1944 — England
David B Waldrip's Dad/Caley B Waldrip served in the 9th AF, 391st Bomb Group and the 575thBS, B-26 Medium Bombers "Marauders" out of England/France.
David Waldrip's (Uncle) Robert Stanley Carroll was born in 1915 in Mississippi, Entered the AAC 23 March, 1942 ...from Washington County, Mississippi and entered at Greenville Army Air Base, Miss. He had completed 4 years of High School and was already married. He was accepted directly into the Air Corp.
David's Uncle "Robert Stanley Carroll" served in the 8th Air Force - 384th Bomb Group, 544th Bomb Squad was stationed at a town and field north of London called Grafton-Underwood. There is an Anglican Church in that town today that has the most beautiful memorial gothic window. It depicts a B-17 crossing over the Dover Clifts and is embellished with American and British flags with a dove above.
And another Uncle, R Laseter Waldrip, was KIA 5 July, 1943, with the 321stBG,447thBS, B-25 Mitchells in the MTO, Shot-Down over the Target, Gerbini, Italy *****************************
The 384th Bomb Group (HEAVY)
The 384th Bombardment Group, flying B-17 aircraft, flew 316 combat missions over Europe during World War II as part of the Mighty 8th Air Force's strategic bombing campaign against Nazi Germany. This website honors and preserves the record of the 384th.
The 384th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 1 December 1942, at Gowen Field, Idaho. Training commenced at Wendover, Utah, on 2 January 1943, and continued there through 1 April 1943. The unit then moved to Sioux City, Iowa, for final training. The ground unit left for Camp Kilmer, New Jersey on 9 May 1943, sailing on the Queen Elizabeth on 27 May 1943, arriving in Greenock, Scotland on 2 June 1943. The aircrews left Sioux City with their new B-17Fs for Kearney, Nebraska on 3 May 1943, and then continued to the United Kingdom via Bangor, Maine, Goose Bay, Labrador, and Gander, Newfoundland. One B-17 ditched in the Atlantic but the crew was rescued. The first aircraft arrived in England on 25 May 1943.
The 384th established its home at Grafton Underwood Airfield, Station 106, Northamptonshire, England. Combat training continued through June, and the group flew its first operational mission on 22 June 1943. Between 22 June 1943, and 25 April 1945, the 384th flew 316 missions, 9,348 sorties, and dropped 22,415 tons of bombs on targets in Germany, France, Poland, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and Holland, becoming one of the most heavily decorated Air Force Groups during WWII. Enemy aircraft accounted for by the 384th included 165 aircraft destroyed, another 34 probable, and 116 damaged. The 384th dropped the last bombs of the 8th Air Force in WWII. Interestingly, the first and last combat missions flown by the 8th Air Force during World War II were flown from Grafton Underwood Airfield.
Combat losses were a fact of life from the very first mission. A loss on the second mission led to the Group's motto. A B-17 piloted by Major Selden L McMillin - the Group Deputy CO, known as "Major Mac" - was shot down. They managed to make a crash landing in Holland, but the crew was taken prisoner. Soon after, Colonel Peaslee received a postcard from Major Mac telling him to "KEEP THE SHOW ON THE ROAD". The 384th adopted this as their motto, and so it remains to this day
The Group lost 159 B-17s and 1625 men, of whom 1579 men were lost on combat missions. Combat aircrews considered themselves very lucky if they survived their missions, becoming members of the "Happy Warriors Club" as a result. Sometimes a single B-17 in a formation was subjected to dozens of ME-109s or FW-190 German fighter attacks. At times the anti-aircraft FLAK was described as, "So Thick You Could Get Out And Walk On It".
The men of the Group earned three Distinguished Service Crosses; fifteen Silver Stars; over 1000 Distinguished Flying Crosses; hundreds of Purple Hearts; and over 5000 Air Medals. In addition, six ground crew members were awarded the Legion of Merit, and others received the Bronze Star. For the Group's efforts they received Distinguished Unit Citations for missions flown on 11 January 1944 and on 24 April 1944.
WWII COMMAND ASSIGNMENTS
8th Bomber Command, 1st Bomb Wing : June 1943
8th Bomber Command, 1st Bomb Division, 41st Combat Bomb Wing: 13 Sep 1943
8th Air Force, 1st Bomb Division, 41st Combat Bomb Wing: 8 Jan 1944
8th Air Force, 1st Air Division, 41st Combat Bomb Wing: 1 Jan 1945
With the cessation of hostilities in May 1945, the 384th become involved in The Green Project, which was an effort to transport US soldiers back to the USA as soon as possible. The group left Grafton-Underwood, England, and relocated to Istres, France, shuttling building supplies, personnel, and civilians across the European continent. The 384th was Inactivated in France on 28 February 1946.