James Barineau – telephone interview. 8/28/ 2007
Enlisted Jan 15, 1941
Sent to radio school @ Scott April 1941 until Sept. Met Doug Williams
Jan 1942, sent to gunnery school in Las Vegas
Was part of 14th Recon Squadron, which was sent to Barksdale AFB.
March 1942, sent to Ft. Meyers FL to 98th
Interviewed with Col Feldman for a “dangerous” mission. Could elect to stay with the 98th
New B-24’s arrived at Ft. Meyer’s
Was assigned to Moore crew. And Blue Goose.
Married Anita April 11th, Saturday afternoon; they were the 3rd couple.
Each plane was loaded to the max, $5000 (Halverson carried $10000), and a 12-gauge shotgun. (James removed shotgun before Ed Cave took it on the first mission. He still has it)
Crews knew they were going to China, when they picked up the Chinese General at Morrison Field. Whang flew with Uhrich’s crew. Uhrich continued on to Karachi to drop off the General.
Moore went to pieces during flight over. Was left at Khartoum.
Trip overseas was bad. After leaving Trinidad, Moore left his seat. Plane hit storm and plane was rocked severely. Landed at Belem. After refueling, crew knew something wrong with Moore. When they taxied out for takeoff, Moore sat there. Whitlock asked “Are we going?” Moore replied “Take her off if you want.” After landing and refueling at Natal, Sgt Hines, overall crew chief, acted as co-pilot.
When the group arrived in Khartoum, they were told to wait for orders. They waited a week and then were sent to Fayid for the Ploesti mission
Cave wrecked his nose gear on Hellsapoppin. So Cave took Blue Goose, since Moore crew had no pilot.
Kramer, Moran and James drove Halverson’s staff car when they went from Fayid to Lydda.
After the loss of 5 planes on the first mission (4 in Turkey and Mooty crash landed in Syria), Halverson took to drinking. (Was ultimately relieved by Brereton in early August)
The HALPRO crews knew they were the “sacrificial lambs,” but the US had to do something to respond against Japan. They thought they would only fly the one mission to bomb Japan. Would return to US as “Heros.” The US needed to make a statement.
Later, to keep the hero concept, Air medal was awarded after 100 combat hours; DFC after 200 hours.
Whitlock and James went to 515th
Returned to US in C-54. Left Cairo Easter Sunday. After they cleared the overcast, most beautiful sunset he had ever seen. When they landed at Khartoum, James ran into a home town girl (Lola Mae ?) who had become an Army nurse. She bought an ivory elephant necklace for James to give to Anita, who still has it.