The Organization

It all started on 1 December 1942 at MacDill Field near Tampa, Florida. The 386th Bombardment Group(M) was activated and Lt. Colonel Lester J. Maitland was named the Commanding Officer.
The 21st Bombardment Group, an Operation Training Unit (OTU), at MacDill had already activated five B-26 groups. The first two, the 319th and the 320th, went to Africa. The 322nd, 323rd and 344th were activated in that order. Then came the 386th. All these groups as well as all subsequent B-26 groups activated at MacDill went to England.
Colonel Maitland assisted by Lieutenant H.G. "Tad" Hankey, the Group Operations Officer, hand picked the key personnel from the 21st Group. The four squadrons assigned to the Group were the 552nd, 553rd, 554th and the 555th Bombardment Squadrons (M).
Maitland and Hankey selected the four Squadron Commanders. Lieutenant T.G. Corbin for the 552nd, Captain F.W. Harris for the 553rd, Captain T.I. Ramsey for the 554th and Captain S.R. Beaty for the 555th. Major E.F. Quinn became the Group Executive and Lieutenant L.T. Little was the first Adjutant. Little later moved to the 553rd as the Executive Officer and Lieutenant George Daugherty, who had been with Maitland in the Phillippines, became the Group Adjutant. Group Intelligence (G-2) was Major J.I. Mellen, Hankey headed Operation (G-3) and Lieutenant M.B. Smith was the Materiel Officer (G-4). (Note: the "G" for Group designations were changed to "S" for Staff very early in the war and will be so designated throughout this book.) The Operations Staff included: Lieutenant Emory Raper, Group Navigator; Lieutenant Simon G. Economidis, Group Bombardier; Lieutenant Elliott Levin, Group Communications; Lieutenant John Maletic, Group Armament; Lieutenant A.W. Anderson, Group Weather and Lieutenant E.A. Rogers, Assistant Operations Officer. Captain U.J. Carruth headed the Engineering staff, Captain John Saar was the Group Surgeon, Lieutenant G.H. Charters was the Photo Officer, Captain K.K. LeMaster was the Public Information Officer and Lieutenants Ruhl and Oder were the Catholic and Protestant Chaplains. Events would prove that the staff selections had been good ones.
"The Organization" from "The Story of The Crusaders"
Posted with permission
Copyright 1999 Skip Young - 386th Bomb Group

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