Segment 2


Leonard Spivey did very well in his training and was qualified to continue training as a navigator. Spivey went to Mather Air Base outside of Sacramento to continue his training and was number three in his class. He graduated from Mather on 21 November 1942 and commissioned as a second lieutenant. Spivey was asked if he would consider being an instructor there. Spivey of course said no. Spivey wanted to be assigned to a combat operational unit. That was not unusual at the time. Spivey was then posted to phase training for a B-17 outfit. This training took place at Ephrata, Washington. [Annotator’s Note: The Ephrata Municipal Airport is the modern day location of the former army air base.] They ended up there in the dead of winter and they could not fly for about two or three weeks. They were transferred to Blithe Field in California and the weather was great. Spivey was there for about six weeks. Orders came through that Spivey was going to be an instructor. Not long after that orders came through to be posted to an embryonic group that was just forming up. Spivey was the first navigator in the model crew of the 535th Squadron. Spivey was assigned to the 535th and ended up as the squadron navigator and they went through phase training there for about three months. They then went into combat training in Pueblo, Colorado. The crews were formed up in Pueblo. They did not know for sure that they were going to Europe but they knew in Colorado which men they were flying with. Orlo Koenig was Spivey’s pilot and he was a fine one. After a while in Pueblo there was a transfer. Ocie B. Jones became the flight leader. Ocie commanded the A flight of the squadron. The A flight leads the squadron. Spivey became Ocie Jones’s navigator. Spivey had to leave his original crew and they finished training in Pueblo. Spivey was then assigned to gear up for overseas duty and combat operations in a combat wing. This meant Europe. After gearing up in Kansas they fly their planes to Newfoundland. They had to wait there several days because of weather. Then they flew as a group to Scotland and then on to England. There they went into combat training and it was partly led by members of the Royal Air Force because of their experience flying over Europe. They were then posted to Ridgewell which was codenamed “Little Pie.” There is where the group remained throughout World War II. Their first mission was 22 June 1943 and they were in the 1st Combat Wing which became the 1st Air Division. Their sister group was the 91st Bomb Group which contained the “Memphis Belle.” Spivey got to Europe almost when the “Memphis Belle” had finished her 25 missions. Spivey flew with the 91st in training. They trained on a new type of radar. Spivey learned how to use the new G-Box type radar. Spivey went back with to his group and taught them how to use the new radar.


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