Lieutenant Robert P. Hunter, 84th Bomb Squadron

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Lieutenant Robert P. Hunter, Bombardier, 84th BS 47th BG 1944. Sworn into the U S Air Corps Reserve onDecember 1, 1942, and called to active duty on February 21, 1943. Graduated as a second lieutenant with bombardier and Navigator skills and wings on April 29, 1944, arrived Naples Italy in November 1944. Left Italy late in June 1945 by Liberty Ship out of Leghorn, and arrived in US July 9, 1945. Discharged on October 10, 1945, while a freshman in college. Recalled in May 1951 and flew as a bombardier on B-29s as a member of the great Strategic Air Command, and had targets in Russia, if needed, with atomic capability. Discharged in February 1953. Had enough of that and resigned my commission. Was great fun, though, and the B-29 was a great aircraft. We regularly flew 16-hour missions over the US. Did go to French Morocco for three weeks in 1952. Long flight both ways.

84th BS Grosseto, Italy. A-20J, K, & G models, and one A-26.
270# Frag bombs on wing bomb racks. Moscona Hills in background.

L-R: Ralph Pumo, Bottom Gunner. Cliff Branstad, Pilot. That’s me in the Khaki’s, Bombardier. Charles Norwood, Turret Gunner. A-26 Invader. End of war. Can see part of our 84th BS Insignia, the Rosi Diavoli, “Red Devil” on side of ship. My pilot, Clifford Branstad, from Thompson, Iowa, and I joined together at Florence, SC, after being at Columbia, SC, awaiting assignment. We learned together with our gunners and we all traveled to Italy on a Liberty Ship. When the war was over, I returned to New York City on another Liberty Ship, while Cliff flew an A26 back to the US. He had a scare coming home. Was in a flight of 3 ships and ran into weather and got separated. Then his radio quit and he was over the ocean looking for South America, and lost. He finally made land fall and turned in a direction he felt was correct, looking for a river and a town and an airfield, being low on fuel. Said he saw what looked right and without contact with the tower just flew in and landed, and it happened that he was in the right place. The rest of his trip we never discussed.

Night mission briefing, Grosseto Italy. Can see my pilot Cliff Branstad and me in pic. This pic also in the “Photographic History of the 47th Bomb Group”, #272 of 300 pic collection on this website.

That’s me in an A-26 at the Norden bombsight.

My jacket. We had a great artist who followed us to Grosseto from Rosignano, as I recall, and he would paint with oil on our airplanes, footlockers, and jackets. Don’t recall his name. We had the A-20 painted on our jackets with some song title. Mine was “When Day Is Done”, which was related to our night flying. I still have that jacket in my closet. “Becky” was a pet name for a young lady I had met at Centenary College, here in Shreveport LA, while I was an aviation student. Her name was Margaret Phillips. Margaret and I married August 9, 1946 and are still friends and sweethearts – some 64 years later. The jacket was very warm and comfortable – much more so than the leather A2 I had.

Myself in hat with Charles Norwood, our gunner, at his tent location at the airfield.
Charles is from North Carolina.

Here, my mission listings certificate. I was a member of the 84th Squadron from November 1944 and returned in June 1945 to North Carolina for discharge. Took off on 41 missions at night and completed 38 of them. Had various reasons to abort the three. “Dry Run” means you did not cross the bomb line into enemy territory, so did not get credit for those missions. I was a Bombardier and flew with Cliff Branstad on all missions. We are still friends and stay in touch.


Part of aerial navigation map of Grosseto area.

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