19th Bombardment Group Stories - Technical Sgt. Luin W. Sartan

19th Bombardment Group Stories - Technical Sgt. Luin W. Sartan

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This account of the experiences of Technical Sgt. Sartan originally accompanied a series of paintings by Pfc Ernest Berkowitz, who painted a series of pictures of the aircraft and men of the 19th Bombardment Group while they were all based at Dyersburg Air Force Base, Tennessee, after their exploits in the Far East. Although we don't have the paintings, the stories themselves are still of great interest. Berkowitz later went on to become succesful artist under the name Ernest Berke, mainly producing paintings of Native Americans and their horses.

Many thanks to Dennis Gagomiros for sending us these documents.

Technical Sgt. Sartan of Fremont, Missouri, is one of the Army Air Forces best aerial engineers. Hie was formerly with the 14th Bomb Squadron, 11th bomb Group. "Sammy" as ne is called here at Dyersburg Air Base, is a fellow with a very extraordinary disposition. Although he is portrayed here without his famous smile, "Sammy" is never seen without one. His personality has endeared him to everyone on this base, also his proficiency with the "chattering 50's"--the Japs in their Zeroes have felt the sting of his accurate fire.

On December 7th, 1941 at Hickam Field, Sgt. Sartan and a Tech. Sgt. Hallerin attempted to take off a B-17-D, in order that the Jap planes would be unable to destroy it. All of the other planes had been lined up for an inspection that took place the day before. All but this one had been blown to bits in the raid. This plane stood at the start of the runway and as the raid began, "Sammy" and his friend leaped aboard the giant and had it racing down the mile and one-half runway with motors racing and before they had been sufficiently warmed up. The ship was about to leave the ground when sone sixth sense made "Sammy" take his eyes from the instrument panel long enough to look out of the window. To his horror, the rudder, elevator and airleron locks were still attached, for the telltale red ribbons attacked to the looks were fluttering and snapping in the slipstream. Cutting the throttles and using the brakes till they burned to uselessness, they tried to stop the ship, but it was to no avail, they hit the revetment at the end of the runway and bent up the propellors. However, the ship was repaired and was flying the morning of December 8th. That ship was the only one that the Japs missed.

Since that day Tech. Sartan has been where the fighting has been the thickest, everywhere in the Pacific. He has earned the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster and many others. In fact, Sgt. Sartan is reputed to be one of the most decorated enlisted men in the service.

His experionces an an aerial engineer and his eye for tracking Zeroes (he has downed five) are now being used to impart to new nen the ability to duplicate his feats.

Watch the video: 392nd Bomb Group Memorial Re-Dedication (August 2022).