Kerrin’s Story

This is a brief history of Crew R-74. We “came together” at Randolph AFB Texas. Our AC was 1st Lt. James Solomons; Pilot, 2nd Lt. Howard Bowman; Bombardier, 1st Lt. Bob Quackenbush; Navigator, Capt. Charles Westfall; Radar Operator, 2nd Lt. Orville Funk; Radio Operator, Howard Higley; Flight Engineer, Wally Hathaway; CFC Gunner, William Steele; Left Gunner, Edward Galligan; Right Gunner, Stephan Rotolo; Tail Gunner, Kerrin Coyne. We had overwater training, as most crews did. We flew from Brownsville Texas across to Florida. On these flights we lost an engine nearly every time, but continued back to base overland with no problems. We finished at Randolph and our next stop was Forbes AFB, Topeka, Kansas.

Back Row, L to R: 2nd Lt. Orville Funk, Radar; 1st Lt. James Solomons, A/C; 2nd Lt. Howard Bowman, Pilot; Capt. Charles Westfall, Navigator; 1st Lt. Bob Quackenbush, Bombardier.

Front Row, L to R: Stephan Rotolo, Right Gunner; Ed Galligan, Left Gunner; Kerrin Coyne, Tail Gunner; William R. Steele, CFC Gunner; Howard Higley Radio; (missing from picture: Wally Hathaway, Flight Engineer.

While at Forbes, we trained as much as possible, but had an ice storm that restricted our flights. We were sent to Camp Carson Colorado for three weeks of survival training in the mountains. At that time our Navigator had back problems and was gone for a few days, but did return and finish with our training. When we returned to Camp Carson, after our field exercises and training, they gave us all the steak we wanted. Of course, we went to the beer hall first. Needless to say, you know what happened to a group of hungry G.I.’s. We had a reversed case of the G.I. trots. After surviving survival school, we gunners were then flown to Roswell AFB for a test to see what we had learned at school in Denver (remote control turret system gunnery mechanics). We were then sent back to Forbes. Finishing our training, we proceeded to McClellan AFB, Sacramento, California. We were to test fly a B-29 and ferry it to Yokota AB Japan. We were there for a month and never found one plane airworthy. The plane that was to be assigned to us was to come over at a later date.

Kerrin Coyne in the field for survival training at Camp Carson, Colorado

We were shipped over to March AFB for transportation and plane was not available, so they sent us to Camp Stoneman. I think, by this time, we were all confused. We were sent (I believe) to March AFB and flew Pan-Am to Yokota by way of Hawaii, Wake Island and Yokota in a contract DC-6. After getting settled in at Yokota, we flew a few missions in a few different, available, aircraft. McClellan operations finally found a crew that would fly our assigned aircraft over to Yokota. Although they had enroute problems with the aircraft, it finally arrived at Yokota.
345th Bomb Squadron, 98th Bomb Wing
sign in front of airmens quarters.

End of Page 2 of 5 — The Kerrin Coyne Story

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