I meet Mr. Ed. Stearns here at the Ft. Smith Air show, he was a delightful
old gentlemen that I could set for hours and listen to him tell about his
war experiences as a turret gunner on a B-17 in the 305 Bomb Group.
He inter service on Feb, 2-1943 at FT. Custer, Mich. He was 20 years old then. Had my basic training in Miami Beach Fl. Gunnery school, Los Vegas, NV. A M school Amarillo, TX. Flight Engineer and crew training in Rapid City, S D., picked up a brand new B-17 in Kerney, N.E. We flew it to England and they took it away from us so they could get it ready for combat. Had more gunnery training at Washington then sent to the 305th. Bomb Group. Flew a few day missions and started flying nights. Then they moved his squadron to Cheddington as they were flying nights only. He flew 47 missions, got a lot of flight time as he was the check out engineer for the squadron He was up for a field commission as a 2nd Lt. for gunnery officer, but turned it down so he could go home. He arrived in California on his 22nd birthday 12-18-1944. He was home for Xmas and New Years and said it felt good. Was in the hospital for three months, they said he had combat fatigue after he told the DR. how many mission he had. Discharged 9-28-1945. Nobody on our crew got the Purple Heart. He had three crash landings and walked away each time, He got banged up some and he had a cracked rib once. He also flew 48 mission in a B-26 as a tail gunner in the Korean War during 1950-1951 with the 452 Bomb Group. It is certainly remarkable that he survived 2 wars and that many mission with out being injured seriously or shot down. Mr. Stearns will be 81 on Dec 28 Mr. Stearns said "God has been with me all my life is why I'm still here. Thank You Lord."
|NOTE: On August 3rd, 2004 will be leaving for California. This will be the last reunion for the 452nd Bomb Wing as every body is getting to old to attend. We are all in our 70s - 80s - 90s and Stearns is 81 now. This is the Bomb Wing He was with over in Korea 1950 - 1951. He looking forward for a very great time with them. His old navigator Dick Rose, who he has not talked to since June 1951 in Pusan, Korea will be there.|
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