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Operation Carpetbagger: The WWII Mission to Supply Resistance Fighters

In January 1944, the military launched a top-secret operation called Operation Carpetbagger. The aim was to supply European resistance fighters with weapons, supplies, and secret agents behind enemy lines. The effort required risky night missions flown in specially modified B-24 Liberator Bombers under the direction of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) – the forerunner of today’s CIA.

The Carpetbaggers were part of the newly redesignated 801st/492nd Bombardment Group and operated out of Harrington Field, a Royal Air Force base in England. Since the clandestine missions were flown only at night, the B-24s were painted glossy black to evade searchlights. Aircrews flew at dangerously low altitudes, using landmarks and rivers illuminated by moonlight to navigate. As they neared a drop zone, a special air-ground directional device named “Rebecca” inside the plane communicated with a ground beacon named “Eureka” to guide the aircraft. When the plane was within a few miles of the drop zone, the aircrew contacted partisans on the ground using a special two-way radio called an “S-Phone.”

B-24 Liberator “Scrappy” – 42-52749. Modified and painted black.

Once the aircrew verified that it was partisans on the ground and not Germans, they dropped steel containers containing everything from radios to weapons through the bomb bay doors. The ball turret was also replaced by a special cargo hatch called a “Joe Hole.” Crews could drop supplies or even OSS agents (called Joes) via parachute through the Joe Hole.

Most of the Carpetbagger missions were flown to supply French partisans in advance of D-Day operations in June 1944. Carpetbaggers also flew missions to Norway, Denmark, and Germany. They finished their final full-scale mission in September 1944. According to the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Operation Carpetbagger completed 1,860 sorties and delivered 20,495 containers and over 11 thousand packages of vital supplies to European resistance fighters. In addition, more than 1,000 parachutists dropped through Joe Holes into enemy territory.

Their secret night missions, deep in the heart of occupied Europe, were crucial to arm and assist resistance fighters who sought to undermine Nazi Germany. Those involved were sworn to secrecy, and their contributions remained classified for some 40 years following the war.

In 2018, the remaining Office of Strategic Services members, many of whom had worked with Operation Carpetbagger, were presented with the Congressional Gold Medal for their efforts in establishing intelligence networks and training resistance operations during WWII.

To learn more about Operation Carpetbagger, search Fold3® today.

69 Comments

  1. Stu Redish says:

    My dad Capt Harry Redish flew with the carpetbaggers as a bombardier and navigator. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with many oak leaf clusters, and a Presidential Unit Citation. He said they were very scary missions and when they returned in the mornings they all got out of the plane and kissed the ground before having their allowed rations of whiskey. After completing the required number of missions he wrote in his log “I am so happy!”

    • Ray Ortensie says:

      Stu,

      Many wishes to your father. Have you seen the 801/492 alumni site? Lots of documents and photographs on the site. It has been a few years since I’ve been there but used to engage a few individuals there. I had meant to go to AF Village to interview a few of the members of the group that were living there back in the early-2010s.

      Ray

    • Jim says:

      Excellent! Thanks for sharing.

    • Cathy says:

      What a hero. I know you are very proud. Not many people have such memories

    • Way to go guys my hat is off to you very brave soles. My father was 17 and was in Okinawa, Pelelue driving amfib tractors loaded with brave soldiers to the beaches. Without all these brave men who knows where we would be. I fought in Vietnam but it that was not a popular war. Unfortunately a lot of brave men gave there lives or were seriously wounded. Freedom is not free. It cost the lives of many men and women. May God bring them home.

    • Susan says:

      Thank you for sharing.

    • Bonnie Southers says:

      God bless your dad. Brave man and a hero. My dad flew a B26 Bomber for 70 missions out of England. They truly were the Greatest Generation. My dad said sometimes when they came back they would kiss the ground too. Not sure about the whiskey though for his group. Lol
      Never knew about your dad’s type of missions. Thanks for sharing.

    • Mary says:

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Charles Emery Tooke III says:

      Frank Lauricella: *Marines

  2. Kenneth Berlinski says:

    Many thanks to your dad and all his colleagues who took part in this operation. Heroes all.

  3. Kristine Ludwinski says:

    I agree with Kenneth! Our deep thankfulness goes out to your father and his compatriots for participating so heroically in these important missions. God bless them all!

  4. Fay says:

    Speaking as a Southerner, it seems they could have found a more honorable nickname for such an honorable mission.

    • Fred Hofstetter says:

      Speaking as a Southerner also, you’re living too much in the past.

    • Lawman says:

      Fay,

      I agree with you. The Carpetbaggers who raided the South politically and economically were worse than vermin. In the late 1930’s, Roosevelt commissioned a study of the economics of the South and the study showed that much of the South was still controlled by interests in the North. Here is how the term is defined on the internet: “A Northerner who went to the South after the Civil War for political or financial advantage. An outsider, especially a politician, who presumptuously seeks a position or success in a new locality. An adventurer; — a term of contempt for a Northern man seeking private gain or political advancement in the southern part of the United States after the Civil War (1865).” It is unfortunate that the military chose such a name for an operation conducted by honorable people who risk their lives to help free Europe during World War II. One does not have to live in the past to understand the past.

  5. Richard says:

    Fay, I agree with you. A very honorable mission, but a very poor choice to name it.

    • C Thomas says:

      I wonder why they chose that name. I agree it carries connotations and associations…

    • Tom Bogenschild says:

      Probably a poor choice of names, but consider: a) what they were doing could be considered a very rough analogy to what happened in the South after the Civil War (or is it the War of Northern Aggression?) b) how many Germans would have had any idea what the reference was to if it leaked? c) what code name would you have chosen for the operation?

  6. Donald A Brainard says:

    WWII was about 80 some years ago and still stories are being revealed. History will never have anywhere near the stories of this world war but I love hearing new details, big and heroic and small and heroic.

  7. Louis Combs says:

    Great read! I’m currently reading Masters of the Air which is about the 8th Air Force in England during WW 11 and this adds to my appreciation of what the air crews went through. I was able to fly in a B17 a few years ago and can’t comprehend the sacrifices that these airmen made going on missions in this plane. True heroes!

  8. DotBob says:

    Carpetbagger is the most appropriate name for this honorable mission. There is no dishonorable connotation to the word “carpetbagger.” It is simply an adjective describing a group of people who invaded the South after the Civil War intending to get rich quick on the backs of the population, in so many words. This action of coming into a place is exactly what these air crews did, except their “packages” were for the good of the recipients. They carpetbagged very well; aptly named “Carpetbaggers.”

  9. Barney Gillespie says:

    Thank you Captain Redish for your service. Thank you Stu for providing impetus to an interesting exchange. I was not previously aware of this operation, but I will never again hear the term Carpetbagger without recognizing there are two actions in our history with the same name but very divergent purposes. I understand why a southerner, or a northerner, might react one way or the other to the use of this name; but the spirit of the two operations is what determines if they are on the side of good or evil. How blessed we are that so many men and women in the air, on the ground or sea, were able to rise up to the horrors of war and thereby become heroes.
    Peace and Love, and “ain’t life grand.”

    • DotBob says:

      You nailed it!! Thank you.
      As I see it, “carpetbagger” morphed/was used to name a military technique to accomplish, in essence, what the “Carpetbaggers” of infamy accomplished after the Civil War. So now it would be a noun or verb denoting a “coming into a place.” The intention of this “coming” has nothing to do with the act of “coming.”

  10. For anyone interested in WWII here is a partial translation of my reminiscences of an event that took place right after one of these weapon drops in Southern France (Trets is the name of the village. We had taken refuge there because my father was avoiding the compulsory work in Germany enacted by the Germans, but that is another story)

    …….Our lodgings were on the second floor of rue Félix Pyat, very close to the Porte de Pourrières. A window overlooked a small courtyard where our friends downstairs were raising… a large sow. It was a young family with a small baby. The husband we knew from Marseille was in the lumber business, taking us to Trets in his “gasogene” truck. Another window looked out onto the street, which widened out into a triangle, and where the garde champêtre (who was, as I learn from his testimony, Francis Maurin’s grandfather!) would stop to make his announcements after a drum roll.

    That morning, the announcement went something like this: “The German authorities order Monsieur le Maire to communicate to the entire population of Trets that they must assemble immediately in the station square with forty-eight hours of food supplies. All your homes must be left with their doors wide open.

    We knew that containers had been parachuted into the area, and that the Germans obviously intended to recover them. So it was with trepidation that we gathered around the bandstand.
    Our good mayor, Doctor Giudicelli, was there in deep discussion with a man in a leather jacket and a German officer, commander of a regiment in position around the square. The soldiers looked menacing. One was on a motorcycle and sidecar, speeding from one end of the street to the other, opposite the kiosk. Because of a slight movement in the crowd, a few shots were even fired to frighten us. That was enough to freeze us in place.

    I admired Doctor Giudicelli, for he had cured me of a serious illness. He wore all his First World War medals proudly on his chest. From the kiosk, he addressed the villagers as follows: “The German commander, also a veteran of the 14-18 war, has assured me that nothing will be done to you if you disclose to him any presence of weapons in our village.

    A great hubbub ensued with questions like: “We have an old hunting rifle that belonged to our grandfather” or “Should we declare a saber?’
    It was a very hot day. The shade of the plane trees offered insufficient relief. The hours passed unbearably slowly. Finally, the long-awaited words “You can go home!

    We had to pass under the eye of the occupants. I couldn’t help noticing my father’s worried face. I heard him whisper something to our neighbor downstairs. She had her baby in her stroller and out of the corner of my eye I saw her slip something under the mattress that my father had just passed to her. Later I learned it was a revolver. I can’t remember our neighbor’s name, but it was certainly a courageous gesture that could have turned out badly.

    After this event, to escape all control, we took refuge in an old barn in the Monts Auréliens between Trets and Saint Zacharie. Half a dozen resistance fighters were with us. The situation wasn’t great, but we had an unobstructed view of Mont Sainte Victoire. It was only much, much later that I learned that a certain Cézanne had admired its beauty half a century before us!

    My father kept his gun until after the Liberation, but fortunately he didn’t have to use it.

    • Christopher Eve says:

      That’s an amazing story, Francois! Thank you for sharing it.

      As a matter of ‘coincidence’, my mother Jeanne Thurgar, lived with her aunt and uncle in Le Tholonet, very near Trets, for 1 year in 1948/49. This was to improve her French after she left school in Northamptonshire, England. Her aunt Luly, was married to a French artist, named Paul Etienne Galland (originally from Corsica) and they had set up home in Le Tholonet, from Paris, where she had met him in the 1920s, having hired herself out as his model. She was very beautiful, apparently. Paul Galland worked in the impressionist ‘fusain’ style and also had a studio in St Tropez.

      During the war, they had hid escaping allied airmen from the Germans and passed them on to the Maquis, who then sought to get them over the border to Spain and back home.

      In 1948-49, my mother was forbidden from speaking English when living with them, and during to long hot summer of 1949, slept in a hammock in their garden for 3 months. As they had no children themselves, they substituted with 27 cats and 13 dogs! They were known for having wild, bohemian parties and drank what little money they earnt from commissions. My mother danced on their table during one of more of these parties! At the end of her time in Provence, she stayed in Paris with her father for 3 weeks, who was on business there from England. He would introduce her to his French business associates to show off her fluent French. However, they were not impressed. She was speaking with a Provencal accent!

      After my mother died in 2008, I went to visit Aix and Le Tholonet in May 2009 and was able to find the house on the edge of the village, where they had lived. I also found their graves in the village cemetery. They died in 1971 and 1977 respectively. The cafe / restaurant in the village is/was called the ‘Cafe Cezanne’ and I believe Cezanne visited the village to paint, because of its proximity to and views of Mont Sainte Victoire. I had a wonderful meal at that cafe.

      Growing up, I remember my mother talking and signing occasionally in French in our home, (eg: “Sur le pont d’Avignon…”). It was clearly one of the happiest times in her life. In her old age, she set up a hammock in our garden and tried to sleep in it during our hot, English summers.

      (I’ve written earlier in another part of this article about the ‘Carpetbaggers’, about my mother dating USAAF airmen during the later part of WW2, near Kettering, Northants).

    • Francois Di Gregorio says:

      Christopher Eve. You have a fascinating family history and it would be quite interesting to exchange notes.
      Before coming to the US in 1951 to persue my studies I attended the university in Aix. I passed by Le Tholonnet many times but never stopped in the town. That area of Provence offers so many beautiful spots that it would take several life times to know them all!!
      I have a site (mostly in French) where I recount some of my experiences during WWII. Respond via my email at: [email protected] and I will happily exchange other WWII stories.
      Francois
      PS. My wife and I live in Connecticut where we pretend to be farmers.

    • Christopher Eve says:

      Thank you, Francois. I will contact you via your email address.
      Best wishes,
      Chris

  11. J E Bourne says:

    After being turned down for the Army in January of 42, my father who worked as a millwrite at Pl,mouth was assigned to report to.Willow. Run to work.on the .B-24 assembly line as a quality control inspector. He was on the B-24 lines until the plant was shut.down in 1946. I have always been proud that.he. was able to contribute to the war effort in his own way. In 2022, the Commemorative Air.Force brought a B-24 and a B-29 to a nearby airport and I was finally able to see the inside of a B-24. That.was a special aircraft flown by very brave and spe coal airmen.

    • Nettie says:

      Off topic: I had the very same problem with my computer inserting “periods” in the wrong place in everything I typed. It was super annoying, but I was able to have it fixed. Good luck!

  12. Chris Long says:

    FYI – “Carpetbagger” is written on the OSS Congressional Gold Medal along with the names of other OSS operations. I don’t think the OSS thought of the term in a negative way. These special operations OSS agents were parachuting into enemy-occupied territory with their “carpetbags” and air drops of other supplies to help the local resistance. The OSS agents were heroes who helped win the war – God bless them all.

  13. D.A. Crull says:

    My father graduated high school in June 1944 and immediately joined the Army Air Force. He ended up in the B-29 program. The crew losses were staggering. Thankfully, our family exists today because we were able to end the war in the Pacific before he had to deploy. The Carpetbagger missions had to be terrifying. They had to be “low and slow”, a frightening combination. I wonder why the aircraft were painted glossy black vs. flat black? Wouldn’t glossy be more reflective and therefore more detectible?

  14. Marianne Hudar says:

    Thank you Fold 3 for researching and publishing all these little tidbits of WWII history, and making it available to the public!
    I never knew about Operation Carpetbagger until now.
    And a special thanks to Stu Redish for sharing your personal family history with us!
    You must be so proud of your father, for being a part of such an important mission.

  15. Godfrey Eland says:

    Fascinating. I didn’t know any of that. Thank you.

  16. Josephine Lindsey says:

    Anything on WW1?

  17. Bob Nesoff says:

    Fantastic. The first I’ve heard of this mission. I am going to incorporate into the sequel to my novel, Spyder Hole, about terrorists trying to set off nuclear weapons in NY and London. The sequel, Shaheed, will work with an updated version of the Carpetbaggers.
    Bob Nesoff

  18. Christopher Zeschke says:

    God bless those and their Families who served, are serving and will serve!

  19. Linda Nevins says:

    My dad also went behind enemy lines on a mission yet I never knew what mission. He also recieved the presidential service award Thank you for sharing your story!

  20. Richard Bryan says:

    Great museum at Harrington.

  21. Philippe V. KODECK says:

    Such airdrops were also made in Belgium.

  22. Roger Prince says:

    Great article and interesting reactions and comments. My understanding is that code names were picked from a list of words that were unique enough and easy enough to spell and pronounce and understand when spoken so as to not cause confusion. I didn’t think there was any significance put on the name. You wouldn’t want the enemy to be able to figure out what the operation was based on its name if they intercepted traffic with the code name in it. I also haven’t heard anyone mention what a carpet bag was. It was a large duffel like bag made literally from old carpet and with handles. Not a fancy suitcase or trunk. It was the sort of thing a poor person seeking their fortune would use to carry their belongings. The northerners who came to the south after the civil war frequently arrived with that sort of luggage. So it was definitely a pejorative when used by southerners to refer to those northerners who came south seeking their fortune with everything they owned in a cheap carpet bag.

    • Randy Kelso says:

      “You wouldn’t want the enemy to be able to figure out what the operation was based on its name if they intercepted traffic with the code name in it.”

      Roger, you beat me to the punch! You are exactly correct. How would any enemy associate the name “carpetbagger” with such and operation? It’s a code word, not a political statement! Thank you for your sharp mind and correct comment.

  23. Rich says:

    I just finished reading A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell: The story of Virginia Hall, an American who helped form and train the French resistance and helped win WW II. There are many pages describing her use of S-Phones to talk to pilots making drops of weapons, ammunition and other needed supplies into Nazi-occupied France before and after D-Day.

    • Francois Di Gegorio says:

      Another heroine Nancy Wake was called La Souris Blanche (The White Mouse) by the Gestapo and the French collaborators. The navigator of the B24 that transported her on her last mission in France was Larry Rivkin. Strangely enough during our Memorial Day celebration in Kent Connecticut as the oldest veteran of the Korean conflict I rode with him on the parade jeep. These Carpetbaggers missions were so secret that Larry had only learned the identity of the passenger just a few years before we met !!
      PS. Sonia Purnell’s book mentioned is a great read for anyone interested in the French resistance.

  24. Mark says:

    But they have not done any flights to Poland (I think) where 250.000 in Armia Krajowa were fighting not only against german nazis – the biggest underground organisation in Europe… Roosevelt and Churchil have sold Poland to Stalin….. and it was a harm!

  25. Rosemary says:

    Just a side note from a midwesterner – southern Indiana – who has been living in the south since 1974. When I lived in Georgetown, SC, I learned that “carpetbagger” was indeed a pejorative name for “Damn Yankees” vs “Yankees.” Now, in Charlotte, NC, we have lots of Yankees who have fit themselves into the city and nearby counties with enthusiasm and respect for “the locals.”
    Carpetbagger was quite an interesting choice for a mission, but the name sure wouldn’t be a clue for anyone on the Nazi side who looked up its meaning.

  26. PJ Achramowicz says:

    It comes to mind that Operation Carpetbagger may have served as a precursor to a much later mission: the Berlin Air Lift, which dropped supplies into what became Soviet occupied East Germany. The latter was much more visible, operating in daylight, but may have been seeded from the former’s success. Both helped people in what had become hostile territory.

  27. Donna says:

    My grandfather and a great-uncle served in WWII, at Normandy and the Ardennes. Stories like this one help me to imagine the unimaginable dangers and horrors they endured and witnessed. I am proud of what the men, women, and children of America and the world did to destroy Hitler and his machine of despotism and death. Stu, I honor your father’s memory.

  28. Charlotte says:

    Excellent article. My uncle started serving with them in May 1944 as a radioman. In August his plane was shot down over the French/Belgian border. A brave resistance Belgian family hid him for a month before that area was liberated. We have kept in touch with them to this day. Amazing stories in the Greatest Generation

  29. Jim Garth says:

    Making too much over a name especially in light of their accomplishments. Who cares what they called themselves- what matters is what they accomplished. We should all be proud and not quibble over the name.

  30. Amanda Carrell Barnard says:

    My GrandDaddy was in the same mission, “SeaBee’s”. This man looked like he had no care in the World, its amazing what he witnessed and lived through.

    • Rebecca C. McCue says:

      Our friend Emile Corrente was a “SeaBee” I’ll have to share this article with my husband as they had a close friendship from the Italian Center in Stamford, CT.

  31. Nick Tyrrell says:

    Not mentioned here is that parallel missions were also flown by the RAF to supply resistance workers and agents operated by the British equivalent of the OSS ie the SOE (Special Operations Executive). The SOE was established in the immediate aftermath of the fall of France and the retreat from Dunkirk. Hence it predated the entry of the USA into the war. Tragically there were many cases of betrayal, capture of agents, and subsequent false messaging which led to the deaths of many. This is probably the reason why the two services kept well apart as it would reduce the chance af an agent “knowing too much”.
    Brave people. One of the last surfing SOE agents died recently at the age of 99. She was first parachuted back to France (Paris ?) at the age of 17. I don’t think we can have the slightest real concept of what it was like to live in and through those times.

  32. Marilyn Brown says:

    Our dad was also a Carpetbagger. We are so proud of his service to his country!! We have been slowly uncovering his story and are so glad we know what he did, how he spent his life in this honorable and noble undertaking. We have discovered photos of his crew and plane and his journal. Thank you dad for your brave service!! We love you!!

  33. Christopher Eve says:

    My late mother took me to the aviation museum on the site of RAF Harrington, Northamptonshire, in about 1993, which is dedicated to the ‘Carpetbaggers.’ squadron. The remains of this airfield is near the town of Kettering, just off the A14 road. We were told that when the Yanks pulled out in the summer of 1945, they were only given 3-days notice, and basically left all their equipment at Harrington. Huge pits were dug and most things, including jeeps were dumped or driven into these pits and then covered over. Local lads who went exploring the site afterwards, even found 50 calibre machines guns and ammo’, left on the surface of these filled-in pits. Some war surplus items, such as jeeps went to auction and it was possible to buy one for £50 at that time, post-war.

    Since the 1980s, amateur archaeologists have been digging these pits up and finding all sorts of things, some of which were on sale in the museum shop, years ago. One such item I bought from Harrington, was rolled-up aluminium tape, named ‘window’. Operationally, it would have been unwound and thrown out of the bombers to block radar detection and confuse the enemy.

    During the latter part of the war, my mother dated some American aircrew who were likely from RAF Grafton Underwood (also near Kettering), which operated B.17s from the 384th BG. I have inherited photos of these men and have numerous stories of this time from her. My grandparents hosted American officers at the time, at the request of the local authorities, as they were local industrialists. My family still lives in this area.

    The men of the USAAF were brave indeed, and we have much to thank them for.

  34. Becky Stone McCue says:

    I would love to hear any stories about a radioman or Operations Crossroads. I never knew that my half brother, James Myles Stone (1925-1982). I was very young when he left home. After the way he exhibited his art in the Los Angeles, which my step brother sent to me two or three years ago. My family drove across the country from Pittsburgh to Santa Monica to visit him and a college friend who wanted to live on the west coast drove me to San Franciso in 1961 where we stayed until Thanksgiving. He was on the USS Coasters Harbor but had left the service before Bikini Atoll atomic bomb detonations in 1946. Eventually he and his partner had a successful restaurant in Monterey, California, “The Clock” restaurant.

  35. Frederick Cahn says:

    Dear Stu,

    My father was also over there a little bit after the Bulge started. He got a Bronze Star although what he actually did is something I cannot find out. He was, theoretically, with US Army Intelligence interrogating German soldiers as he spoke fluent German that he learned at Yale while studying physics. All the good physics books at that time were written in German. I think he was also working with some other guys from Yale.

    I have tried, in vain, find out more about what he actually did. I do know some of the things he did later was/is classified and I don’t need to know of course. That said, a colleague of his has interesting commendations that are heavily redacted and I was told “if you think these are impressive, you should see your dad‘s.”.

    Contacting the government has not been productive and my dad, like many of that generation, wouldn’t talk about it. I know he was badly shot up and spent a long time in the hospital. I saw the scars.

    There was a fire in St. Louis that, I am told, destroyed his records. I am reasonably sure that somewhere there must be records about the Bronze Star. Certainly, the military cemetery knew he had the medal.

    I would be greatly appreciative if you could point me in the right direction to find out more about this very tough, determined, and interesting man. Just for the record, I loved him and had the highest respect for him.

    Many thanks,

    Respectfully,

    Fredi

  36. Terry Starr says:

    My sons and I visited RAF Harrington by accident in 1999. We were looking for RAF Grafton Underwood. We got a private tour and learned so much. We had followed a small brown square sign with a picture of a propeller on it. It was a great morning!

    • Christopher Eve says:

      Hi Terry,

      The site of RAF Grafton Underwood is opening a museum in some of the old wartime buildings, on land recently sold by the 10th Duke of Buccleuch to enable the museum to be set up.

      My mother dated one or two aircrew from Grafton Underwood in 1944 / 45. They belonged to the 384th Bombardment Group, USAAF.

  37. Pierce B Irby COL (ret) says:

    This is a wonderful under-heralded group of unique heroes, as covert and “classified” operations often are unfortunately. Total praise and honor to all these brave service members and families who supported them. Support for the French resistance movement was indispensable to Allied victory from prior to D-day through Nazi/Vichy surrender.
    I highly recommend a visit to the Museum of the Resistance/Holocaust in Lyon to inform all younger generations how heroic were the “free” French during WWII and how brutal the Nazis and fascist sympathizers. Never forget.

    As an aside, I think the choice of the code name “Carpetbagger” was inspired and totally appropriate. As a descendant of many generations of regrettable Confederates, and a student of the Reconstruction, I know that carpetbaggers
    actually revitalized an immoral Southern economy, despite my ancestors’ racist resentments to the contrary. An inconvenient truth. Operation Carpetbagger contributed to a similar goal for France, i.e. root out the evil
    and install a new moral regime. My salute to these great “ carpetbagger” airmen who risked their all for democracy.

  38. Ted W. Lewis ( USAF retired) says:

    My Uncle Ray was commissioned a 2nd Lt. in November, 1943 and piloted the B-24 Liberator Bombers in Europe. He was stationed at a secret air base in England, flying one plane missions over German occupied France, dropping supplies and agents at 600 feet altitude. Their code name was “Carpetbaggers,” of the 801st Bomb Squadron. Following 46 secret missions, he returned to the United States in August 1944. He also was a Korean War Veteran.
    I am an Air Force veteran (1971-1991), with two of my children active today.
    We salute Major Ray McCall! Thanks for your service Uncle Ray, and for being my friend.

  39. Mark Ryan says:

    My father was with the 803rd BG at Chelveston air base in Northamptonshire from 1943-46. He met a lovely young lady serving coffee at the USO and they were married for 69 years. My sister and her family live in Northampton and my nephew live in Rushton (I think that’s the name) and while driving to his house on a recent visit to England we passed a small monument in a pulloff along side the road. There were American and British flags flying over the monument and we decided we needed to explore. It was memoralizing the secret operations of the 492nd BG. Walking through the trees surrounding the memorial revealed the old runway cutting across the field. It’s just a quiet little site out in the country along the Rushton Road. None of my family had heard of the base and unfortunately the visit was for my mothers funeral so we couldn’t ask her.

    In a related issue, Ken Follett has written a novel Jackdaws about the women involved in those secret operations. Very informative and enjoyable read.

  40. John Savage says:

    I am some what of a WWII history buff, but I have never heard of Operation Carpetbagger before. I learn something new every day. Congratulations to those brave men.

  41. Judy Ward Worthen says:

    This has been very interesting to read. I appreciate hearing the stories of “our guys” and the personal stories and sacrifices that were made, as a tribute to their lives and hardships. My Dad and his older brother were in WWII so these tidbits of information are of interest to me. (My uncle was a Radio Operator whose plane was shot down, leaving him a POW for over two years during which he kept a daily diary of it all.)

  42. Peavey Joyce says:

    Were there female spies that were in the drops that were of German descent and spoke the language? If so, do you have names or any way of identifying them? I had a female first cousin who received two Women of the Year Awards. Pounds was the last name, but I remember that she changed her name during the 1940’s.?
    Her mother name was Bertha KUYKENDALL Pounds. Ina Joyce KUYKENDALL Peavey, Lt. Coll. USAF, NC, retired