Subject:    63rd bomb squadron--Sea Hawks
Date:             Mon, 18 Sep 2000 21:16:56 -0700 (PDT)
From:           Rudolph Arndt

I have some photos of the squadron living area on Owi Island of about Oct. '44 but cannot send these by email. If of interest, I could send very good photocopies by regular mail to you. Also have a few photos of our bombers with the pictures painted on the sides on the same island. I was part of the Ferret Detachment searching Japanese radar sites and we were atttached to the 63rd for many months, on Owi, for admin. and flight crews to pilot our Ferret B -24 to designated areas for reconn. We finally moved to Leyte with the squadron I believe, and I was no longer on combat flying duty by that time. Hoping to hear from you.

Tho' retired from the reserves long ago, I had been a Lt. in the 5th Air Force; had flown my first combat mission out of the Darwin area, from I believe Fenton Field but have no pics of that. Hoping to hear from you.

R. Arndt



Subject:    63rd bomb squadron--Sea Hawks
Date:             Wed, 11 Oct 2000 21:54:18 -0700 (PDT)
From:            Rudolph Arndt

G'day Peter,

Yes, I did see your pictures of Fenton Field, and enjoyed them, also confirmed from old army records that I did indeed fly from there once or twice, specifically to check on Ceram Isl. for J. radar as I recall, but discovered none there.

Then proceeded to Owi Island, NEI, which as you undoubtedly know was just adjacent to Biak in the Schouten Islands. One of the pics I'm sending is of the B-24 we used for this and was specifically re-outfitted for such with no bomb racks, but auxiliary gas tanks in place of them such that we carried enough gas to fly 18+ hours nonstop!

And did so, once, from Owi, with a stopover at Morotai to refuel the plane and our stomachs. Only two such "Ferret" aircraft were so outfitted and both were used in the SW Pacific largely. Obviously we flew lone-reconn. missions ex. on the occasion to Ceram as above. There was quite a large GHQ section involved in this and in all electronic surveillance, which certainly involved Anzac personnel, largely Australian of course though I do recall one fellow from New Zealand!

You'll realize that one of the photos is pieced-together as I didn't think it relevant to include myself, in case you might want to use one or more of these in your very interesting website. I found it after following the suggestion of a cousin that there might be such information on "my" 43rd Bomb Grp., 63rd Bomb Squ., as there is on a Group that he flew with out of England on B-l7's. I much prefer the B-24s but then how could I do otherwise as this is the one I flew in.... Will fill you in some more when I mail the pics, as I recall things of interest--shouldn't take long by airmail to reach you in Queensland!

Best regards, R. A.


ar01.jpg (44533 bytes) 63rd Bomb Squadron (H) - Living tent site and HQ Squadron - Owi Island - Netherlands East Indies - October 1944
ar02.jpg (59631 bytes) Theater US Air Force - Owi Island - Netherlands East Indies - October 1944
ar03.jpg (30240 bytes) B-24 Liberator "Stormy Weather" of 43rd Bomb Group - Owi Island - Netherlands East Indies - October 1944 near Biak Island
ar04.jpg (31370 bytes) B-24 Liberator "Feathermerchants Folly" of 43rd Bomb Group - Owi Island - Netherlands East Indies - October 1944. "Feathermerchant" is slang for a "slacker in time of war"
ar05.jpg (53308 bytes) 63rd Bomb Squadron (H) - Owi Island - October 1944 - Living tent area and Squadron HQ tents, with Dining Tent in the background, adjacent to the shore - Owi was only about 2 x 3 miles in size, and was the advance HQ for the 5th Air Force at the time. Just a hunk of coral, smoothed-off for landing strips, revetments, and taxiing runs. All living areas were spread around the edges of the island. Biak was about 3 miles to the north, and later became the important area for a time.


The above photographs were taken by Rudolph P. Arndt. He used a makeshift darkroom in the Squadron area. Chemicals were mixed in trays made from old aircraft gasoline tanks, etc. Rudolph was at Owi for about 6 months. He then returned to USA via Leyte, Philippine Islands. Rudpolp told me that he only attended one movie in the above open air theater. He missed out seeing Bob Hope and all the other famous entertainers during his tour of duty in the South West Pacific area.


43rd Bomb Group


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