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40th Bomb Group Association Memories Issue No. 11
September 1986 EDITORS' INTRODUCTION: In late February and March, 1944, the 40th Bomb Group, stationed at Pratt, Kansas, began receiving B-29's to take overseas, but they needed engine changes and some 50 modifications, major and minor, before they would be ready for combat. High command in Washington was pressing to get the B-29's overseas as soon as possible. With the 40th Group ground crews already shipped overseas, Pratt became the scene of several weeks of feverish work, day and night, by the crew chiefs, flight crews, and specially recruited civilians to get the planes ready. These weeks of chaos, confusion and hard work in the bitter Kansas winter have come to be called "The Battle of Kansas." To describe that "battle," we have assembled recollections of some group personnel, excerpts from news and magazine accounts (released months later when the B-29 was actually in combat), and excerpts from records and diaries. This issue contains part of these; more will appear in the January 1987, issue.
Source is 40th Bomb Group Association
Summary of Pratt Army Air Field History
The Pratt Army Air Field was constructed in south central Kansas in Pratt County. The field was located about three miles north of the city of Pratt, a community of about 7,000, and which was the only urban area readily accessible to personnel of the field. The area of the field sloped slightly from west to east, with an elevation varying from 1,969 feet to 1,930 feet.
Construction, begun in 1942, was of the theater of operations type. By the time of the official dedication of the field in May 1943, some 60 barracks had been completed giving accommodations to 2,460 enlisted men. Total authorized construction called for a total of 72 barracks with a capacity of 3.060 enlisted men and eight officers' quarters with a housing capacity of 522.
The video was produced by Sue Nass, a television writer and producer in Idaho. The narrator of the script was Jack Hemingway, the son of the author, Ernest Hemingway.
In 1994, the video, Bomber Boys was filmed. The video gives the story of the 29th Bomb Group as well as the larger 314th Bomb Wing.
Don Nass is featured as well as "Red" Erwin. Red received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his part in saving his crew when the phosphorous bomb went off inside the plane. He picked it up with his hands. This incident is mentioned in April 19, 1945 letter written by Don Nass.
"Although I grew up listening to my Dad's experiences in the war, the very process of the "formal" television interview opened new dimensions to my relationship with him. It was several hours of the most touching, heart-rending and revealing moments I've ever shared with my Dad. I'll always treasure the time together we had on this project." -Sue Nass, Producer/Writer
Bombers On The Prairie History
In The News
Gale Rose Posted August 29. 2012 5:14PM
He may have been the luckiest pilot in World War II.In his 35 missions as a B-29 pilot, Col. Charles Chauncey said he never once took a hit in his B-29 "Goin' Jessie."Chauncey, who won the Distinguished Cross, was guest speaker at the B-29 Museum open house at Pratt Regional Airport on Saturday, Aug. 25.
Pratt, Kan. —Oct. 25, 2011
Like a page out of World War II history, a USO show reminiscent of the shows that were presented in Pratt during World War II when the Pratt Army Air Field was in action will come to life again on the Municipal Building stage.
In case you missed it, here is a story from last August, 2010 in the Hutch News about the old Pratt Army Air Base.
His war effort saved lives
By Clara Kilbourn - The Hutchinson News - firstname.lastname@example.org
As a civilian welder, Easter M. Davis Jr. thinks there would have been money in the modifications he made to the B-29 airplanes that rolled off the assembly line and later shipped to the Pratt Army Air Base.