John flew from Corsica in late 1944 and 1945 with the 381st...mostly aboard Sky Larkin (43-4034-J).
Grandson Scott Hower writes;
I only recently began my quest for information on my grandfather - when I was younger (I'm 38 now) I did see a picture of Sky Larkin' but didn't have much more information on him. He died in 1967 (six years before I was born) and I didn't hear much about his service. I recently visited his grave with my aunt (the oldest but only one of his four children still alive - at 35 years old he left my grandmother and four children (including my mom) at home to enlist in the Army Air Corps in 1943 or 1944 in Philadelphia) and saw on his veteran marker that he was with the 381st. That's all it took - within a few hours I had gobs of information about the unit. I have become an admirer of all nose art and have been searching for better images of Sky Larkin' and her distinctive markings.
I've found a lot of conflicting information about the craft - starting with the serial number. It indicates that it was built in 1943 and was a J model - but I thought that J models weren't delivered until later in the war?
Thank you so much for all that you do to keep this history alive - it is invaluable and must never be lost. If there is anything that I can do to help please let me know! I live just north of the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum...they have a B-25 that carries the markings of Briefing Time.
On a side note: I have a great uncle that is still alive - I know that he was in the Army Air Corps in North Africa and Italy but I don't know what unit he was with...his name is Charles Kuehn. He was from Llewellyn or Branchdale, PA.
AND to George Underwood - thank you for your help...but most of all thank you for what you did nearly 70 years ago. At the time - did you or the other men know what an impact your service had on the world? Or was it something that became clearer as the years passed? What was life like in the tents and other daily life at Ghisonaccia?
June, 2011 310th BG / 381st BS
My grandfather flew from Corsica and Fano mostly on 43-4034-J (from this forum I believe that was Sky Larkin) as a gunner. The history .pdfs are fantastic and have been a great help...but I'd love to see more photos of the aircraft's nose art and any crew pictures that may contain my grandfather (John D. Whittington). I'd really like to hear of any personal accounts of him if any living squadron members remember him. I'm also interested in life in the tents and daily living of the troops. Thank you! SCOTT HOWER
FROM GEORGE; Hi Scott …Princess Barbie has seen this story but thought in reply to your note you might like to read it. It is attached. Larkin was my pilot here in the states while in training for our overseas duty. When that was completed we both left for the states in Sept/Oct 1944 leaving ‘Sky Larkin’ to carry on his name. Nothing ever got named for me or your grandfather …wonder why? So when your grandfather arrived we had both been sent back home. We started getting J models early in 1944 just after the cannon toting G models were retired. They were mostly unpainted silver aluminum and we loved them… a much better ride for us top turret gunners being ‘up front’ and not in the back as in older models. I sent you the only picture I could find and am sure that as others are found they will be sent your way. Thanks for the note and keep in touch. gu