Within the official histories of the 315th Bombardment Wing, and the groups assigned to the wing, are biographies of selected officers of the unit. There are two biographies for General Armstrong, the first from the wing history and the other from the official Air Force biography. The biography for General Stanathan, is from his official Air Force biographies. The transcribed biographies are provided below.


Frank A. Armstrong Jr., was born at Hamilton, N.C., in 1902. He was graduated from Wake Forest College in North Carolina in 1923 with a Bachelor of Laws degree, and in 1925 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He enlisted as a flying cadet on February 24, 1928, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Reserve on 28 February 1929, entering active duty the following day. On 2 May 1929, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Corps of the Regular Army.

He was promoted to first lieutenant on 1 October 1934; to captain (temporary) on 15 March 1935; to captain (permanent) on 2 May 1939; to major (temporary) on 15 March 1941; to lieutenant Colonel (temporary) on 5 January 1942; to Colonel (temporary) on 1 March 1942; to brigadier general (temporary) on 8 February 1943.

As a flying cadet he received his primary training at Brooks Field, Texas, and in November 1928, was ransferred to Kelly Field, Texas, for advanced training. Upon graduation there in March 1929, he was assigned to duty at Langley Field, Virginia, with the 2nd Bombardment Group. In January 1930 he returned to Kelly Field, Texas, to attend the Flying Instructors' School.

In February 1938 he was sent to March Field, California, as a flying instructor. He was transferred to Randolph Field, Texas, in December 1931 to continue his work as a flying instructor. In January 1934 he went to Rockwell Field, California, for special training in navigation and instrument flying, and in February 1934 he became a Chief Pilot with the Air Corps Mail Operations, serving at Salt Lake City, Utah. In May 1934 he returned to Randolph Field, Txas, as a flying instructor.

He was sent to the Panama Canal Zone in December 1934, for duty with the 78th Pursuit Squadron at Albrook Field. He was transferred to the 44th Observation Squadron at Albrook Field in November 1936, and returned to the United States in March 1937. His next assignment was to the 13th Attack Squadron at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. He was assigned to the 13th Bombardment Squadron at Barksdale Field in November 1939, and in February 1940 assumed command of that bombardment squadron.

He was assigned to the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Alabama, in September 1939, and upon graduation in December 1939, returned to Barksdale Field and resumed command of the 13th Bombardment Squadron; In November 1940 he went to England as a Military Observer, and in February 1941 he was sent to the Savahhan Air Base in Georgia for duty with the 90th Bombardment Squadron.

In April 1941 he went to Tampa, Florida, for duty with the 3rd Interceptor Command, ad the following August ws ordered to Washington, D.C. for duty with Headquarters, Army Air Forces.

He was assigned to Headquarters, European Theater of Operations in England, for duty with the VIII Bomber Command, in Feberuary 1942. he subsequently served as a Bombardment Wing Commander, Bombardment Group Commander, and a Bombardment Combat Wing Commander in the same theater until August 1943, when he returned to the United States and joined the Second Air Force at Colorado Springs, Colorado, for a brief tour of duty. He then became Commanding General, 46th Bombardment Operational Training Wing, Dalhart, Texas. he took command of the 17th Bombardment Training Wing, Smoky Hill Army Air Field, Salina, Kansas, on April 7, 1944. The headquarters subsequently was moved to Grand Island, Nebraska, to supervise the Second Air Forces's Very Heavy Bombardment program. On 18 November he assumed command of the 315th Bombardment Wing (VH). He is rated a Command Pilot, Combat Observer, and Technical Observer.

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in August 1943, wth the following citation for a mission over Antwerp, Belguim:

" For extrordinary heroism and conspicuous bravery in action while leading a heavy bombardment formation in attack over enemy territory on 5 April 1943. Approximately 150 enemy fighters attacked the formation, directing their principal and cintinuous attacks head-on against the lead airplane flown by Gneral ARMSTRONG. The airplane was repeatedly hit by machine gun fire and cannon shells, and badly damaged. Fire broke out in the pilot compartment. The co-pilot, navigaory, and other crew members were wounded. The oxygen system was destroyed. With great courage and personal disregard for his own safety General ARMSTRONG relinguished his own emergency oxygen bottle to the co-pilot, divested himself of his parachute, and extinguished the flame. Then, with high resolution and dauntless perseverence he continued to lead his formation forward to the attack, thereby inspiring the entire unit with his personal courage. Upon being informed that his navigator was seriously wounded he relinquished the controls, crawled on his hands and knees, without benefit of oxygen, to his navigator and administered first aid, thereby saving his life. the audacity and courage under fire, and the coolness and skill thus displayed by this officer on this occasion, reflect the highest credit upon him and upon the Armed forces of the United States."

The award of the Silver Star was conferred upon him in August 1942, accompanied by the following citation for the first USAAF dayligh heavy bombardment attack in Europe:

"For extraordinary achievement in action while leading his Group in an attack during daylight, August 17, 1942, on the marshalling yards at ROUEN-SOTTEVILLE, France. This was the first daylight heavy bombardment mission against enemy opposition to be flown by the United States Army Air force in the Europoen Theater of Operations. In spite of heavy enemy anti-aircraft fire and fighter plane resistance, the bombing of the objective was of the highest order of accuracy. The successful accomplishment of this mission, without loss of life or plane, reflects a high degree of credit upon Colonel ARMSTRONS and the Military Service."

He received the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1936, with the following citation:

"For heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight. On 20 November 1935, Lieutenant Armstrong (then temporary captain) was piloting an airplane with three passengers and a co-pilot from David, Republic of Panama, to Albrook Field, Canal Zone. While flying at an altitude of approximately 4,000 feet over jungle and mountainous terrian, the right engine of the airplane disintegrated. Lieutenant Armstrong, realizing the possibility of the remaining moror quitting and with no landing area visible, signalld the co-pilot and passengers to jump, a comparatively safe proceeding at that time. With the airplane thus lightened and with the assistance of the co-pilot, who did not jump when ordered to, Lieutenant Armstrong then pioted the airplane to a safe landing on a distant field. His courage and coolness in this emergency undoubtedly resulted in saving the lives of the passengers and, by preventing a crash landing, saved the airplane from destruction."

He recevied one Oak Leaf Cluster to the Distinguished Flying Cross in October 1942, with the following citation:

"For extraordinary heroism and superior leadership in action over enemy occupied territory in Continental Europe during the period of August 17, 1942, to September 6, 1942. As Commanding Officer of the 97th Bombardment Group, Colonel Armstong personally led a total of six bombardment missions against the enemy with a loss of but one aircraft from his Group. During these missions his group destroyed six enemy planes. Colonel Armstrong, by the specific act of personally leading his Group in the air on repeated missions during the above period, of his own volition, by his coolness and couage under fire, by his display of superb tactical skill in controlling his formation so that heavy losses were avoided in spite of concentrated attacks by enemy fighters, and by his resourcefulness and flying leadership in the face of great danger and overwhelming odds, upheld the highest traditions of the Armed Forces of the United States and was largely responsible for the success of six missions of vital importance."

In April 1943 he received a second Oak Leaf Cluster to the Dinstinguished Flying Cross, the citation for which is as follows:

"For extraordinary achievement. Working with untiring effort, General ARMSTRONG reorganzied a Heavy Bombardment Group, preparing his crews and equipment in record time and pioneered in high altitude precision bombing of targets deep in enemy territory. Displaying great courage, skill and superlative leadership, he personally led his group on five separate bombing missions against some of the most strongly fortified enemy objectives in Europe, with the loss of only one airplane. The courage, leadership and devotion to duty displayed by General ARMSTRONG on all of his missions have been a lasting inspiration to his men and reflect the highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States."

He was awarded the Air Medal with the following citation in January 1943:

"For exceptionally meritorious achievement while serving as Pilot of a B-17 airplane, on five aerial combat missions over enemy occupied continental Europe, 17 August, 19 August, 20 August, 21 August and 24 August 1942. The courage and skill displayed by Colonel Armstrong upon these occasions reflect the highest credit upon himself and the Armed forces of the United States."

On 17 July 1943, he was the first United States Officer in this war to receive the British Distinguished Flying Cross. The following citiation accompanied the award:

"For services on 17th August 1942, when he led an attack on Rouen - the first daylight raid attack by the U.S. Forces from the United Kingdom - which was completed successfully without loss of life or aircraft."

From his official US Air Force Biography

Retired July 31, 1962, Died Sept. 1, 1969

Frank Alton Armstrong Jr., was born at Hamilton, N.C., in 1902. He graduated from Wake Forest College in 1923 with a bachelor of laws degree. Two years later he received a bachelor of science degree from Wake Forest.
He began military service in February 1928 when he enlisted as a flying cadet at Nashville, N.C. He received primary training at Brooks Field, Texas and advanced training at Kelly Field, Texas. He received his pilot's wings in March 1929 and today is a command pilot with around 11,000 flying hours. He has flown the B-47 Stratojet in addition to many types of conventional aircraft.
Lieutenant Armstrong's first assignment after Kelly Field was with the Second Bombardment Group at Langley Field, Va. The lieutenant returned to Kelly Field in 1930 to attend the Flying Instructors' School and then went to March Field, Calif., as a flying instructor. In 1931 he transferred to Randolph Field, Texas where he continued his flying instruction duties.
In 1934, Lieutenant Armstrong received special navigation and instrument flying training at Rockwell Field, Calif., before he became a chief pilot with the Air Corps mail operations at Salt Lake City, Utah.
His first overseas tour was with the 78th Pursuit Squadron at Albrook Field, Canal Zone. Other pre-World War II assignments were: commander of the 13th Bombardment Squadron at Barksdale Field, La; a student at the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Ala; a military observer in England; with the 90th Bombardment Squadron at Savannah, Ga., Air Base; and duty at Air Force Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Early in 1942, Lieutenant Colonel Armstrong went to England to become the operations officer for the Eighth Bomber Command. After promotion to colonel during the same year, he became a bombardment group commander and a wing commander.
Colonel Armstrong led the first daylight raid ever made by the U.S. Army Air Force over Axis territory. This raid over Rouen-Sotteville, France blasted the target without loss of life or aircraft. For this operation Colonel Armstrong received the Silver Star and an oak leaf cluster to the Distinguished Flying Cross. (He had received the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1936 for the landing of a twin-engine amphibian after one engine had exploded). He was also awarded the British Flying Cross for the Rouen-Sotteville raid, the first United States officer to be so honored.
Early in 1943, Brigadier General Armstrong led the group over Wilhelmshaven in the first heavy bomber raid over Germany proper. The B-17 experiences during this time became the basis of Bierne Lay Jr. and Sy Bartlett's book and movie "Twelve O'Clock High".
He returned to the United States in August 1943 and commanded bombardment training wings at Dalhart, Texas, Ardmore, Okla., and Colorado Springs, Colo. He then headed the 315th Bomb Wing at Peterson Field, Colo.
Brigadier General Armstrong's stay in the United States was of short duration. By mid-year 1945 he went to the Pacific where he took command of the same bomb wing that he trained at Peterson Field.
During the summer of 1945 he flew numerous missions over oil targets in Japan. In August he flew from Guam to Honshu, the longest and last very heavy bombing raid in the war, without bomb-bay tanks and with an extremely heavy bomb load. In November 1945, he led the first non-stop flight from Hokkaido, Japan, to Washington, D.C., in a Boeing B-29 bomber. He was awarded an oak leaf cluster to the Distinguished Flying Cross for each of the above achievements.
With World War II ended, Brigadier General Armstrong could look back on many significant achievements he had made during this worldwide conflict. He had served in both theaters. He personally led the first and last heavy bombing raids of World War II.
Early in 1946, he became the Pacific Air Command chief of staff for operations and later that year he returned to the United States to become senior air instructor at the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Va.
Early in 1949, Brigadier General Armstrong began the first of two tours in Alaska. He headed the Alaskan Air Command. In addition to increasing the combat capabilities of the Air Forces in Alaska, he pioneered (with other members of the Alaskan Air Command) an air route non-stop from Alaska to Norway, and from Norway to New York. Following the flight to Norway, he received the Gold Medal of the Aero Club of Norway, the highest civil award of that country.
Early in 1950, Armstrong was promoted to major general and a year later returned to the United States to command Sampson Air Force Base, N.Y. He was commended for the harmonious relationship established between the base and surrounding civil communities in the trying period of base activation.
Later in 1951, Major General Armstrong became commanding general of the Sixth Air Division at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., trained and equipped the Air Force's first B-47 Stratojet Wing.
The general in late 1952 commanded Strategic Air Command's Second Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. He held this position for almost four years.
In July 1956, Major General Armstrong returned to Alaska to again head the Alaskan Air Command. Two months later, he became commander in chief, Alaska, was promoted to lieutenant general and now heads the unified Alaskan Command with headquarters at Elmendorf Air Force Base.

Has extensive collections of rifles and shotguns; has collection of big game trophies to prove that he is a big game hunter; is better than average golfer, shooting in the low 80's; likes to fish, particularly trout fishing; likes all types of spectator sports, too; often attends championship boxing matches; fond of all pets; has dogs around the house and is particularly proud of "Miss Bourbon" a highly trained black French poodle. During his early officer career, he coached the basketball team at Centenary College.
He played professional baseball for three years prior to entering the service. He was offered a contract to play first base for the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern Association, and still maintains keen interest in baseball. He recently instructed a Little League youngster in playing first base.
Has a deep religious feeling; attends base church services regularly; is fully cognizant of civic responsibilities, knows personally all Alaskans of importance; is philanthropic and helps the underprivileged.

Prefers southern cooking, likes a breakfast of Smithfield ham, eggs, grits and spoon bread; likes steaks for dinner, but often patronizes French and Spanish restaurants; prefers dark colors for civilian dress; wears charcoal and brown; friends say he resembles Calvert's "Man of Distinction."
Is an avid reader, with taste ranging from ponderous biographies to paperback novels; likes semi-classical and occasional jazz music; has a large collection of records for Hi Fi; watches television, prefers western adventures and sport programs; is interested in photography, both still and motion picture; enjoys the legitimate stage as well as movies; is a patron of music and arts; travels extensively, prefers the hustle of a big city to rural scenery; paradoxically likes the rugged scenery of Alaska. In foreign travels, he prefers visits to European cities.
Has a firm belief in Alaska as a logical place for possible offensive air operations; is not given to the use of bromides or cliches; has ready answers but is a man of few words. For example at a recent press interview he was asked how it felt to be so near to the U.S.S.R. His quick reply was "We're not jumpy."
Stress loyalty and sincerity; delegates with authorities and backs his staff officers to the hilt; is not a nit picker and rarely changes correspondence that covers his general ideas; is a thinker and not a talker; is readily accessible but dislikes lengthy conversations; his orders are always clear-cut and to the point.
"When things get tough I'd rather have Frank Armstrong running the show than any officer I've ever known. Cucumbers could take lessons in coolness from him" is the way one person spoke of him. One of his colleagues said, "he doesn't know the meaning of the word excited."

1923 Wake Forest College, N.C., with an bachelor of laws degree
1925 Wake Forest College, N.C., with a bachelor of science
1928 Primary Flight Training, Brooks Field
1929 Advanced Flight School, Kelly Field
1930 Flying Instructors' School, Kelly Field
1939 Air Corps Tactical School, Maxwell, Field
1947 Armed Forces Staff College

1. Feb. 1928 - March 1929 Flying School at Brooks and Kelly fields, Texas
2. March 1929 - Jan. 1930 member of Second Bomb Group, Langley Field, Va.
3. Jan. 1930 - Feb. 1931 student at Flying Instructors' School, Kelly Field, Texas
4. Feb. 1931 - Dec. 1931 flying instructor, March Field, Calif.
5. Dec. 1931 - Jan. 1934 flying instructor, Randolph Field, Texas
6. Jan. 1934 - Dec. 1934 chief pilot of the Air Corps mail operations at Salt Lake City, Utah
7. Dec. 1934 - March 1937 pilot in pursuit and observation squadrons, Albrook Field, Canal Zone
8. March 1937 - Nov. 1939 member of 13th Bomb Squadron, Barksdale Field, La.
9. Nov. 1939 - Nov. 1940 commander of 13th Bomb Squadron, Barksdale Field, La.
10. Nov. 1940 - Feb. 1941 military observer in England
11. Feb. 1941 - April 1941 member of 90th Bomb Squadron, Savannah Air Base, Ga.
12. April 1941 - Aug. 1941 member of the 3rd Interceptor Command, Tampa, Fla.
13. Aug. 1941 - Feb. 1942 staff duty at Air Force Headquarters Washington, D.C.
14. Feb. 1942 - Aug. 1943 bomb group, wing and division commander in European Theater of Operations
15. Aug. 1943 - Nov. 1944 commander of bomber training wings at Dalhart, Texas, Ardmore, Okla., and Colorado Springs, Colo.
16. Nov. 1944 - May 1945 commander of 315th Bomb Wing, Peterson Field, Colo.
17. May 1945 - Sept. 1946 commander of 315th Bomb Wing in Pacific Area
18. Sept. 1946 - June 1948 senior air advisor Air Force Staff College, Norfolk, Va.
19. June 1948 - July 1950 deputy commanding general Alaskan Air Command
20. July 1950 - Jan. 1951 commanding general Alaskan Air Command
21. Jan. 1951 - May 1951 commanding general Sampson Air Force Base, N.Y.
22. May 1951 - Oct. 1952 commanding general Sixth Air Division, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
23. Oct. 1952 - July 1956 commanding general Second Air Force, Barksdale, Air Force Base, La.
24. July 1956 - Sept. 1956 commander Alaskan Air Command
25. Sept. 1956 - present commander in chief, Alaska

Silver Star Aug. 22, 1942
Distinguished Flying Cross British May 22, 1943
Distinguished Service Medal Aug. 10, 1943
Air Medal with oak leaf cluster Aug. 14, 1945
Distinguished Flying Cross with four oak leaf clusters Oct. 30, 1945
Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster May 15, 1945
Belgian Croix de Guerre with palm Jan. 12, 1946
Occupation Ribbon - Japan
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with star
American Defense Medal (FSO)
World War II Victory Medal
Philippine Independence Ribbon
National Defense Service Medal
Norwegian Gold Medal


General Armstrong personally led first and last heavy bomber raids of World War II. The first raid was over Rouen-Sotteville, France. The last raid was over Honshu, Japan. He also led his group over Wilhelmshaven in the first heavy bomber raid over Germany proper. His mission in the Pacific was "destroy ten different oil refineries," a mission he carried out effectively.

In 1936 while a captain stationed at Albrook Field, Canal Zone, General Armstrong was piloting a Douglas amphibian (OA-4A). During the flight an engine exploded, but by skillful handling he landed the aircraft safely on a small strip located on the Mala peninsula.

Retired Oct. 10, 1963, Died Aug. 22, 1983

Leland S. Stranathan was born in Glenwood, Iowa in 1904. He graduated from Glenwood High School in 1921 and entered the University of Southern California the same year. He graduated from the University of Southern California in 1926 with a bachelor of arts degree, majoring in business administration.
Aviation Cadet Stranathan was in the first class of flying students at March Field, Calif., after it was first reactivated after World War I. This was in October 1927. His first instructor was the late General Hoyt Vandenburg, then a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps Reserve. In 1928, he completed his advanced flying training at Kelly Field, Texas and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps Reserve. He is today rated a command pilot and remains on active pilot status.
Lieutenant Stranathan's first assignment was to Langley Field, Va., in November 1928. On receiving a permanent commission in the Regular Army, he was assigned to Bolling Field, D.C., in March 1929. One of his principal duties there was to pilot government dignitaries. In a small way, and in the best airplanes of the times, he and a few other young officers operated the forerunner to Special Air Missions.
After a long tour as flying instructor at Randolph Field, Texas, and an overseas tour in Hawaii, he was assigned to Maxwell Field, Ala., in January 1939. Just prior to the war, he was instrumental in establishing many of the elementary flying schools in the Southeastern United States. Later, he established and commanded a two-engine advanced flying school at Blytheville, Ark. He entered the flexible gunnery training program as commander of Tyndall Field, Fla., in February 1943. During this assignment he was twice sent to the European Theater of Operations to observe and analyze flexible gunnery effectiveness in combat. As a result of this work, many actions were taken to improve the theater training of gunners, as well as to improve the training methods used in the Training Command.
Other Air Training Command assignments during the war included a tour as assistant chief of A/3 for the Southeast Air Training Command add as commander of the Flexible Gunnery School at Laredo, Texas.
In December 1944, he became chief of staff of the 315th Bomb Wing, then located at Colorado Springs, Colo. During the spring of 1945, the unit moved to Guam and became a part of the 20th Air Force. He participated in B-29 strikes against the Japanese mainland, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal. Shortly after the end of the war he assumed command of the 315th Wing.
In April 1946, he was transferred to Headquarters 5th Air Force, Japan and became assistant chief of Staff A/3. In the fall of 1946, he was designated commander of the 308th Bomb Wing in Korea and remained there until his return to the United States in June 1947 to attend the National War College. After graduating from the National War College in 1948, he was for several months the deputy director of training and requirements in Headquarters U.S. Air Force.
A long assignment to the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project began in December 1948. He was first in charge of operations and training and later deputy chief. In February 1951, he was named commanding general of the Field Command, Armed Forces Special Weapons Project at Sandia Base, N.M. and held this position until July 1955, at which time he was assigned as director of development planning in Headquarters U.S. Air Force.
In August 1959, he assumed command of Caribbean Air Command.
(Current as of March 1962)

Commander, 16th Bombardment Group (VH)

Colonel 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.
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 organization 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, Redistribution 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.


Collier H. Davidson, Operations Officer of the 16th Bomb Group, was born at Blakely, Georgia, on November 10, 1918. His father was a member of the Army Air Force and his early education was acquired at a series of schools through the United States as his family moved from one army post to another.
He attended Vanderbilt University at Nashville, Tennessee, and in 1940 enlisted in the army as an aviation cadet. He received his wings after attending Randolph and Kelly Fields in Texas.

Military Service
Following his graduation, he was attached for one year to Mather Field, California, as a flying instructor. From there, he was sent to Sebring, Florida, where he attended the first B-17 transition class.
After a tour of duty at Barksdale Field, Louisana, he was sent with the 404th Squadron to Alaska. He served throughout the campaign and was stationed at Umniak, Adak and Amchitka, performing 53 missions against the enemy.
In July, 1943, he was promoted to Major and transferred August, 1943, to the A-3 section of the Second Bomber Command with headquarters at Spokane, Washington. When this headquarters was closed, he was sent to the Army Air Base at Wendover, Utah, and on December 1, 1943, to March Field, California. At both posts, he served as Deputy Group Commander and as a section commander of various training units.

The 16th Bombardment Group
On July 4, 1944, he was transferred to the 16th Bombardment Group, then stationed at Dalhart, Texas, where he assumed the position of Commanding Officer of the 17th Bomb Squadron. While serving in that capacity, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on March 8, 1945.
Lieutenant Colonel Davidson became the Operations Officer of the 16th Group on June 25 after the organization had moved to its overseas base at Northwest Field on Guam.
He holds the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal for his service in the Alaskan Campaign.


Richard W. Kline, Commanding Officer of the 15th Squadron, was born in Haskell, Texas, 11 July 1915. He received his early education in Oklahoma City where he attended the University for two years.
In 1938, he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 1941. His first army assignment was to a flying school at Tulsa, Oklahoma.
His advance flying taining was taken at Randolph and Ellington Fields in Texas and then he was assigned to Gowen Field at Boise, Idaho, as a pilot. Until early in 1943, he was stationed at various western Army Air Fields, including Tucson, Arizona, and Muroc Lake, California.
In March, 1943, he was sent to Panama where he flew on anti-submarine patrol. He was assigned to the Galapagos Islands for eight months and then returned to Panama where he held the position of Assistant A-3 in the 6th Bomber Command.
During this tour of duty, he was promoted to a majority and on 6 June 1943, he was sent to Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he atteded the 19th course. Following his graduation, he was sent to the redistribution center at Atlantic City, New Jersey, and then to the Combat Crew Replacement pool at Headquarters, Second Air Force.
Major Kline was assigned to the 16th Group as Air Inspector, a position he held until 1 March, 1945. On that date he assumed command of the 15th Squadron, succeeding Major Garland who had been transferred to the European Theater of Operations.
Major Kline is married to the former Doris G. Kruger, of Queens Village, New York, and has two children.

Webpage by Larry Miller

November 29, 2013