Remembering: S/Sgt Charles Bernard Moore WW2 Army Air Corps Ground
Crew "Keep 'em Flying"
Bernard Moore Remembering
at the Mt Zion Veterans Walkway and Park
Ground crews were responsible for keeping the aircraft of WWII in safe flying condition. Ground crew members made
repairs to aircraft, as well as handling routine maintenance. They loaded bombs
and 50 cal. ammunition so the airmen would have a chance to sally forth on many combat missions. Always looking
for "their" bomber to return successfully from a mission. As soon as a plane landed, the ground crew went to
work - checking landing gear, refilling fuel tanks, examining the wings, and making any and all necessary repairs-
and often cleaning the bomber of blood from a wounded - or KIA airman!.
These un-sung heroes worked day and night repairing flak damage received over France and Germany. The ground
crew's job was truly to "keep 'em flying."
Compared to the flight air crews , the ground crews never got the attention they deserved. Many a pilot will tell
you without the ground crews the planes wouldn't fly. And many a pilot probably didn't express their thanks to the
ground crew either- just too busy and thankful they got back alive- if they did. High risks, high rewards maybe.
Charles Bernard Moore was one of those many WW2 ground crew members we shouldn't forget.
Bernard, as he is called, was born on August 14, 1920 in Weedville to Charles Otto Moore and Effie May Gardner. He grew up
in the Bennett's Valley and graduated with the class of 1939 from Jay Township High School.
He was drafted in
1942- less than a year after Pearl Harbor. Staff Sergeant Bernard Moore served in the Army Air Corps with the
Mighty 8th (385th Bombardment Group- nicknamed="Van's Valiants"-named after the Group's first Col. Van Devanter) and
was stationed from 1943 to 1945 at the Great
Ashfield Airfield (Station # 155) in Suffolk, England as part of a heavy maintenance crew bombers. The picture on the left of Sgt
Bernard Moore was taken in front of his hut in Suffolk, England with a
favorite pastime of his behind him- a bike.
From 1943-1945, as a USAAC aircraft mechanic, he worked on the key bombers of the war:the B-17
Flying Fortresses and the B24 Liberators. Being the
smallest guy in his crew, he always got the job of crawling into the wings to replace damaged fuel tanks.
He loved the B17s and P-47s for their ruggedness. The picture on the right is from his England airbase with the
ground crew getting the B17 ready for its next flight. The 385th received two Distinguished unit Citations (DUC),
the first for Regensburg and in October 1943 for leading the attack on the Marienburg FW190 factory.
His favorite pasttime was to go
for bike rides through the countryside, and one time he was going down a
dirt road in a fairly isolated area and came across a B17 hidden in a bunch of
trees. There were antennas sticking out all over it and pretty quick an MP ran up to him and told him to get
the hell out of there and don't tell anyone what he saw or else. Turns out the AAF was using old 17 air frames
as remote controlled bombs.
He never talked much about his job or his service or what it entailed , but quite a bit must have been fairly gruesome.
Like most vets, he just wanted to help win the war, and come back home to his family. What he has talked about are
the things he saw, the people he met (including actor/British Commando David Niven and also then Princess Elizabeth
at Buckingham Palace), and the lighter side of his
tour. One thing he mentions proudly that he was a member of the ground crew for the last P-47 in service.
After the war he married Vendla Wilhelmina Anderson of Caledonia, and continued his career as a aircraft mechanic
first with the Air National Guard (P39s) at Camp Bell, then with the civil service, and starting in 1970 with the Air
Force Reserves all in Niagara Falls where his children Dennis, Linnea and Wayne were born and raised. He stayed in
the service until his beloved wife became disabled with rheumatoid arthritis, Bernard retired as soon as possible to
care for her.After she passed away in 1983 he moved back home to the Valley.
He just loves his planes and has always been a proud and true Air Force fan. And back in 1939, I wonder what
Bernard thought his passion would be. Airplanes?
Dad-(Bernard) we are all proud of you and your quiet service to our country. "Keep 'em flying"
And here is to all those ground crew who get lost in the shuffle
A Bender of Wrenches (Author Unknown)
Here's to the men with greasy hands, Who fuel our planes when the pilot lands.
Who change the tires, and oil the squeaks, Fix the flak damage and stop the leaks.
Tend to the controls to make them fly straight, Wait for the planes when the pilots are late.
Who smooth the scratches and rivet the panels, Check "Loud and clear" on the radio channels.
Who read the write-ups and make the repairs, Check the lines and wires for chafing and tears.
Who pull the chocks and walk the wings, and do a million maintenance things.
Who watch as the bird takes off and flies, so here's a salute to those hard-working guys
from a group of flyers who seldom ponder, the men who keep us in the wild blue yonder.