Dustoff: The Memoir of An Army Aviator

By Michael J. Novosel | Go to book overview

5
Tinian, Clark Field, Okinawa:
1945-47

The war wasn't over more than a few days when the men of the 58th Bomb Wing were told they would be going home. In short order the leadership of the group and squadrons departed for the States and were replaced by lower-ranking officers. I assumed the same happened at wing level. Departures were determined by the number of points garnered for missions and time overseas.

It was apparent that the policies and procedures for returning home did not include me or my crew. We were so new to the outfit that we didn't have enough points to transfer to another island. That was Bob Oakley's appraisal of the situation.

After the "surrender mission," I made a few test flights of aircraft being returned to the States and flew one more mission -- a supply drop to the POWs still in the empire.

The 462d Bomb Group was leaving, and something had to be done about those who stayed behind. Eventually we were transferred to the 313th Bomb Wing at North Field, where we were assigned to the 5th Bombardment Squadron of the 9th Bomb Group. There we discovered the same traumatic drawdown of personnel. The major difference was that the 58th was returning to the States and we were staying at Tinian.

Upon reporting to the group, I was introduced to Col. Dave Wade. As the group commander, he had an entire Quonset hut to himself. To get acquainted with the newcomers from the 58th, Colonel Wade invited all officers to a soiree at his quarters. The bash was a resounding success; there were not many sober heads the next morning. After that, we called his Quonset "Duffy's Tavern," a name bor

-32-

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