Tonopah, Nevada, Jan – March 1944
After completing B-24 Transition Training, I proceeded to Tonopah, Nevada, where I celebrated my 20th birthday and was assigned a crew. We trained together on the B-24 as a crew for 3 months (1/5/1944 to 3/29/1944). We learned how to fly missions, gain navigation experience, dropped bombs on a target, gunned targets being towed by a plane, practiced landing/taking off and flying at night. Every person learned their skill as well as being part of a team.
I remember Tonopah being at a very small town (only a half dozen bathtubs in town) at a high elevation which made jogging to and from the Flight Line very difficult. In addition, the field was in a valley. We circled above the field at 10,000-12,000 ft to clear the mountains at take off or before going into a landing pattern. We flew long, cold missions day and night. Some of them took us to Seattle and Portland where we had some fun skimming along the Pacific Ocean.
On 2/7/44 I was recommended for promotion to 2nd Lt. It would be another 6 months on 8/11/44 before the official promotion came through.