39th Bomb Group (VH)

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T/Sgt John N. Danhof
Crew Chief

" I began my mechanic training at Chanute Field, Rantoui, IL. After leaving there I attended Boeing B-17 School at Seattle. Upon graduation, I was then sent to Walla, WA, where I worked as a mechanic on the B-17s for four-engine pilot flight training. After a couple of years it was back to Seattle for B-29 School then assignment to SHAAF (Smoky Hill Army Air Field), Salina, KS. On Guam, our ground crew consisted of: Edward Kosmowski, Assistant Crew Chief; Donald Davie, David Gotieb, and another who's name I can't remember - aircraft mechanics.

Following one of Crew 8's missions, in which, it had sustained severe damage, the ground crew was sent to Iwo Jima to make repairs. It was badly shot up but somehow our aircrew had been able to reach Iwo. We patched numerous holes in the skin, replaced the entire outboard wing section and the inboard fuel cell that was nearly burned through. Also # 4 supercharger was damaged.

While on Iwo, we witnessed spectaculars such as we would never see again. Following a maximum effort mission severely shot up B-29s many with one or two engines out would come limping in.

As soon as a damaged plane was parked we would immediately pull the sump plug to determine if a replacement engine was needed.

During our stay at Iwo, we were hit by a typhoon. I sat at P-8 and kept the brakes on during the worst of the storm. When I returned to our tent, the main ridgepole had snapped in two, allowing water to flood the entire interior.

Because of the still hot lava beneath Iwo, we had plenty of hot salt water for showers.

When the Japanese surrendered, Crew 8 was in Hawaii on R and R leave. They had managed to survive 30 combat missions. Since we expected them to return to Guam, we didn't exchange home addresses. Consequenty, we had been unable to keep in touch over the years.
John Danhof died 11 July 2003 in an auto accident

Ground Crew Page
60th Squadron Crew Index

Sources: John Danhof for the book "History of the 39th Bomb Group"; 39th BGA