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359th BS Hosts Injured Combat Infantrymen - January 1945
- click the images for larger views -

At the back-left in this photo is 359th BS Operations Officer Major William C. Heller. Next to him is his brother 2Lt Emerson E. Heller, who flew as copilot for this flight.

The 359th Squadron was host to twenty-six infantrymen, recovering from wounds and sickness due to enemy action on the European Continent. The men were convalescing at the 303rd Hospital and arrangements were made to have them visit and observe a Bomber Squadron.

With the exception of three men, the group had never been in an airplane. So, the highlight of the day was centered around a flight for one and a half hours. Two Fortresses were scheduled and the group was divided between the two planes. Major William C. Heller, Operations Officer, and 1Lt Cecil J. Gates were the pilots. During the flight, each man was allowed to take over the controls for a minute and, needless to say, the day was a success.

Major Russell D. Seaton, Executive Officer, had a special meal arranged for lunch and supper. Steak headed the menu. He arranged for entertainment, in refreshment form, at the enlisted mens bar, and for a climax, had seats reserved for the theater. Then, transportation was furnished back to the hospital.

Through the early portion of the day, the men were shown a few of the workings necessary to the execution of a mission. While they were still on the base the aircraft returned from Mission # 302 to Ingolstadt, Germany.

[top three photos courtesy of the James E. Wylde family - bottom photo from the Peter M. Curry Collection]