Dad was an aircraft armorer, 5th AAF, South Pacific theater

Eugene, OR

I only knew about my dad's WWII service through his photo album, until his last few years when he began to chronicle where he had been. The rest of the story I researched through archives of the 5th Army Air Force.
Sgt. Richard Coady enlisted in the Army Air Corps on Oct. 27, 1941, reporting to Fort Riley, Kan., for basic. After that he was sent to Kingman Air Force Base, Ariz., for aircraft training, and then to Lowry Field, Colo., for additional training, class #3018th. At the beginning of December 1941, the unit was awaiting orders to transfer to Langley Field, Va., to patrol for U-boats.
As those early days passed, news of the attack on Pearl Harbor came through and the unit's orders were changed for them to report to San Francisco harbor en route to Destination X by February 1942. Once the 3018th was assembled, all 2,400 enlisted and officers boarded Maui, a Hawaiian small-island passenger liner. The ship left San Francisco on Feb. 12, 1942. After a little more than a month at sea, their destination turned out to be Brisbane, Australia. Personnel were processed through the station at Woodstock and reported to their assignments by April 8, 1942. Dad's squadron was the 49th Pursuit Squadron, 8th Fighter Wing. The aircraft that traveled with them were Curtis P-39 Aircobras. After the northern Australian coast had been secured, the fight went north to New Guinea, where the pilots were issued new Bell P-40 Warhawk's, later, P-38 Lightnings were added. By the end of the Pacific war, this squadron had the highest score of kills.
One notable character to visit was Lt. Col. Charles Lindbergh, who had been instructing Navy pilots in New Zealand on how to get more mileage from their aircraft. Lindbergh was requested to visit Dad's wing for similar training. By this time, the pilots had the P-38's, one of which Lindbergh requested to fly. With a wingman, the two took off with no enemy spotted. Lindbergh was impressed with the agility and power of this aircraft. Dad came back to the States in late 1944 and was discharged in 1945.

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