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Legacy Of:

Albert  A.  Martin


Personal Legacy
World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy dated 21 January 1992)

Dear Will:

I received your letter of January 17, 1992 and the minute I saw Leonard Waine, it all came back to me. Fifty years is an awful long time!

I appreciate your continued efforts in helping me put that part of my career into focus. Several of the pieces are starting to fall into place. The name Bill Novak also sounds familiar, but I can't remember the person nor the circumstances under which we met.

Today I am writing 15th A.F. and perhaps now that I have some of the members of Leonard's crew, they can put me in touch with their historian.

I served in 15th A.F. while in SAC until I retired in 1961. I was in the 338th B.S. 96th BW in Altus, OK, combat ready crew (B47) and later became the squadron navigator, 413th Squadron, Dyess AFB, Texas. I flew on lead crew while I was at Dyess.

Yes, indeed, I would dearly like to have Harvell's book, and I am enclosing a check for $25.00. Please accept the extra money for future expenses, stamps, etc.

Keep in touch.

Truly yours,

Lt. Col. Al Martin

P.S. Bill Topping just sent me a copy of 44th Logbook, Vol. 1, No. 8, August 1988 in which I found the article "Wartime Days at Shipdham." I found it very interesting and more of the pieces came together. I was in the 506th when General Posey with Major Robert Cordenas (later a General Officer) took over command from General Johnson.

I am referring to page 12 here... "Location lists now open at the Public Records Office, show that on September 10, 1943 there were 333 officers and 2,172 enlisted men based at Shipdham, together with 24 B24 aircraft."

Do you know about this Public Records Office?

Albert A. Martin provided the following article on his crew.

"Late Pass"
November 1993 Issue
449th BGP

Experienced Crew Joins 449th

When 15th Air Force was given the notice that there would be an exchange of bomb crews with the 8th Air Force, all kinds of rumors were spread around. The 25 sortie total in the 8th A.F. was the rotation figure for bomb crews, while the 50 missions within the 15th A.F. was the figure for many months. Not until the overall exchange study was made was the 15th figure adjusted, and then it still took much more than 25 trips across the target for our 15th A.F. bomber crews to complete a combat tour! The decision to award "double mission credit" became the balancer, but it didn't settle the personal argument of the combat crewmen. Most decided that "We are better off where we are, rather than change"; it appeared that the grass just seemed greener on the other side. For both the 8th and the 15th had met with some difficult targets, and the numbers of fighters did not begin to diminish until late in the fall of 1944.

Waines' crew was such a crew as this. They had begun with a part of that crew flying together on submarine patrol with the 5th Antisubmarine Squadron, Westover Field, Mass. In March of '43 and in July of '43 with the 18th Antisubmarine Sq., Langley, VA to the 19th Antisub. Patrol Unit in the 479th Group, 1st Bomber Command of the 8th A.F. Lt. Norman Purdy became the crew pilot when the men were transferred to the 44th Bomb Group, 506th Sq., 8th A.F. Between November 13, 1943 and January 29, 1944, the crew flew 14 sorties with the 44th Bomb Group, with Lt. Waine becoming the crew first pilot on January 21, 1944.

In February 1944, Waines' crew transferred into the 15th A.F., to the 449th Bomb Group, 719th Sq. with accredited 12-14 trips over the target (for double credits had not been determined at that time). Between their arrival and mid-April 1944, they flew 18 more trips over the target, and a compilation of their missions was made with 50 missions credited to their crew. It was believed that both Lt. Martin, crew bombardier, and tail gunner Sgt. Archie Solatka (both members of today's 449th Assn.) thus became the first members of the 449th to rotate under the 50-mission policy. Others that flew a credit of 50 missions entirely with the 449th can still make their claim as flying all of their missions in the 449th. In the 449th History Book 1-2, "Tucson to Grottaglie" and "And This is Our Story," (pp. 136, 139), Lt. Waines' crew is referred to as "a new crew." This is a misnomer and implies that they were a new crew to the 449th, not to combat!

Also note that only two of the 719th crews returned from that 4/4/44 Presidential Unit Citation mission. The crew debriefing notes indicated that Waines' crew was credited with six and one-half downed aircraft with Flt. Eng. Thurman Roebuck credited with two; one wonders whatever happened to all of our debriefing notes that the various Intelligence Officers so carefully recorded? Also, it is noted that the other crew returning from the mission was Lt. Olsen's crew, another crew that had transferred form the 8th A.F., but their ship was forced to pull out of formation at the beginning of the air battle.

John McCormick, present Secretary of the Romanian POW Organization and committeeman for the 449th reunion in Orlando September 1992, reports that meeting Waine while in the 449th was remembered. He called him and they talked over those events of that day when the 449th downed a total of 40 fighters, damaged six more and was credited with an additional 13 "probables." It was the first time that these two men talked since that date. Waine, Martin and Solatka are present-day members of our 449th Association ... the search for the others has been difficult, but goes on!

World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

It just happens that Bill Topping and I graduated from the same bombardier class - 42-17 at Midland, Texas on 17 December 1942. We also went to anti-sub patrol squadrons at Langley Field, VA where we flew the North Atlantic sub patrol. I flew 142.4 hours before transferring to APO 12385 c/o PM NYC, 10th anti-sub Sq. 19th ARON. In Sept. 1943, we (Captain Purdy's Crew) were assigned to 1st bomber command, 479 group 19th ARON, 8th H.F. We flew anti-sub patrol missions until 24 October 1943.

October 24, 1943, we transferred to the 44th BG, 506 BG, 2nd AD, 8th AF, upon reporting to the commander of the 506th we were informed that our crew would be credited with three missions toward the 25-mission requirement. I believe that Bill Topping had pretty much the same experience.

My Form-5 shows us flying our first mission on 13 November 1943. November missions: 13, 16, 18, 30; December missions: 16, 24, 29,30 (no 2 AD flew); January missions: 4, 5, 11, 14, 21, 29 (31 none) (B24-D.H.); February ?, 1944. Captain Norman Purdy left the crew. The copilot, Lt. Wayne, took the rest of the crew to the 449th BG, 719th B.S., 15th AF APO 520 US Army.

*Note: My 201 file and my Form 5 for this time are not complete. After 50 years, my recollection is also quite fuzzy.

I was one of the first officers to finish the 50-mission requirement in the 15th AF, so needless to say, I was quite anxious to come home.

When I got home in May 1944, my father showed me a telegram which had me "missing in action" at the time that I transferred to the 449th BG, 15 A.F. This transfer took place around the first week in February. My Form 5 shows our crew flying our first missions with the 449th, 15 AF, on the 22 and 25 February.

My last mission with the 449th BG was 16 April 1944. My Form 5 shows: "This is to certify that Lt. Martin has completed his tour of combat duty." "Fifty completed combat missions --- total of 183.20 combat hours." Signed Robert D. Easters, 1st Lt., Air Corps, Operations Officer.

In February 1945, I was an instructor at Kirtland Field, Albuquerque, New Mexico and the Albuquerque Journal published an article on me being a local product in which they stated that I had been recommended for the DFC. I was separated at Wright Patterson Field, Dayton, Ohio on the 15th January 1947. My military record and report of Separation Certificate of Service indicates that the DFC was recommended. Like so many others that finished tours in 1943-1944, I did not stick around for the presentation. I have not been presented the medal to this day.

I was recalled to active duty in September 1955. I served duty in September 1955. I served on a B-29 crew and flew a few missions in Korea, flying out of Kadena AFB Okinawa. After the war, I went into SAC and flew on a B47 combat crew at Dyess AFB, Texas. I finished my career as squadron navigator, 413th BS, 96th bomb wing in January 1961.

Since receiving your kind response, I have been having a lot of fun putting my 201 file and my Form 5 in order. I think that I may have some orders that Bill Topping is missing.

I greatly appreciate your research in my behalf. Perhaps you could recommend how I could get the information on the combat missions that we flew with the 449th BG, 719th BS, and 15th HF.

Thanks again.

Respfully yours,

Albert A. Martin


World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

February 6, 1992

Dear Will:

Again, thank you for the kind attention in your efforts to assist me in putting together the pieces of my career while assigned to the 44th BG.

I appreciate all of those extra copies of the Logbook. I read them from cover to cover and began to realize the great efforts and sacrifices that were put forth by us all. Too, a return to England for our 50th anniversary should be very exciting.

One more piece of the puzzle was revealed while I was looking over the Harvell book, 44th Liberators over Europe. I found that in the crew photos that Crew No. 45 was that of Lt. Leonard Waine. I recognized in the back row, center was Lt. Waine. To his right its Al Martin - bombardier (me). To Waine's left is John Rowland, navigator, and to Rowland's left is Ed Kelly, radio-gunner. The rest of the crew I do remember their faces, but I cannot remember their names. Also in the picture that is identified as Crew No. 59, of Robert C. Schmidt are instead, Lt. Purdy and crew.

Here I can identify in the back row, left to right, John Rowland, navigator, Al Martin, bombardier; Lt. Purdy, pilot; Lt. Leonard Waine, copilot; Ed Kelly, radio operator. I am sure that both photos 53 and 59 are the same crew. The only difference is that in No. 53, Leonard Waine as pilot and No. 59 it is Norman Purdy as pilot. I cannot find any records as to when the change was made, but all that I remember is that Lt. Waine took the whole crew when we were transferred to the 449th BG, 719th BS, 15th Air Force in Italy. Lt. Purdy remained with the 44th BG. My Form 5 does not indicate the date of this transfer, but it had to be sometime in late February 1944.

Another thing that I found interesting is the Logbook, spring edition of 1991, was a letter from George Hill, Evanston, Ill., in which he gave the address of the National Personnel Records Center. I, too, like many others did not wait around for the presentation of medals. My military records shows that the D.F.C. was recommended and that I completed a "50-mission combat tour." Also, sometime in 1946, an article in the Albuquerque, NM paper indicated that I had been awarded the D.F.C. I, too, am in the process of documenting all records to see if the medal can finally be presented after all these years.

Thanks again, Will.

Respectfully yours,
Al Martin
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