Signed photo of General Curtis E. LeMay, commander of the Bomb Division of the Eighth Air Force.
Brigadier-General Curtis LeMay presents Lieutenant-Colonel Preston Piper of the 385th Bomb Group the Soldier's Medal for Gallantry. Image stamped on reverse; ‘Keystone Press.’ [stamp], ‘Passed for Publication [ilegible] Nov 1943.’ [stamp] and ‘292903.’ [Censor no.] Printed caption on reverse: 'PRESENTATION OF AWARDS TO THE HEROIC FLYERS OF THE EIGHTH AIR FORCE. So many American flyers of the Eighth Air Force here achieved many high distinctions that the presentation of medals and awards has become a "big business" in England. One of them is Lt Col Preston Piper, 27 year old Fortress pilot and Deputy Group Commander of Santa Ana, California. Col Piper, a filing station attendant and department store clark in civilian life, became a fighter pilot three years ago, and was transferred to Forts about a year and a half ago. Leader on numerous highly successful missions against the Nazi. Col Piper has already been presented the Air Medal and the Soldiers medal. US Pool/SG/Hel. Keystone. Photo shows: The award approved, Brig Gen Curtis LeMay, Columbus, Ohio, Heavy Bombardment Division Commander, comes to the station to make the presentation. Lt Col is presented with the Soldiers Medal for gallantry in saving the lives of the crewmen of his ship the "Lulu Belle".'
Colonel Curtis LeMay officially congratulates a bomber crew of the 306th Bomb Group in front of their B-17 Flying Fortress. Passed as censored 2 Jun 1943. Printed caption on reverse: 'One Flying Fortress Destroyed Eleven F.W.190's. O.P.S. On right, Col. Curtis LeMay, [censor struck out: a Combat Wing Commanding Officer] is seen congratulating members of the crew, they are, left to right; Sergeants Adrian, Buchanan, Warminski, Gray, Lieutenants Barberis, McCallum and Smith. 2/6/43. They shot these enemy planes down before being shot down themselves after a raid on Germany and were rescued from the sea by a British Ship after thirty hours on the water.' On reverse: Ministry of Information, Daily Sketch, US Army Press Censor ETO and US Army General Section Press & Censorship Bureau [Stamps].
Colonel Curtis LeMay commander of the 305th Bomb Group with Haywood S. Hansell. Handwritten caption on reverse: '3. De Russey, Le May, Hansell.'
Colonel Curtis LeMay commanding officer of the 305th Bomb Group with three airmen. Handwritten caption on reverse: '2. De Russey.'
General Ira C Eaker, Gerneral Curtis LeMay and Gernal Arnold with a B-17 Flying Fortress (serial number 42-3154) of the 379th Bomb Group during an official visit. Passed for publication 3 Sep 1943. Handwritten caption on reverse: 'Eaker, Arnold, LeMay centre.' Printed caption on reverse: 'American Air Forces G.O.C. Meets The "Boys". General Arnold, Chief of the American Air Force, who arrived in this country yesterday, today paid a visit to a bomber station where he met members of the crews of some of the Fortresses just back from a raid. O.P.S. General Arnold with other officers during his tour of inspection. (Barratt's. 3/9/43).' Censor no: 282089. On reverse: Not To Be Published Until [blank], US Army Press Censor ETO and US Army General Section Press & Censorship Bureau [Stamps]. On other print: OWI London [Stamp, EA 768].
Brigadier-General Haywood S. Hansell (left) and Colonel Curtis E. LeMay (right) with a B-17 Flying Fortress nicknamed "Dry Martini and the Cocktail Kids the 4th" of the 305th Bomb Group, 13 May 1943.
Official caption on image: "71088 A.C." Printed caption on reverse: '71088 USAF - Brig. General Haywood S. Hansell and Colonel Curtis E. LeMay pose beside the Boeing B-17 "Dry Martini 4th, The Cocktail Kids" on 13 May 1943. 304th[sic] Bomb Group based in England. U.S. Air Force Photo.'
Brigadier General Curtis E Le May talks with Colonel Frank Castle and Lieutenant Colonel Vandevanters of the 385th Bomb Group at a conference at Great Ashfield. Image stamped on reverse: 'Keystone Presss.' [stamp]. Handwritten caption on reverse: '10-11-43 Le May with pipe.'
Lieutenant Colonel Elliott Vandevanter of the 385th Bomb Group with Colonel Frederick W Castle of the 487th Bomb Group and Brigadier General Curtis A LeMay. Image stamped on reverse: 'Keystone Press.' [stamp], 'Passed for publication 13 Nov 1943.' [stamp] and '92902.' [censor no] Printed caption on reverse: '"BIG SHOTS" OF THE EIGHTH AIR FORCE. Photo shows: Lt Col Elliott Vandevanter Jr, Washington DC, youthful commander of a Flying Fortress group in England, col Frederick W Castle of Washing DC, and New York City, commander of another Fortress Group and Brig Gen Curtis A LeMay, Columbus, ohio, commander of a Bomb Divisionof the Eighth Air Force.' ( this photo has been uploaded in reverse...MPF)
Curtis LeMay memorial at the 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum.
306th Temporary Deputy Commander at Wendover, then transferred as Group Commander of 305th BG 4-Jun-42 to 15-May-43.
Commanding General of the 3rd Air Division 13 September 1943 to 20 June 1944.
Post-war Commanding General SAC 16 October 1948 to 30 June 1957. 1961-1965 he was Air Force Chief of Staff. Retired 1 February 1965.
In 1928 Curtis LeMay joined the USAAC as a flying cadet. He was commissioned in 1929-30 as 2nd Lieutenant. In 1937 he was transferred to bombers. As Lt Colonel he led 305th Bombardment Group to England in 1942 as part of the 8th Air Force. He was well known for his development of defensive formations, such as the combat box, which was used to minimize aircraft losses in combat. These formations were used by B-17 bombers during missions over occupied Europe.
The following memories were recorded by the Daily Telegraph supplement, The Yanks, about his time in England…
“The brave boys based at Chelveston had more than their fair share of triumphs and tragedies during their 18 month stay in rural Northamptonshire. After flying several missions from Grafton Underwood, the first job facing the 305th Bomber Group (Heavy) was to perfect the best bombing height and formation to keep down losses.
Under Colonel Curtis LeMay, this was achieved with a staggered box formation and adopted successfully by all American squadrons throughout the 8th Air Force.”
As commander of the 4th Bombardment Wing, LeMay was promoted to Brigadier General in 1943 and transferred to 3rd Bomb division. Brave in combat, LeMay led several missions, notably the Schweinfurt-Regensburg raid in 1943 and later he led 146 B-17s to their target in Germany and on to bases in Africa.
In August 1944 he was transferred to the China-Burma-India theatre as leader of 21st Bomber Command. Believing that Japan’s manufacturing industry had to be destroyed if America were to launch a successful invasion of Japan, he supported fire raids which would destroy whole sections of cities associated with manufacturing. Always prepared to be controversial he is quoted as saying, “Killing Japanese didn’t bother me very much at the time…. I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal….. every soldier thinks something of the moral aspects of what he is doing. But all war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you are not a good soldier.”
After the war, LeMay served in administrative positions before being assigned to command US Air Forces in Europe and organizing air operations for the Berlin Airlift. Later he returned to the United States to lead Strategic Air Command for nine years. LeMay began the process of adding intercontinental ballistic missiles as an element of the national nuclear arsenal.
He later became Chief of Staff for the US Air Force promoting the idea that strategic air campaigns were always the favored option. In the 1960’s he began to utilize satellite technology and maintained strong views regarding the use of missiles in Cuba and strategic bombing in Vietnam. His attitude was, “If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting………. All war is immoral and if you let that bother you, you’re not a good soldier.”
In February 1965, and unable to agree with government policy, LeMay retired from the USAF. He retired from public life in 1968 having failed to secure the necessary votes to run for vice-president.
Awards: DSC, DSM w/ 2 Oak Leaf Cluster, DFC w/ 2 Oak Leaf Cluster, SS, AM w/ 3 Oak Leaf Cluster, ADSM, NDSM, ACM, EAME w/ 3 stars, APCM w/ 4 stars, WWII VM, Army of Occupation Medal with the Berlin Airlift emblem, Medal for Human Action.
Military | Lieutenant Colonel | Pilot | 303rd Bomb Group
Volunteered for USAAF 1941; 23-Jun-42 Assigned as Pilot of B-17F 41-24620 [PU-O] "Snap! Crackle! Pop!, 303BG/360BS with crew at Alamogordo Field, Alamogordo, New Mexico with the rank of Captain. 15-Oct-42 Arrived at Molesworth, UK aboard B-17F 41...
Military | First Lieutenant | Pilot, Co-Pilot | 305th Bomb Group Can Do
Co-pilot, Mullane crew. 381st BG, 535th BS, 8th AF. Shot down 13 April 1944 in B-17 42-31357 "Our Desire". Mission to the ball bearing works at Schweinfurt, GE. MACR 3865. Prisoner of War at Stalag Luft I.
Units served with
Eighth Air Force Bomber Command became the Eighth Air Force on February 1944, it oversaw bombardment of strategic targets in Europe until 1945.
In December 1944, the 3rd Bomb Division was redesginated the 3rd Air Division.
The 305th Bombardment Group (Heavy), nicknamed "Can Do" was activated 1-March-1942 at Salt Lake City Air Base, Utah which was their primary training base until 11-Jun-1942 when they relocated to Geiger Field, Washington until 29-Jun-1942, then on to...
B-17 Flying Fortress
Delivered Denver 17/2/43; Gore Fd 8/3/43; Gulfport 31/3/43; Assigned 334BS/95BG [BG-P] Alconbury 5/4/43; 335BS [OE-P]; 6m, transferred 92BG Alconbury 12/6/43 but switched to 3BD HQ as hack for Curtis Le May; Returned to the USA Grenier 26/12/44;...
Military site : airfield
Chelveston was adapted and expanded in preparation for the arrival of American forces. Rather than heavy bombers, the first aircraft to fly from its runways were C-47 Skytrains that were flown by the 60th Troop Carrier Group in July 1942. The first...
Military site : airfield
Grafton Underwood was built in 1941 by George Wimpey and Co. Ltd. It was the first airfield in England to receive an Eighth Air Force flying unit, when in May 1942 personnel of the 15th Bomb Squadron took up residence. As a satellite airfield for...
||15 November 1906
Son of Erving Edwin and Arizona Dove [Carpenter] LeMay.
||March Field, Riverside County, California, USA
||1 October 1990
||United States Air Force Academy Cemetery
Colorado Springs, El Paso County, CO
||5 October 1990
United States Air Force Academy Cemetery
Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado
Plot Section 3, Row D, Grave 75