Ole' Capt. JIM; 2013, Jim and Beth Bugbee are DOCENTS at the Ford Island Museum in Pearl Harbor, since it opened and continue to "re-up" for years to come :)
Jim Bugbee was an energetic and Patriotic young man. Barely 2 weeks after his 18th Birthday, he joined the Canadian Army. Although his stay was short (63 days) he was issued a WW I Great-Coat and a WW I water-cooled machine gun. He returned to the states and got a job for 13 cents an hour. However, one day he met a Go-Get-'em Pilot Instructor, who talked him into a "free-demo" (his free 30 minute demo was a savings of 10 cents a minute) He flew back down out of the sky, hopelessly in love with flying forever. He then got a job as a Hod-carrier, HARD work but a lot more money, and he attained his private pilot's license.
Still struggling with his great desire to serve (and having his pilots license) he interviewed in NY by the Clayton Knight Committee, (made up of WW I US Military Pilots) and was accepted imm. and took a bus to Canada. He joined the RCAF the next day (1941). Upon arriving at Ottawa Recruiting station, (10 to 12 American Cadets) .....They were told it would be a 100 miles by train . . . WOOPS ! 1200 miles by train. He trained in a Tiger Moth and a twin Cessna. His summer uniform, as a Pre-Pilot-Cadet (Air craftsman 2nd class) . . . And as a full-fledged Cadet, I was a leading Airman. I think we were called GADGETS ! We wore embroidered propellers and a USA patch on our shoulder.
WAR was declared and we were given the option of returning, the US Gov. then ransomed-back their Canadian-Trained Pilots . Jim choose the AAC, they were sworn in up there, given the physical on the train, and 10 days to get to Randolph Field, Texas. They only needed 2 weeks to graduate, plus 6 weeks of training.
4 Aug. 1942, he then reported to Columbia, S.C . and became the 5th or 6th person in the new 447th BS, that was [still on paper] conceived on 1 Aug. '42. The 321st BG was formed by Col William C Mills, then he turned it over to Col Bob Knapp. On 8 Sept. '42 Maj. Ray Sampson was running the 447th Bomb Squad show, we called him the "Old Man" a popular term for the CO. Doc Manley was "really" old..... 35, I think! :)
The CO Ray Sampson and Jim Bugbee flew over the Atlantic in the Knapp Flight in the Flag-Ship #41-30000 (The Ruff Stuff, Dan McDuff's Ship) with the New-Top-Secret Airborne RADAR. Bugbee said his RADAR guy saw Ascension Island quite a ways out.
"Over-There" Jim Bugbee and Bob Spikes shared the "Deathwind" #42-53371. . .in the Fall '43 when the new ship "Dumbo" #42-32498 arrived, (Quote) "We flipped a coin ! The Dumbo became my new ship because I lost the coin-toss with Bob Spikes" The fate of a 1/4 million dollar B-25 over a coin-toss. Bugbee and Spikes were promoted to 1st Lt on the same day.
When the longed for day came when they (Bugbee and Spikes) reached their 50th Mission, they were asked by the CO, Ray Sampson, to stay and lead the new pilot-replacements . . . after only a short thought, Jim Bugbee and Bob Spikes said YES ! They were promoted to Captain and each led the new pilots into Combat for 15 Missions more.
On a personal note, in a complete gesture of trust, Jim was the very first to send me, Barbi Ennis Connolly, all of his pictures to scan, catalogue and return.. Through mail, email and conversations, I have learned the stories about his War experience. This is an outstanding man ! It has been my pleasure. While he did not minimize the danger of battle in WW II, he did find the necessity of it worth the price that was paid. (QUOTE) "War is basically stupid and counter-productive. It would be avoidable IF Leaders and Politicians acted appropriately and in time. Soldiers don't start wars, they hate it ! As well as all Moms and mature Dads". Jim Bugbee
My Father, 447th BS Edward Ennis flew with both Bugbee and Spikes, as well as many others because of his training in the Top-Secret Airborne RADAR. While questionable in the beginning, it certainly was a great start, and an advancement that helped win the War. PrincessBarbi - Barbi Ennis Connolly.
If information is needed, or you have information to provide for the 321st BG, Please email;
PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com (Placed 21 April, 2009) 321st BG Historian in the 57th Bomb Wing.