WWII Bomb Group veterans hold reunion in Chattanooga
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — The 39th Bomb Group flew many successful missions during World War II. They were stationed in Guam and flew combat missions against Japan.
Years later, the group and their families come together for a special reunion.Years later, the group and their families come together for a special reunion.
They do this annually. This year they came to Chattanooga.
The five veterans and their families went on a tour and to a lookouts game among other things.
The veterans also shared stories about their time in World War II.
“One time we were asked to go help with a search and rescue for a plane that was going down near Okinawa. And when we got there, we could see the people in the water and rafts, and what have you. And a seaplane came along with the purpose of landing and picking up some of these people. But there had been a storm, and the waves were very high. And when the seaplane hit the water, it just went almost straight down, more people in rafts, but fortunately at that time a cruiser came along and I think picked everybody up,” recalled Dan Clendening.
Clendening was a radar observer in the 62nd Squadron of the Air Force.
Also in the 62nd Squadron was radio operator David Fisher, Sr.
“When the Marines and the Army were trying to take Okinawa and the Japs were- were dropping bombs, driving the airplanes into ships, and so the navy lost I don’t know how many ships. Well we didn’t know why we were bombing that, but we found out later on that Hiroshima was, being closer to Okinawa, was the staging area for these kamikaze pilots and where they were training. And we flew a mission very, very low about 8,000 feet. And it was an incendiary mission and when those fires burn, and the air heats up, they create thermals. And where the air rises, and so it really, we were going through that and it bounced that airplane all through the sky and it- it through some of especially the tail-gunners, threw him around where it would just cut his face, I think, I think it was, that was the roughest mission,” recounted Fisher.
The reunion was Thursday through Sunday.