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Hi Mike;

I connected to the two links on B26.com as you suggested and was surprised you had gotten something I sent you on the website so quickly. My daughter was awed at seeing me on the Internet. I'm well pleased with what you did with that picture. I'm sure whatever else you do with the pictures will be great.

I hate to "rain on your parade" about the two pictures of Class 44D, Lubbock, Texas (picture -1- | -2-). Not all of those individuals were pilots of B26s as you have indicated by the captions at the top of each photo. Class 44D at Lubbock had a total of 349 students who graduated from flying school (April 15, 1944) and were commissioned as Officers and multi-engine pilots, having no specialty as to type of aircraft. This was like graduating from "High School". In other words they were not trained in any special operational or combat type aircraft at that point.

They were assigned, by choice or otherwise, throughout the Army Air Corps to serve its' needs at that moment (April 1944). Many went immediately to fill slots as copilots on B26s, B17s, B24s, C47s etc., crews being made up, or to fill empty slots on existing crews. For example, my best friend was immediately assigned as a copilot on a C47, shipped to Burma and was flying supplies to the Flying Tigers over the "Hump" into China inside of six weeks after graduating in Class 44D. My copilot came directly from multi-engine school (one similar to Lubbock), with no experience on B26s. In fact, none of my crew except for me, had ever been close to a B26 until they were assigned as my crew.

Many of the 349 students at Lubbock were fortunate, as I was, and were sent to transitional schools for training as pilots in specific types of aircraft such as P38, B25, B26 ,B17, B24, etc. (This was like going to college to get a degree in a specific vocational field). Lucky for me, I went to Del Rio, Texas, where I learned to fly the B26. Later my crew was assigned to me and we went to Lake Charles, La. for (RTU) replacement crew training prior to being sent overseas and assigned to the 394th Bomb Group.

So, coming back to the two photographs, the first one you had shows some of the students as Aviation Cadets ( A/C ) on the flight line at Lubbock prior to graduation day. This one includes Kenneth Carty, who was a classmate of mine (Class 44D), and went on to become a B26 pilot, and is the subject of the page you had on "Mountain Marauder", telling the story of the crew who flew the "southern route to north Africa, crashing in Wales and never making it into combat.

The photo I sent you shows some of the aviation cadets who have just graduated and are now Second Lieutenants. My guess is that probably one-third of Class 44D, Lubbock wound up in B26s, either as first pilots or copilots.

If you want to know the names of the individuals in the photo I sent you, I'll try to match them up. However, I cannot remember who went further to B26 pilot training. It has been too many years past. In view of what I have told you, you might want to change the captions on each of  these two photographs.

Best Regards,
Bill Stuckey


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