The hurried pace of training during World War II would put many young men and women in difficult and often dangerous situations. Training accidents were a fact of life during these turbulent times. The 461st Bomb Group, training at Hammer Field in Fresno, California would suffer more than its share of training accidents in the latter months of 1943. During those cold winter months the group, under the command of Colonel Frederic E. Glantzberg, was nearing the end of the third phase training program in B-24 type aircraft. They were learning to fly and fight as a crew in preparation for joining the Allied Forces fighting in Europe.
Most of the flights were eight to ten hour night navigational training missions. Most routes were triangular in shape, and would include all of the western United States. There are many B-24s from Hammer Field scattered over the mountains and deserts of California, Nevada and Arizona. In 1943, the months of November and December were particularly disastrous, with four of the big heavy bombers lost to training accidents.
These were new airplanes, flown by very young inexperienced crews. Some crew members were just out of High School, or in their first years of College. Some would never get the chance to fight for their country because they didn't survive the training. Three of the four crash sites would not be found until many years after the war had ended.
In the new book, "Aircraft Wrecks in The Mountains And Deserts of California", (3rd edition), by G. Pat Macha and Don R. Jordan, you'll read when and where these three aircraft were found. You'll also see photographs of what the crash sites looks like today.
The new book is now available from Don R. Jordan, Info Net Publishing, or any retail book store.
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