Gayle L. Smith
Group Operations Officer
This is Col. Carl Storrie, our Group Commander. He was the body and soul of the 387th Bomb Group from January 1943 to VE Day (May 7, 1945), even though he was transferred on November 14, 1943. He was the inspiration for both the enlisted man and officer. The early contact with him was the so-called "hat in the ring" appearance. There were actually two "hat in the ring" meetings-the first one February 2, 1943, when a meeting was called in the theatre. This was attended by approximately 3/4 of the 387th personnel. Another quarter of the total overall strength of the 387th had not yet reported for duty. They were called to a meeting in the fireproof machine room of the hangar.
This group, about 400, including myself, had settled in to the area behind the large metal doors. When the time arrived for the meeting, the metal doors banged as if hit by a battering ram. This really focused our attention on the doors. We could not see Col. Storrie, but this hard-visored hat came sailing into the room. His first and only words were, "My hat is in the ring-is yours?" He meant every word of it. He then proceeded to say that this Group was going to be the best and he expected everyone to believe it.
Colonel Storrie carried this same enthusiastic attitude in training and combat. He wouldn't expect you to do anything that he wouldn't do. He was a believer in everyone doing the job he was supposed to do. He was the boss, and friend, of enlisted and officer alike. If a person needed disciplining, he was the one to do it, but only after he was convinced that that course of action was required. It didn't make any difference whether you were a private or squadron commander. His enthusiastic attitude, work ethic, and inspiration were evident throughout our entire training and combat period. It seemed to me that he had instilled a loyalty among all, and they retained that "hat in the ring" attitude throughout our 2 1/2 years.
This abbreviated organizational chart is shown to reflect the method of operation. Basically, the S-3 officer (Group Operations) was responsible for developing and scheduling all flight training and combat flight mission activity. Particularly in combat the S-2 (Intelligence) and S-4 (Materiel) personnel at Group and Squadron level worked closely with S-3 (Operations) on every mission.
This is the 559th Squadron Intelligence Officer Sam Monk. He, along with Bill Engler, the Group Intelligence Officer, was a steadying force in my life. Bill Engler was a WWI veteran, so he was old enough to render sage advice at all times.