FRE 4940


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Lieutenant-Colonel Elliott Vandevanter Jr. Commanding Officer of the 385th Bomb Group, talks to First Lieutenant Sam Dixon, Second Lieutenant Warren Bock and Technical Sergeant Alford Peterson after a mission in their B-17 Flying Fortress "Lady Susie II". Passed for publication 28 Sep 1943. Printed caption on reverse: 'Youth Of The Flying Fortresses. USP/224I-35. The young Commander of this youthful Fortress unit returns from a mission which he led. (Left to right) Lt. Col. Elliott Vandevanter Jr., of Washington, D.C., 1/Lt. Sam Dixon, pilot of the ship "Lady Susie II" in which the Colonel flew. (Dixon, aged 21, of Birmingham, Ala., is son of former-governor Frank Dixon of Alabama who, incidentally, flew in the last war). 2/Lt. Warren Bock, of Arkansas, co-pilot. With back to camera, T/Sgt. Alford Peterson, of Salt Lake City, crew chief of the plane, discussing the raid on Stuttgart from which they have just returned.' Censor no: 285782. On reverse: Keystone Press, US Army Press Censor ETO and US Army General Section Press & Censorship Bureau [Stamps]. Press caption for image series: 'YOUTH OF THE FLYING FORTRESSES. Little Americas are springing up all over Britain, each notable for the eager enthusiasm of young men typifying the youth of America imbued with the spirit to bomb and fight the Germans until the Nazi Menace is overcome and peace once again restored. Here in these ‘Little Americas’ a great bomber force has been built up and the enemy has felt the weight of this great air might in the daring daylight raids which are carried out almost daily.' 'Rarely a day goes by without a might armada of Flying Fortresses streaming out with a great roar from their bases in Britain to wreck the enemy’s war machine. It is the youth of America that is so capably commanding these formidable new weapons of aerial warfare. Most of the crews were mere schoolboys at the outbreak of war. The spirit of these lads is refreshing- it is one of courage and determination to win out whatever the odds.' 'Our cameraman- American War Correspondent, Samuel Goldstein, paid a visit to the Flying Fortress “Kindergarten” station, which is a complete unit of youth. The principal flying officers of the station are two “old men” of 39- the oldest members. While the “baby”-already a captain is 20. The commanding officer, Col Vandevanter, who has flown Fortresses through the battles over the Philippines, Java and Australia and has led his unit on numerous missions over Germany and occupied Europe, is just 26. His deputy Major Preston Piper of Santa Anna, Calif is 27. Major Piper led this group in the highly successful raid over Regensburg, Germany and heroically rescued most of his crew in the Fortress “Lulu Belle” when he was forced to ditch in the Atlantic, after being damaged over Bordeaux on a return mission from Africa. USP/2241 Keystone Press Agency. 25 Sep 1943.’


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The insignia of the 385th Bomb Group.
  • Unit Hierarchy: Group
  • Air Force: Eighth Air Force
  • Type Category: Bombardment


  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 482nd Bomb Group 812th Bomb Squadron
  • Highest Rank: Lieutenant
  • Role/Job: Pilot
Lieutenant-Colonel Elliot Vandevanter Jr Commanding Officer of the 385th Bomb Group, signs off a medal recommendation with Lieutenant Wagner and Corporal Joseph Fitzgerald. Passed for publication 1 Nov 1943. Printed caption on reverse: 'Presentation Of Awards To The Heroic Flyers Of U.S. Eighth Air Force. So many American flyers of the Eighth Air Force have achieved so many high distinctions that the presentation of medals and awards has become a "big business" in England. One of them is Lt.Col. Preston P
  • Military/Civilian/Mascot: Military
  • Nationality: American
  • Unit: 385th Bomb Group
  • Service Numbers: O-21989
  • Highest Rank: Brigadier General
  • Role/Job: Commanding Officer



Date: 5 Nov 2022 07:39:47
ContributorLucy May

Made caption more legible.

Date: 5 Nov 2022 07:39:47

Associate media courtesy of information from Mike Osborn

Date: 2 Feb 2015 09:59:57

IWM, Roger Freeman Collection