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39th Bomb Group (VH)
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with 2

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wwiivic.gif [The Victory Medal, World War II]



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M/Sgt Loren E. Abell
Crew Chief

I enlisted in the U.S. Army at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas Dec. 3,1937 and assigned to Fort Riley for duty. Recruit training was only 2 1/2 days and then to a special exercise in the field. I was never returned to the recruit training section.

I requested a transfer to the Army Air Corp in February 1939 and received the transfer to Lowry Air Force Base July 12 in Colorado. September 1939 I was shipped to Chanute Field for a year in the Aircraft Mechanics School. Back at Lowry I was crew chief on a Beach Craft F-2. Returned to Chanute to Aircraft Instrument School and assigned to the base instrument shop at Lowry AFB for a period of time. December 1942, I was one of twelve other mechanics to go to Boeing Seattle for training on a new Boeing AC. On Jan. 2, 1943 we were to meet the all new B-29. The school was very good as we were working with the engineers that had -helped develop the bird. In Feb. as we were to enter the mess hall the one flying B-29 made its first takeoff run and we were impressed. After lunch and back in class, the head instructor stated that Eddie Alien and crew had crashed in to the Frye Packing Plant killing a total of 32 people including the entire crew on the plane.

Late in 1943 the entire class of Boeing trained personnel was transferred to Bell Aircraft at Marietta, Georgia. At Bell we worked on the production line in most all sections and also had one aircraft on flying status, which we kept up the maintenance on. It was at this time that I was checked out as a Flight Engineer. I had the opportunity to fly in different positions, which was a great help in months to come. In

Loren and Ruth Abell 1989

February 1944 I was transferred to Salina and assigned to the 58th Wing. I was left in a training cadre to lead the next group when the 58th went to India. When the 73rd Wing moved overseas I was again left behind. The 314th was next and by this time I had the training schedule well worked out and was ahead of many of the problems that had occurred in the past. In early March 1944, I was assigned a new aircraft from the mod center in Denver. All of the other craft that were received at this time had the new air operated bomb doors, except the one assigned to me. Some one had goofed. I received a new one a couple days later. That was the day I was introduced to the crew to fly 44-69908 in combat.

When we were ready to leave Guam, the plane had over 1100 hours on the log. The R-3350 engine I you might say talked to me, and I was able to avert a failure in flight. I had changed only 5 engines in that time span. The flight engineer was Jim Cnenault, no kin to Gen. Clare Chenault. Jim would leave his dog tags with me and take mine into combat. He felt he would be executed instantly if he wore his tags and that if I was reported captured I would know what happened. I was more than glad to have it that way.

I was in Okinawa during the Korean Conflict with the B-29 for a very short time. I was evacuated due to health problems. I was back in Okinawa during Nam but this time I was furnishing logistic support for the units stationed in Nam. Jet planes were a whole the ballgame. Example: an engine change. With luck and 5 good mechanics, 2 days was a minimum on a B-29, with jets it was a matter of a few hours. We changed an engine on the Boeing B-47 in as little as 50 minutes and met take off schedule.

Update:
26 April 2002: Loren E. Abell passed away 25 February 2000
I'd like to hear from any veteran who served with my dad during his military career or if your father served with mine - I'd like to hear from you as well. You can contact me (Ernest) at: kc6dfa@gmail.com

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Sources: "History of the 39th Bomb Group" ; Ernest H. Abell, son