This a short story, along with photos of Sgt George C. Tackaberry during his tour of duty with the 3rd BG. The story & photos were shared with me by Jack Heyn of the 13th Bomb Squadron & Headquarters Photo Section.


Tack's home town was Bangor Maine.  When I joined the Group in Oct. '41 it was about half Southerners and half New Englanders (and a few outlanders like myself) and the Civil war was refought almost on a daily basis.  Then they had a real war to fight, and everybody concentrated on that. I don't remember if it was before or after Pearl Harbor that Tack rejoined Headquarters Squadron. He had been at the Photography School in Denver (that I had enlisted to go to), and since the Group had no Photo Section he was in Group Operations with me.  He was a year older but we had a lot in common, an exception being his love of Calvert's and Coke. His favorite hang-out while in Denver was the Ship's Tavern in the Brown Hotel, and he used to talk about his trips to the Ship's Tavern.  He's the only guy I met in the four years that scored better than I did on the Army's General Classification Test (I.Q.). He scored 142, one better than my 141. I think those scores might have reflected the fact that we both went in right out of H.S. and were used to taking tests. I know it was shortly after he joined us that we were on our way to the S.W. Pacific.


As soon as we got to Charters Towers, he was into town every chance he got. Not only did he frequent the Pubs, he found himself a steady girl friend, I believe her name was Cybil.  We were tent mates, and he would come back some nites pretty well loaded. Even got a shot of him shaving one morning.

When I transferred back to Headquarters and the Photo Section and we moved to Nadzab ,we got back together. We moved on up to Hollandia and once again we were tent mates.  About the only raids we got at this point was night time nuisance raids.  He was on duty one nite when we had an alert.  Ack ack started exploding in the sky, and you wanted to have your steel helmet on when that stuff started coming down.  Tack had forgot to take his helmet to work, and pretty soon here he comes running holding a steel folding chair over his head.  Shortly after that in July he was lucky and on the first Rotation List to come out, and we parted company.   I think you have the photo of the two of us leaning on a jeep.  That was our parting shot.


Recreation took several forms: Poker  for a week after payday, then a lot of Bridge and Pinochle.  Chess, we had tournaments between Photo Section, Intel. and Operations; and reading, did a lot of reading when something was available. 


Sight seeing (when permittable) was another form of recreation as the photo of visiting the wrecks of Japanese Zeros will attest. Tack also hammed it up for the camera in front of the GENERAL CUSTER. 


Here we see Tack eating cake (probably 6-week old at this point) in front of a photo drier & Norm Nelson, a full blooded Pnobscot Indian from Tack's home town of Bangor, Maine.

 When I got out of the service after the war Tack was the only one I kept in touch with, we exchanged Christmas Cards and a letter every Christmas.  He had always wanted to be a Doctor and when he got out started school.  Like me,  he got married right out of the service, and like us they had a baby the first year.  He decided there was no way he was going raise a family and stay in school long enough to become a Dr.  He had always enjoyed the Military and after the first year re-enlisted.  Put in his 20 years, retired as as a highest E.M. rank, and went to work in Birmingham, Ala. in a Civil Service job.  I think the last year i heard from him was '76, one of his daughters had married and moved to Kansas City.  I sent a card in '78, but got no answer.  I don't know whether he passed away or just gave up on the correspondence.  But that covers my association with Tack Tackaberry, my closest friend in the Service.I recently gained contact with Tack's second wife and daughters. I was informed that he had passed away in 1980. One of his daughters sent me this poem that he had written. I think it is a fine poem, but it was written from the view of one who had flown all of those missions. He knew all about those missions as he was in Group Operations until he rotated home in July, 1944, but did not fly any of them as he was a Ground Pounder like me. I still think it is a fine poem.
Jack Heyn

To the Third Bomb Group

Charters Towers was my home

For just a little while.

Then I did the Moresby roam

In true New Guinea Style.

I flew from Dobodura Strip

Day after endless day.

I've dropped my bombs on every Nip

From here to Hansa Bay.

I could tell of countless joys,

But haven't time to tell the all

Of the victories of our boys

From Kila to Rabaul.

I could speak of many trips

Against the Rising Sun,

On Boram, Tadji, and Wewak Strips,

And of each battle won.

The Bismarck Sea and Hansa Bay

Buna and Sanananda;

Salamaua, Nadzab, Lae,

The strip now called Horanda;

Cape Gloucester and Kokoda Trail,

Sure, I've seen them all.

I stayed to see and proudly hail

The Japs' Hollandia fall.

I've seen New Guinea filled with hate,

Her bomb-blasted oceans foam.

Now, let me see the Golden Gate.

        Please, God send me home.      

George C. Tackaberry