New England Air Museum
Jack Henrickson

 

Sgt. Jack Henrickson
B-29 Superfortress Propeller Specialist
58th Bomb Wing, 40th Bomb Group, 44th Squardron

 

Recent Address:

151 NW 58th St., Newport, OR 97365

Email:

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Family Information:

Father: Carl Johan Henrickson, Mother: Agnes Helena Henrickson, Four brothers and one sister: One son and one daughter. One brother, Angus V. was a scientist who helped develop the atomic bomb at Oak Ridge, TN), The three other brothers enlisted in the Army and Navy and all survived the war.

Hometown:

Estacada, OR

Date Entered Service:

October 19, 1943

Service Number:

39340955

Bomb Group:

40th

Squadron:

44th

Location of Unit:

Chekulia, India & Tinian (Dec. 1944 - Oct, 1945) Spent 41 days sailing on a troopship from Calcutta, India to Tinian Island.

Missions Flown:

 

Hump Missions Flown:

 

Targets:

 

Awards/Decorations:

Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon; American Theater Ribbon; Victory Medal; Good Conduct Medal; Battles and Campaigns: India Burma, Central Burma, China, Air Offensive Japan

Service Schools Attended:

Hamilton Standard Propeller, Jan, 1944, Westerley, RI; Aeroprop, Feb. 1944, Vandalia, OH; Curtiss Electric Prop, Mar. 1944, Caldwell, NJ

Military Specialty(ies):

MOS 687 - Propeller Specialist

Rank Upon Discharge:

Sgt.

Crew Type:

Ground crew

Airplane Serial No.& Name:

#23 (no name); #18 - Devilish Snooks; #25 - Bombin Buggy II; #16 - 8 Ball Charlie; Kritzer Blitzer; #20 - Marianna Belle; Musin Touch; #26 - Yucatan Kids; and others!

Were you a POW?

No

Were you interned?

No

Date Transferred from the 58th:

 

Date Discharged from the 58th:

January 14, 1946

Post-WWII Military Service:

 

Post-WWII Civilian Occupation(s):

30 years Cummins Diesel and GM Detroit Diesel sales. Retired 1982.

Thoughts on the 58th Bomb Wing:

On Oct. 17, 1943, I was inducted into the U.S. Army Air force at Fort Lewis, WA. After a gamut of qualification tests, it was determined that I would be best suited for the Air Force Maintenance Training Schools. There was a need for Aircraft Propeller Technicians and was given a Corporal rating and was deployed for training at Hamilton Standard Hydromatic Propeller School in Westerly, RI, Curtiss Electric Propellers, in Caldwell, NJ, and Aero Products Division GMC in Vandalia, OH and graduated three months later.

I was then sent to Fresno, CA for my boot camp training and after three months was sent to Daniel Field, GA for what was an ill conceived idea. My outfit was ear-marked for a "Floating Repair Barge" to be stationed off shore somewhere in the South Pacific Seas to repair battle scarred P-51 Mustangs and P-47 Thunderbolts that were damaged while the Marines were invading Japanese held islands. Luckily, the idea was aborted. Relieved, I was re-assigned to the 40th BG - 44th Sqdn in India.

In November, 1944, I received my last Thanksgiving meal before being deployed to the CBI Theater of Operations. I flew from Greensboro, NC, the the Bahamas, Canary Islands and Casablanca on a four-engine Army transport. From there we flew in DC-3's to Tripoli, Cairo, Abadan, Persia and then to Calcutta, India. From Calcutta we traveled via rail "cattle" car 200 miles to Chekulia, India which was the my final destination where I was assigned to the 20th Air Force, 58th Bomb Wing, 40th Bomb Group, 44th Squadron as a Propeller Repair Specialist.

I remember having to sleep on a concrete floor with only a wool blanket for several nights until cots could be furnished. I also remember bad amoebic dysentery and spent a week in the hospital. From then on I was okay and worked day and night repairing propeller malfunctions. On Christmas night we spent most of the night in our foxholes as the Japanese were bombing targets nearby and we could hear the anti-aircraft guns firing and bombs exploding.

I worked at Chekulia Air Base, India until Feb. 1, 1945 when all of our B-29s were moved to Tinian, Saipan and Guam in the Marianas Islands. I spent 41 days aboard a troop ship leaving south from Calcutta and spent a day in Melbourne, Australia on my first leave. We arrived on Tinian where the Seabees built the largest air field in the world. At the height of the bombing campaign during 1945 there were over 3,000 B-29 Superfortresses involved in bombing Japanese targets.

I have never been ceased to be amazed and in awe of how our pilots and crews learned to fly the B-29s in such a short time span. I don't think that many of them were over 25 years old and that also applied to the ground maintenance personnel. I was only 19 years old when I was deployed to India. I was fortunate to have had Sgt. Jack Lewis help me during my first week working on the flight line repairing damaged propellers and replacing Woodward Electric Head governors.

I will never forget the comradery that ensued working as a team replacing the multitude of engine failures and being on the flight line experiencing the audio-visual of the thundering roar of hundreds of the Superfortresses with 2,200 hp engines straining to get off the runway with thousands of bombs destined for targets in Japan. We were always on standby to do last minute repairs before take off and if I could not get a failed propeller governor replaced by the 2:30 a.m. deadline, the flight was aborted.

Comments:

Three of my brothers returned home safely after the war was over without any battle injuries. Two of them served in the Infantry and one in the Navy. My other brother was a scientist who helped develop the atomic bomb at Oak Ridge, TN. They are no longer with us. I have one sister who is still living and she and I are the only ones left in our family.

I had the very good fortune to reconnect with Lorraine Mahar whom I first met in the 7th grade in Estacada, OR and we had our first post-war date on Halloween, 1945. We celebrated her birthday and our engagement on New Year's Eve that same year. We were married March 9, 1947 and we have been together ever since.

My life has been beautifully blessed with a soul-mate always at my side and also a wonderful son and daughter. I feel divine guidance has prevailed.

 

My Tent Buddies
Engine Maintenance Personnel - West Field, Tinian
Back row L to R: Jack James, "Gooch," unknown, unknown, Kukula, Jack Henrickson
Front row L to R: Ed Mathis, Nehiba, Crew Chief John McCrory, John Higgins
John Higgins and Jack Henrickson are the only ones living as of January 1, 2013

 

#18 - Devilish Snooks

 

Devilish Snooks engine change

 


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