THE NEW WING DING  36th PRS Newsletter

Volume 2001 Issue 1

Volume 2  2002

  Jim Chastain   36th PRS

 Ray Bureau   36th PRS 

In several recent messages with Jim Chastain, Bill Wynne & Chuck Varney regarding the designation of reconnaissance aircraft, I received this tale from Jimbo. The original inquiry was about the F-3/A-20, F-4 & F-5/P-38s & F-7/B-24s and their reconnaissance designations.

Being an educated donkey and for what it is worth, I can go further back than the F-3, for there were also the F-1 & F- 2 aircraft.

The F-1 was a Fairchild high winged, single engine version assigned to Photo sections in the 30's. In the 5th Photo Section of the 6th Air Base Squadron, we had an F-1 at Barksdale. There was also an F-2 which was a photo modified C-45 Beechcraft. A camera port and brackets to accommodate the A-8 Mount were placed in the floor, also a removable hatch was installed in the door to accommodate oblique photography. I missed the pleasure of flying in that C-1, but trained in the F-2 at Lowrey. I later went on a classified mission in one to photograph the White Sands area in late 1942. 

What I remember of this flight was, upon our return, the pilot and his copilot flew down to just above the deck placing that F-2 on auto pilot heading directly toward a small peak. Both took their hands from the controls and held their hands in the air and played "Chicken". They waited until a crash was almost eminent, when the chicken disengaged the auto pilot and manually pulled the controls back just in time.

In the rear, there was a fearful and helpless photographer who had given his heart to God and the rest to those pilots. 

Not recently familiar to his lips, he also mumbled a few prayers which must have been heard.

The film taken on this mission was not locally processed, but hastily sent directly to Washington. If only those Jocks knew what possible information we were carrying.

Jimbo Chastain



Peterson Field

At Peterson Field, we had to go to town to take bathes in the City auditorium where they had set up an early USO.

One day I took my dog, Photopopulas who was also Squadron mascot to have a shower with me.

Unknown to me, Sally Rand the feather dancer, was to put on a show for us GI's and was rehearsing in our auditorium. Her girls were practicing in their bare feet and their routine took them from the stage down a ramp to the floor where I was returning from the shower which we GI's had been using. Sally's troops had taken over our shower and I had to cross in front of that stage and ramp. There, I felt a tug on OLE Photo's leash, looking back I saw he had laid a couple of brown pooch eggs just where those girls were headed. To prevent some of them from receiving quite an unpleasant surprise, I rushed to a smaller restroom to get some cleaning paper to remove my dog's indiscretion.

There, Sally's troop had also taken over and someone had taken the doors from each stall to prevent further damage. When I rushed in, there was a rather large lady screaming from one of those stalls, which caused me to make a hasty retreat. 

One of Sally's porters handed me a rag and I proceeded to do my duty. Just as I swiped that rag to pick up OLE Photo's poop. The House lights came on and there I was with a rag full of dog Ship High In Transit in front of Sally's girls and a house full of GI's. Unfortunately, many were also my bunk mates, who with other Peterson and Camp Carson's onlookers gave me a rather rowdy standing ovation.

Nuf said,

Jimbo Chastain


October 28, 1939  Barksdale Field

My photo class graduated in March and I was newly assigned to the 5th photo section of the 6th Air Base Squadron at Barksdale when this picture was made. It was shot by M/Sgt Dusty Rhodes, our Lab. Chief and annotated by Cpl. John Terry.

As I remember Dusty and his wife had an old Bull Dog that had to have its teeth pulled. I am not sure that it was the same dentist, who in 1938, pulled one of my teeth without any anesthesia. The story was told, that a dentist friend made a set of false teeth for Dusty's dog.

Some time during that period, Dusty, using a Fairchild K-3B camera took a several aerial shots of a 90th formation from a B-10 on a very rough day. Anyhow, Dusty, a rather large man, got a bit stoved up from that mission.  I can't remember which organization that B-10 belonged too. 

Thanks for the memories.

Jimbo Chastain



Thule, Greenland & Eureka Sound High Artic Weather Stations




Jim Chastain  1947