George McGuire was the Executive officer of HALPRO. He flew over on the Fred Nesbitt crew. Upon the departure of Col. Halverson, he became CO of the 1st Provisional group and then the 376th HBG.
(The following is taken in part from the report given by Col. George F. McGuire who was on the scene in the early days. Later, Col. McGuire succeeded Col. Harry A. Halverson as commander of the Group.)
"The unit was activated in December 1941, a few weeks after Pearl Harbor as the Halverson Task Force. The Mission of the task force was to bomb Tokyo or other major targets from coastal Chinese air fields, It was to be largely a guerilla type operation, living off the land - with the exception of engines, fuel and bombs which were shipped to Karachi."
"The original place of business of the task force, later known as Halpro, was in two rooms in the old Munitions building in Washington, After a few weeks there, we moved our headquarters to Patterson Field to finish technical modifications to our B-24s. Included in these modifications was the installation of two 50-cal., machine guns fixed in the nose, fired by the pilot because of the popularity at that time of frontal attacks by Japanese Zeros."
"The unit picked up its aircraft, twenty four new B-24s, piloted for the most part by newly transitional pilots, and began its movement to the Far East by way of Africa."
"When we got to Khartoum, we were stopped by emergency Air Force orders and rerouted to the Cairo area to assist in defense of that part of the world against the German General Eric Rommel and his Afrika Korps. Our first target was the Ploesti oil complex in Roumania,"
The Halverson project was to become part of the 10th Air Force in Burma but destiny ruled otherwise. They started off in Florida and their main objective was to bomb Tokyo. Selected were airfields around Chengtu in China's Scechwan Province from which to operate and then move forward to bases around Chekiang.
Due to the Japanese advances after the Doolittle raid, the Chekiang area was threatened for operations, The unit then was assigned to bomb Ploesti from Fayid on Egypt's Great Bitter Lake, Since the crews were fairly new and inexperienced, help was given by the Royal Air Force on briefings, supplies and arming.
An official request was made to the Russians that in the event that the B-24's needed repairs and fueling to be permitted to land in Russian territory. Their request was never acknowledged.
No publicity was given to the Ploesti attack which somewhat annoyed the crews. Not much is known about this first mission. Definite though is the fact that Halpro was the first to bomb a European target - and to eventually unleash a terrible thunder to roll over axis targets.
Not to be forgotten is the famous war cry while flying over Berchtesgaden, Hitler's retreat, "MAN THE TUBES!" The tubes to the unlearned were used as a sort of relief station. Same as the "desert lilies,"
The following is the Air Force bio of George McGuire:
George Frank McGuire was born in Coffeyville, Kan., in 1904. He majored in journalism and received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Kansas in 1926. He entered flying school in 1929, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1930.
From 1930 through 1947 his primary duties included pilot for eight years, commander for two years and staff officer for six years. He has been a command pilot since 1943.
Overseas tours included North Africa from May 1942 to February 1943; the European Theater from August 1944 to November 1945; and England from December 1951 to August 1954.
During the European phase of World War II, General McGuire participated in campaigns in Normandy, Central Europe, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, Egypt, Tunisia and Sicily.
He was decorated by three foreign countries for his service abroad. Luxembourg bestowed the Order of Adolph and Croix de Guerre; France, the Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre; Belgium, the Order of Leopold and Croix de Guerre. His service decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Soldiers Medal and Bronze Star.
At close of World War II, General McGuire was ordered to the newly created Air University at Maxwell, Ala. He served as chief of tactical air operations the Air Command and Staff School. In this capacity, the general assisted in the preparation of the first curriculum and instructed in the first classes.
He became chief of operations division, Headquarters U.S. Air Force in 1949, in July 1950 he became the deputy director of operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, and beginning in 1951 spent nine months in Kansas City, helping organize and operating the newly created Central Air Defense Force for the Air Defense Command, as deputy for operations.
His next assignment was in England as deputy commander of the Third Air Force. Upon his return he assumed command of Larson Air Force Base, Wash., on Aug. 24, 1954. The general assumed command of the 323rd Air Division at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., on July 1, 1958.
He died on March 14, 1984.
Missions as Pilot
# Date Group AC serial # AC_name Target name
1 6/12/1942 10 41-11613 Florine Ju Ju Polesti Romania
2 6/25/1942 ? ? ? Tobruk Libya
3 6/28/1942 ? ? ? Tobruk Libya
4 9/16/1942 22 41-11603 Malicious Benghazi Libya
5 10/26/1942 5 40-698 Chatanooga Choo Convoy Mediterranean
6 11/15/1942 54 41-11xxx Edna Elizabeth 2nd Tobruk Libya
7 12/11/1942 46 41-11603 Malicious Naples Italy
8 1/ 2/1943 46 41-11603 Malicious Kastelli Crete
9 1/20/1943 47 41-11602 Babe the Blue Ox Tripoli Libya
10 2/15/1943 57 ? ? Naples Italy