By Arthur E. Abney
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Additional info for Wings Over Illinois
The check-in personnel gave me a handful of reading material, told me where the mess hall and barracks were, and firmly informed me that I was to be at a designated meeting room at 8:30 am the next day. I understood that after that meeting I would be transferred, along with other members of the group, to an outlying field. I found my quarters and the mess hall and decided that after lunch, since I had the afternoon free, I would take a walking tour of the base. The flight line was some distance away, but I was interested in seeing the operations area and all of the different airplanes.
There were additional problems with the alternator air-door shaft and the propeller governor-control cables. After more than a little diagnostic work, the mechanics took various remedial actions to fix these and other problems that were not critical but did interfere with the PBM’s flying ability. Uncooperative weather during the winter of 1944 was the second factor that impeded training at Harvey Point. Due to a lot of snow, freezing rain, and fog, approximately 40 percent of daylight flights and half of the scheduled night flights were cancelled.
We flew from Banana River to Guantanamo Bay—which we called Gitmo—in Cuba. After an overnight at the naval air station there, we flew on to Great Exuma, a small island in the Bahamas about 150 miles southeast of Nassau. After a night at the navy’s small operation there, we headed back to Banana River. The rest of our time there, we continued to fly hops involving gunnery, bombing, instruments, and night work with more emphasis on celestial navigation. We also had a week of antisubmarine warfare (ASW) training in Key West, Florida.
Wings Over Illinois by Arthur E. Abney