Jack D. Smith was an engineer with the Horace Wade crew. They were part of the Brereton Detachment.
"I received the copies of the 'Intelligencer' for Nov - Dec 84 and Feb - Mar 85 you were kind enough to send. Some of the names you mentioned was that of Dave Tunno and as I recall he ran for one of the political offices here in the Riverside-San Bernardio area of California a few years ago. I believe Tunno recieved the Soldiers Medal the same time I did for helping to get the crew out of a burning B-24 that crashed on the approach to the runway at Lydda, Palestine, mid 1942.
"I was a member of the 7th Bomb Gp enroute to the Philippines when the Japs hit Pearl Harbor. We had left Hawaii a few days before the bombing. We headed South after receiving word, first to the Fiji Islands, then to Brisbane, Australia. We assembled a group of A-24 Dive Bombers that were aboard ships in our convoy, and P-40's we had assembled, the ship was sunk by the Japs a day after it left our convoy enroute to Java.
"On arriving at Karachi, India, we readied our B-17 bombers, that got out of the Philippines, for bombing missions against the Japs. I was offered the job of crew chief, and engineer-gunner on 'Minnie from Trinidad', an LB-30, (British version of the B-24) no superchargers, no tail guns, got 'Minnie' out of Trinidad where it had been stuck for some time with bad fuel leaks, someone had serviced it with the wrong type of fuel. At any rate, his engineer was sick and since our line chief knew I loved flying (I had learned to fly while going through airplane mechanic school), M/Sgt. Johnnie Suggs (later Lt. Col. Suggs, when I met him again at Hamilton AFB about 1956 when I was a pilot on a cross country out of march AFB), asked me if I'd like the job, and I jumped at the chance for a little excitement.
"We bombed the Japs from 8000 feet at night over Rangoon Harbor, Burma, on 2 Apr. 42, getting caught in searchlights and losing our #2 engine over the target. We had been ready to take off on a bombing mission the night before on April 1, but the last of our B-l7's to take off ahead of us hit a tree stump at the end of the runway, from the narrow RAF fighter strip we were using, and burned, with all crew men and bombs aboard. Afraid the bombs might blow up as we passed over the fire, we waited till the next night.
"We flew submarine patrol out of Karachi until flying to the Middle East, landing at Lydda Palestine 30 June 42, according to my log book that I kept a record of our missions in. I kept my civilian pilot log book with me and tried to enter all missions, with notes. During our flying in India we ferried some of the flight crews that got out of China after bombing Tokyo from the aircraft carrier with Doolittle, to the best of my recollection. On arriving at Lydda, Palestine, we were attached to the Halverson Group, as part of the 9th Bomb Squadron of B-l7's of the 7th Bomb Gp. We (our B-17 crews) were checked out in the B-24's to fly combat missions, as we could not get parts for our B-l7's. We flew many long range missions, as you know, without fighter escort, from Lydda and later Abu Sueir, where our Squadron became the 513th Bomb Sq or part of it. At this time I was a B-17 crew chief and engineer gunner, as 'Minnie' had been consigned to cargo flights only. I flew all over the Middle East in 'Minnie' in between our combat missions on the B-24's and B-l7's.