I joined the 80th when they were at 12-mile strip Port Moresby in early August ’42. Ten of us volunteered to go overseas early so we became 2nd Lts before the rest of the cadets. We were sent to Tallahassee, Fl. We got two weeks in a P39 and we were on our way to Hawaii. We checked into a P-40 squadron. Things went OK – still hadn’t fired the guns. Anyway I was making a landing and the right wheel collapsed. I tore up the metal matting and the only thing left was me in the cockpit. I was sent to the C.O. Man, he called me names you never heard crashing his airplane – tearing up his metal matting, etc. I was sent to New Guinea the next day. All my buddies went to Guadalcanal later. I think Norb Ruff was the first I met and he showed me around. The Japs were bombing us quite often. Later after they sent us to Milne Bay. Ten of us were sent to North Australia to pick up P-38s. None of us had ever flown a twin engine fighter, but we looked it over and I flew 75 missions. Within a two-week period I lost two tent mates, Adams and Thompson. About a week later my brother Dean, who was a B-24 pilot flying out of 7-mile Port Moresby, was killed. Doc Patrick said “That’s it” and I was sent home. The last two years of the war I was a flight instructor and aerial gunner instructor. Some of my students 2nd Lts did quite well – one being Gen Robin Olds. We had a great bunch of guys and the first reunion at Jackson Hole after 30 years was the best. My wife said she’d never seen so many men hugging and laughing – it was great!
PS: 1 Zero / 2 Probables
Crashed a P-40
Crashed a P-39
Mid-Air accident P-38 and the Japs didn’t even give me a medal!
– Glenn Hope