FRANCIS M. PACKARD, PHOTOGRAPHER WITH THE
8TH PHOTO RECONNAISANCE SQUADRON

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visits since 13 November 2000

 

Subject:     8th Photo P-38
Date:             Mon, 06 Nov 2000 22:03:32 -0600
From:            Lawrence Packard <lpackard@bellsouth.net>

My father was in the 8th Photo, photographer, lab tech and aerial photographer. After he died in 1987, I got interested in the many photos he had. My research began in 1988, I have since identified several hundred photos taken by the 8th Photo and other 5th AF units. I have also found the surviving members of the 8th Photo and attended their reunions.

My father arrived in Townsville in July 1942, and went on to Port Moresby in September. He was in New Guinea until July 1944.

The first P-38s in the SWPA belonged to the 8th Photo and were transported with A Flight of the 8th Photo which arrived in Australia in April 1942.

I don't have any specific info on the crash you are interested in, but several of the 8th Photo's pilots are still alive. I may be able to help you.

I've found your site very interesting and informative

Lawrence Packard

 


 

Subject:    8th Photo P-38
Date:             Wed, 15 Nov 2000 20:59:29 -0600
From:           Lawrence Packard <lpackard@bellsouth.net>

Glad to hear from you. Just a quick response. My father was Francis M. Packard. He arrived in Australia in July 1942 and moved to Port Moresby in September.

He was sent home in July 1944, where he spent time in two military hospitals recovering from malaria and general poor health. He kept copies of many of the photos he printed, but among those he actually photographed, are pictures of Jap ships under attack during the Battle of the Bismark Sea. He was flying in a B-24.

I do have photos of Townsville, including the photo lab - inside and out.

Also a few photos taken in Sydney on R&R and some on a troop train. It will be a few days before I have time to scan and forward them to you along with what I know of them, anything you can add would be great.

I have the tail numbers of the early P-38 (F-4s) used by the 8th Photo and some of the history on them. A quick look revealed none that crashed in Australia, however, my research over the last few years indicates they weren't keeping real good records on crashes... too many I guess. I'll run the list of surviving pilots and see if any of them were among the first group that arrived in April 1942.

I'll be in touch.

Lawrence Packard

 


 

Subject:     8th Photo Patch
Date:              Wed, 22 Nov 2000 20:09:28 -0600
From:            Lawrence Packard <lpackard@bellsouth.net>

To:                 Korzun David L Capt 8 FTS/F FLT <david.korzun@vance.af.mil>
CC:                "'pdunn@st.net.au'" <pdunn@st.net.au>

Peter Dunn forwarded your inquiry about the 8th PRS to me.

My father was in the 8th Photo from 1942 to 1944. After his death in 1987, I went about researching and identifying a large box of photos from New Guinea. In the process I found his tent mates and the 8th Photo Association. I've been to their reunions and I'm in touch with several of them throughout the year.

Members of your squadron, the 8th FTS participated in at least one of the 8th PRS's reunions.

My father was Francis M. Packard. After WWII he stayed in, seeing combat again with the 67th Photo Reconn Sq. in Korea. He retired in 1964. Shortly after he retired from the Air Force, I joined serving with TAC as a Forward Air Controller in Vietnam.

The art work for the 8th Photo's patch was done by Bill Pando. He was from the Boston area and his fiancé, Iris worked in Boston's leather district. She sent him sheets of leather, which he cut by hand into patch sized circles. He then printed the squadron's insignia on them. He made a patch for each man.

I have my father's original patches, he had three. My father was studying architecture before the war and helped Pando with the the design. Pando was born in Albania and after the war returned to Boston, where he worked for the Boston Herald as an editorial cartoonist. He died on February 24, 1996.

The meaning of the 8th Photo's emblem is:-

The Indian represents the first reconnaissance squadron to  leave the US after the outbreak of WWII. (A Flight of the 8th PRS departed for Australia in April 1942.) The Camera represents the squadron's photo mission. The Hatchet is for the Japs and the Lightning Bolt represents the P-38 (F-4). The Palm Trees are for the Pacific Islands. The 8 ball is for the squadron's number.

I'll scan a patch and a photo of my father wearing a jacket with a patch on it and send it to you separately. If you'd like contacts for the 8th Photo Association let me know. Those guys would be happy to tell you more and I know they are familar with your squadron.

Lawrence Packard

 


 

Subject:     8th Photo Patch
Date:              Fri, 24 Nov 2000 15:51:20 -0600
From:            lpackard@bellsouth.net

To:                 Korzun David L Capt 8 FTS/F FLT <david.korzun@vance.af.mil>
CC:                "'pdunn@st.net.au'" <pdunn@st.net.au>

David,

a photo of the 8th Photo's patch. This one was made early, it's without the palm trees and the clouds behind the Indian. The other photo is of my father wearing a jacket with the patch on it on R&R in Sydney in May or June 1943.

Let me know if you have trouble opening the Picture It file.

Lawrence Packard

8pr01.jpg (37062 bytes) 8pr02.jpg (18127 bytes)

 


 

Subject:   Crash on the Salt Flat
Date:           Tue, 15 May 2001 22:00:26 -0500
From:          Lawrence Packard <lpackard@bellsouth.net>

Bet you thought I forgot about your inquiry about the P-38 that made an emergency landing on the salt flat. Nope... here's the details provided by Jim McEwen, who was one of the early members of the 8th Photo in Australia. Actually he served as a gunner on a recon B-17 even before the 8th Photo's P-38s were flying over enemy territory.

The P-38 was one of the first four that arrived in Australia on April 8, 42. The plane was flown by Lt. Watts, who is still alive and well. He lives in the state of Oregon. He landed with wheels down after the left engine failed due to a turbo charger over boost. On the flats, Jim helped drain the fuel sump, thinking that might be the problem. That did no good. Since the ground was hard and flat they towed it back to the dirt field they were flying from.

Jim may have photos with the serial number if you'd like I'll get him to scan them. I know he'd be happy to do it.

Jim acts as the archivist and historian for the 8th Photo veteran's association.

Hope this helps.

Larry

 


 

Subject:   Crash on the Salt Flat
Date:           Tue, 15 May 2001 22:00:26 -0500
From:          Lawrence Packard <lpackard@bellsouth.net>

Bet you thought I forgot about your inquiry about the P-38 that made an emergency landing on the salt flat. Nope...  here's the details provided by Jim McEwan, who was one of the early members of the 8th Photo in Australia. Actually he served as a gunner on a recon B-17 even before the 8th Photo's P-38s were flying over enemy territory.

The P-38 was one of the first four that arrived in Australia on April 8, 42. The plane was flown by Lt. Watts, who is still alive and well. He lives in the state of Oregon. He landed with wheels down after the left engine failed due to a turbo charger over boost. On the flats, Jim helped drain the fuel sump, thinking that might be the problem. That did no good.

Since the ground was hard and flat they towed it back to the dirt field they were flying from.

Jim may have photos with the serial number if you'd like I'll get him to scan them. I know he'd be happy to do it.

Jim acts as the archivist and historian for the 8th Photo veteran's association.

Hope this helps.

Larry

 

 

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