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Texas Invasion
Dalhart, Texas
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Bloody 100th
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March '44 & Berlin
Target Berlin Again
48 Hour Pass In London
Sing These Songs...Mightly
Target Brunswick Again
Target Augsburg
Letters Of Commendation
Munich Is The Target
Our Little Friends
Other Side...
Heavy Water
15th In Italy
Russian bases
Target Oil
Bob Rosenthal
Colonel John Bennett
William R. Lawley
B-17 Control Panel
The Base Of Operations
Russians Load Bombs
Goering's Lament
Code Of Conduct
C.B. (Red) Harper
Credits & Links


We finished first phase at Pyote and the entire provisional group of 30 crews moved to Dalhart Army Air Base, at Dalhart, Texas. The housing situation in Dalhart was as bad or maybe a little worse than Monahans. Word was out that the nearest quarters available was at Clayton, New Mexico, 60 miles west of Dalhart. The only thing available in Clayton was at a tourist court for my family. 

If the words “tourist court” are foreign to you, motels were not yet in the picture in those days. Tourist courts were individual units with an attached shed for parking vehicles. The things were nothing more than a bedroom and bath with linoleum rug on the floor. Heat was accomplished with gas, steam or electricity. The type heating system was dependent on what section of the country you were in. 

The Clayton tourist court had steam heat and the place was filled to capacity immediately with the arrival of the new provisional group. We were near some friends we had known in Pyote and we took turns driving the 120 miles a day to and from the airbase, depending on whether or not our respective crews were flying at the same time. We were only a few miles from Colorado and it was fall when we arrived at Dalhart. The weather was cold with frequent snow flurries. The crews finally arrived at the base. Most of the officers were married and had traveled by automobile to Dalhart. Few of the enlisted men were married so most of them were brought in by troop train from Pyote. I was the only married member of my crew, so the rest of the crew were on the troop train. The crew was rounded up and we all checked in at headquarters.

The next order of business was to obtain quarters for the men and secure bedding from the quartermaster warehouse. I was delighted to finally get a copilot and navigator to complete the crews roster. Lt. Robert S. Flannigan was Copilot and Lt. Charles T. Hardiman, navigator. I sized up both men and immediately liked what I saw. Flannigan was from the Finger Lakes area in New York, while Hardiman was from Rhode Island. Lt. Arthur Cox, our bombardier had a twin sister living with their mother in Springfield, Ill. She called him “Buddy” so we adopted that name for him. 

We all loaded in my Mercury convertible coupe and headed west for Clayton, New Mexico. The guys wanted to see my baby daughter, Jan. While we were in Pyote, the crew had decided to call her the “Buffalo Gal” since Buffalo Gap, Texas was her home. They subsequently named our World War II bomber The Buffalo Gal for Jan who now was about 4 months old. Her eyes brightened up when she saw the crew. They loved her and she loved them. They used her for a football, tossing her from one to the other. She loved it, and was always sad when they left. 

I found rooms at the old Clayton Hotel that night for a celebration commemorating our becoming a fill crew. We found a real live honest to goodness old west saloon - brass rail and all - across from the hotel. We were in cattle ranch country and the place was crawling with real cowboys. They wouldn’t let us pay for any of the drinks and it doesn’t take much imagination to envision the hangover we carried with us the next day. But it was good. We were a full fledged crew - one for all and all for one!

Next...A New Aircraft Commander


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