First Missions

379th Journal, Volume III, January - April 1944

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Interior of a B-47 (with crew)
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Damon Rarey:
The 379th was occupied with training missions around the English countryside. Click on this picture for a detailed look inside the cockpit of the "Jug" during a practice dive-bombing run.

Flak Alley
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Bob McKee: February 8, 1944.
At last! The Group's first mission! An all out effort to escort B-24's to St. Omer and back. The 379th had 13 aircraft airborne for the mission. All "up-tight" participating pilots were introduced to 40mm and 88mm flak for the first time. Adrenaline flowed freely. All aircraft returned.

Whither goest thou, Blue Two?
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Bob McKee: February 20, 1944.
So, after a few days weathered in, we flew a "double-header" today (two escort missions). Both with the B-17's, an all-out Group effort which was becoming the norm.

Painting Cowlings
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Rarey's letter: March 5, 1944.
Painted some cowlings this afternoon - have about half of them finished. It is a colorful thing to see the old 379th lined up for take off - looks like a menagerie. It sort of gives personality to an otherwise pretty cold collection of machinery. I think it means quite a bit to the pilots, and the crews that keep the planes in shape get a kick out of them, too - and I enjoy doing it, a pretty good thing all around.

The Arrival of Damon Rarey
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Rarey's letter: March 22, 1944.
Betty Lou, this happiness is nigh unbearable. Got back from a mission at 4:00 this afternoon and came up to the hut for a quick shave before chow. What did I see the Deacon waving at me as I walked up the road to the shack? A small yellow envelope! I thought it was a little early but I quit breathing completely until the wonderful news was unfolded. A son! Darling, Betty Lou! How did you do it? I'm so proud I'm beside myself! All of the boys in the squadron went wild. I had saved my tobacco ration for the last two weeks and had obtained a box of good American cigars. Old Doc Finn trotted out two quarts of Black and White from his medicine chest, and we all toasted the fine new son and his beautiful mother...what a ridiculous and worthless thing a war is in the light of such a wonderful event - that there will be no war for Damon!

A Civilian
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Rarey's Letter: March 29, 1944.
How goes it with the young'un? Showing any of the latent Rarey traits? Betty Lou, if you have a strange, overwhelming thirst for scotch whiskey, it's probably just old Damon following in his father's footsteps. Say, that scares me - I must see that my footsteps are worthy of following in.

On to Volume IV