John E. Newman, Pilot
387th Bomb Group, 558th Bomb Squadron
L-R Lt. John E. Newman, Waterville, Ohio; F/O Arthur Cattlett, Linwood, KS; F/O Ernest W. Hardy, Neosho, MO; Nathan J. Pearson, Leesburg, AL; Virgil “Bud” Haley, Carlsbad, NM; Robert B. Hall, Huntingdon, PA. Mr. John Newman is alive and well!
Unfortunately, I do not have exact dates. Lt. John E. Newman arrived in Europe in late December, 1944, by way of the Ile de France.
• Primary Training - Victory Field, in Vernon, TX
• Basic Training - Greenville, TX
• Advance Training - Frederick, OK until April 15, 1944
• Transition Training - Del Rio, Texas (his certificate does not have a date on it, but it was December, 1944)
An interesting and somewhat humorous story: While at Advance Training in Frederick, OK, John learned to fly twin engine planes and also to fly formation. He was assigned to a trainer with two other students. For obvious safety reasons, the instructor was strictly prohibited from taking students into the clouds. Perhaps it was accidental, or maybe it was an intentional act to test their abilities, but regardless the reason, one day their trainer disobeyed commands. John and two other students suddenly found themselves struggling to see among the thick clouds far above the ground below. The other two students quickly became disoriented and returned to the field. John, however, was able to keep his eye on the instructor and stayed close to him. When they landed, the instructor said, “You’re gonna make it, Newman. You are a careful pilot.” Then hesitating, he cast him a sideways glance, “But you’re not going to turn me in, are you?” John kept his word, and the incident was never reported!
While at Laughlin Air Base in Del Rio, Texas, the Free French were training at the same base, and the planes the U.S. in which they were to be training were being used by the French. Since the pilots needed a certain number of hours in training time, the U.S. Army brought in six BT-13’s so the pilots could achieve their hours. John had the opportunity to once again fly a BT-13 which he had learned to fly in Basic Training.
John was then sent to Barksdale Field, Shreveport, Louisiana, at Lake Charles for two or three days to be assigned a crew.