World War II
Memories and Biography
(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)
December 11, 1993
Thanks for the information. It is most interesting to read about some of the things that happened so long ago. One has a tendency to forget details that at one time seemed so important.
Just last week I was invited to address a group associated with the Air Museum at Hill Air Force Base. The subject was Ploesti. Needless to say, I had to do a lot of research to make it worthwhile for those who attended.
The Executive Order showing the order of battle for the 23rd of March mission brought back a very hair-raising experience.
As the line up shows, I was flying deputy lead. What it does not show as the fact that Col. Brandon aborted the mission due to engine failure shortly after entering Germany. I moved over to the one position and a plane from the back of the formation filled the No. 2 spot. Just as we released our bombs, I looked at No. 2. At that exact moment, he took a direct hit in the bomb bay. His airplane disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
On that same mission, we were to have had fighter cover from the P-38s that were in sight and much higher than we. We were attached by German fighters and were taking a lot of damage. I was never able to get the P-38s to attack the Germans. Our losses were very heavy that day.
I reported the incident to Bomber Command. Shortly after that the P-38s were moved to Italy where they were better able t operate. The lack of maneuverability prevented them from being effective in combat with the German fighters.
Spencer S. Hunn
BRIGADIER GENERAL SPENCER S. HUNN
Retired Aug. 1, 1970.
Brigadier General Spencer Simmons Hunn is the assistant deputy chief of staff for programs at the North American Air Defense Command, Colorado Springs, Colo.
General Hunn was born in 1920, in Provo, Utah, where he graduated from Lincoln High School in 1937. He began his military career as an aviation cadet and completed flying school in 1942 with a commission as second lieutenant.
During World War II, he served briefly at Geiger Field, Wash., and Casper, Wyo., before being assigned as a B-24 pilot and operations officer with the Eighth Air Force in England. While flying his 10th combat mission over the Ploesti oil fields in Rumania he was shot down and interned in Turkey. After a successful escape, he continued flying until November 1944 and completed 31 combat missions in the European Theater of Operations.
He returned to the United States and in 1945 attended the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. He was relieved from active duty in November 1945 and was recalled to active duty in August 1947. Under the Armed Forces Institute of Technology program, he attended the University of Utah and received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering in 1948 and Purdue University where he received a master of science degree in mechanical engineering in 1949.
He then went to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, where he served in various positions, and in 1951 became chief of the Plans and Requirements Branch of Wright Air Development Center. In November 1952 he was assigned to Laurence G. Hanscom Field, Mass., as commander of the 6520th Test Support Group. From April 1955 to May 1960 he served at Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., as chief of the Programming Division.
In May 1960 he returned to Laurence G. Hanscom Field as deputy chief of plans and programs, Electronic Systems Division and in 1961 became program director of the Post Attack Command and Control System, He remained in that position until 1964 when he was assigned as program director of the Cheyenne Mountain Complex management office in Colorado where he was responsible for the development of an underground control center for NORAD.
He then served as deputy for surveillance and control systems at the Electronic Systems Division at L.G. Hanscom Field, Mass., where he was involved in such programs as the Back-Up Interceptor Control System; Weather Observing ar)d Forecasting System; Sea Launched Ballistic Missile Detection System; and Spacetrack, an Air Force system for detection, tracking, identification and reporting of objects in space. In January 1966 General Hunn was assigned as deputy for tactical systems at Electronic Systems Division and in July 1967 was appointed vice commander.
He was assigned to NORAD headquarters In August 1968 as director of systems development and assumed duties as assistant deputy chief of staff for programs in Jar)uary 1969.
His military decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal and the Air Force Distinguished Unit Citation Emblem with oak leaf cluster.