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1st Lt. Jim Houston
22nd Bombardment Group, 2nd Bombardment Squadron

Retired, San Antonio,Texas.

Click For EnlargementTraining
I grew up in San Antonio, There are four Air Bases, and a Large Army Base here. Army Officers have always been held in high regard here. I was out on a date on New Years Eve 1941 and I met some Aviation Cadets from Randolph Field.(Pilot Training). They informed me that I could get into the Cadet Corps if I could pass the equivalent of a two year collage test. On January 3, 1942, I took the test, passed, I was Accepted. I was sent to Elliton Field in Houston, Texas for basic training. Then was sent to Bombardier School at Victorville, California. I graduated June 13, 1942.

Overseas
I was sent to San Francisco to be flown to the South West Pacific for combat duty. The Air Transport Command was over loaded, so I was sent to Australia on a Ship. I arrived in Sydney in late July or early August 1942. We were in Sydney only a couple of days. We were on the ship before we knew that we were going to Australia.  They sent us up to Townsville to be assigned. (We were replacements). There I was assigned to the 22nd Bomb group. The Group assigned me to the 2nd Squadron.

Click For EnlargementReid River
At the time, we were flying the B-26 Martin Marauders at Reid River Airfield. One of my classmates, Duncan Hughes was flown over, and was also assigned to the 2nd Sqdn. He was killed when his plane made a landing in the water, and the bottom of the plane was scrapped of by the coral reef. I was assigned to the crew he was in. Lt. Harry Patterson was the pilot.

Practice Flight Crash
Click For EnlargementHarry Patterson [piloting B-26 "Thunder Bird" 40-1480] was returning from a practice flight. He buzzed the field, and did not come back. I went to the crash site the next morning and took these photos. One engine quit, he feathered it, then the other engine quit, and he made a crash landing. We searched almost all night, but an Aussie Bushman found them for us. I went early the next day and took some pictures. What happened is that soon after they passed over the strip, the left engine quit. Harry feathered the prop. then the other engine quit. They glided in for a landing.

 

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