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Thread: USAAF serving in RAF Squadrons

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    Default USAAF serving in RAF Squadrons

    I have been doing some research into an aircraft crash whilst returning from operations in August 1943 and discovered that the crew's rear gunner was an American Staff Sergeant. A further look through the Sqn ORB shows at least one other being posted out to "duties with the USAAF". Does anyone know if this was a common occurrence and if it happened with all trades and Squadrons?

    Thanks
    Daz

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    Daz,

    I know of a USAAF pilot who flew as second pilot on Coastal Command Fortresses in the Azores wearing US uniform before being posted out to the USAAF to fly Douglas A-20s.

    Robert

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    Daz,

    Americans in the RCAF were given the option to join the USAAF with the condition they first finish their tours with British or Commonwealth squadrons.

    Those who did gave their reasons as life insurance and higher pay.

    Those RCAF Americans I have found ended up with US service numbers beginning with "106"

    Dave

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    A USAAF pilot serving with 617 was awarded a British DFC but then 'blotted his copybook' by having two unnecessary flying accidents, resulting in his being returned to the USAAF.

    The whole topic is quite a broad canvas and covers things like the Eagle squadrons, initial issues with US citizens crossing into Canada to join the RCAF - thereby committing a federal offence in the early days. This then led on to an exchange of personnel on a formal basis. Sometimes, there might be a German speaking special operator on 101 Sqn flying ABC Lancasters, who was actually a USAAF SNCO.

    Post war the USAF/RAF Exchange Scheme was introduced and still flourishes. The famous Robin Olds, commanded 1 Sqn in about 1950. In Korea, a number of RAF aircrew served with the USAF flying F86s and at least two - Baldwin and Hinton were lost so doing. I served under two USAF officers and I know that there were many who served with the RAF on the Lightning, Buccaneer and Phantom and several who were lost, including one from a Jaguar squadron and another three, including two US Marines, whilst on the Harrier at home or in Germany.

    I feel a book coming on - but not by me!!!!

    Colin Cummings

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    There were no US personnel serving as Special Duties Operators on 101 Squadron. Let me rephrase that. There might have been but they were serving in the RCAF. I have a list of all of them from October 43 until war's end. The majority were British and Canadian with a few Australians and some German and Austrian Jews.

    I'm aware of three Americans serving in American uniform on the squadron. All three started their tours as RCAF. The two air gunners were awarded the DFM but neither lived to collect it. The third, an officer who had just enlisted in the USAAF two weeks before, was taken prisoner when Lancaster DV308 was lost on ops to Berlin 1/2 January, 1944.

    Dave

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    Daz,

    Sounds like you're talking about 10601064 S/Sgt Richard L. Barger of Fayette Co., Ohio. Enlisted in the US Army Air Corps 13 July 1943 at the 12th Replacement Depot, Chorley, Lancs.

    When he was in the RCAF, his number was R135529. He graduated from No. 4 Bombing and Gunnery School, Fingal, Ontario 7 June 1942.

    Dave

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    Daz,

    No.218 (Gold Coast) had ten Yanks serving on it at one time or another, 1942/43 was the most prevalent. Of the ten, 7 were killed, 1 PoW and three survived. All were initially RCAF until the majority transferred to the USAAF.

    Cheers

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    Quote Originally Posted by alieneyes View Post
    Daz,

    Sounds like you're talking about 10601064 S/Sgt Richard L. Barger of Fayette Co., Ohio. Enlisted in the US Army Air Corps 13 July 1943 at the 12th Replacement Depot, Chorley, Lancs.

    When he was in the RCAF, his number was R135529. He graduated from No. 4 Bombing and Gunnery School, Fingal, Ontario 7 June 1942.

    Dave
    Dave
    He is one of them, the other that I have identified so far is Sgt East. Interestingly the Sqn ORB continues to refer to Barger as a Sgt even after his promotion and transfer to USAAF. I don't know if Barger flew operationally with the USAAF given the spinal fracture he suffered while at 78 Sqn. He did survive the war and I think he died in the last two years.

    Daz

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    Thanks to everyone who has replied, interesting to see how these young men were employed. Does anyone know how easy it is to research their USAAF service online?
    Daz

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