BOMBER CREW FANTASY CAMP MAY 1944 okay...maybe 2009


Created June 3rd, 2009

Updated June 8th, 2009

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Here are photos of our first WWII Bomber Crew Fantasy Camp that we put together here at Vintage Aircraft at Stockton Army Air Field in Stockton, California.

In close collaboration with the wonderful Collings Foundation our first Fantasy Camp was a great success. Scroll down to take a camera trip through the event

 

The recruits arrive and are beginning their indoctrination.

The Cadets check in with Captain Gaston who starts the registration process by typing up the ID cards

After indoctrination the Cadets begin ground school classes. Here is Randy teaching Gunnery.

They also took courses in Navigation (taught by Jim Goolsby) Radio and Bombardment

The students get hands on experience

Some of the equipment getting ready to head out to the range for aerial gunnery training. A 1942 Ford jeep and a 1944 Chevy E-5 turret training truck

Here the students learn how to lead targets by shooting skeet with actual WWII Browning designed M11 Remington (and Savage) shotguns. Steve prepares the E-5 turret truck in the background for the next step in the training process.

The Cadets advance to the turret truck where they learn how to lead the target (Skeet) in a Crocker Wheeler A-8 training turret. The turret also has an M11 WWII shotgun mounted just like they did in WWII.

Steve gives instruction to a student on how to use the turret and track the target. Each student has 5 shots loaded that could be fired quickly as the guns are semi automatic.

Click the video below to see Steve rapid fire the shotgun in the turret truck.

 

Here is Gin, one of the Cadets, in the Crocker Wheeler turret

Then the students advanced to the 50 cal range where they shot the semi automatic 50 at paper targets

Good grouping!

Here are the graduates from the Aerial Gunnery course. Standing head and shoulders above the rest is Joe holding up his reward of $40. We had a pool for the first student to hit a clay pigeon from the turret truck. He was not only the first to do so but he hit two clay pigeons too! He was dubbed the Ace of the group. Well done Joe!

Here is the whole gang of Cadets, staff and reenactors

This is Jim Goolsby, or Pappy, he was not only our Navigation instructor but he was the pilot of the Collings B-24J too. Pappy is one of the few who is still a licensed Navigator with the FAA and he is an all around great guy. Thanks for your help Pappy.

The students chalk up the bombs with some greetings for the recipient

The ground crew, re enactors of the 401st Bomb Group (Heavy) 615th Bomb Squadron maintenance, came all the way up from Phoenix, Arizona to help out and volunteer for the Collings foundation and the Fantasy Camp. These guys made the entire event so much more special that it could have been. We can't thank you guys enough for your hard work and amazing help. Dude, you all were awesome!

The ground crew starts to load the bombs

No they weren't light. Almost full weight.

Off of the M5 bomb trainer and onto the M1 bomb lift and cradle

The bomb lift then is used to bring the bombs into the front bomb bay of the B-24 Liberator

Cadet Bob checks out the pilot's seat of the B-24

This is Gin with Carl a WWII aerial gunner veteran who we brought along on the flight

 

Paul takes his turn at the waist gun in the B-24

One of the students had a great time flying in the Mustang as a fighter escort for the mission. Next year the Messerschmitt 262 will be along to try and shoot down the bomber thus giving the gunners a real target to shoot at.

 

Leave it to Roger to get the only still photo of the muzzle flash from the waist guns in the Collings B-24J

Here is a video of one of the students firing the left waist gun in the Collings B-24J

Kai, the happy gunnery school graduate

The students were also able to operate the retractable ball turret in the B-24. Each Cadet went through training on the ground in our ball turret trainer. Here is Ken, the ball turret instructor, checking out the ball in flight.

 

Here is Scott, a happy Fantasy Camper, emerging from an extremely rare opportunity to fly in the ball turret of the B-24.

The guns of the ball turret are pointed down so the student can enter the turret in flight.

One of the Fantasy Campers got to ride in the P-51C and had an awesome view!

Here is the working Norden M9B bomb sight that was used for the mission. This bomb sight has dropped many practice bombs in recent years making it the most current operational bomb sight. It is interesting to note that the X-1 reflex sight actually interferes with the structure of the B-24J turret.

Bomb bay doors open and on the bomb run. Roger Cain sure takes beautiful pictures. Thanks Roger for sharing them with us!

Two 250 pound bombs loaded in the right front bomb rack in the Collings B-24J

 

BOMBS AWAY!

Awesome shot Roger!

The graduates from the first class (44-1) shortly after the completion of their mission

The re enactors in their class A's. You guys were the best part of the Fantasy Camp in my book! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Back row from Left to right

Aaron, Justin, Bill, Bill

Bottom row

Scott, Julie, Murph

Bill and Scott go at it. KEEP 'EM FLYING!

The re enactors don't just play the part, they live it!

This is Ken. He is one awesome Dude!

Julie was all dressed up

 

 

Come on out and have a good time with the gang.

We are taking sign ups for future Fantasy Camps.

 

What can I say but thank you Roger for your awesome eye and photographic skills.

Here are some beautiful shots From Jim Harley taken from the Twin Beech photo plane piloted by Jerry Anderson.

Thanks for sharing them Jim. You sure have the eye and the camera to match.

THANK YOU TO THE COLLINGS FOUNDATION FOR MAKING THIS FANTASY CAMP A SUCCESS. WE LOOK FORWARD TO THE NEXT CAMP.

See you at the next Bomber Crew Fantasy Camp!

 

 

TO ALL OF OUR COUNTRY'S VETERANS, WE HERE AT VINTAGE AIRCRAFT WOULD LIKE TO SAY:

THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU DID FOR OUR COUNTRY!

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