star Capt. Herbert M. Barnum star

star WWII Army Air Corps star

Ilion, N.Y.

During World War II and for a brief time after its end, a young Ilion airman had a very special assignment! This article is from The Ilion Sentinel, Thursday, September 19, 1946, page 8.


Captain Herbert M. Barnum, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Barnum, 107 Elm St., is now home on terminal leave after serving for more than two years as co-pilot of General Omar Bradley's private plane. Captain Barnum left for Ft. Meade, Md., for his terminal leave on Friday, Sept. 13, and will receive his final discharge papers on Armistice Day. He will resume his civil engineering studies at Georgia Tech next Tuesday.

The flight probably the most outstanding in the airman's memory is the one in which he flew a plane load of the "world's highest brass" to Eindhoven, The Netherlands, with 300 yards visibility and two fighter escorts already lost in the fog.

Aboard that day were Gens. Marshall, Eisenhower, Bradley, Simpson, Hodges and Patton. The cockpit team of Major A. E. Robinson and Captain Barnum got the precious load down safely on the seventh pass at the field.

According to Barnum the inside of the plane is as unpretentious as its wartime workday paint job. A couple of extra roomy seats where the general and a companion can relax on long hops are the extent of the custom equipment.

Captain Barnum was graduated from Ilion High School and attended Clarkson College until he was called in the the Air Corps Reserve in February, 1943.

While in the local high school he was director of his own orchestra called the "Sophisticated Swingsters." He was also a member of the college band.

He received his wings as an Army Air Force pilot and was sworn in as a second lieutenant in Altus, Okla., May 23, 1944, after completing basic training at Curtis Field, Texas.

From The Ilion Sentinel, Thursday, January 24, 1946, page 8

Herbert M. Barnum, who recently returned to Washington after a holiday leave with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Barnum, Elm Street, has been promoted to captain in the Army Air Corps. He has been serving as pilot for General Omar N. Bradley, head of the Veteran's Administration. He was first assigned to General Bradley in the summer of 1944 during the campaign in France and except for short intervals has been with him ever since.

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