- Thank you for your letter in response to mine on E-Mail.
- Let me answer your question concerning the Martin B-26 with a
chronology of my experience with this B-26 airplane.
- When I was in Advanced Training at Altus, Oklahoma flying AT-9, by
Curtis Aircraft, which was an excellent trainer for B-26 because of
similar flight characteristics, we were favored with a demonstration by
a pilot of B-26 by the name of “Squeaky Burnett”. He had done a tour in
north Africa in them and he was very high on its performance and was
able to show it. Four of us students rode with him and I was also very
- We were not unaware of the remarks as to its reputation but one
thing I was quite sure of was that if I selected the B-26 as my first
choice, I would without a doubt be selected for it. That is what
- I was sent to Dodge City, Kansas for training to fly the B-26 A
Model (short wing) which were fast but hot, and some malfunctions, such
as hydraulic wheel doors not to open and sometimes result in wheels-up
landing after using all fuel before belly landing. The ship was sturdy
and usually survived without injury to personnel.
- Runaway prop was a continuing possibility in early models (Curtis
Electric Props) but pilots were trained to expect this may occur and
therefore it was manageable. If loss of one engine on take-off occurs
before wheels and flaps not cleaned up, straight ahead crash landing was
advised . None of these situations occurred to me but I am aware of
these happenings. They were exceptions, not common occurrences in my
- I was sent to MacDill Field, Tampa, Florida for further training and
crew assignments and on to Lake Charles, Louisiana for further phase
- My crew and I were sent to Savannah, Georgia where we were assigned
a brand new B-26. After flight testing and calibrating of instruments
for a couple days, I and my Co-Pilot and Radio Operator took the
aircraft to the point of embarkation at West Palm Beach, Florida. The
balance of the crew took ships for their trip to England.
- At Palm Beach, Florida we were weather briefed for the first leg of
our flight to England. We were given sealed orders which were not to be
opened until two hours in to the flight, telling us our ultimate
- This was December 24, 1943, we arrived in Puerto Rico on Christmas
Eve. We were to be replacement crews to already operating Bomb Groups of
the 8th Air Force in England. We went via Puerto Rico, Trinidad, British
Guinea, Natal, Brazil, Ascension Island, Dekar, Marrakech, Morocco,
- We delivered the airplane to Stanstead, England to what would become
the home of the 344th Bomb Group.
- We were flown by C-47 to Belfast, Ireland where we met the rest of
our crew that had traveled by ship. We were then trained for three weeks
on matters such as: what to do if shot down; how to contact the French
Underground; our rights as prisoners of war, etc.
- We were assigned to the 386th Bomb Group, 555th Squadron. C. O. was
Colonel Joe W. Kelly. The 386th was now a part of the 9th Air Force.
- We flew as a crew 65 combat missions. One of the missions was on D
Day, June 6, 1944. My crew had 78 Air Medals, 5 Purple Hearts, 1 Silver
Star, and all came home.
- In this process we experienced every weather condition, performance
and durability. I cannot say enough for the confidence the B-26 gave to
its Pilot and Crew.