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Before graduation, Engineering cadets were given a list of four possible assignments. Our preference for these assignments were to be listed in priority order. I figured that being assigned to be a B-29 Flight Engineer could be dangerous. My Engineering officer preferences were listed in this order: 1. Air Transport Command 2. Fighter Command 3. Bomber Command 4. B-29 Flight Engineer Had I understood the army's assignment system, which issued assignments in reverse order of preference, I would have listed them differently.

To provide the Pacific island bases within range of Japan, Admiral Nimitz's forces, aided by the army, captured three main islands of the Marianas Group. In mid-1944 Saipan, Tinian, and Guam were taken. " The Marianas airfields became operational toward the end of 1944. In November the 73d Bomb Wing's B-29s began Japanese Empire bombing missions from Saipan bases. The Marianas Islands were located roughly 1,500 miles from the Japanese home islands, well within the B-29's striking range. Tinian's North Field with its four parallel 8,500-foot runways Page 23 was the largest airfield in the world.

In November the 73d Bomb Wing's B-29s began Japanese Empire bombing missions from Saipan bases. The Marianas Islands were located roughly 1,500 miles from the Japanese home islands, well within the B-29's striking range. Tinian's North Field with its four parallel 8,500-foot runways Page 23 was the largest airfield in the world. Tinian's West Field had two parallel 8,500-foot runways. On 6 and 9 August 1945, from this Tinian Air Field, the 509th Composite Group would take off for Japan and drop two atomic bombs.

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