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Mon, May 17, 2010

Collings Foundation To Hold B-24 Bomber Crew Camp

A Summer Adventure Back In Time

The Collings Foundation is offering a very unique two-day "training program" in which participants will train for and fly a simulated WWII bombing mission. This is WWII Bomber School 101. Attendees will learn what is needed to properly function in the role of Navigator, Radio Operator, Gunner, Flight Engineer and Bombardier aboard the Collings Foundation's B-24J Liberator "Witchcraft".

The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II. The direct precursor to the United States Air Force, its peak size was over 2.4 million men and women in service and nearly 80,000 aircraft in 1944. There were 783 domestic air bases in December 1943. By VE Day the Air Corps had 1.25 million men stationed overseas and operated from more than 1,600 airfields worldwide. The Air Corps became the Army Air Forces in June 1941, providing the air arm greater autonomy in which to expand more efficiently, and to provide a structure for the additional command echelons required by a vastly increased force.

The WWII Crew Fantasy Camp experience will be similar to what a new recruit might have gone through during WWII, the "Readers Digest" version of the AAFSAT (Army Air Force School of Applied Tactics). The first segment of the training includes familiarization of the B-24J Liberator inside and out, including what it takes to keep the Liberator operational and effective. Participants will study the roll and duty of every crew position. Navigators will learn how to properly read aviation maps and get the bomber to target using WWII methods, while Bombardiers will learn how to operate the Norden bombsight and when to punch the button on the "pickle" to drop the bombs. And the bombsight is fully functional.
Gunners will learn all the skills needed to be an effective aerial gunner. Initial training starts with being able to properly target a moving object (skeet shooting), maintain and properly operate the machine guns in each position and knowing how to operate the nose, tail and ball turrets (if you can fit into these positions).

On mission day, mission papers will be distributed to the crew and each will be given an assignment. The crew will climb aboard "Witchcraft" and fly to the enemy, fire blank 50 cals. out the waist gun, drop the bomb load on target, and get back to base safely.

The camp will be held in Concorde, CA June 2-3. Day one will include basic training, aircraft procedures and aircraft familiarization. Day two will include target mission briefing and the bomb run.



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