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|July 4, 1983
Enclosed you will find an 8 x 10 print of General Eisenhower sitting in one of our ships in the 386th Bomb Group. You may keep the photo if you wish. The Date was April 11, 1944: The General along with Major General Brereton and a number of high ranking U.S. and RAF Officers made an inspection of our B-26 Marauder base located at Great Dunmow, England. It was the only B-26 base the General ever visited. He was so impressed with the fine combat record of our 386th Group that he assigned it to be the last air unit to bomb the beach installations prior to the landing force going in on "D-Day."
The photo shows the General sitting in a Martin B-26 Marauder which was assigned to Lt. Col. Sherman R. Beaty. The nick name of the ship was, "SON-OF-SATAN" 131613 YA-Y. This particular aircraft was flying in deputy lead position on a thirty-six plane bombing raid to a storage dump located at St. Wendel, Germany on November 18, 1944. The left wing was shot off by flak, the aircraft spun on down and crashedone parachute was seen to open. There were six planes in that lead flight, two were shot down, three made crash landings back at base, one was a total loss. Only one plane in that flight made a normal landing, although it had been battle damaged.
Getting back to the photo--as the photographer was setting up for the shot, General "Ike" said, "If these engines start up Im going to jump right out of this window!" Also enclosed is my four page progress report which I send out to former 386th members as I locate them. This photo and several others taken during the Generals visit will appear in my Group History work.