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Arthur  V.  Grimes

 

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ARTHUR V. GRIMES
World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

8 March 1995

Yes, I flew anti-sub with Augie Bolin. After I graduated from navigator school at Hondo, Texas on 8 May 1943, I was immediately assigned to an anti-sub squadron at McGuire Field (Fort Dix, NJ). The squadron was in transition from B-25s to B-24s, with most of the pilots going through B-24 transition.

When Bolin returned, he asked for me to be assigned to his new crew. We flew anti-sub in the state at various coastal bases wherever there was a sub scare. This ended about the third week of July 1943, when our crew was alerted for overseas deployment as a replacement for a downed crew in England.

We went to Langley Field, Virginia, picked up a new B-24 with radar and immediately flew to England alone as a replacement. We joined the anti-sub squadron (I think it was the 19th) at Dunkeswell, England, north of Exeter.

We immediately started flying anti-sub missions, 12-hour patrols every other day until the end of September when the Navy took over command of all anti-sub activities on October 1st. Since we did not have over 400 hours of anti-sub time in the Bay of Biscay, we were assigned to the 8th Air Force. Bill Topping's crew was one of the crews that came over to the 8th AF at the same time.

Your records are quite accurate in that we did fly a mission or two. We did attempt the Kjeller, Norway Mission (on 18 November 1943), but Augie was forced to abort because of a malfunctioning No. 3 engine shortly after we headed out over the North Sea. Shortly thereafter, he was reassigned to another crew, and I am not sure if I ever flew another combat mission with him.

You are correct in stating that he was reassigned to the 506th squadron and to be promoted to captain. He was long overdue for promotion since the anti-sub command did not promote anyone that I was aware of. He had a lot of time in the air, since he had been flying since about 1939 or 1940.

The squadron at Dunkeswell was broken up, and those crews that did not transfer to the 8th Air Force, returned to the U.S. and were retrained in regular B-24s for action in the Pacific Theater.

"Augie" was a nickname. His real name was James O. Bolin, and he was from Arkansas, I believe, and had a wife named Betty that he often referred to. There were no children that I was aware of. I flew with a few crews in the 66th squadron, and when Lt. Kenneth Jewell's copilot, Walt Milliner was upgraded to aircraft commander, he inherited what was left of Bolin's crew. This included Merrill Berthong, copilot and all of the enlisted men. Our bombardier, Lt. Ehrenzweig, transferred to the 15th Air Force (Africa) and I believe, having flown 12 combat missions with the 44th bomb group! The last mission was on 3 March 1944.

I guess that we were both hit about the same time on the French Coast after bombing a "No-ball" rocket site. After bailing out over England, I landed in a field near the Coast and near an RAF base. I was not injured, but some of the other crewmen were when they hit the ground. We had a bombardier along that day who was on his last mission and he broke his leg when he landed.

Milliner and Berthong decided, after the rest of us had bailed out, that they still had some trim-tab control on the autopilot, and they wuold attempt to land at Manston. They did manage to land safely, but destroyed the communicaitons trailer at the end of the runway, killing the two British airmen in the trailer.

A minimum crew was assembled at Shipdham that same evening, flew down to pick up another previously damaged 44th BG aircraft, it was near where I was waiting at the RAF fighter field. The RAF took good care of me and the 44th B-24 landed and we immediately returned to Shipdham. This crew did not have a navigator, so I fille din that slot.

During that hectic week in February, I was involved in two crash landings and one bail-out! Our crew was immediately ordered to an R&R spot outside of Liverpoolw here we spent a week reseting up. We returned to Shipdham and about this time I began flhing lead with our new pathfiender crews. I flew with Armstrong a few times and also with Payul Ugarte - and, of course with Milliner.




ARTHUR V. GRIMES
World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

8 March 1995

Dear Will:

Sorry to have taken so long to reply to your letter of 18 November (my birthday!).

To get to the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, I flew anti-sub with Augie Bolin. After I graduated Navigation School at Hondo, Texas on 8 May 1943, I was immediately assigned to an anti-sub squadron at McGuire Field (Fort Dix, NJ). The squadron was in transition from B-25S to B-24S - most of the pilots were going through B-24 transition. When Bolin returned, he asked for me to be assigned to his new crew. We flew anti-sub in the states at various coastal bases wherever there was a sub scare. This ended about the third week of July, 1943, when our crew was alerted for overseas deployment as a replacement for a downed crew in England. We went to Langley Field, VA., and picked up a new B-24 with radar and immediately flew to England alone as a replacement. We joined the anti-sub squadron (I think it was the 19th), at Dunkeswell, England (north of Exeter). We immediately started flying anti-sub missions (12-hour patrols every other day), until the end of September when the Navy took over all anti-sub activity on October 1. Since we did not have over 400 hours anti-sub time in the Bay of Biscay, we were assigned to the 8th Air Force. Bill Topping's crew was one of the crews that came over to the 8th with us.

Your records are quite accurate in that we did fly a mission or two. We did attempt the Kjeller, Norway mission but Augie aborted because of a malfunctioning No. 3 engine shortly after we headed out over the North Sea. He was reassigned to another crew and I am not sure if I ever flew another combat mission with him. You are correct in stating that he was reassigned to the 506th to be promoted to captain. He was long overdue for promotion, since the anti-sub command did not promote anyone that I was aware of. He had a lot of time, since he had been flying since about 1939 or 1940. The squadron Dunkeswell was broken up and those crews that did not transfer to the 8th Air Force returned to the U.S. and were retrained in B-24s for the Pacific theater.

Augie was a nickname. His real name was James O. Bolin and he was from Arkansas, I believe, and had a wife named Betty that he often referred to. There were not any children that I was aware of.

I flew with a few crews in the 66th and when Ken Jewell's copilot, Walt Milner was upgraded to aircraft commander, he inherited what was left of Bolin's crew. This included Merrill Berthrong, copilot, and all the enlisted men. Our bombardier, Ehrenzweig transferred to the 15th Air Force, I believe, without ever flying any combat missions with the 44th. I flew most of my missions with Milner and we were shot down (bailed out over English Coast), on he same day, 2 February 1944, that Bolin was killed in southern England. I guess we were both hit about the same time on the French Coast after bombing a "no-ball" rocket site. I landed in a field near the coast and near an RAF fighter base. I was not injured, but some of the other crew were when they hit the ground. We had a bombardier along that day who was on his last mission, and he broke a leg when he bailed out, that they still had some trim-tab control on the auto pilot and they would attempt to land at Manston. They did land safely at Manston, but destroyed the communications trailer at the end of the runway, killing the two British airmen in the trailer.

A minimum crew was assembled at Shipdham that same evening and flew down to pick up another previously damaged 44th aircraft, near where I was waiting at the RAF fighter field. The RAF took good care of me and the 44th B-24 landed and we immediately returned to Shipdham. They did not have a navigator, so I filled in that slot. During that hectic week in February, I was involved in two crash landings and a bail out. Our crew was immediately ordered to the R&R spot outside of Liverpool, where we spent a week resting up. We returned , and about this time, I began flying lead with our new pathfinder crews. I flew with Armstrong a few times and also with Paul Ugarte, and also, of course, with Milner.

Spence Hunn pulled me out of regular combat mission and I was assigned after my D-Day mission as squadron navigator. I was promoted to captain and flew my remaining few missions to complete my tour and returned to the states on the Queen Elizabeth, landing in New York on 11 October. After my 30-day R&R at Atlantic City, I was selected for pilot training to start the end of April at Brady, Texas. I was just completing primary when VE Day repercussions hit the pilot training program and we were notified that we would have to sign a statement to stay in the Army Air Corps for an additional two years after completing pilot training. Many of us withdrew at that point and I was assigned to a special project at Walterboro, SC when the war ended and I returned to civilian life in early September.

I was in a reserve unit assigned to Mitchell Field, NY and we took active duty tours (15 days) each year at West Point (Stewart Field). Three days after the Korean War started, I was recalled to March Field, CA by way of Fort Dix (for processing). After a refresher course at March Field, with about five other recalled navigators, I was assigned to a 22nd bomb troup B-29 crew. We were sent to combat crew training at MacDill Field, FL for several weeks. Shortly after returning to March Field our crew was selected as a replocement crew for the 307th Bomb Wing at Kadena, Okinawa.

We joined other crews at Camp Stoneman and were flown over to Kadena by commercial air. In January of 1951 we started flying B-29 combat missions over Korea (supposedly for 90 days, which turned out to be the whole year of 1951). After 60 missions we were released and flew a war weary B-29 back to McClellan Field, Sacramento. The plane was in such bad shape (it was the one we flew the 60 missions in, and had a cracked main spar), that it was junked. At Kadena, I was the squadron navigator, squadron bombardier (I was originally commissioned as a bombardier at Midland, Texas, in January 1943), squadron radar officer, and sometime adjutant.

Our crew was assigned to the newly forming 308th bomb wing at Topeka, Kansas. After the recalled crews completed training at Topeka we were transferred to our home base at Hunter AFB in Georgia. I spent a few months there (we didn't have any airplanes yet), and then was selected for advanced navigation, weapons system training at Ellington AFB, Houston; and Mather Field, Sacramento, CA. After finishing training at Mather, I was retained as an instructor and promoted to major. I was placed in charge of the K-System Advanced Navigation-Bombing School at Mather. In 1956, I was selected to be president of the training command flying standardization board, in charge of all navigation, bombing, and T-29 aircraft standardization procedures. After two years in that spot, I went bootstrap to Sacramento State for six months to get my B.S. in business administration.

In October of 1958, I was reassigned to SAC for the B-47 Program. I completed training and was once again assigned to the 22nd bomb wing at March Field. They were now a B-47 outfit, along with the 320th bomb wing, also at March. Our crew flew B-47s until 1960 when I was assigned to the 22nd headquarters staff in charge of the emergency war plans office. I briefed crews coming on alert and trained them for the emergency war operations missions. Shortly after the Cuban missile crisis, the 22nd was informed that they would no longer fly B-478s and the crews were disbanded or transferred to other b-47 reconnaissance units.

I was assigned to a special project in Washington, which was preparing the SR71 for operational flights. I stayed with the project until March 1966, when I retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel.

I hope that fills in the missing blanks.

Will, if you need any more information, you can call me at (619)438-3164. You have my address, so close for now.

Art Grimes

P.S. Recently received a letter from England, a Stephen Adams, 28 Bassingham Road, Norwich, Norfolk, NR3 2QT - telephone 0603-400221.
 
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