Baisden, Charles "Chuck"

Last Name:   
Baisden


First Name: 
Charles
Nickname:  
Chuck
Born/Died  
03/30/1920-02/21/2017
Hometown:
Scranton, PA
Squadron:
3rd Squadron, Hell's Angels
Position: 
Armorer
Victories
N/A
Decorations:
Distinguished Flying Cross; Bronze Star; Air Medal; Four Presidential Unit Citations; Air Force Outstanding Unit Award; SAC Crew of the Month; Two Korean Unit Citations; China National Service Medal; Combat Ready.
Pre AVG: Enlisted Private 1939 in the Army Air Corps.  Technical School, Armament at Lowry Field, Colorado, 1940.  Worked on P-36, YP-37, YFM-1, and P-40, and Martin B-10 Tow Reel Operator at Langley Field, VA as well as Mitchel Field, NY.  S/Sgt, 1941.  Convenience of the Government Discharge, May, 1941, to join the American Volunteer Group.
AVG Service: Signed one year contract with Central Aircraft Mfg. Co, covert cover for the AVG.  Sailed on the President Pierce from San Francisco, June, 1941, to Hong Kong.  Sailed from there on Dutch Packet to Singapore, then on English flagged ship to Rangoon, Burma.  Was with first forces to reach Burma, and first of the AVG to reach Toungoo, August, 1941.  Stationed at Mingaladon and Magwe, Burma;  Loiwing, Mengshi, and Kunming, China.  Moved supplies on the Burma Road by truck.  Was sent by Chennault to Maymyo, Burma, via Mandalay to pick up 55,000 rounds of ammunition for our aircraft.  Worked as armorer on 3rd Squadron P-40B's and P-40E's.  Left AVG at expiration of contract and reached ZI September, 1942.
Post AVG, WWII:

Enlisted as T/Sgt. November, 1942.  Assigned P-47 Fighters as Group Armament Inspector at Westover AFB.  Promoted to M/Sgt.  Accepted for pilot training Aviation Cadet, Class 43K.  Checked out in PT-22's and BT-13's.  Married in Blythe, CA during Primary Training, June, 1943.  Washed out in Basic, Sept. 1943.  Assigned B-17 Ball Turret Gunnery School at Kingman, AZ.  Air Force Priority 1943 transfer to First Air Commando Group, Karachi, India as NCOIC B-25 Gunnery Section.  Moved to Hailakandi, Assam, India, and completed 58 combat missions with R.T. Smith, CO of the medium-bombers, and my old AVG buddy, aboard the BARBIE III.  Returned 1944 to the ZI.  Finished the war as B-29 remote control systems instructor at Lowry, AFB, CO.  Discharged September, 1946
Post War Career:

Tried civilian life as a watch repairman, but found it too confining and reenlisted in 1948, as S/Sgt, taking a 3-grade reduction in rank.  Was stationed at Mitchell AFB, NY, and McGuire AFB, NJ. until 1950.  Transferred to Itazuki, AFB, Japan as Sqdn. Armament inspector, 80th fighter/bomber, 8th Fighter Group.  Worked on Lockheed F-80 Jet Aircraft at Itazuki and Kimpo, Korea.  Transferred to 93rd Bomb Sqdn., 19th Bomb Group, Okinawa, 1951, and flew combat missions over North Korea. Returned to ZI, Dec., 1951..  T/Sgt. Wing Standboard Gunner for B-29's at Hunter AFB, GA until 29's were phased out.  Retrained as Inflight Refueling Technician (boom operator) on KC-97 Tanker Aircraft, and completed 815 refueling contacts on SAC B-47's and B-52's.  Promoted to MSGT.  Last stationed at Otis AFB, Cape Cod, MA.  Retired from Air Force January, 1964.

Retired to Savannah, GA and employed as Industrial Instrumentation and Quality Control Technician in the Cryogenics Field.  Responsible for the testing of high grade liquid oxygen sent to Cape Canaveral for space flights.  Installed and serviced instrumentation equipment for my company in GA, TN, AL, FL and SC.  Authored book "Flying Tiger to Air Commando", 1999 (ISBN: 0-7643-0690-1), still in print.  Now retired living in Savannah with #1 wife, Willa.  We have three grown children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  Still active with the Flying Tiger Assn, an avid Civil War Relic collector, gardener, and still with a keen interest in firearms, and can be found either in his garden, at the computer or at the local firing range.

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