such elementary equipment as picks, shovels, "GI cans", desks,
typewriters and office material was severely restricted and the 16th Bomb
Group had to operate on a limited scale. Inability to obtain a safe was met
by fitting a lock to a heavy filing cabinet in Group headquarters where all
classified documents were kept.

      FAAF cooperated to the best of its ability but it was obvious that the
first priority on all equipment had to go to the 504th Group so it could com-
plete its training program.

TRAINING

      Despite organization difficulties, training, as outlined in the July
installment of this history, proceeded and a certain amount of progress was
made. 1st Lt. Allan Ekhardt assumed direction of ground training (*3) and,
in cooperation with squadron commanders, set up a schedule.

      The outstanding training accomplishment for the month was the bivouac,
under the direction of Capt Matthew T. Abbott, Executive Officer of the 16th
Bombardment Squadron (VH), which was held while the group was still stationed
at Dalhart, Texas. The personnel of the 16th and 17th squadrons plus certain
members of the 15th squadron, left Dalhart by motor convoy on 6 Aug 44 and on
9 Aug 44, they returned.

      The four days were spent at Yankee Canyon, near Raton, N.M., where the
organization lived under conditions closely approximating those of modern war-
fare. Instruction was received in extended and close order drill, military
sanitation and infiltration.

      During the month of August, the following training directives were acc-
omplished under the 2nd Air Force Ground Echelon Training Directive for VH
OTU, dd 24 June 44:


*3--Special Order #28, 16th Bombardment Group (VH), AAF, Dalhart, Tex., dd
28 July 44.

-2-



           Chemical Warefare Training-----------75 per cent completion.
           Camouflage Training-------------------85 per cent completion.

      In addition, it was estimated that on 14 Aug 44 100 percent of the
men with the ground echelon had completed required basic training and that
70 per cent had fired the carbine for qualification. Of the latter group,
at least three-fourths managed to qualify on the weapon.

      While the group was still stationed at Dalhart, Tex., five hours of
Intelligence training were presented to the men and seven hours of medical
training. But it was impossible at the end of August to make an accurate
estimate of the number of men who had fulfilled all requirements.

      The first processing at FAAF was completed without incident by all
members of the ground echelon. The men proved to be fairly well equipped.

      As a supplement to orientation training, the Intelligence section set
up an improvised war room in a tent where the men could enter and follow the
progress of the war on maps. Considerable interest was evidenced and an
average of 80 men a day visited the tent to bring themselves up to date on
the news.

      The principle obstacle to adequate training was lack of space and
equipment. The buildings and classrooms at FAAF were used by the 504th
Bomb Group to a point where it was difficult to schedule classes for our
organization.

      Wherever possible, classes which could be held outside were scheduled
and maintenance personnel of the group took advantage of every opportunity
to attend classes scheduled for the 504th. 1st Lt. Howard E. Thompson, who
had joined the group as Special Services Officer, (*4) set up a physical
training program to cover 12 hours a month for each man and the program was
based on outdoor calisthenics and games. To supplement this phase of the
training, Lt.Col Springer ordered that every man be sent on a two-hour
hike each week.

MAINTENANCE

      As the group had been assigned no airplanes by the end of the month,
there was no real maintenance problem. Nevertheless, the maintenance men in
each squadron were divided into three shifts and assigned to assist the
504th.



*4--Special Order #228, Paragraph 11, Headquarters, Dalhart Army Air Field,
Dalhart, Tex., dd 16 Aug 44.

-3-


FACILITIES

      The problem of facilities was the same problem encountered in the
field of supply and equipment. A majority of the facilities at FAAF were,
of necessity, in use by the 504th during the month of August.

MORALE

      The state of morale was good at the beginning of the month and the
bivouac served to improve it. At the conclusion of the bivouac, Capt. Abbott,
in an informal conversation with the men told them they "look more like
soldiers than ever before" and it was obvious that the active, field training
made them feel more competent to face future problems.

      The necessity of living in tents at FAAF brought about a temporary
drop in morale--especially when heavy rains set in and caused serious
discomfort. But this was more than counterbalanced by the fact that the
men were actually stationed on a B-29 base where they could work on
airplanes.

      During the entire month, only four men were listed as AWOL and the med-
ical section reported verbally at staff meetings that the number of men
on sick call was normal. Both factors were considered evidence of good
morale.

BIOGRAPHIES

      See previous installment of history.

       For the Commanding Officer:



                                         GEORGE E. REEDY,JR
                                         1st Lt., AC
                                         Acting Group S-2

Incl 1

       All special orders pertaining to footnotes herein
       unless otherwise noted.


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