www.444thbg.org

The Official 444th Bombardment Group Association

Bart Kirk & George Witty

 

Dedictaed to Bart Kirk & George Witty of the 676th Sq.

All of the information and photos on this page (unless otherwise noted) were submitted and are owned by Mr. Kirk's proud daughter - Katie Kirk,  a great member & friend of the 444th BG Association.  Pictures of India and Tinian donated courtesy of Barbara Witty, widow of George Witty.

 

THE OLD F. E.

THE MAPLE TURNED RED ON THE MOUNTAIN

THE SKY A HIGH DESERT BLUE

A SEPTEMBER DAY MUCH TOO LOVELY

TO SAY OUR GOODBYE TO YOU.

 

WE SAT BY YOUR SIDE, ME AND BROTHER

STRAINED TO HEAR YOUR QUAVERING VOICE

LOOKED DEEP IN THOSE DEAR SOFT BROWN EYES

AND KNEW YOU HAD MADE YOUR CHOICE.

 

HE IS THE LAST OF HIS CREWMATES

OF THE MIGHTY B29

SIXTY YEARS HAVE TAKEN THE FAIR BOYS

NOW THE FINAL FLIGHT COMES TO MINE.

 

AS I STOOD WITH MY ARMS 'ROUND MY BROTHER

AND DAD KNEW WE HAD TO DEPART

HE SPOKE WORDS TO LAST US A LIFETIME

TO SOOTHE MY OLD BROKEN HEART.

 

HE PRAISED US AND TOLD US HE LOVED US

SAID WE'RE GOOD KIDS, HIS LOVE WE DID EARN

I AGAIN AND AGAIN KISSED HIS SOFT CHEEK

AND PROMISED I WOULD RETURN.

 

I HELD HIS DEAR HAND AND I TOLD HIM

I WAS LEAVING NEXT DAY ON A FLIGHT

WE ALL HELD BACK TEARS WITH A BRAVE SMILE

AS OFF WE DROVE INTO THE NIGHT.

 

SO I'VE LEFT BEHIND ALL MY LOVED ONES

AS HE DID THOSE 60 YEARS PASSED

SOARING UP OVER THE PACIFIC

TO SEE WHAT HE SAW AT LAST.

 

HE SAID "I NEVER HAD TIME, KATE,

WAS TOO BUSY FLYING THE PLANE,

TO LOOK OUT THE FLIGHT ENGINEER'S WINDOW

JUST TIME FOR A GLANCE NOW AND THEN."

 

NOW I SIT HERE IN WARMTH AND COMFORT

PEACEFUL ISLAND DAYS LIE AHEAD

NO FUJI LOOMS OUT MY WINDOW

NO ZERO FILLS ME WITH DREAD.

 

I DON'T HAVE TO WATCH GAS AND GAUGES

OR WONDER IF I WILL SURVIVE

I JUST TAKE IN THE BREATHTAKING BEAUTY

OF OCEAN AND CLOUDS FROM ON HIGH.

 

THERE'LL BE NO KAMIKAZE OR BOMBING

NO BURST OF FLAK LIGHTING THE NIGHT

TONIGHT I'LL FLY OVER PEARL HARBOR

THEIR SACRIFICE GAVE ME THE RIGHT.

 

SO I FLY ALONG AND I WONDER

IF DAD'S STILL IN HIS EARTHLY BED

OR IF HE FLIES RIGHT ALONG WITH ME

SEEING BLUE SKY AND CLOUDS IN HIS HEAD.

 

HOW I HOPE HE SOARS UP HERE WITH ME

POOR OLD BODY FREE OF THE PAIN

ONCE AGAIN TO FLY WITH HIS CREWMATES

AND SEE GEORGE, FITZ AND DP AGAIN.

 

Poem by Katie Kirk

God Speed - We'll miss you.

 

Mechanics School, Kansas City - Bart Kirk, second from right, kneeling. George Lunsford, 3d from right, standing.

 

Graduating Class Mechanics School - Bart Kirk 3d from right, George Lunsford far right, 2nd row

 

Winter of ‘42~’43 at Flight Instructor School, Pierre and Rapid City, South Dakota

“Never got above 40 below” BK - W. Gordon Palmor, Verlos Huckeba, Steve Namath, Bart Kirk, M. J. Odom

 

W. Gordon Palmor, Steve Namath, Bart Kirk

 

W. Gordon Palmor, M. J. Odom, Steve Namath, Verlos Huckeba, unknown, Bart Kirk

 

Bart Kirk, Elmer King, Kansas

 

Bart Kirk, S. Dakota ‘42

 

 

 

The Three Feathers, 676th/679th BS - Photo (c) Ray Archer

From George Witty's diary:

"Made second Anshan (Mukden) raid Sept 8, where our senior gunner (Saul Miller) was killed and radar operator (Willie Crandall) was wounded.  Flew back on 3 engines.  Were in China 21 days waiting for the ship to be repaired.  I made one trip back to India on another ship during that time.  Finally they sent our crew back without the ship" - Dad wrote, "The 29 they could not repair was called the 3 Feathers, named for the only whiskey they could buy in Kansas, which was a dry state".

Piece of shrapnel Dad dug from the plane.  It was the final flight of this B-29.

 

B-17, probably taken in Kansas.DP Wood, F. Smith, Ch. Smith, Ch. McDermott, Kirk, Fitzgivens, Witty, Saul Miller (killed in action on the 3d and final mission of the B-29 Three Feathers) - Hopper, Louer, Vochel.

 

Photo (c) Charles Harper

The L’il Herbert was Dad’s second B-29 in India

 

Gentleman in the center is Nile Mitchell, ground crew chief.  His first plane in India was the Blue Bonnet Belle, which was lost after coming thru a bad storm, stalled out and went down.  There were 7 survivors.  Nile then came to the Lil Herbert.

 

Nile Mitchell and the Lil Herbert - Nose art by Read Vaughn

Click Here to go to Nile Mitchell's page on this site

 

Bart Kirk, Chinese Soldier, James Patituchi (kia) - Guard Duty

 

Chinese Soldier and George Witty

 

Bart Kirk and Dave Hoff

 

George Witty and Bart Kirk

 

Dudkhundi Barracks. George Witty, Jack Williams, Willy Crandall, unknown

 

Willy Crandall, Bart Kirk, Jack Williams, unknown

 

Bart Kirk and Charley Heyrend

 

Bart Kirk, Dave Hoff, Charley Heyrend

 

George Witty, unknown, Sam Elliot

 

“Flying a loose formation”

 

 

'The Hump"

 

The Lil Herbert, Dudkhundi

 

 

Li'l Herbert - (c) David Stebbins

 

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