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Original U.S. WWII Named 528th Bomb Squadron, 380th Bomb Group “Flying Circus” Grouping Featuring B-1 Cap With 37 Bombs Drawn on for 37 Combat Missions - John C. Swindle, Assistant Flight Engineer / Gunner For B-24 “Lucky Strike”

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Item Description

Original Items: Only One Group Available. Now this is a fantastic grouping! The grouping once belonged to the Assistant Flight Engineer / Gunner for the B-24 “Lucky Strike”, John C. Swindle. Swindle served with the 528th Bomb Squadron, 380th Bombardment Group during WWII. The 380th Bombardment Group (H) flew B-24 Liberator bombers primarily in the Southwest Pacific Theatre in WWII. They were part of the 5th Air Force and were known as the FLYING CIRCUS and as the KING OF THE HEAVIES.

The Items In This Grouping:
- USAAF Type B-1 Summer Flying Cap: First issued early in WW2, the Type B-1 Summer Flying Cap saw service in Africa, Europe and the Pacific. It was popular among pilots and ground crew alike, as it was made of breathable fabric, had a slightly longer brim and a more comfortable fit, as it fits lower in the back than most modern baseball caps. The top is made of 4 panels, so it does not need a central "button" like many caps.

This cap is unique in the fact that it was personalized as well as modified by Swindle. The sides of the cap have the standard buttons and hook attachment for an oxygen mask. The personalization that was done is the 37 bombs drawn on the bill of the cap, signifying 37 combat missions flown. The underside of the bill has the following:



The cap is in wonderful condition and still rather solid. The sweatband does show signs of heavy use and wear but is presented without any extensive damage.

- 528th Bombardment Squadron Felt Embroidered A-2 Jacket Patch: This is a fantastic example of a theater made felt embroidered patch, which does appear to be hand done and never sewn onto a jacket. The patch measures approximately 5 ¼” x 5 ⅛” and features an airman flying on a red, white and blue bomb while firing a machine gun. The patch is in wonderful condition and only shows minor age toning.

- Imperial Japanese Army Rising Sun Flag (13 ½” x 11 ¼”): The flag is in wonderful condition and is made of a light cotton with the sun rays dyed into it. The corner tabs are still present as are the hanging ties.

- AAF Cloth Chart (Eastern Asia) of Nemuro and Hakodate (25” x 23”): The map is in wonderful condition but does have staining and age toning present.

- 5th Air Force Patch With Sterling Aircrew Wings: Both are in wonderful condition and the wings are marked as being Sterling and are affixed to the patch via clutchback with the original frogs.

- 5th Air Force Enamel Distinctive Unit Insignia: The enamel is still in wonderful condition with only very minor surface scratches and no material loss. The pin arm and catch are both in functional condition.

- Aerial Gunner Green Lens Goggles: The goggles are similar to the variable density goggles but we haven't been able to properly identify them. They are very sturdy with green lenses to help reduce the possibility of eyesight damage while firing tracers at night.

- Gunner Sunglasses: Very similar to the goggles, these are very sturdy with thick green lenses.

- AN6531 flying “Aviator” Sunglasses: AN6531, Type I. Classic AAF sunglasses with nickel silver wire frames, wraparound 'comfort-cable' side-arms and green/gray tinted glass lenses. Beige sweat brow pad and nose-rests with one missing.

- ANB-H-1 Headset With Short Cable by Western Electric: The headset is in wonderful condition but does show signs of honest wear and use. There is no extensive damage but there is fraying present on the wire cover.

- Wartime diary - Not included with this grouping, but a few photographs are included of a diary swindle wrote during the war. The diary was donated to a museum and we can provide a link to the images of each page to the buyer.

A lovely grouping that comes more than ready for further research and display.

The history of the 380th dates back to 28 October 1942 when the unit was established. The 380th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated on 3 November 1942 at Davis-Monthan Field, Tucson, Arizona. The 380th BG consisted of four bombardment squadrons, the 528th, 529th, 530th, and 531st. Shortly after being activated, the group moved to Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas where it underwent extensive combat training. After completing training, the 380th moved to Lowry Field, Denver, Colorado to undergo final combat training.

The 380th BG went overseas in April 1943 to become the second B-24 unit in the Fifth Air Force at that time after the 90th Bomb Group. The other Heavy Bomber unit (the 43rd) flew B-17s. The group arrived at Fenton Airfield, Australia, and also encompassed a part of Western Australia at Corunna Downs Airfield, a top secret airfield in the Pilbara, north of Perth Western Australia in the RAAF's North West Area of operation, where it was assigned to 5th Air Force, V Bomber Command. The Command's purpose was to engage in destroying Japanese strongholds in the Pacific. Later moving to RAAF Base Darwin, the group was placed under Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) command, assigned to the Australian North West Area Command operating out of Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, and was the only B-24 Liberator unit attached to the RAAF.

The 380th was placed under the control of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and assigned to train RAAF personnel on the B-24 and to secure Australia's safety against a threatened Japanese invasion along its northern coast. Upon its arrival in Australia, the 380th immediately began combat operations. This was thus the only heavy bomber unit available to cover the whole of the Dutch East Indies (1,000,000 square miles) from July 1943 until late in 1944. At that time the successes in the New Guinea campaign had brought the other Fifth Air Force units close enough to the East Indies to join the 380th in that task.

The 380th made the longest bombing missions of WWII, to the oil refineries at Balikpapan, Borneo (200 miles further than the Ploesti mission in Europe) and to those at Surabaja, Java (as long as Ploesti). Both of these missions were done several times during the group's stay in Australia.

In addition to attacks on the Japanese oil supply, the 380th was heavily engaged in crippling their shipping fleet to reduce the Japanese capability of supplying their far-flung forces. The group also heavily bombed the numerous Japanese airfields in the East Indies to reduce the Japanese threat to Australia and New Guinea forces.

In its service with the Australians, the 380th served longer under the operational control of an Allied country than any other Air Force unit (from June 1943 until February 1945).

As part of its duties in Australia, the 380th carried out the operational training of 52 Australian crews and their associated ground staffs so that the Australians could take over the East Indian campaign activities of the 380th when they were assigned to The Philippines in February 1945. Many of the Australians so trained have become part of the 380th Bomb Group Association, the current veterans group, strong evidence of the strong ties of friendship, which developed between the two countries in their long service together.

During April and May 1944, the 380th engaged in the most intensive and sustained operations since arrival in the southwest Pacific, neutralizing the rear bases through which the Japanese might reinforce their air force in the Wakde-Hollandia area of the Dutch East Indies. From the end of May 1944 until it moved to Murtha Field, San Jose, Mindoro, Philippines in February 1945, the 380th concentrated on neutralizing enemy bases, installations and industrial compounds in the southern and central East Indies.

In April 1945, Far East Air Force relieved the 380th of its ground support commitments in the Philippines. During the month, the group flew the first heavy bomber strikes against targets in China and French Indochina. In June 1945, the 380th was placed under the operational control of the 13th Air Force for pre-invasion attacks against Labuan and on the oil refineries at Balikpapan in Borneo. For nearly two weeks, the Group's Liberators kept these targets under a state of aerial siege. After the Borneo raids, the 380th flew its last combat missions to Taiwan.

After the cessation of hostilities, the 380th moved to Okinawa and flew reconnaissance patrols over the Japanese islands. The group ferried released prisoners of war to Manila. On 18 October 1945, the unit was transferred to the 7th Air Force in the Philippines, where it moved to Clark Field on Luzon, and participated in the Sunset Project, the return of B-24s and their crews to the United States. Although some aircraft and crews were flown back to the United States, most of the aircraft from inactivating units were simply scrapped at Clark and personnel were returned via Navy ships from Manila.

The 380th Bomb Group was inactivated at Clark Field on 20 February 1946.

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