1943 – Munda Point

Munda Point airfield in New Georgia was wrested from the Japanese on August 5, 1943 and restored for Allied use. All of the B24s in this video,

Munda Airfield

which dates to nothing more specific than 1943, were operationally assigned to one or the other of two of the 5th Bombardment Group’s 23rd, 31st, 72nd, and 394th Bombardment (Heavy) Squadrons. However, only two of them are identifiable and one of those, the “Laden Maiden”, was officially assigned to the 72nd when delivered. The official inaugural squadron assignment of “Tim-Ber” is unknowable. Not depicted, but mentioned in the narration, is a “radar plane” belonging to the 394th.

Thing is. Operational assignment and official assignment are not the same.

Unlike what we see in the mythos which surrounds the renowned “Memphis Belle” and its crew, 5th Bombardment Group air crew and aircraft weren’t operationally joined at the hip.  Pilots and crew wouldn’t know where they’d be sitting until they were briefed on a strike and it was always a matter of which aircraft were fit for use. Given that, it’s highly likely that Leo Carter, as a member of the 23rd, was in one or the other of the aircraft depicted or in another off-screen.

Whatever the mix of squadrons, air crew, and aircraft may have been, I take these 2 minutes 18 seconds of film as a fair answer to the question “What did you do in the war, Daddy?”

7/14/14