Repair is repair,in WWII or Vietnam, wings or wheels. The following
are pictures and commentary from my Dad's cousin Fred Chew.
I graduated from high school in June, 1942, and enlisted in the Air Corps in October, 1942. My brother was in the Navy at Pearl Harbor. I had basic training and went directly to the Embry Riddle School of Aviation in Miami, Fla. After graduation, both Jim Murdoch and I joined the 44th Depot Repair Squadron at Brookley Field. Ala. There we worked on B-17 bombers and were given Arctic flying gear.
The entire outfit left for Brisbane, Australia. There we joined up with the 81st Air Depot Group and finally took over all aircraft under modification. We had extensive work on P-38 aircraft. From there to Finschhafen, New Guinea and from there to Clark Field in the Philippines.
|The 44th Air Depot Squadron helped to install 75 mm cannons in the B-25 Mitchell bomber. They carried out all sorts of combat modifications.
The 44th Depot Repair Squadron went from "Eagle Farm" at Brisbane to "Finschaffen" New Guinea. There they constructed a Major Combat Overhaul & Modification Base. They even tried to install a 75 mm cannon in a P-38 Lockheed Lightning. From New Guinea they went to "Clark Field" In the Philippines.
At Eagle Farm, Brisbane Australia
We worked around the clock for all combat ready aircraft ( P-39 P-40 P-38 B-25 B-17 B-24) and Naval aircraft under our depot . . . combat overhaul, new modifications., engine changes etc. . . .
BUT THE P-38 WAS OUR SQUADRON BABY.
We performed complete combat overhaul .
|Left to right: Ted Stelmach (Gary, Ind.) hangar engineering; Russell Roberts (Montpelier, Ind.) engine and airframe flight line inspector; C.M. Johnson (Elko, Nev.) a gofer, he would supply all aircraft and engine parts to the flight line mechanics. James Murdoch ( Buffalo, N.Y.) a graduate of the Embry Riddle School of Aviation , Miami, Fla., aircraft and engine flight line mechanic; Fred Chew (Fall River, Mass.) another Riddle graduate, aircraft and engine flight line mechanic.