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View Full Version : Bernard "Buzz" Hodgkiss Passed Away



Jay Deaton
03-10-2005, 07:44 AM
Johhny Hodgkiss's father passed away monday, at his home surrounded by friends and family. His funeral is today (thurs) at 2:30 at Rose Neath Funeral Home 2500 Southside Ave Shreveport La.
Buzz was 83 years young a veteran of WWII in which he was a navigator on a B52, flying 64 missions and not once getting lost. He was a remarkable person and will be missed. Condolances can be sent to Johnny Hodgkiss at 8216 Roosevelt Dr. Shreveport La. 71129 our you can call Johnny at 318 687-5271. God speed Buzz.

Jay Deaton
03-10-2005, 07:44 AM
Johhny Hodgkiss's father passed away monday, at his home surrounded by friends and family. His funeral is today (thurs) at 2:30 at Rose Neath Funeral Home 2500 Southside Ave Shreveport La.
Buzz was 83 years young a veteran of WWII in which he was a navigator on a B52, flying 64 missions and not once getting lost. He was a remarkable person and will be missed. Condolances can be sent to Johnny Hodgkiss at 8216 Roosevelt Dr. Shreveport La. 71129 our you can call Johnny at 318 687-5271. God speed Buzz.

Frank Newman
03-10-2005, 08:21 AM
Not a B52. B24, B17, B25, B26? 64 missions is an incredible number of missions. Standard through most of the war was 21. He must have "re-upped". Very brave. Some might wonder at the "never got lost" comment. Back then, the primary navigation was compass, watch, and pilotage (following a map) with some low frequency radio beams in use. The run of the mill private aircraft today has far superior navigational equipment. Add in the reasonable fear of a fiery death and the atrocious northern Europe and English weather and you have a real challenge.
As they probably said at the funeral, "A grateful nation thanks you for your service."

Frank Newman
03-10-2005, 08:21 AM
Not a B52. B24, B17, B25, B26? 64 missions is an incredible number of missions. Standard through most of the war was 21. He must have "re-upped". Very brave. Some might wonder at the "never got lost" comment. Back then, the primary navigation was compass, watch, and pilotage (following a map) with some low frequency radio beams in use. The run of the mill private aircraft today has far superior navigational equipment. Add in the reasonable fear of a fiery death and the atrocious northern Europe and English weather and you have a real challenge.
As they probably said at the funeral, "A grateful nation thanks you for your service."

Norm McDonald
03-10-2005, 08:53 AM
Our condolances to Johnny and your family from the McDonalds and all the CMRA family.Sorry to hear of your loss. Jay sorry I didn't get this posted for you yesterday but I see you got back on the board we've missed you.

Norm McDonald
03-10-2005, 08:53 AM
Our condolances to Johnny and your family from the McDonalds and all the CMRA family.Sorry to hear of your loss. Jay sorry I didn't get this posted for you yesterday but I see you got back on the board we've missed you.

Jay Deaton
03-10-2005, 07:37 PM
Thanks Frank,
It's been many years since i talked with buzz about his army experiance. We attended an Air Force show at Barksdale some 15 18 ? years back and they had a working, flying B17, I knew it wasn't a 52 but couldn't remember it, The Air Force pilots who maintained it closed it off for the next 1.5 hrs going from one to the other and back with him. He knew every inch, of it even told them how to solve many problems they were having. They were truly in awe at his knowledge of the plane and its limits and capabilities. As were myself and johnny. But he got many memories he had forgot some not so pleasent. I was
fortunate to witness this event.
He entered the Army Air Corps to fly, and fly he did, in 1942 he went through training and was stationed at Kimbolton, England with the 379th Bombardment Group A. He would later receive their highest certificate for his contribution to the success of the 379th. He could do any operationwith the aircraft,including pilot, but his best function was navigator and bombadier. He was the best nav in the 379th, every pilot requested him, and he was dead on with his drops.
He was in two crash landings (we think) due to damaged planes. In one mission out of 4 planes with escorts his was the only one to return though it suffered amjor damage to machine and soldiers. During the operation navigation wa not important, by the time it was over no one knew where they were, and some part of nav damaged ?? By map and land marks and a compass he got them on course and to a safe landing zone.
He loved machines, He was also an Engineer, and wanted to stay in the army at the end of the war to take the B26 to its limits but he went in to engineering and family life.
He flew 36, we checked the # we were all curious, bombing missions, and 20 missions not officially "bombing runs" but just as hazardous, in fact planes were lost during these missions. A Remarkable # cosidering the average life expectancy of any plane and its occupants, i think it was quite low. Yes, he was a brave man but humble too, he didn't talk much of his accomplishments. He left the Army Air Corps as 1st Leutenant. (spl?) Not a hisory buff, but i would like to research the 379th history to see waht they have on him. Any suggestions on how to?
Thanks Frank

Jay Deaton
03-10-2005, 07:37 PM
Thanks Frank,
It's been many years since i talked with buzz about his army experiance. We attended an Air Force show at Barksdale some 15 18 ? years back and they had a working, flying B17, I knew it wasn't a 52 but couldn't remember it, The Air Force pilots who maintained it closed it off for the next 1.5 hrs going from one to the other and back with him. He knew every inch, of it even told them how to solve many problems they were having. They were truly in awe at his knowledge of the plane and its limits and capabilities. As were myself and johnny. But he got many memories he had forgot some not so pleasent. I was
fortunate to witness this event.
He entered the Army Air Corps to fly, and fly he did, in 1942 he went through training and was stationed at Kimbolton, England with the 379th Bombardment Group A. He would later receive their highest certificate for his contribution to the success of the 379th. He could do any operationwith the aircraft,including pilot, but his best function was navigator and bombadier. He was the best nav in the 379th, every pilot requested him, and he was dead on with his drops.
He was in two crash landings (we think) due to damaged planes. In one mission out of 4 planes with escorts his was the only one to return though it suffered amjor damage to machine and soldiers. During the operation navigation wa not important, by the time it was over no one knew where they were, and some part of nav damaged ?? By map and land marks and a compass he got them on course and to a safe landing zone.
He loved machines, He was also an Engineer, and wanted to stay in the army at the end of the war to take the B26 to its limits but he went in to engineering and family life.
He flew 36, we checked the # we were all curious, bombing missions, and 20 missions not officially "bombing runs" but just as hazardous, in fact planes were lost during these missions. A Remarkable # cosidering the average life expectancy of any plane and its occupants, i think it was quite low. Yes, he was a brave man but humble too, he didn't talk much of his accomplishments. He left the Army Air Corps as 1st Leutenant. (spl?) Not a hisory buff, but i would like to research the 379th history to see waht they have on him. Any suggestions on how to?
Thanks Frank

Frank Newman
03-11-2005, 08:22 AM
My Dad was Squadron Commander in the 447th Bomb Group (H)(this means Heavy) out of Rattlesdon, England. If you will find me at MSR and I can probably fill in a lot of blanks with correct information or an informed guess. Don't want to bore other readers but, for example, navigating started immediately after takeoff because one of the hardest parts was "forming up" with your squadron and group. They routinely did 0-0 takeoffs, ie., zero ceiling and zero visibility due to fog etc. Finding your squadron was difficult. Also, navigating didn't mean just going to the target and returning. It also meant taking a route that would subject you to the least anti-aircraft fire and fighter opposition. I would enjoy exchanging stories with you.

Frank Newman
03-11-2005, 08:22 AM
My Dad was Squadron Commander in the 447th Bomb Group (H)(this means Heavy) out of Rattlesdon, England. If you will find me at MSR and I can probably fill in a lot of blanks with correct information or an informed guess. Don't want to bore other readers but, for example, navigating started immediately after takeoff because one of the hardest parts was "forming up" with your squadron and group. They routinely did 0-0 takeoffs, ie., zero ceiling and zero visibility due to fog etc. Finding your squadron was difficult. Also, navigating didn't mean just going to the target and returning. It also meant taking a route that would subject you to the least anti-aircraft fire and fighter opposition. I would enjoy exchanging stories with you.

Linz Leard
03-12-2005, 07:33 AM
Godspeed, Buzz!

Jay: a "hello" to you; I've missed you, buddy! Pass on my condolences to Johnny, will you please?

Linz Leard
03-12-2005, 07:33 AM
Godspeed, Buzz!

Jay: a "hello" to you; I've missed you, buddy! Pass on my condolences to Johnny, will you please?

Jack Giesecke
03-12-2005, 08:17 AM
Heard it just the other day on the history channel. Think it was, the average life span of a B17 crew over Europe was 15 sorties. You pretty much figured you were dead when you went over there. Brave men in brave times, truely America's greatest generation, at least in the 20th century.

May he rest in peace, an American hero.

Jack Giesecke
03-12-2005, 08:17 AM
Heard it just the other day on the history channel. Think it was, the average life span of a B17 crew over Europe was 15 sorties. You pretty much figured you were dead when you went over there. Brave men in brave times, truely America's greatest generation, at least in the 20th century.

May he rest in peace, an American hero.

Travis Pierce
03-13-2005, 03:57 PM
Man, keep going, I love history, Not getting bored here. Next story please.

Travis Pierce
03-13-2005, 03:57 PM
Man, keep going, I love history, Not getting bored here. Next story please.

Frank Newman
03-15-2005, 03:23 PM
The deal was that no crew was able to complete its 21 missions without being shot down or suffering a casualty - that could mean death or a wound - but bottom line was that someone in your crew was going to have a bad experience before your tour was over. The crew of the Memphis Belle was the first to complete all 21 missions intact. It was a huge morale boost that someone had done it. Now there was hope that you could do it too. This was quite early in the war - say 1941. After long range fighter escorts were available and more and more experienced German fighter pilots were dying, the odds became much better. When the Memphis Belle crew finished their tour they went to the US and toured the country selling war bonbs and generally trying to boost morale on the home front. We still had a long way to go and neede still more young men to sign up to fly in combat and more young women to fly non-combat ferry missions (like flying a B-17 with 5 or 6 P-51's attached in loose formation across the Atlantic with crappy weather and crappier gear - not a cush job), test flights, etc.

Frank Newman
03-15-2005, 03:23 PM
The deal was that no crew was able to complete its 21 missions without being shot down or suffering a casualty - that could mean death or a wound - but bottom line was that someone in your crew was going to have a bad experience before your tour was over. The crew of the Memphis Belle was the first to complete all 21 missions intact. It was a huge morale boost that someone had done it. Now there was hope that you could do it too. This was quite early in the war - say 1941. After long range fighter escorts were available and more and more experienced German fighter pilots were dying, the odds became much better. When the Memphis Belle crew finished their tour they went to the US and toured the country selling war bonbs and generally trying to boost morale on the home front. We still had a long way to go and neede still more young men to sign up to fly in combat and more young women to fly non-combat ferry missions (like flying a B-17 with 5 or 6 P-51's attached in loose formation across the Atlantic with crappy weather and crappier gear - not a cush job), test flights, etc.