1943-44 — Africa, Italy
Robert Spikes was one of the Original Cadre of the 321stBG, 447th Bomb Squadron.
Lt Robert Spikes arrived at the SC Headquarters just in time to join the original Cadre' of Officers that were to be the 321st Bomb Group, and go on to be the first Pilots in the 447th Bomb Squadron. Lt Spikes was the Co-Pilot to Major Bailey Cook, in the #42-53371, the "Deathwind" in the (now famous) Knapp Flight Over-the-Atlantic. First Group to make the crossing in a mass flight.
Lt Bob Spikes and Lt Jim Bugbee shared the Ship #42-53371, the "Deathwind" until a new ship arrived, the "Dumbo". Since it was THEIR ship, they quite literally "flipped a coin" Bob won the Deathwind, a one-quarter of a Million Dollar B-25 Airplane, over a coin-toss ! Jim Bugbee took the "Dumbo" as his main ship # 42-32498 .......
Lt Bob Spikes, attained his 50th Mission, and with Lt Jim Bugbee, was asked to stay, commissioned Captains and continued on to 65 Combat Missions leading the newly arrived pilots of the 447th BS.
Captain Bob Spikes, US Army Air Corp Pilot, 65 Combat Missions . . .Against the Axis Forces in Tunisia, Pantelleria, Lampedusa, Sardinia, Corsica, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Albania and Bulgaria.
Stories and Photo's from Capt. Bob's son, Jay Spikes.
War Diary, 447th Bombardment Squadron:
"The 321st, commanded by Col. Robert Knapp, was the first group to fly from the United States to an overseas base in a single mass flight. It was also the first to use tail and waist guns in the B-25s. During more than 18 months of Combat Operations in this theater, the unit bagged eight enemy fighters for every bomber it lost."
Capt. Spikes retired a full Col.