Cadet Myers, cadet squadron 104, at Victory Field, Vernon, Texas.
Arthur K Myers was born May 17th, 1920. He was drafted into the Army, at the age of 21, in November 1941.
He began his military career with the 32nd Infantry, before applying for a transfer into the Army Air Corp. His application was accepted, and he began his aviation training at Victory
Field, San Antonio, Texas.
He received his advanced training at Brooks Field, and his final transition training and graduation at Biggs Field, Texas on February 8th, 1944.
Arthur and his younger sister Faye. The picture was taken at Brooks Field, Texas, in February 1944.
The family went there for Arthur's graduation from flight school.
Arthur was assigned as co-pilot, of the David Weichman Crew. This crew had the fortune of being assigned a B-24 for delivery overseas.
They arrived in Manduria, Italy, on July 6th, 1944. By December the crew had flown 25 successful missions together. The rest of the original crew had finished their tour
of duty, and returned home in December. Arthur still had 10 missions to fly, before achieving the required 35.
He became first pilot for these final 10 missions, but his crew members names are unknown to the family.
Arthur receives the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944 from General Twining.
Among Arthur's numerous accomplishments, he received the Air Medal for Meritorious Action, Presidential Unit Citation.
Art & his future brother in law Sgt William C Puhr (Snip) 464th and 99th Bomb Group
Here are excerpts from letters that Arthur wrote to his parents, while he was stationed overseas.
July 21, 1944
I did my first damage to Germany today. In other words, I was on my first raid today. It wasn't so very exciting.
Not nearly as much as I imagined it would be. We had a little engine trouble and had to return on three engines.
It was just mechanical trouble though and wasn't caused by any enemy action.
We all returned in good shape, and ready and raring to go tomorrow if they'll let us.
We want to hurry up and finish our fifty missions so we can get home by Christmas.
That's the thought we're entertaining right now anyway. It's a pretty good one, isn't it?
July 30, 1944
I got another letter from you yesterday, so I thought I'd better answer it. I haven't written you for four or five days anyway, have I?
I have a little bit of an excuse though. Just this last Wednesday, we went on a raid. We lost an engine just before we got to the target; then we lost another one right after we left the target.
Consequently, we left the formation and headed for the nearest friendly territory. We couldn't begin to keep up with them.
As luck, and the help of God, would have it, we made it to Italy, and sighted a small landing strip. So we set her down on it.
Then we found out we were only fifteen miles from the front lines, and only four days before, the Jerries had held that very field we were on.
The tail gunner and I stayed to guard the plane, and the rest of the crew caught a truck and started south toward base.
They got word to the base, and the next evening a plane came up and picked us up. I mean that plane really looked good.
I was getting pretty hungry by that time. It wasn't very pleasant to think of having to stay in that place another night either.
When we were there Wednesday night, it was just like witnessing a Fourth of July at home in peace time. The sky was practically filled with fire.
Then we could see a big flash of light, then a few seconds later we'd hear a loud WHOOM. It was some of hose big guns going off. One night of that was enough.
So far, I have five missions in. That leaves me forty-five to go. That's quite a few, isn't it?
The way things are beginning to look, the war might be over before I have time to finish them. It doesn't hurt to dream, does it?
August 13, 1944
I have seven missions so far. We've missed a couple in that last couple of days. We've been having trouble with our landing gear staying up after we took off.
Then we had one collapse on us this morning on take off, and we fairly tore a plane to pieces. (see below)
Luckily, I thought to turn the switches off so it wouldn't catch on fire, and we all got out of it without being hurt.
There were bombs and plane parts lying around in a five hundred foot circle. It was just one of those things that couldn't be helped.
On our last mission, we caught a piece of flak in the nose, and another one tore a hole in the leading edge of the wing about the size of your fist.
The bombardier got the piece of flak that came in the nose. Where it hit the wing, it was right between #3 engine and the right side of the fuselage.
That's right by my seat. That's getting too darn close for comfort. Just as long as I keep coming back though is all that's really important.
I can't say my first mission was so very exciting. It was rather a novel experience. As you probably know, your son doesn't excite very easily.
One of these days, I'll let you see a letter my primary instructor wrote me, and you can see what he thinks of me!!!!..
Aircraft # 41-28708, The Mountaineer, crashed on take off, August 1944 after the left side wheel collapsed on roll out
August 31, 1944
It's been quite awhile since I've written you; but you've done so much moving around lately that I didn't know where you wanted your mail sent.
I hope you keep going to the Post Office often enough to get this.
At the present time, I'm reposing in a hospital over here. You know that trouble I've always had with my back. Well, I'm down in the back again.
I've been in here for four days. It was pretty bad when I came in here, but it isn't so bad now. The doc says I should be out in a couple of more days.
Your son hasn't done so bad over here even if he does only have eight missions.
Just before I came to the hospital, our whole crew was awarded the Air Medal for Meritorious Action above the Call of Duty against the enemy.
Just what it was will have to wait until I get home. Now, don't you feel pretty proud of this no account son you yours? You'd better.
I'm still flying missions the same as ever. That is, when I get out of the hospital. My status hasn't been changed a bit since I came over here.
It doesn't make any difference what I do over here, I'll be back one of these days. I just know I will, so don't worry about me.
This old fat boy has learned how to take care of himself pretty well!!!!.
September 8, 1944
I am still safe and sound. I got out of the hospital the fifth of this month, and the next day my whole crew was sent to rest camp. That's where I'm at now.
I don't have any business here, but if they wanted to send me, I sure wasn't going to do any arguing about it. It's really swell here.
We're living in a big, swell hotel right on the shores of the sea. We can lie in bed until nine-thirty in the morning and still get breakfast.
The food here is every bit as good as we have in the States. Nothing to do except play, eat, and sleep here. We'll be here for five days.
I can't tell you much more about it. I'll have to wait until the war is over for that.
I want to start the bank account because I'm going to have at least a $1000 or more to send home by payday. I'd have it now, but I have a little over $500 loaned out.
I need about $500 reserve over here to play poker with the boys. They play for pretty big stakes, and you have to have the money to back your hand up with.
I played poker two nights after I got out of the hospital and won $700. Not had for a kid, huh? I may send the money home before payday, but I doubt it.
If it's in a joint account, you won't have any trouble getting it out if something should happen to me while I'm over here!!!!
September 25, 1944
I believe since I wrote you last that I've been to Cairo, Egypt and flew four more missions. I have twelve missions now. It's possible I'll still get fifty, but it's not very probable I don't think.
It doesn't make me a whole lot of difference. I don't want out of the Army until the war is over anyway; and I don't think I have any business marrying until it is over;
and that's about the first thing I'd do when I get home. Consequently, I'd just as soon go to the South Pacific before I come home. I'd like to see what that part of the country looks like.
My trip to Cairo was to pick up some of our boys who had escaped from concentration camps of the enemy.
You probably read about it in the papers at home, or even saw it in the newsreels, if you still go to the movies!!!!..
October 3, 1944
I haven't heard from you in ages, but I thought I'd better write you a line anyway to let you know I'm still all right.
We haven't flown any missions now for nine days. Bad weather has been the principle cause of that . If the weather ever lets up, I expect we'll be going on them again.
My thirteenth mission is coming up. I flew four missions in September to bring my total up to twelve. I hope I don't have the trouble with my next twelve as I did with the first ones.
It may not be your fault that I haven't heard from you in a long time. I haven't got any mail from anyone for four or five days. This mail situation is getting very serious over here.
We don't even know if ours are getting home.
The weather is getting pretty cold over here, and we don't have any stoves either. We just have to wear a lot of clothes to keep warm. I don't know what we'll do this winter.
Just wear more clothes, I guess, or else stay in bed all we can.
Well that's about all I guess. I'll enclose a picture that was taken of the plane we cracked up on take-off that time. (see above) Remember me telling you about it? Write soon.
October 9, 1944
I got the letter today that you mailed the 16th of September. I thought you were never going to write again. For some reason or other, the mail is really slow in getting over here now.
I have gotten a few more missions since I wrote you last. I have fifteen now, and still all in one piece. I almost wasn't on my thirteenth though.
A piece of flak came in my window and knocked a dent in my flak helmet. If I hadn't been wearing it, I might have a pretty sore head by now.
I was only in rest camp for five days. I've got seven missions since then.
A couple of days ago we went on a raid to Austria. It was about the roughest one I'd seen. I believe every ship we had was hit by flak that day.
One of our waist gunners was wounded in the stomach. He's all right now. He got out of the hospital this morning.
We had a few enemy planes shooting at us too, but I don't think they hit anyone in our Group!!!!!..
October 30, 1944
I got a letter from you today, so while I have the time, I thought I'd answer it, or at least try to. Since I wrote you last, I don't believe I've went on any more missions.
I still have only 21, leaving 29 to go, Isn't that what I had in my last letter? I've been scheduled the last four days to go on a mission, but, it's been cancelled on account of weather everyday.
Missions are going to come pretty slow now until next Spring. We'll all be lucky to average three a month. The weather is really bad over here in the winter. It doesn't compare with anything
I've seen in the States.
Oh, there are some things I'd like to forget about things I've seen over here, but for the most part, I don't mind talking about them. I know there are a lot of things indelibly impressed upon my mind.
I couldn't forget them if I wanted to.
Gee, Mom, I'd like to tell you just where we're at over here, but I just can't do it. They're very strict about that. I can't even tell you how far we are from anyplace. All I can tell you is Southern Italy.
You know we're south of the place where the picture was taken, and that's as far as I can go.
Don't worry about my Xmas present, there really isn't anything I could use over here. We get everything we need. Do I remember how you used to bake and cook on Sunday mornings?
How can I ever forget? That was a day we all looked forward to. We knew we'd get something good to eat then. I could really appreciate that now!!!!.
November 6, 1944
I finally got another mission in yesterday. It was up to the same place in Austria where all of our gunners were wounded.
It wasn't bad yesterday though. We just got one hole in our ship, and it was in the left stabilizer and didn't hurt anything. It was very small.
I have 23 missions now. Just 27 more to go. There isn't any chance of me finishing up by Christmas though. I'll be lucky to finish by next March.
We have enough targets to hit, but the weather is too bad over here in the winter to make very many runs!!!!.
November 16, 1944
I flew a mission today, and got double credit for it. We went up into Germany. I have 26 missions now. Just 24 more to go. I'm not sure yet, but there's a good chance I'll be flying tomorrow.
That's why I haven't much time to write tonight. I'm all worn out from today's mission, so I'm going to bed early. We flew 8 hours and 30 minutes today.
Starting the latter part of this month, or the first part of next month, we're going on detached service for a couple of weeks. That WE is our crew.
I heard about it when our squadron first received the orders for it, and I talked Dave into taking it. We're not sure what it's for yet, but I think it's for hauling some big shots around; possibly up to France.
I'd like that. Going to France, I mean.
I may be needing that money when I get home. There's a lot of things I'm planning on doing. One of them's about a week's drunk to kind of forget what I've seen over here!!!!.
November 21, 1944
I believe I wrote you since I've heard from you, but that doesn't make any difference. I haven't much time, but I thought I'd write you a few lines to let you know I'm still Okay.
I've been flying missions pretty regular lately. Up to date, I have 32 now. Just eighteen more to go. In the last six days, I've flown eight missions. Not bad for a kid, huh?
I've been on a mission for the last three days, and the chances are pretty good that I'll be going out again tomorrow. That is, if the weather will only hold off.
In case you hear a rumor that I was wounded, don't worry about it. It was nothing but a little scratch on the leg. It happened three days ago over Austria, and I've flown two missions since
then, so you know it wasn't bad. You had to look twice to even see the scratch. It stung a little when it hit, but that's all it amounted to.
It happened over the same place that Bob Gallaher was reported as missing in action. If you know his wife, you could tell her not to worry too much.
The greatest majority of the fliers that are reported as missing in action usually turn up sooner or later.
They may be prisoners of war, but the Germans don't treat our fliers so bad. When the war is over, or perhaps even before that, he'll more than likely be back..
December 5, 1944
I haven't received a letter from you in quite awhile, but I thought I'd better write you anyway. I've got to let you know I'm still Okay and going strong.
I'm a first pilot now, and have a crew of my own. I've already flown one mission with them.
It was the 2nd of this month. It was a little trip up into Austria. The same place where Bob Gallaher was reported missing in action.
I have just eight more missions to go now before I'm finished. That shouldn't take over a couple of more months. Three at the most.
If they're going to shoot me down over the target, they're sure going to have to do it before "bombs away". After "bombs away", I'm through working for Uncle Sam for the day.
I start working for my a- - then. I'll sure be a hard target for them to hit then. We had quite a bit of flak on our last run, but I didn't get a hole in my ship.
I mean I fairly came off that target. I have a very high respect for those guns up there!..
December 22, 1944
I haven't heard from you in ages, but I'm going to write you a few lines anyway to let you know how everything is going.
I'm getting pretty well along in my missions. I only have four more to go. I have thirty-one of them now. As you know, we're only required to get thirty-five sorties now.
I was scheduled for another one today, but it was called off during briefing this morning. The weather was too bad. It started raining about midnight last night, and it hasn't stopped yet.
It's almost nine o'clock now. I've flown five missions as first pilot so far, and I haven't had hardly any trouble yet. On one of them, I lost a supercharger, but that isn't too important, although it helps a little.
By the time you get this letter, Christmas will be here and gone. Although it's a little late for it, I hope you have a very Merry Xmas. It sure doesn't seem like Christmas to me.
It's hard for me to realize another year has almost passed. This will be my fourth Christmas in the Army. That's quite a few of them, isn't it?
In the near future, our radio station is going to make a broadcast to the United States. It will be broadcast over all NBC stations. WDAF is one of the stations.
The name of our station is "The Voice of the Cottontails". Listen for it, and tell me if you hear it.
There isn't very much more else to write about. I've covered about everything I can think of. We're having a big inspection in the morning so I'd better be getting ready for it.
December 24, 1944
There isn't very much to tell you, but since I got a letter from you today, I thought I'd better write you a line or two.
We haven't flown any more missions since I wrote you the other day, so I still have four more to go. The weather has really been bad, and no fooling. It rained steadily for over 72 hours.
They can call this "Sunny Italy" if they want to, but I have another name for it. It doesn't snow down here; but it sure stays cold and rains plenty.
We have a mission scheduled for tomorrow, and it wouldn't surprise me any if I was on it. I don't like the idea of killing people on Xmas Day, but, I guess if we must, we must.
I guess I have lost a little weight over here, but it isn't caused by what you think. I'm just not the type to lose weight over worrying about what's going to happen to me. It's the food we get over here.
We have plenty of it, but the most of it, I just can't go. So, I eat a few bites and get up and leave the table. That'll make anybody lose a little weight. As soon as I get back where I can get some
decent food again, I'll gain it all back, don't worry about that a bit.
No, I haven't been hurt over here yet. The time I was hit, it was just a small scratch. You can't even see the mark anymore. Don't worry about me because I'm too lucky to get hurt..
January 20, 1945
There isn't much to write about, but I thought I'd better write anyway.
I've just gotten back from rest camp at Rome. I really had a good time up there. It's one swell town. I didn't know a guy could have so much fun in one of these Italian towns.
I visited St. Peter's Cathedral while I was there. It is the most beautiful church I've ever seen, bar none. If a guy owned half of the valuables they have in their treasury rooms alone, he would be fabulously rich.
We stopped in Cassino on the way back. You never saw such utter destruction in all your life. At one time, it was a pretty good sized town. Now all that remains is rubble and ruin.
Honestly, there isn't a single building left standing. It's just completely wiped off the map. If some of the people in the States could see and smell that place, perhaps they could realize the ugly horrors of this war.
Something like that will make a person sit up and take notice. Believe me.
I still have one more mission to fly. I'm just waiting around until an easy one comes along. It's a lot safer that way. All the rest of my old crew have gone home. I'm the only one left now.
I should be home in a couple of more months. It just depends how soon I finish, how quick I can get my rotation papers through, and whether I fly back, or come on a ship.
I can tell you now that I stand a pretty good chance of flying back, but I don't want to tell you the reason until I get back. I'll have a little surprise for you then.
That is, if our public relations officer doesn't have it printed in the home town newspaper.
The weather is really staying bad over here. So far, our Group has only flown four missions this month. That isn't good, do you know it?
I told you our Group was presented the Presidential Citation, didn't I? That's the highest award anyone can get. It comes directly from the President. Pretty good, huh?
February 2, 1945
There isn't much to write about, but I'll see what I can do. A little is better than nothing at all, I guess.
I still have one more mission to fly. I tried to get it in yesterday, but didn't have any luck. We ran into some bad weather on the way to the target, and had to turn back.
Flew six hours and a half too. I'll get it in one of these days though. I'm still in no hurry. The longer I stay over here, the nearer the war in the South Pacific will be finished.
I don't care to go to war again after I finish here. I've been shot at just about all I want to. I consider myself very lucky to have gotten this far without being hurt.
There's no sense in pushing your luck too far.
I've a chance to work for Air Force when I finish my missions, but I'm not quite decided whether I want it or not. I told Ann about it quite awhile ago, and I got a letter from her
today saying it was up to me; that I should do whatever I thought best.
I may take it for thirty days, but I doubt if I'll be able to stay much longer. I can already hear the States calling me back. One thing about it, I can save money over here, and also stay out
of combat a little longer..
February 7, 1945
This letter is going to be very short and to the point, because I have a lot of letters to write tonight.
I can finally give you the news you've been waiting for so long. I have finished my tour of combat duty.
I flew my
today. There was a lot of flak at the target, but they didn't touch this kid. So, I guess I'm as lucky as ever.
I don't know just when I'll be home. It may be right away, or it may be a couple of months.
I'll let you know in the next week!!!!!.
February 10, 1945
I'm writing rather frequently now, don't you think? However, this is going to be pretty short. I just wanted to let you know I'm not coming home right away.
I'm going to work in the Air Force in the Flight Section for a couple of months or so. I think things will be better for me that way.
I should stand a better chance of getting what I want when I get back to the States by doing this. A couple of months shouldn't make any difference in my homecoming.
At least, you can rest assured that I'm safe now. I won't be shot at anymore while I'm over here.
This is strictly a non-combat job. I can come home anytime I feel like it. How does it sound to you?
The weather is warming up a little over here now. We could sure stand it. This old cold weather with no stoves is no good.
That's one thing about the Air Force. They have heat up there. Also good food, and darn good beds. We live right in one of the best hotels in town. Have maids to take care of our rooms!.
February 25, 1945
Long time no hear from me, huh? Well, I never did like to write letters, so when I finished my missions, I sort of rested up from writing them. I haven't written over four or five since I finished.
I decided to stay over here two or three more months. I didn't see any reason for rushing home in the middle of winter. I can have a lot more fun in late Spring when it's a little warmer than I can now.
I can't see that it hurts anything for me to stay over here when no one has to worry about me. I'm just as safe as a bug in a rug here. Besides, I get quite a bit of flying time here, and that's what I'm after.
I'd like to get a thousand hours before I come home, and I only have 850 now. I should be able to get that thousand inside of a couple more months though. That won't be too long, will it?
I like this work swell here. If I could only get a job like this back in the States, it would be perfect. I'd never quit it. We fly four or five different types of planes, and get trips all over Europe.
I'm getting to know this country better than the United States!!
March 16, 1945
There isn't very much to tell you, but I thought I'd better drop you a line to let you know I'm still getting along all right. I don't believe I'll stay over here much longer.
I'm getting awfully anxious to get home. If I have my way, I believe I'll leave here around the first of April. I'm not sure yet though.
The job I have here is really swell, but it's so darn far from home. I've had several nice trips.
I just got back from staying a couple of nights at Florence. That's really a nice town. It's quite different from these Southern Italian towns. The people are better dressed, and there isn't nearly as much begging.
I've been getting quite a bit flying time. I had a couple of short trips this morning. Then this afternoon, I had to go up near the front lines, and pick up some men who were being evacuated from there.
I ran into some bad weather on the way back, and didn't land until after dark, but we made it all right, so everything was O.K!!.
March 27, 1945
This isn't going to be a very long letter; but I thought I'd better drop you a line letting you know I'm getting along O.K. I haven't heard from you in quite awhile, but that doesn't make much difference.
I haven't had much time for letter writing since I've been up here.
I'm expecting to come home right away. I'm supposed to be relieved of D.S. from here sometime next week. Just as soon as I'm relieved, I'm going to put in my rotation orders.
I should be home by the first of May at the latest. By getting there then, I can be home for my birthday for the first time in four years. That won't be so bad will it?
I hate to quit this job over here, but I just have to come home. I can't stand it much longer. This is really the best job a guy could ask for.
I know I'll never find a better one. It's too darn far from home for me though.
Well, Folks, that's it for now. You don't need to answer this unless you especially want to.
April 4, 1945
I've finally decided to come home. I'm at a Port of Embarkation now awaiting my turn to return. Just how long I'll have to wait is hard to say though. Here's hoping it isn't too long.
I don't know whether I'll get to come by plane or not. We have to take our chances on that.
I won't be writing you anymore until I get back so don't expect any. Don't you write me either.
I've got a lot of letters to write tonight, so I think I'll stop now. Whatever else I have to write, I can tell you when I get home!!!!.
Arthur returned home to the Independence, Missouri, where he married his left behind sweetheart, Anna Puhr, on June 2, 1945.
Arthur did not tell Anna that he had purchased dress whites for their wedding.
She was really surprised when she was walking down the aisle and saw him standing at the alter, all decked out in his new white uniform
They had six children and Arthur had various occupations. He worked as co-owner in the grocery business, along with a greenhouse/nursery business.
He became a car salesman, until his retirement in 1982.
In retirement he became a proficient gardener and sold his produce at the weekly Independence Farmer's Market. He also provided fresh vegetable to a nursing home in the area.
Arthur passed away on August 13, 1993, at the age of 73. His memory is cherished by his family and all that knew him. All who live in this country we so love, honor him and those
who volunteered their lives for the freedom we so cherish today. God bless America and the Cottontail Crews!
Information and pictures provided by: Margie Myers Mulholland and Nancy Myers Rellihan, daughters of Arthur Myers.