19th Bombardment Group Stories - Tech Sgt Nathan Cogan

19th Bombardment Group Stories - Tech Sgt Nathan Cogan

This account of the experiences of Tech. Sgt. Nathan Cogan originally accompanied a series of paintings by Pfc Ernest Berkowitz, who painted a series of pictures of the aircraft and men of the 19th Bombardment Groupwhile they were all based at Dyersburg Air Force Base, Tennessee, after their exploits in the Far East. Although we don't have the paintings, the stories themselves are still of great interest. Berkowitz later went on to become succesful artist under the name Ernest Berke, mainly producing paintings of Native Americans and their horses.

Many thanks to Dennis Gagomiros for sending us these documents.

The average person thinking of our Air Force is apt to picture handsome devil-may-care flying officers in fighters and bombers who go out to do battle with the enemy. Captains and Lieutenants blasting vital enemy targets with high explosive and straffing enemy installations from treetop height. Invariably forgotten are the men who service and maintain these planes. The men of grease and wrenches--the men who can listen to engines and tell their condition--the men who know the "guts" of a plane as well as they know their own bodies. Lean, wiry Tech. Sgt. Nathan Cogan is one of these men. One of the men who kept planes in the air on "borrowed time" when under ordinary circumstances these planes would have been permanently grounded.

Sgt. Cogan's story starts away back in November of 1941, when after completing his Aircraft Maintenance Course at Chanute Field, he was ordered to the Phillipines. While aboard the ship he can tell you of an instance when a Jap scout plane flew over. He can tell you how each man was issued a rifle so that if the planes appeared in force—but they didn't!!! He CAN tell you--but he won't. He will tell you about receiving mail and Christmas packages from home in June and July while in Australia. He will tell of how happy they were to get that mail, but he wont discuss the trip or the hardships or handicaps under which they worked. That story had to come from his buddies.

The ship he was on finally stopped at Hawaii, then at the Phillipines and finally at Brisbane, Australia, four months before people back home heard that American soldiers had come to the "land down under". In Australia they joined the 19th Group and it proved to be a hectic experience. From Australia to Java; back to Australia, then to New Guinea, keeping Fortresses in the air under the hardest of conditions. Little or no spare parts, enough tools for five or six planes, much less twenty-five or thirty. This to be endured with the daily raids by Jap planes. Theirs is no tale of glamour, but their work and ingenuity enables our Flying Fortresses to strike back. These then are the men who really made it possible for the planes to keep flying.

Tech. Sgt. Cogan is in charge of a shift of them here at Dyersburg Army Air Base and he's been keeping them flying here as he did in Java and Australia.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (DATE), 19th Bombardment Group Stories - Tech Sgt Nathan Cogan , http://www.historyofwar.org/Pictures/pictures_19th_BG_story_09.html

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