Posts Tagged With: #pacific War #pappy Gunn #3rd Attack #WWII #warbirds #legends #5thAirForce #JohnRBruning

A Moment at Port Moresby, 1942

pappy-in-cockpitIn the summer of ’42, Pappy Gunn flew up to Port Moresby in one of the light attack bombers he’d modified. While there, he made several bombing and strafing runs against Japanese troops advancing on Moresby through the Owen Stanley Mountain Range’s treacherous Kokoda Trail. In one of those attacks, he was wounded, and his pet lizard Sam was killed by anti-aircraft shrapnel.
Back at Moresby, Pappy endured several Japanese bombing raids. During one of those attacks, the Japanese planes destroyed Pappy’s living quarters–just a tent with a dirt floor– and blast to pieces several of the 3rd Attack Group’s precious B-25 Mitchell bombers.3rd Attack Group Wrecked B-25s at Port Moresby New Guinea 041243 I-1

The loss of those planes was critical, but Pappy suffered an equally serious personal loss that day. Inside his tent was a satchel full of receipts. He’d been using his own money to hire Aussie contractors and machine shops to build the parts he needed to modify the 3rd Attack Group’s aircraft. He intended to get the U.S. government to reimburse him later once the chaotic command and logistical situation in Australia was straightened out.3rd Attack Group Wrecked B-25s at Port Moresby New Guinea 041243 II-1

No luck. The Japanese bombs destroyed more than ten thousand dollars worth of receipts. Pappy was never repaid. In today’s dollars, Pappy contributed at least $155,000 to the creation of the first strafer gunships.

He flew back to Australia dispirited, wounded, lizardless and out enough cash to buy a good sized house.

 

For more Pappy stories….

B&N:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/indestructible-john-r-bruning/1123153862?ean=9780316339407

 

Amazon:

 

 

Categories: World War II in the Pacific | Tags: | 5 Comments

The Legendary Pappy Gunn

pappy-in-cockpit

Perhaps no figure in American aviation history had as colorful–and painful– career as Pappy Gunn. During World War II, Pappy was shot down twice in Beech 18 airliners (painted red), was wounded at least seven times, possibly nine, ordered a surgeon to amputate his pinky after he repeatedly fractured it while working on A-20’s and B-25’s, and on one ground support mission took a piece of AA shrapnel in the hand that not only wounded him, but killed his pet lizard, Sam.

Hundreds of combat missions, thousands of flight hours in the Pacific. He fought two wars, one against the Japanese and one against the USAAF’s rear echelon brass. He is credited with doing more to win the war against Japan than anyone else below the rank of general.

Not bad for a middle aged guy with a sixth grade education who was running an airline at the outset of the war.

Categories: Uncategorized, World War II in the Pacific | Tags: | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.