Instead, this was moved up to second phase and increased so that each one received from eight to twelve hours, including movies on such subjects as icing. The purpose of this review and instruction was to enable the crewmembers to understand what they hear about in weather briefing and make accurate observations and report when they come back from a mission. Another feature of the combat crew training was the emphasis put on aircraft recognition. In addition to the scheduled classes, the Squadrons S-2 section gave additional practice whenever a crew had some flee time. Although it was no longer required the 833rd Squadron S-2 continued to show slides at a tenth of a second, saying that 833"' crew members made higher grades in tests at the gunnery school
Davis-Monthan Field was still in need of more gunnery training facilities in order to comply to the letter with the Second Air Force gunnery-training program. Building of high tower ranges was begun but they had not been finished at the end of January.
7. Information supplied by Capt. Skipp.
Nevertheless, it was felt that the 486th was fortunate in being sent to Davis-Monthan Field to train. Its facilities, quarters, officer's mess, as well as the sunny climate, were outstanding in the Second Air Force.
Some dissatisfaction was felt regarding the personnel situation. There were complaints from Squadron Commander that inferior personnel were being received to fill vacancies. Some had long court martial records. They felt that a combat unit should get the best; instead of the men the various bases did not want. Instances were cited of clerks who could not type and a radioman who was self taught and too slow. The delay in filling vacancies in combat crews sometimes made it necessary to breakup crews in running missions. Although the regulations require immediate replacement after warning orders are received, there seemed to be confusion between the Air Base and the 16th and 18th Wings as to the responsibility in this matter. By the end of the month, however, the personnel situation is was improving. The shortage in combat crews had been reduced to 5 officers and 9 enlisted men. The group was having good luck in getting rid undesirables. The shortage in cooks, formerly the most pressing personal problem, had been made up and 834thSquadron had a supply officer. Personal equipment officers were received whose duty it was to see that combat crews were properly equipped. A communications officer in charge of radar and 28 Teletype operators also arrived in January. A new Chaplin Lieutenant Costner joined the group.
10. Statement by Lt. Col. Overing.
The personnel problem and other difficulties were discussed at a special meeting of the Group's Staff on January 21, when the Squadron Commander, Executive officers, and operations officers were present. The commanding officer invited them to the air their grievances and suggest how members of the Group staff could remedy them. The meeting was long and the discussion spirited, but a number of difficulties were presented. At the close, Colonel Overing summed up the results and issue directions concerning the handling of transportation, the chain of command, and the securing of supplies.
The new assisted Special Service officer, Lieutenant Wiley, in charge of that department while Lieutenant Bloom spent the month in Orientation School, took part in preparing the group for overseas. His office urged the making of allotments, sold war bonds, and assisted men to make wills and powers of attorney. Lieutenant Wiley went to the 832nd Squadron and talked to all enlisted men did not have $10,000 insurance, and as a result sold $130,000 worth. $185,000 was sold during January. A day room was being fitted up for Group enlisted men, ready for opening early in February.
Much the same athletic program was maintained as in December, except that officers' bowling became inactive. There were eight enlisted men's teams in the Group-bowling league. There were five enlisted men's teams and the officers' team and the Base basketball league. The 835th Squadron team was tied for first place.
13. Information supplied by Lt. Wiley
During January 16th Wind permitted compliance with the Second Air Force Policy of trying to give furloughs before a unit goes overseas. This was difficult because of a heavy burden of work and training but a number of officers and men were able to take advantage of it.
Some confusion was occasioned early in the month when Governor of Arizona directed returned to standard time. An inconvenient situation for many members of the group was relieved when the War Department directed compliance with the local change. The railroads and some government offices, however, continued on wartime.
The group had its first airplane accident on January 28 when one of its planes had to land at Winslow, and its landing gear folded. No one was hurt.
The 486th bombardment group began the month with, 221 officers, 1265 enlisted men and 19 airplanes. On the last day of the month, it had 396 officers, 1647 enlisted men, and 40 airplanes (some of which were its new "Fly-Aways"). The number of flying hours for January was 4142.
14. 16th Bombardment Operational Wing, Memorandum 80-4 (5 January 1944), complying with 2nd Air Force, Memorandum 35-16.
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