Category Archives: History World War II

Happy Birthday Arvid Ambur December 26

Daisy Mae Crewman Arvid B. Ambur
Technical Sergeant Arvid B. Ambur one of the 11 heroes of the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae

The US Census of 1938 referred to Arvid Ambur as a “Farm Boy.” Arvid was so much more. As a flight engineer serving under Lt. Joseph Gall, he helped save the ship and crew of the Daisy Mae on a bombing mission over Wake Island, and then the dangerous return trip to Midway on July 24, 1943.

On November 19, 1943, Arvid flew with Pilot Joe Gall again on a B-24 Bomber called Hit Parade. Three men were wounded and Arvid, ignoring his own shrapnel wound, sewed the Navigator, Lt. Ben Weiss’s hand back on his wrist, and attended to Top Turret Thomas Wyckoff’s wounds, before attending to his own. This bombing mission took place over Betio Island to kick off the Marine landing on Tarawa the following day.

Arvid was the “last man standing” from the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae,

Arvid was a true living legend who quietly and efficiently served his country during World War II. He will always be remembered by his huge family and friends who all loved him so dearly.

 

Happy Birthday Fran Perkins, 42nd Squadron, 11th Bomb Group

Happy Birthday, Dad

Fran Perkins’ birthday is December 17, 1923. He never saw the  Life Magazine cover that showed the rest of his surviving crew after the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae. Fran Perkins, would have loved to have been here to stand beside his shipmates, but he was recovering from wounds stateside along with Robert Patterson, the Waist Gunner and Radioman.

The image shown is from the cover of Life Magazine. It shows the 42nd Squadron of the 11th Bomb Group and the B-24 Bomber “Hit Parade.” The remaining heroes of the Daisy Mae, went into battle on the night of November 19, 1943 on “Hit Parade,” to help soften up the Japanese defenses at Tarawa. They were hit with flak over Betio Island, in the Tarawa Group, and Navigator Benjamin I Weiss, Flight Engineer Arvid B. Ambur, and Top Turret Gunner Thomas Wyckoff, were all wounded when shrapnel exploded from under the Navigator’s desk almost tearing Ben’s wrist off. Even though Arvid B. Ambur was wounded in the arm at the same moment, he took care of Ben’s wrist sewing it back into place.

After World War II, Ben Weiss visited Arvid at his home in Presho, South Dakota.  Ben felt he needed to thank Arvid, for tending to his wounds during battle. Ben went on to meet up with Fran Perkins ten years after the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae, which fulfilled a ten year promise, and gave Fran one of the best memories of his life.

Even though it is my Dad’s birthday, Ball Turret Gunner, Staff Sergeant Francis J. Perkins Jr. , he would want to share his story about these exceptional men that he served with who are shown in this Life Magazine cover along with other members of the 42nd Squadron, 11th Bomb Group, of the 7th Army Air Force.

Other men who flew the bombing mission on “Hit Parade,” shown in the picture are, Snuffy Storts, Nose Gunner, Earl Conley, Tail Gunner, and Joe Gall, Pilot.

All of these men along with Fran Perkins and Robert Patterson who were wounded during the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae, assembled together at 11th Bomb Group Reunions, five or six times during there lives, sharing an appreciation of life with those who could understand their strong Brotherhood.

So Dad, I hope you are with your marvelous Band of Brothers shown on the cover of Life Magazine right now along with your other Brothers who didn’t make it to the picture shown above.

Salute the wind and moon the camera when the Life Photographer says “cheese.”

Happy Birthday, Dad…

 

B-24 Emergency Landing Training for Pilots

Emergency Landing Training for B-24 Liberators

This US Army Air Corps film from 1943 helps train pilots for emergency landings, with damaged B-24 Liberators. You get to see actual footage that involves the Liberators landing after battles all around the world. You get a sense of how World War II was truly a World War…

Emergency Landing Training Video

 

Read the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae: A Story of Heroism and Hope at 17,000 feet…

 

“Never underestimate the power of hope,” Navigator Lt. Benjamin I. Weiss, on July 24, 1943

Flexible Gunnery School in 1943

Flexible Gunnery School in 1943

Today you get a view of Flexible Gunnery School in 1943 during World War II. The twenty minute video shows you many of the classes the gunners took during World War II in order to qualify to fight in the Pacific Front on B-24 Liberator Bombers. Earl Conley was the Rear Gunner (Rear Turret Gunner) on the Daisy Mae. This video depicts what Earl Conley, Arvid Ambur, Fran Perkins, Robert Patterson, Thomas Wyckoff and Robert Storts, went through during their training before being assigned their first ship, Thumper during the War. ..

Click here to view the movie…

 

The Bombardier, Lt. Myron Jensen also had to go to school and qualify as a gunner on the B-24, as the Bombardiers were actually the official Armament Officer on board the ship. Lt. Myron Jensen fought beside his non-commissioned brothers during the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae.

You can read the book here...

 

 

B-24 Landing on Midway in 1943

B-24_Liberator_landing_at_Midway_1943

Lanky’s view of “The Big Girl,” coming in for a landing. This is one of the landings at the Midway Airfield on the Eastern Island of Midway, on July 24th 1943…

More history of the B-24 during World War II is included in this short video….

Click here to read the true story of a B-24 called the “Daisy Mae,” and eleven brave heroes who gave everything to bring her home…

74th Anniversary of an Historic Battle of World War II

July, 24, 2017 is the 74th Anniversary of the Alamo in the Sky…the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae. Eleven brave crewmen on a B-24 Bomber are thrown into the fight and flight of their lives over the Alamo of the Pacific,  Wake Island on July 24 1943. In the middle of the Pacific during the early years of World War II, Fran Perkins, Arvid Ambur, Earl Conley, Joe Gall and the entire crew fly and fight a battle at 17,000 feet and at 300 miles per hour against overwhelming odds.

Now as an audio book, in print and in Kindle you can read the heroics of the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae

Eleven men paid life forward so that the families of complete strangers would survive and live their lives for them.  The surviving families never knew much of this dangerous battle since it was only shared in the private thoughts of these heroes when their homes were quiet.

Paying life forward, these eleven brave men and the many thousands of men like them will be honored and their story be told to inspire, enlighten and entertain. The story of the Daisy Mae, will help us remember the quite hero that hides within. It is a story of heroism, humor and hope.

“Never underestimate the power of hope,”…Navigator Lt. Benjamin I. Weiss, The Daisy Mae on July 24, 1943

 

Taking Off

This video shows one of the last flying B-24s taking off in 2013. The flight engineer stands by the number 2 engine as the number 3 and four have already been started. Sgt. Arvid B. Ambur was the flight engineer on the Daisy Mae and started the engines the same way. The fire extinguisher Arvid had would have rested on a two wheel dolly and stood about 5 feet high and weighed 50 pounds.

You will see the flight engineer standing outside the Bomber just like Arvid B. Ambur did back on July 24,1943 on the airstrip located at the Eastern Island of Midway.

When you read the Last Flight of the Daisy Mae, be sure to watch this video to get the sights and sound of the aircraft in your mind.

 

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Visual Tour of a B-24 Liberator

The following Link will take you on a visual tour of a B-24 Liberator.

Daisy Mae is struggling against over 15 Zeros
Daisy Mae is struggling against over 15 Zeros

You can click on links to different areas of what my Dad use to call his Ruptured Duck.  He was in the Grey Geese, 42nd Squadron of the famous 11th Bomb Group stationed in Hawaii and also at Funafuti Atoll during World War II.

I hope you  enjoy your visit on this mighty ship.

 

Wayne F. Perkins

Author of The Last Flight of the Daisy Mae

 

“Never underestimate the power of hope.”–Lt. Benjamin I. Weiss Navigator Daisy  Mae July 24, 1943

Louis Zamperini meets Daisy Mae

Louis Zamperini and The Daisy Mae met many years ago when both served with the 42nd Squadron 11th Bomb Group of the  7th Army Air Force back in the Spring of 1943. Zamperini was a Bombardier on the B-24 Bomber named Superman at the time.  Later he and a make shift crew took The  Green Hornet on a mission looking for a downed crew near Palmyra Island in the Pacific about equidistant between Hawaii and Funafuti Atoll where the 42nd Squadron was based. This was a two plane search going out in a standard “Y” formation. The other plane traveling in the “Y” formation was The Daisy Mae

The crew on the Daisy Mae was not Lt. Gall’s crew. They had just landed a few hours before on a night patrol near Funafuti.
Below are two books based on Zamperini’s tremendous inner strength that helped him survive his crash at sea and daily struggles  with sharks and prison guards.

On both of the book covers below you can see a lonely B-24 flying over water. The bomber may represent all of the bombers who went on those long dangerous missions during World War II. I like that idea myself. However, there may be another correct answer.

Would you like to guess the name of the B-24 Bomber portrayed by the artist’s creation on each of these two different books about Louis Zamperini and for the movie coming out around Christmas time in 2014?

Louis Zamperini, meet the ” Big Girl” we call the Daisy Mae!

“Never underestimate the power of hope,” Lt. Benjamin I. Weiss, Navigator The Daisy Mae July 24, 1943