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 Lil Herbert, Dudkhundi
Li'l Herbert - (c) David Stebbins
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