DAVID J. GUNN
OF 405TH BOMB SQUADRON
38TH BOMB GROUP

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visits since 22 August 2000

 

Subject:    38th Bomb Group
Date:             Mon, 14 Aug 2000 13:25:14 -0700
From:           DAVID J GUNN <pappygnk@juno.com>

Hi, Down Under Guy,

I arrived in Townsville in late June, 1944. I was later assigned to the 405th Bomb Squadron of the 38th Bomb Group arriving at Nadzab in mid-July. I flew B-25 strafer missions with them until I left the group in the Philippines in April, 1945, returning to the States, my wife and our parents.

As I remember, the streets were dirt and there was a covered board walk in front of the various businesses. I remember going to see movies at a little theater, closed in by businesses and a wall, but no roof (I wonder if that was the Olympia picture theatre? - Peter). Was there a canvas canopy suspended from wires overhead? The seats were canvas slings on wood frames - we called them beach chairs.

The town was like a frontier western town in the States. I came from a small town in southern California so it was kind of homey to me. Seeing the poinsettias in bloom reminded me of December at home. All the eucalyptus trees reminded me of the many days I spent as a youth hiking through a large eucalyptus grove near my home. I enjoyed a few dinners - steak and eggs - in one of the eating places not far from the theater.

One of my dreams (most likely never to become actual) would be to take my wife to all the places I visited during my time in the southwest Pacific area. If I should win a Reader's Digests $1,000,000 prize, I might be able to do that. I would surely come to Townsville and we would stroll the beach where I picked up sea shells which I sent home to her.

Thanks for the Reverie,

David Gunn
pappygnk@juno.com

 


 

Subject: Sun Setters
Date:      Tue, 10 Oct 2000 20:30:49 -0700
From:      DAVID J GUNN <pappygnk@juno.com>

To:  doctorde@soundpd.com, dbrooks@haysco.net, hmiller307@aol.com, howard@acronet.net, jthoren@msn.com,   leecl@email.msn.com, lewclev@aol.com, ljhickey@concentric.net, mcclaran@contentric.net, mjc@albury.net.au, mwurm11@aol.com, n2clplanes@aol.com, pcompton@compuserve.com, pdunn@st.net.au, Quinns@hkstar.com, roughcut@ev1.net, tcrawford@ips.net, tnr90bg@aol.com, amberget@aol.com, aurdal@whidbey.com, b25flyboy@aol.com, howe@massed.net, jjhudson@stc.net, kkinrich@aol.com, odfilley@tiac.net, powell75@earthlink.net, sergant@aol.com, welee@gateway.net

All Sun Setters,

I intend to send the following press release to the major San Diego County papers tomorrow (Oct. 11). I have the feeling that we may be able to find other past comrades if we publicize our group broadly. Further, we need to keep what we did in front of the present generation as much as possible because many of them have no idea what happened way back then.

Please bring to my attention any errors or suggestions to improve this item as soon as possible so that I can do it best.
I urge others of you to do the same in your areas. Feel free to use whatever parts of this you may wish to use. But hurry up - this week is probably the last that this can be used in local papers.

David Gunn

 

WW II 38th BOMB GROUP REUNION ATTENDED BY COUNTY VETERANS

The 38th Bomb Group reunion, October 2-6, was attended by four San Diego County veterans. David Gunn of Valley Center, Tom Kirby and Bill Royalty, Jr., both of San Diego, and Jackson Settles of Escondido, renewed friendships with more than 200 former comrades and their wives during the four day event in Las Vegas.

The group, known as the Sun Setters, entered operations from northern Australia in 1942 against Japanese air bases, oil production facilities, ground forces, supply and training depots, and anything that moved on the water from New Guinea to Japan itself. Flying at treetop levels and strafing their targets before releasing their bombs, was their primary tactic from mid 1942 until the war ended in 1945.

Capable of carrying a bomb load exceeding 2000 pounds, their B-25 Billy Mitchell bombers were also armed with up to 14 forward firing .50 caliber machine guns. Additional bomb bay gas tanks enabled carrying out missions to more distant targets.

The 38th Bomb Group was made up of the 71st, the Wolf Pack, 405th, the Green Dragons, 822nd, the Black Panthers, and 823rd, the Terrible Tigers, bomb squadrons and supporting companies.

The B-25 Mitchell is remembered as the plane Jimmy Doolittle's men flew to bomb Japan in April 1942 after taking off from the Navy carrier, Hornet. This was the first bombing of the Japanese homeland during WW II.

The 38th Bomb Group veterans association meets every two years for reunion and distributes a news letter three times a year. The 2002 reunion will meet in Colorado Springs, CO.

Other veterans of the Sun Setters living in San Diego County include Harry Begg of Solana Beach, Jules Fish of Bonsall, and Ralph Pizza of Escondido. Veterans of the group or those interested in this group may contact David Gunn at (706) 749-3769.

 

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 Peter Dunn 2002
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