This is what the 500th Bomb Squadron was doing in July, some 75 years ago:


30 June-July, 1943: The 500th, as well as other squadrons of the 345th, got down to business on 30 June, when the first combat bombing mission was flown. B-25s of the 500th and 498th took off from Jackson Drome (7-mile), New Guinea for a medium altitude bombing mission on Japanese positions around Bobdubi, near Salamaua. During most of the month of July, the 500th continued almost daily bombing missions against Japanese positions in and near the Salamaua area.

2 July, 1944: This date did little to diminish the Rough Raider's reputation as a "suicide" or "death" squadron. After a barge-sweep mission, 2/Lt Floyd J. Goodlanded the GENERAL'S DAUGHTER at Hollandia, taxied to a hardstand and shut down the engines, S/Sgt. William T. Doyle jumped out of the hatch and was chocking the main gear when the bomb bay doors opened and two 100 pound parademo bombs, which were wired together, fell out onto the hardstand and exploded. The final toll of this accident was 12 killed and three injured.

17 July, 1944: The 500th began its move from Nadzab to Biak. It was shortly after arrival at Biak that the Group took on a new name, dropping "Free Top Terrors" for a more fitting name of "Air Apaches" along with a new Group insignia.

27 July, 1944: Group aircraft mounted an attack on Galela Airdrome, located at the tip of the northern finger of Halmahera Island. Capt. Max Mortensen, flying RITA'S WAGON, led the 500th element in bombing a large building and the dispersal areas, scoring a direct hit on a "Topsy" transport, as well as other damage.

23 July, 1944:  Again tragedy struck the 500th when it lost one of its crew, chiefs. Sgt. James K. Walker was killed instantly after he had set wheel chocks in place on MARY JO, then turned around and was hit by a still-turning propeller.

29 July, 1944: The 50th conducted armed reconnaissance of two separate areas along Hahnahera and Morotai Islands.

11 July, 1945: The 500th lost a good friend and its Commander. Capt. Robert Canning, leading the 500th a raid of Formosa shipping, was showing a corespondent/photographer how the 500th and the Group fought the war. Thirty minutes after the 500th had taken off on this mission, the Assistant Engineering Officer, Capt. Eugene E. Cole, received word of Canning's promotion to Major.. Being a close friend of Canning, Cole sent a radio message to Canning from his jeep radio - "Hurry home, We have a bottle waiting to celebrate your promotion." Since the planes were observing radio silence, there was no reply. Canning began the attack run with his wingman 1/Lt Anton K. Kusebauch following close in trail. Suddenly a 40mm round scored a direct hit on Canning's aircraft, which did a slow roll and crashed in a shallow harbor, exploding on impact. Kusebauch's B-25 was riddled with about 40 holes as he flew through a hail of intense flak. Capt. George S. Schmidt and his wingman, 2/Lt. George S. Watt knocked out the AA position by strafing and bombing it.

28 July, 1945: After the good life at Clark Field, air elements of the 500th and other squadrons of the 345th arrived at their new home on Ie Shima, where more primitive living conditions prevailed.

29 July, 1945: As part of the overall Group mission, the 500th made its first attack on the Japanese homeland. The 500th set the radar station afire and knocked down the radio antenna on Kyushu, Japan's southernmost island.


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