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David Berwick Vinson Jr

Military

Psychologist David Vinson's original intention was to join the Navy but he failed the sight test, instead landing up as a Private in the Air Corps assigned to the Psychological Research unit at Santa Anna where he was supposedly designing tests to classify air crew. Not happy with that he applied for OCS and took the first offer - Chemical Warfare at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland and, after graduation joining the 312 Service Group bound for overseas. Not to North Africa as anticipated but to England at the 94th BG then at Earls Colne.

In the summer of 1943 the 94th moved to Rougham near Bury St Edmunds and there was a new CO, Colonel Frederick Castle, who requested a Group motto. Vinson came up with
'Results Count'. Castle was very much the 'new broom' and agreed to Vinson flying combat missions to investigate the issues of combat stress and operational fatigue. David flew on seven missions altogether, with all four of the 94th squadrons and also - from September to December 1944 - worked closely with two psychiatrists at the 65th General Hospital in Redgrave Park resulting in a paper ' Neurotic Behaviour Patterns arising out of the Combat Situation'.

In September 1944 a friend based at the 128th Evacuation Hospital in Belgium invited him over. He applied for permission which was refused but he went anyway, hitching a ride on a C-47. On his return he was met by the Adjutant making 'disciplinary' threats but got away with it.

On Christmas Day 1944 he was transferred to the 65th General for duty in the neuropsychiatric section, his own experiences on combat missions proving to be very useful in the understanding of psychiatric casualties. Post VE Day he participated in Air Intelligence 'Operation Lusty' the assignment being to find out how the Lutwaffe had handled combat stress. His orders were to contact the famous German test pilot Hanna Reitsch who was in hospital in Kitsbuhl Austria. He did manage to meet her in spite of opposition from the French - Kitsbuhl being in the French zone - and she agreed to be interrogated. He smuggled her out wearing a GI uniform and purporting to be Vinson's driver and took her to her family home in Salzburg where he was able to question her at length. His subsequent report was buried for a number of years as being too 'pro-German'. He kept in touch with Hanna until her death many years later.

Service

Units served with

  • 94th Bomb Group

    94th Bomb Group

    Group
    Activated 15 June 1942 at MacDill Field, Florida. Initial organization and training at Pendleton Field, Oregon on 29 June 1942. Primary flight training at Davis-Monthan Field in Arizona from 28 Aug. 42 to 31 Oct. 42; then at Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas...

  • 65th General Hospital

    65th General Hospital

    Medical Unit

Associated Place

  • Bury St Edmunds

    Military site : airfield
    The airfield was purpose-built for American bomb groups and as such had a 2,000 yard main runway that lain in concrete with a tarred and wood-chipped surface. The scale of bases such as this meant that very often the technical, administrative and...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Houston, Teas 7 October 1917
Enlisted El Paso, Texas 4 March 1942
Died Fredericksburg, Texas 5 January 2008

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
04 August 2020 10:31:53 general ira snapsorter Changes to role, biography and unit associations
Sources

Biography completed by historian Helen Millgate. Information sourced from newsletters of the 94th Bomb Group related to the service of David Vinson.

Date Contributor Update
29 November 2019 11:56:22 Emily Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, suffix, nationality, highest rank, events, unit associations, place associations and media associations
Sources

Depicted in FRE 3827

Find a Grave

Enlistment record via Ancestry

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