HOW I BECAME THE LEAD BOMBARDIER by Joe
graduation from Midland Texas Bombardiers School in Aug. of
1942, I was assigned to Sebring Florida. This was my
introduction to the B17E on submarine patrol of the east
coast. Following a month of this duty, I was then assigned
to Boise, Idaho to the Combat Crew Replacement School as
43rd Sqdn. Bombardier.
24 (my 26th birthday) on landing from a training mission, I
was informed by the squadrons first sergeant that I was to
report to Room 313 in Headquarters at 15:00 hours. Having no
idea as to the reason for the meeting I called home and
asked my wife to bring me a clean uniform for same. With
this accomplished, I proceeded to Room 313 at 2:45.
Arriving, I discovered another officer seated outside the
requested 313. I inquired if he was requested to appear
there also. He replied “Yes, at 15:00". Jokingly, I replied,
"Me too. Maybe if we go in together, they can't shoot us
both down". Soon, a sergeant beckoned us both to enter.
a table were two Lt. Colonels, alongside two majors. As
requested, Lt. Brown reported. Reporting to the table, “Lt.
Joseph A. Brown reporting as ordered, Sir.” The first
question posed by the Lt. Colonel was, “Where did you play
football, Lieutenant?” My answer: “The University of
Illinois, Sir.” His next question was: “Did you see the West
Point Academy game in 36?” I replied “Yes Sir. We sat in
that rain for the entire game. Your Captain Buckner was
injured in the third quarter proving to be to our advantage
as the game progressed”. His immediate reply was “You’ve got
a hellava memory. I’ll take you”.
to the Major at side, he remarked, “Charlie, get his
personnel records for his assignment as Group Bombardier”.
This we proceeded to do at the meetings completion. I am, to
this day certain that it was FATE, as I later learned that
the other officer was assigned to the 100th BG, whose combat
record hardly compared with the 379th as shown in the AF