39th Bomb Group (VH)

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S/Sgt Richard G. Curry
Tail Gunner
Richard G. Curry

Richard G. Curry, born April 3, 1926 graduated from Butler County High School in June of 1943 at the age of 17.

In April of 1943 Richard enlisted in the Air Corps. A few weeks later Richard's cousin David R. Curry (TG on Kobler's Crew) enlisted under the "buddy system". By doing David & his cousin, Richard would be assigned to the same military bases throughout their active duty.

Richard worked on weekends and after school in the restaurant section of G.C. Murphy store. In June of 43, upon completing his high school education and having to wait until his 18th birthday to report for active duty, Richard (and David) went to the Pennsylvania State Employment Agency to see what was available. They choose to work at the Mare Island Navy Yard in Vallejo, CA. The government would pay their way out and back as well as provide living quarters provided they agreed to stay a minimum of 6 months. His cousin David seemed reluctant and at the last moment, his parents would not permit him to leave. Richard proceeded alone to California.

At Mare Island Navy Yard, Richard was assigned to work on the metal lathe in the machine shop. He attended machinist-training classes one day a week. The other days he was machining replacement parts for the submarines docked there. Curry became very proficient in his job " I would go to the Sub, take measurements, and machine the parts needed". After writing home to his cousin about his work, David soon followed. Together again, they not only shared a cottage, but worked in the same building. David was assigned to radial drill press.

In February 1944 Richard and David decided to return home to spend additional time with their family and friends before they shipped out.

12 April 1945
Lincoln, Nebraska
David (L) and Richard Curry celebrating their 19th Birthdays.
This is the last photo taken of David

May 5, 1944 he left Pittsburgh and arrived at Camp Atturburry, Maryland. Curry was given a very rigid and thorough physical examinations and about 20 inoculations during his week there. From there they were sent to Keelser Field, Mississippi by train for "Basic Training".

After 3 months of rugged and physical training David was sent to Ft Myers, Florida for "Airplane Gunnery School" training, flying in B-24 Bombers. Six weeks later reporting to Lincoln, Nebraska for permanent assignment to Captain Thomas Wren's crew.

On May 5, 1945, Curry and his crew left Lincoln, Nebraska and flew to Sacramento, CA. Their first overseas stop was at Hickham Field Hawaii where they stayed for two days and another stop at Kawajalin for refueling. In Hawaii there were the remains if the ships sunk by the Japanese on their bombing and torpedo raids from December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor. The island of Kawajalin had been striped bare by the battle fought there. "There were so many pieces of ruined military equipment strewed on the island and beaches. Just seeing this was sobering experience for all of us."

S/Sgt Curry and his pet monkey

Curry returned home through stormy seas on the USS St. Cleare. Seasickness prevailed throughout the trip. Even airmen that had never been affected by motion sickness were not exempt. The sights and smells of sick people that abounded throughout the ship were too much for even the hardiest to endure.

Curry was finally discharged at Camp Atturbury, Indiana having served in the U.S. Air Corps from May 1944 until May 1946. During that time he flew 20 combat missions. He also served in Hawaii, Kawajalin, Saipan, the Philippines and Iwo Jima.

At the end of the war, Curry held the rank of Staff Sergeant. He went on to serve another 6 years in the Air Force Reserves.

S/Sgt Richard G. Curry
Tail Gunner, P-19

For his service, Curry received the Air Medal with a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon with a Bronze star, Distinguished Unit Badge, Aerial Gunner Wings, Meritorious Unit Award, Commendation Award, American Theater Ribbon, and the WWII Victory Medal.

Back in Butler, Curry worked as a machinist and as a foreman of the Processing Maintenance Department for 38 years service before retiring from Armco-Butler Works.

He has served as president of the Armco Management Club. He also has served 3 years on the Butler Area Sewer Authority and on the United Way Community campaigns in the industrial division.

Curry is an avid bowler and golfer and was active in Little League baseball. He is also very active in veterans' organizations.

Curry is a life member and presently Commander of Disabled American Veterans Chapter 64. He is also the Chapter's Historian.

He is a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 249 in Butler, where he presently serves as surgeon and Americanism Historian. Curry also serves as Post 249's honor guard for Ritual and Burial Ceremonies for veterans.

Curry also has a life membership in the Lyndora American Legion Post 778, and has been very active in the planning of the Post's new building and Park area.

He also volunteers at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and serves as a member of the County's Memorial Day and Veterans Day parade committees.

Source: "Butler County Veterans of WWII" by Richard Curry, TG, P-19