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Arthur  J.  Harvey, jr

 

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ARTHUR J. HARVEY, JR.
World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

July 20, 2000

Dear Will:

It has been some time since I last wrote you. I hope this note finds you in good health. Thought you might be interested in this last pre-war Thanksgiving menu and roster from the 66th.

About a month ago, I had a call from Wayne Harvey saying he was expecting a visit from Roy Smeltzer and didn't know how he would entertain him for four days and would I come up to Dallas (PA) to help him out. We drove up and spent a pleasant afternoon of reminiscing and during the course of the conversation, Dave mentioned he had this menu and offered to send me a copy. Of course I accepted his offer.

Many of these names I had forgotten until I read them again. Among them were fellows who had gone into the 90th, 93rd or 98th when those groups were established (I went into the 98th), as well as those who had left MacDill in December to ferry B17s from the factory and dropped out of sight (except Vonarx, who showed up in Palestine when General Brereton evacuated the Far East and was briefly a member of the First Provincial Group). I'm sure you'll be able to tell ... where as you look over the list.

Another thing has happened while I was there was that both Wayne and Ray got on me about the pages from the 66th history that you had sent me some years ago, with the listing of the charter members. It seems that Ray Smeltzer, as well as Wayne Harvey, was a charter member of the 66th squadron, even though he wasn't listed, having been transferred from the 2nd Bomb at Langley at the same time. I had to explain that neither you nor I had anything to do with that record.

Anyway, I found it interesting reading. We sure didn't eat like that once the war started. And by the way, if you want to get in touch with Ray Smeltzer for any reason, his present address is 2 Tarpon Court, Florissant, MO 63033-4760, phone 314-355-4869.

Regards,

Art Harvey





ARTHUR J. HARVEY, JR.
World War II
Memories and Biography

January 25, 1991

Dear Will:

Thanks for your letter of December 24th with Susan's address. I've already written him and received a pleasant reply from him. He is back in Rockford. He indicated his intent to be in Rapid City this year so if I get there we can renew our acquaintance.

I thought I might mention some things relative to tidal wave and Dave Mease that might escape even his attention, partly because I don't believe he has read Dugan and Stewart's book. His latest note to me indicated he has been in contact with you and is researching his crew to discover the rank and first names of the navigator and one gunner. However, I don't believe he realizes that you think he was flying with the 44th that day.

The enclosed is a copy of a portion of page 65 of The Desert Rats by Michael Hill, just published in July of 1990. It shows Dave and others on "Shanghai Lil" of the 98th which is where they were, on Underwood's left in Flight 3 (Dugan and Stewart, p. 175). Homer D and S made a few errors which confused things. They listed Dave as an engineer and in the 44th. They also listed Milt Remley as in the 44th.

The rest of the crewmembers, except the navigator (Stoddard) and a waist gunner (Boca) are listed with no group ID. Boca and Stoddard are not listed at all and the pilot (Carl Looker) is properly listed as 98th. D&S did, however, spell Dave's name correctly, which Hill did not (perhaps the influence of the Reagan era). There are other things in Dugan and Stewart which, I think, may be in error on page 175. They have symbolized Looker as "bombed and return." However, I think I recall both Dave and Milt saying they didn't make it to the target that day. Not having been there (I had rotated by then and was with the 29th B.G. in Boise). I can't say for sure, but if you are interested, Dan, Milt or Carl Looker could set the record straight. That might be academic though, since your interest is in the 44th's history and Dave ceased to be a part of that history on 3 February 1942, when the 98th was activated, as did I.

I still haven't heard from Wayne Harvey. Each day I keep expecting his promised tape to arrive. If it doesn't come soon, I'll send him a blank as a reminder.

By the way, this Gulf War had brought some reminders of old times, especially the day the scuds hit Haifa. My plane, because of a wiring defect in the IFF detonator circuit which caused us to return with a destroyed IFF, sometimes caused the air raid sirens to sound in Haifa and send people scurrying, until we could be positively identified. Déjà vu (all over again, as Yogi Berra says).

Thanks for listening. I hope the record is a little more clear now.
Sincerely, Art Harvey




ARTHUR HARVEY
World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

April 5, 1986

Dear Will:

Thanks for your letter. I'll be happy to tell you what I can remember of the 44th Group and, more specifically, the 66th squadron.

When I arrived in Tampa on March 20, 1941 as a new recruit fresh from the Customs House in Philadelphia, the Base C.O. was General Tinker (as you can see from the copy of my May 1941 Special Orders for Radio School - you may keep it - I had four copies in a folder. It was the General Tinker - part Cherokee, from Oklahoma and the first air corps general casualty of the war. The 44th Group C.O. was Major Hugo P. Ruse (now deceased, but a retired Major General at the time) and the 66th Squadron C.O. was Edward J. Timberlake (Captain), who later became Group C.O. of the 93rd and, when last I heard of him (some years back) was heading up Conac (forerunner of Nord).

May I digress further to say that when I was in the Middle East, his brother, Patrick, was CG of 9th Bomber Command under General Brereton.

Because I was only in the 44th from March 1941 to February 1942 and spent May through October 1941 at Scott Field attending Radio School and most of January 1942 at Wright-Patterson on accelerated service testing of B24Ds, there isn't an awful lot that I can remember. I think the 44th was almost brand new (like me) when I came into it, but there is always the tendency to assume that because something is in existence when you become aware of it, that it must have been a long-established institution. I do know that the 44th was formed out of the 29th B.G. which was also there at MacDill. The 29th later moved to Gomen Field at Boise and became a B-24 combat crew training center (in fact, it was later renamed the 425th CCTS (school) - I tend to digress again, when I returned from the ME in June of 1943 I was assigned to the 29th's 52nd bomb squad at Boise and our squadron operations officer was Lt. Jimmy Stewart.

Anyway, the NCO in charge of the comm. section of the 66th at that time was S/Sgt. David D. Mease who alter was in the part of the 44th that was used to from the 98th, as I was. He was my best man when I married at Fort Myers in May 1942.

Speaking of Dave reminds me that the 44th's roots include a group at Langley Field from which its parent 29th was formed. I think it might have been the 2nd, but whatever its number, it was the group from which the Billy Mitchell/New Jersey demonstration was done. In fact, most of the veterans in the 44th of that day were acquainted personally with U.S. hero who was Mitchell's bombardier when they sank the N.J.

There was also, in the Comm. section, another staff sergeant named Wayne I. Harvey (no relation) with whom I flew several times as assistant R.O. after I got out of Scott. We had only one real bomber at that time - a YB17 with the serial number 6158. It was one of the first ten ordered from Boeing in 1935 and delivered in 1936 which kept them from bankruptcy and started them on their way. We also had a PT which the pilots used to get in their flying time, and a Marten B10 which was used to toss targets. Several days after the war began we were ordered to take over B17 to Savannah, where we were on alert for about three days, then signed the plane over to the Base (along with a great many others from all over) and went back to Tampa by train. That ended the 44th's career as a B17 group.

Shortly after that we began getting LB30s and B24A's and C's for training. Then, for me at least, it was the B24D accelerated service test and upon return to MacDill, finding that the 44th was moved to Barksdale while I was gone, then finding at Barksdale that in my absence, I had been transferred to the 98th BG, 343rd squadron.

But getting back to the 66th - in addition - Capt. Timberlake, Dan Mease and Wayne Harvey, a pilot whose name was (I think) Thornhill, Captain James Posey and an M/Sgt in engineering named Cardin and another named John Piper, who also was transferred to the 98th. Some of our people, even before the group was split about five ways to from four other BG's, were lost because they were tapped for ferrying B17s from Seattle or B24's from Long Beach and didn't get back with the organization again.

Some did wind up in Halpro, which later became the 376th BG. On that score, I'd like to say that your last paragraph either has a typo or erroneous data from the government concerning John Thompson (I don't know him). The 376th didn't come into being until 10/19/42. If he was missing in action in the ME in July 1942, it would have to have been as a member of the 1st provisional group - formed from Halpro and a group of evacuees General Brereton brought from India on June 23, 1942. It seems more likely that Thompson's MIA date in Egypt might be 9 July 1943. All five groups - 98th, 376th, 44th, 93rd and 389th would have been there then.

I can remember a few other names from back then also; many of whom might not appear on any of your listings because they, like me, became the nuclei of other groups which were formed. There were "Arky" Vonarx, an enlisted bombardier (we had a few of them pre-war), "Punch" Kleeman; there was Aldo Werley who was on a 44th plane that crashed and blew up at Barksdale in April or May of 1942. Sgt. Carneal and some more whose names haven't hit me yet. Oh, yes, Jimmy Briscoe was in the barracks I was in at MacDill and later became part of Halpro. He was on the first (high level) raid on Ploesti in June 1942 and wound up an internee in Turkey until he and some other crew members "stole" their B24 from the Turks in December of 1942 and flew to Cyprus then to Egypt and rejoined the outfit (by then known as the 376th) at Abu Sueir, Egypt.

For better details of the forming of the 44th in 1941 at MacDill, I'd refer you to David D. Mease, 26 N. Semoran Blvd., Orlando, FL 328i07. Like me, Dan is recently informed. He might welcome the request as something to keep his mind occupied. Another, who is in poor health so you'd best contact him quickly, is John A. Piper, 200 Kingsway Drive, Harner Robins, GA 31093.

I wish you success as you dig into the history. It can be a fascinating occupation. If you think I can be of any more help, feel free to contact me again.

Sincerely,

Art

***

June 12, 1986

Dear Will:

Thanks ever so much for the 66th squadron history. I was waiting to write you until I heard from my best man, Dave Mease, one of the staff sergeants mentioned as part of the cadre at the time of activation. However, I haven't had a reply from him yet and I am eager to take you up on your offer to make copies of the remaining five pages because page 4 left off just before I left to go to Wright-Patterson with the accelerated service tech crew and some of the details of that period escape me.

I just found out about the reunion in March and had already committed to the 98th's reunion the following week in Dayton, so I will not be able to attend.

I just finished writing to the journal editor asking for a copy of the directory in hopes of finding in it the names of some of my 1941-42 associates.

Maybe after the reunions are over I'll have some more details about the early days for you. If you're going to St. Charles, have a great time.

Art Harvey

***

August 18, 1986

Dear Will:

Hope the reunion was a big success. Thanks for the rest of the history. There were a few names in the roster that I recognized like Wayne I. and Hank Charletta, but the one that stirred up the most memories was on page 7 - my good friend Arlo Worley, a pleasant, clean-cut boy from Birdsboro, PA (near Reading). He was aboard the plane that crashed with a load of depth charges in a rainstorm at Barksdale in May of 1942. I'm enclosing a picture of him, solo, taken at MacDill Field, either in April, May or November of 1941 (mid-May through October I was at ROME school at Scott Field).

The other, group picture which includes Arlo, also has Joe Pisaro, who enlisted with me at the Custom House in Philadelphia in March 1941, sitting on the porch next to him. I should be able to remember the names of the next (smiling) and next (reading), seated as well as the chubby one standing at right. Maybe you can identify them or know someone who can. It's possible "French" Waguespack would know them, but on the other hand, he might not even know me, let alone them.

Thanks again for the history and if you come up with any names for the picture, I'd appreciate having my memory refreshed.

Sincerely,

Art Harvey
 
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