B-29 Staging Bases
There was a comment in a recent message - which I can't find - that referred to Kearney and Herington as the major staging bases for overseas deployment. In regard the B-29's that was so during the latter part of 1944 and 1945 when B-29 staging was put under the 'control' of the 2nd Air Force. Their (2AF) procedures and implementation left a lot to be desired - A nine man crew taking twelve hours to change a R-3350 engine? Indeed!!! But that is another subject.
The initial deployment of the 58th Bomb Wing to the CBI took place in April and May of 1944 from eight different bases in the US. These were, with the number of planes going from each:
Gravelly Point 20
Great Bend 32
Smoky Hill 43
For a total of 187. Of note is that the great majority left directly from the base at which they trained; the 40thBG at Pratt, the 444thBG at Great Bend, the 462ndBG at Smoky Hill and the 468th BG at Walker. The majority of the planes going through Gravelly Point seems to be from the 444th and 462nd for some undetected reason
Kearney and Herington came into their own as strictly B-29 staging bases when the 73rd Bomb Wing - 497th, 498th, 499th, and 500th Bomb Groups - were ordered to the Marianas in the Fall of 1944.