XXI Bomber Command Lead Crew Manual
XXI Bomber Command June 1944 M. A. R.

“In no other military operation does so great a responsibility devolves on so small a group of specialists in the case of Lead Crews. During the brief span of the bombing run, all of the human life, labor, and materiel invested in placing the formation over the target are held ‘in trust’ by the Lead Crew, whose performance determines whether or the not the investment pays off.”

XXI Bomber Command Lead Crew Manual
(2 March 1945)

The attached documents and video provide you with a sense of how the training, operations and logistics came together in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to carry the war (in the air) to the Japanese Home Islands and resulting in their eventual surrender in September 1945.

As you recall this was a combined land, sea, and air effort to capture the necessary “real estate” to build and sustain the B-29 (and other aircraft) in the final months of World War II. (See Briefing #2 on B-29 44-69975)

Though the video is an end of war propaganda piece, the viewer can appreciate the incredible logistics miracles which occurred and the iron determination of the “Iron Eagle” himself Curtis E. LeMay.  The narrator describes LeMay as the “Old Man”– he was just 38 years old—and his dedication to maintenance, logistics, and the process!  Part of the process was the use of “lead crews” (also used when LeMay was CINCSAC).

Look closely and many of the faces (and “update boards”) in the film were part of the SAC command cadre and eventually used in the SAC Command Post at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

The Last Bomb

Lead Crew Manual, XXI Bomber Command (2 March 1945).
XXI Bomber Command Monthly Activity Report (1 June 1945)