I Bert (Swede) Carlberg - arrived at Shipdham, England in late November 1944 and assigned to the 67th Squadron, 44th Bomb Group. I was the navigator on Lt. Leonard Crandell's crew of three junior officers and six enlisted men. As was the procedure then, the enlisted men were housed separately from the officers. The three of Len Crandell, Bill Croll - co-pilot and myself were all housed in the same Quonset barrack quartered to house eight men. Len and Bill were in one quarter and I was put in with Ed Reynolds who had arrived there a couple of weeks earlier. He was 1st pilot on a crew that included Stan Fransted - copilot, Hal Pendleton - navigator, Pete Kastakos - bombardier, Larry Reynolds - flt engineer, Herb Hastings - radio operator, Willard Noble nose gunner, Jim Forrest - tail gunner and Chuck Benes - tail gunner. In March 1945 I replaced Hal Pendleton as navigator.
Ed Reynolds had joined the army as an enlisted man and then later applied for flight training. He qualified, went through the pilot training program, was issued a commission and wings, flew various types of aircraft and eventually assigned to B-24s - 4 engine heavy bombers. He became a quality aircraft commander with a high regard for his own abilities and expected the same from the members of his crew. He had a high regard for his flying ability and became upset if criticized by another pilot or superior. I recall that, during practice formation flying, the squadron commander kept insisting that he fly a tighter formation. Ed's response was that he was in proper position with respect to safety and flight element protection. Sometimes arguments resulting from this would continue later in the barracks.
Ed had a deep love for flying and would often volunteer to flight check an aircraft or fly on assignment to another airfield to pick up or make a delivery. On one occasion he asked Pet Kastakos and myself to go along on checking out a B-24 following maintenance repairs. We belly ached a bit which annoyed him resulting in his ordering us to fly. He assigned us to the rear or waist section of the aircraft and during the check ride he subjected us to one of the roughest flights we ever had.
Our Quonset barrack was located at the left rear of the 67th squadron. We were on the left facing a large sugar beet field. Often we would supplement our army meals with fresh eggs that we purchases from a local farmer. There we would save for evening snacks that we prepared over our little wood and coal heater.
A black cat began hanging around our barrack and Ed became the cat's friend so soon it adopted our room as its home. That cat was quite a hunter. During the night it would not hunting and then carry its catch into our room meowing loudly to make sure that we saw what it had caught.
In early 1945 a group of us went to London for a few days. There we stayed at a hotel just off Piccadilly Circus (comparable to Times Square, New York) and were present when the British Queen and her daughter Elizabeth (the current Queen) were visiting various armed forces. Ed Reynolds - a very handsome man with much charisma and pleasing personality - introduced himself to the Queen and coated her with his charm to the point that I noticed she was quite flattered.
We all had a lot of respect for the ground crews that serviced the aircraft that we flew in. At our base these aircraft were dispersed to the individual hard stand areas that the crew chief and his crew made their second home. Many of them had been with the 44th Bomb Groups since its beginning and, after being assigned a hardstand area, they built huts, complete with heat, bedding, and eating facilities. Ed always made a point to gain the crew chief's friendship and confidence so that the transitions always went well.
The ware in Europe ended on May 8, 1945. For two days we flew what they called "trolly" flights with plane loads of ground personnel to show, from the air, the tremendous damage to the German factories, airfields, harbors and cities all brought about by aerial bombing. After a couple of weeks it was decided that most of the 8th Air Force would leave England and go back to the U.S. by plane and ship. We were ordered to fly a B-24 with ground personnel to the US via Valley - Wales, Iceland, Greenland to Bradley Field, Connecticut. We overnighted at Valley Keflavik - Iceland, Bluie West One airbase on the west coast of Greenland to Bradley Field. Both Ed and I were born and raised in New England - He in Lawrence, Massachusetts and I in Meriden, Connecticut so on the last leg of the trip Ed made a slight deviation to fly over his hometown and then over mine.
We add not completed our tour of combat missions in the European theater of operations so after a 30-day leave we were assigned to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for possible deployment to the Pacific area where the war with Japan was still going on. As soon as Ed got to Sioux Falls he lined himself up with Flight Operations and was soon flying various junkets on AT11 twin engine trainers. He took me along on a couple of trips - one that resulted in a landing when the left wheel brake did not work because of an oil leak and caused the aircraft to ground loop. I enjoyed these grips with Ed because he would allow me to handle the controls and gave me instructions on many phases of piloting.
Following the end of the war with Japan the majority of the soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen were discharged and returned to their homes. Ed elected to remain in the Air Force and was reassigned to Mitchell Field, Long Island. After I returned to civilian life, I took a job as a flight dispatcher with a new foreign flag airline - SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System). I started work at La Guardia Airport in New York so I was able to keep in contact with Ed who was based jut 25 miles away. He had met a girl from his hometown, married and became the father of a little girl, Sharon. I also met a girl from my hometown and married in early 1951. Ed was my best mad at our wedding in the chapel at Mitchell Field. Ed, Jo (his wife) and Sharon lived for a time in Levittown so on many occasions we socialized. In late 1951, I was transferred to Gander Airport in Newfoundland Canada and Ed became an Air Force check pilot of military airports navigation aids. He spent quite some time flight checking the airports in Alaska including those in the Aleutian Islands. He finished his military career in Washington, D.C. and took a job with the FAA as a check pilot on airline flights. I never saw him again but spoke to him over the pone many times. He died in December 1983 following a six-month illness and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. Jim Forrest and I attended the funeral.