Segment 2


Armanini was assigned to bombardier school. He wanted to be a bombardier because as a bombardier you saw action and saw results of what you were doing. Armanini felt that the bombardier's job was the most important position in the bomber aircraft, as the main purpose of the mission was to destroy the target. The man that did that was the bombardier. He trained at Victorville Field [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: California]. Armanini graduated from bombardier school on October 10, 1942 as a Second Lieutenant and was assigned to the 100th Bomb Group then stationed in Boise, Idaho. His first pilot was Victor Reed. Howard Bassett was the original navigator in his first aircraft. Joe spent about a month in Boise. Armanini thought that the B-17 [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: American B-17 Flying Fortress bomber] was indestructible. He goes on to describe the armament of the aircraft, describing its stability and how well built it was. He describes how the aircraft would come back from missions with half the horizontal stabilizer shot off and how the B-17 would always bring her crew home. He also describes the differences between the B-17 and the B-24 [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: American B-24 Liberator bomber]. The 100th was assigned to Kearney, Nebraska to practice and then assigned to Des Moines, Iowa in the middle of the winter. Armanini describes the horrible flying conditions and how the men spent most of their time at the Egyptian Room, a nightclub. Armanini describes the mission in which the 100th was supposed to fly from Des Moines to California and how many pilots couldn't fly over a massive cloud bank and the crews scattered all over the country. Pilots and men used the weather as an excuse to drop by their homes all over the country. Joe's plane made it to California unscathed and his crew was not reprimanded in the debacle that followed the 100th's stateside mission. In his squadron [Annotator's note: 349th Bombardment Squadron] four of six aircraft made it to their destination on time. Of the 37 aircraft that took off only 13 arrived on time. As a result, the 100th's original commander, Darr Alkire, was relieved of command. The 100th was reassigned to Kearney, Nebraska and then assigned to deploy overseas to England on May 23, 1943 via Syracuse, New York, to Goosebay, to Iceland, to Poddington to Thorpe Abbots Station 131 which became the 100th's home base. Armanini recalls that he wanted to go overseas and was ready to fight the war. He describes how Thorpe Abbots was not ready for the 100th as it wasn't an established base yet. Colonel Harding [AnnotatorÂ’s Note: Neil B. "Chick" Harding] was assigned as the 100th's new permanent commander.


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