Cook Crew - Assigned 754th Squadron - June 25, 1944
(Photo: Don Finlayson)
|Rank||Name||Serial #||Crew Pos||Date||Status||Comments|
|Capt||Warren G Cook||0696436||Pilot||4-May-45||CT||Sqdn Asst Ops Officer|
|1Lt||George A Grodt||0820738||Co-pilot||14-Nov-44||CT||Award - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|1Lt||Donald E Finlayson||0707251||Navigator||14-Nov-44||CT||Award - Air Medal (OLC)|
|1Lt||James T Bradley||T124389||Bombardier||31-May-45||CT||Award - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|T/Sgt||Raymond J Metz||36588939||Radio Operator||2-Jan-45||CT||Award - Air Medal (OLC)|
|T/Sgt||Maurice M Summerall||3454593||Flight Engineer||14-Nov-44||CT||Award - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|S/Sgt||Henry Arias||32622421||Aerial Gunner||14-Nov-44||CT||Award - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|S/Sgt||Jesse E Boston||39129674||Armorer-Gunner||14-Nov-44||CT||Award - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|S/Sgt||Charles R Ferrell||36574124||Aerial Gunner||14-Nov-44||CT||Award - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|S/Sgt||Walter M Austin, Jr||34828330||Aerial Gunner||14-Nov-44||CT||Award - Distinguished Flying Cross|
Warren cook and crew arrived at Horsham St Faith in late June 1944, and were assigned to the 754th Squadron. The crew flew their first mission on July 6th. Throughout July the crew flew eight additional missions, although on three of these the crew were forced to abort. In August the crew flew a total of 13 credited missions. In September the 458BG came off of combat operations in order to fly gasoline to Patton’s Army in France. Cook and several members of the crew took part in nine of these cargo flights, dubbed “Truckin’ Missions”, for which they received no sortie credit as these were not deemed combat missions.
The crew completed their required number of missions in December 1944. Cook flew his last on December 10th, but was tasked on Christmas Day to fly the assembly ship for that day’s mission.
Lt James Bradley, the crew’s bombardier, is shown being transferred “indefinitely” to the 466BG on August 19, 1944. He returned to the 458BG at some point during September 1944, as he is shown flying with Cook on several crew load lists, but for the most part, Cook was assigned another bombardier or did not carry one after Bradley's transfer. He was transferred to the 755BS on February 28, 1945.
All crew members except the navigator, Lt Don Finlayson, received the Distinguished Flying Cross for completing their combat tour in December. The reasons for Finalyson's exception are below.
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|11-Jul-44||MUNICH||88||4||42-95108||M||Z5||20||ENVY OF 'EM ALL II|
|13-Jul-44||SAARBRUCKEN||90||ABT||41-28705||W||Z5||--||YE OLDE HELLGATE||ABORT - LOST FORM|
|16-Jul-44||SAARBRUCKEN||91||5||41-29305||N||Z5||29||I'LL BE BACK/HYPOCHONDRIAC|
|21-Jul-44||MUNICH||96||ABT||42-95018||J||Z5||--||OLD DOC'S YACHT||ABORT - TRIM TABS|
|25-Jul-44||ST. LO AREA "B"||98||6||42-95018||J||Z5||28||OLD DOC'S YACHT|
|28-Jul-44||LEIPHEIM & CREEL||SCR||--||42-95018||J||Z5||--||OLD DOC'S YACHT||BRIEFED/SCRUBBED|
|31-Jul-44||LUDWIGSHAFEN||99||ABT||42-52441||I||J3||--||LAST CARD LOUIE||ABORT - SPARE LATE T/O|
|01-Aug-44||T.O.s FRANCE||100||7||42-95018||J||Z5||30||OLD DOC'S YACHT|
|02-Aug-44||3 NO BALLS||101||8||41-29305||N||Z5||33||I'LL BE BACK/HYPOCHONDRIAC|
|05-Aug-44||BRUNSWICK||105||9||44-40287||J||J4||10||BACHELOR'S BEDLAM||COMPOSITE w/466|
|15-Aug-44||VECHTA||114||16||42-51110||P||Z5||34||TOP O' THE MARK|
|16-Aug-44||MAGDEBURG||115||ABT||41-28709||I||7V||--||LUCKY STRIKE||ABORT - LOST FORM|
|27-Aug-44||FINOW||121||19||41-29596||R||Z5||50||HELL'S ANGEL'S||MISSION CRED NOV|
|10-Sep-44||ULM M/Y||125||21||41-29596||R||Z5||53||HELL'S ANGEL'S|
|21-Sep-44||HSF to LILLE||TR05||--||42-95108||M||Z5||T4||ENVY OF 'EM ALL II||CARGO|
|23-Sep-44||HSF to ST DIZIER||TR07||--||41-28712||D||44BG||T4||TUFFY||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|25-Sep-44||HSF to LILLE||TR08-1||--||42-110059||T||Z5||T1||NO NAME or NAME UNKNOWN||1ST FLIGHT - CARGO|
|25-Sep-44||HSF to LILLE||TR08-2||--||42-110059||T||Z5||T2||NO NAME or NAME UNKNOWN||2ND FLIGHT - CARGO|
|27-Sep-44||HSF to LILLE||TR10||--||42-52296||E||T4||NOT 458TH SHIP - HETHEL||1ST FLIGHT|
|27-Sep-44||HSF to LILLE||TR10||--||42-52296||E||T5||NOT 458TH SHIP - HETHEL||2ND FLIGHT|
|28-Sep-44||HSF to LILLE||TR11||--||42-52296||E||T6||NOT 458TH SHIP - HETHEL||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|29-Sep-44||HSF to LILLE||TR12||--||42-95108||M||754||T10||ENVY OF 'EM ALL II||2ND FLIGHT|
|29-Sep-44||HSF to LILLE||TR12||--||42-52296||E||T7||NOT 458TH SHIP - HETHEL||1ST FLIGHT|
|09-Oct-44||KOBLENZ||131||26||42-50456||D||Z5||3||DOROTHY KAY SPECIAL|
|26-Oct-44||MINDEN||138||28||42-51196||Q||J3||6||THE GYPSY QUEEN|
|08-Nov-44||RHEINE||144||31||42-51179||P||Z5||46||DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE|
|09-Nov-44||METZ AREA||145||ANA||44-40298||E||Z5||11||THE SHACK||A/C NOT ATTKG|
|16-Nov-44||ESCHWEILER||147||32||42-50456||D||Z5||12||DOROTHY KAY SPECIAL|
|30-Nov-44||HOMBURG||151||34||41-29596||R||Z5||--||HELL'S ANGEL'S||LOAD LIST|
|10-Dec-44||BINGEN||154||36||44-40126||L||Z5||30||SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP|
|25-Dec-44||PRONSFELD||158||ASSY||41-28697||Z||Z5||A39||SPOTTED APE||ASSEMBLY CREW|
1Lt Donald E. Finlayson - Navigator
Lt. Finlayson's mission to Munich, July 11, 1944
Mission number four was on aircraft #108 [Envy of 'em All, II], attacking Marshalling Yards, duration 8:20 hours. You probably are aware that the 8th decided to train bombardiers (normally manning the nose turret) in navigation, for obvious reasons. On this particular mission, Jimmie [Bradley] sat at the navigators "desk" (ha! ha!) and I got into the nose turret. As you know, "follow-aircraft" had the bombardier toggle when he sighted the lead ship drop its bombs. Having been to gunnery school in Fort Meyers, FL, between Basic Navigation School and Advanced Navigation School (both in Monroe, LA) it was assumed I knew how to fire .50 caliber machine guns. (Let alone "toggle"!!) Well, try as I might, I could not "charge" the gun. I kept pulling back on the crank [handle] to no effect. My mind raced with the knowledge we were on a combat mission over enemy territory (might we be attacked by the Luftwaffe?) and my failure in the nose turret made me increasingly flustered, frightened, flailing, etc.
Unbeknownst to me, the hose from my oxygen mask became disconnected from the connection to the aircraft's supply, and I passed out. Fortunately for me, Cookie just about then had a, "Is everybody all okay?" call over the intercom. No reply from the unconscious Finlayson; Jimmie hand-cranked the nose turret, pulled me from it, and applied 100% oxygen. Whether all these years since this near-death, I have been a little crazy, I leave to others to judge!!"
2Lt Don Finlayson's mission list
Practice Mission - No DFC
I do not remember the date, nor have any augmenting data, but one morning, after being awakened for the "practice mission", this naughty boy rolled over and went back to sleep. Thereafter ensued substantial "punishment" for failing to show up for the "practice mission." The Sq CO grounded me from all flying for two weeks (it was "fun" to be a "Barracks Inspector"...yeah, yeah) Obviously, during this two week period Cookie's crew (with another Navigator) continued to fly "COMBAT" missions.
As the Military is so often wont to do, without any advance notice, established a new policy that X number of Combat Missions had to have been flown by such- and-such a date, for a crewman to be awarded the DFC. My "sleepiness" thus had resulted in my failing the criteria. Cookie's entire crew, with the exception of Lt. Finlayson, was awarded the DFC. I did ask Sq CO for "help"...he said no.
[Going by the respective mission lists, this two-week period appears to have been August 12-25, 1944.]
Mission To: Kwaksan, North Korea - by Howard Whitley (B-29, 343rd)
Captain Cook had already made the decision to close the bomb bay doors and make a run for it. We were at the mercy of thirty MiGs. All I could do was listen on the intercom to the gunners' calls and empty shells falling into the turret from our four 50 caliber machine guns above my head. The tail guns were knocked out on the first pass. It seemed like this battle would never end. Finally, it was over and the tail gunner position had taken a direct shell hit. Thankfully the gunner was not wounded.
All four B-29s in our group were damaged. One went down, one went back to Yokota, one went to Kimpo or Taegu and we landed at Pusan. The A/C told us to get out fast after landing as there was concern a live shell might still be in the plane. No nose wheel exit for me as I went out the front bomb bay and ran. No shell was found.
Captain Warren Cook as A/C came to Yokota early in 1951 from Travis AFB to replace Major Edward Dickinson who was transferred to operations. The crew that went down this June 1st, 1951 was Captain Cook's old crew from Travis AFB with a new A/C. Our crew was designated to pack up their belongings for shipment to their home. They were our next door tent neighbors. This same crew of TDY Widow #6335 with Captain Warren Cook as A/C led four B-29s in a flyover for General Douglas MacArthur on April 15, 1951 when he was leaving Haneda Airport in Tokyo. Colonel David Wade, 98th Bomb Group Commander, was onboard that day. The only reference to this flyover that I can find is in the paperback, MacArthur's War: Korea and the Undoing of an American Hero by Stanley Weintraub (page 354).
Captain Cook and his crew flew both aircraft on different missions. Thus I have attached pictures of Miss Tampa and TDY Widow with its crew members.