DEDICATED TO 340th
BG 487th BS B-25 PILOT
CAPT. JAMES A.
and maintained by Doug Cook
Subject: 487th Squadron
I am a former B-25 pilot [now 87 years old
- Jan 2008] with the 487th Squadron. I was in Corsica
from May 21, 1944 to Dec.30, 1944. I flew 66 missions. My name is shown on the
mission sheets as J.A. Littlefield. I have really enjoyed your web site very
much. I have pictures of airplanes and the squadron area that I would be happy
to share with you. Please let me know if you would like to see them.
I remember your father's face [Capt. Chas.
Cook] but don't remember anything else about him. I don't think that I ever
flew in the same plane with him.
sheets show that they flew several missions together].
[My photo] negatives were developed by me
in a tent over on Corsica and forgotten over
the years. I have had a photographer put
a lot of previously unprinted pictures on a disk.
James A. Littlefield
8601 Seven Oaks Lane
487th Squadron 7J ‘Yahoudi’ piloted by Littlefield Aug 19, 1944 on a
mission to bomb RR Br at Orange, France
(photo from Capt. Chas. Cook collection)
Pilot training and graduation ‘Stateside’.
New Pilot’s Wings 2nd
Lt. James A. Littlefield
Jimmy and his wife in Ruidoso, NM
My wife died on June 30, 2006. We were married for 60 years
and 8 months. I was an old man of 25 years when we got married, so I never
thought we would be married that long. I have a son, Mike, two granddaughters,
three great granddaughters and one great grandson. Both granddaughters are in
the process of giving me two more great grandchildren. After I got back to the
states, I was sent to Pampa,
Texas to teach B-25 transition.
While there I was sent to Instrument School at Lubbock,
TX. When we finished there we
were given a questionnaire in which one of the questions was "Would you
like to be an instructor in the Instrument
School?". I answered
no and two weeks later I was transferred to Lubbock. While I was there I met my wife and we
were married. After I got out, I went to
work at Lubbock National Bank as a teller. I remained there for 39 years and
became Senior Vice President over Operations. I then worked at First State Bank
in Abilene, TX for 2 1/2 years before retiring. We moved
back to Lubbock and lived there for 20 years
before moving to Denton
to be with our son. I'll will think about you [in Saudi Arabia] the next time I gripe
about the temperature and shut my mouth.
I had a very nice reunion with my radio-gunner Joe
Whalen (right) this past weekend (sent July 2, 2008).
His Son-in-law and his Granddaughter come with him. We
had a nice visit after 63 years.
I was born in Corinth, MS and moved to Texas in 1938 after I
finished high school. I have a Distinguished Flying Cross and 13 Air Medals. I
was given the DFC for getting back from my 10th mission on one engine and we
ran out of fuel, brakes shot out and my good engine quit 1/4 of the way down
the runway. We crashed, but no one was hurt badly. Everyone else got the Purple
Heart. [Your father’s album had] one of the pictures of 7D [after the landing].
I made Captain after I returned to the states.
[I asked James for some details on this skilled
emergency landing.] In
regard to 7D, It's been a longtime since that happened, I can't say that it was
my skill and determination that got us back. I did what I had been taught to do
to get the plane and crew back. It was something a lot of pilots did from time
to time. We were hit [by flak] over the target and lost the right engine and on
this mission we were breaking left and down after we had dropped our bombs so I
lost a lot of altitude. We were leaking fuel but we couldn't see it.
The B-25 could maintain altitude
on one engine but couldn’t climb. We tossed out some equipment that wasn't tied
down in order to clear the mountains on Italy’s west coast. We had no
problems and made clear approach, with the meat wagons waiting on us. I lowered
the nose and checked the brakes and they seemed OK. I then pulled the nose up
to kill some speed. When the nose came down, the right brake gave away and the
left brake locked. I hit the left throttle to bring the ship to the right and
the left engine ran out of fuel, taking us left. I told the copilot to pull the
emergency air lever. He pumped the hydraulic pump instead. We hit an old bomb
casing, knocking out the nose gear. The mission [target] as have it noted in my
log book was Fano [M/Y June 10, 1944 NE
coast of Italy- a long way
to limp back to Corsica!]. I didn't keep very good records. 7D had no
name or nose art.
340th BG 487th BS - SN 43-27556 -
From Charles Cook’s 487th Squadron Album dated ~June 1944
I left college at Christmas
break 1941 and went to work at a primary flying school at Coleman, TX.
My job was crewing 3 PT-19s at night. I took the cadet exam here and was
accepted as a cadet. We moved to Paris, TX and into service in Dallas. We were sent to Santa
Anna, Calif for preflight, From
there we went to Tex
School, flying Stearmans. Our class was 43K. Our
basic training was at Marana Air Army Base, flying B-13 Vultee Vibraters. After half of our training, our class no. was
changed to 43KX and we were trained in AT-17s. They wanted to see if they could
cut the time needed get the pilots in combat sooner. When we graduated we were
given the chance to go either into B-25s or P-38s. I chose the Mitchell. Our
next base was at Lujanta, Colo. The upper classmen had already
graduated and had their wings and commissions. Think they didn’t give us a hard
time. We were cadets flying B-25s. After graduation we were sent to Lake Charles LA
to fly B-26s, why no one knew. We started raising hell to go to B-25s. The Base
commander called us together and told us that he was doing his best to get us
transferred and when we 20 men left the base, everyone on the base would
breathe a sigh of relief. We were then sent to Greenville SC
back to our beloved B-25s, as the CO put it. I really worked hard to finish
early because they promised us leave for the number of days that we finished
early. I finished at the same time as the class ahead of us. Since I had almost
30 days leave, I rushed down to Base HQ. I got the papers to clear the base,
when I returned them completed, the Sgt. told that I could be gone until
midnight tomorrow night. Seems they were short a crew and guess who took their
place. We were sent to Savannah
GA, where we picked up our
equipment and plane. After several days we were off to West Palm Beach, FL.
There our equipment was unloaded and rechecked and reloaded. We were given a
set of sealed orders and a compass heading with instructions not to open the
orders until we reached the point of no return. We were going to Puerto Rico,
and were going to Algeria by
way of British Guyana, Natal,& Belem, Brazil to Ascension Island.
[Then to] Liberia, Dakar & Marrakech, Morocco
and to Algiers.
We exchanged planes in Algiers
and spent a couple of days there. We then left for the [487th Squadron].
Enroute we were told to go instead to Ajaccio [Corsica west coast]. Seems the field at Alesan [Corsica east coast] would not be ready until the next day
on account of the [German] air raid [May 13,1944]. The next morning we were
allowed to proceed to Alesan. We arrived on May 23, 1944. I wonder if the plane
that I flew from Africa was the one later
named McKinley JR High (below). It was supposed to arrive on May 20,
340th BG 487th BS - SN 43-27656 -
McKinley Jr. High (from
Capt. Chas Cook’s album)
My crew- Lt. to Rt. Front: Copilot
Spurling, Turret Gunner Kenyon, Bombardier Miller
Rear: Radio/Waist Gunner Whalen, Pilot
Littlefield, Flt. Engr./Tail Gunner
Rt. to Lt. Front: Whalen, Williams (Sqn. Bombardier ?)
Rear: Kline, Kenyon, & Littlefield.
BG 487th BS – SN UNKNOWN
Lt. to Rt. Rear: Lincks, Faylor, Crandall,
Front row: Whalen and unknown.
340th BG 487th BS - SN 42-53483 -
Feb. 13, 1944)
340th BG 489th BS – 9A Li’l Jasper
340th BG 489th BS – 9G Bubbies
340th BG 489th BS – 9S Knockout
340th BG 489th BS – 9W Morning Mission
340th BG 489th BS – 9X Queen Mary
BG 489th BS – SN UNKNOWN Daisy-C
WHITE, and FILTHY - SN UNKNOWN
BS Copilot Lt. Ray Spurling