Reply to post

Major Clyde S. Shield, FTS, 216th AAFBU, 2nd AF (Information found)

Author
25Kingman49
Moderator
  • Total Posts : 1297
  • Reward points : 3402
  • Joined: 2012/03/09 14:15:40
  • Location: Utah
  • Status: offline
2012/10/27 23:13:23 (permalink)
5 (1)

Major Clyde S. Shield, FTS, 216th AAFBU, 2nd AF (Information found)

I am privileged to report that data on missions flown by the members of the 216th AAFBU, Flight Test Section (FTS) during the bomb development stages of the Manhattan Project at Wendover Field, Wendover, Utah during 1945 have been recovered.
 
This again is a continuation of the previous 216th AAFBU threads http://forum.armyairforces.com/216th-AAFBU-Special-Wendover-Field-records-purged-from-history-m225919.aspx and  http://forum.armyairforces.com/216th-Army-Air-Force-Base-Unit-Special-Second-Air-Force-m219396.aspx I post it separately to honor the members of the Flight Test Section and as thanks to Keith Shields, son of the late Major Clyde S. Shields CO of the Flight Test Section, 216th Army Air Force Base Unit (Special), Second Air Force.
 
From the previous threads it is obvious that this has been a long struggle to recover any information on the 216th AAFBU (Sp) with my filing of three FOIA requests looking for this data. The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has been of zero help and the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA) Maxwell, AFB has done all in their power to find this information, but these records appear to have been purged from their archives or never existed.
 
As a result I started a search for the progeny of the members of the 216th AAFBU and found a link to Keith Shields. I forwarded this contact info to Darrell Dvorak, Son-in-Law of the late Clifford J. Heflin CO 216th AAFBU (Sp) Hq. Wendover Field, Second Air Force. Darrell made first contact with Keith resulting in the sharing of documents on the 216th AAFBU (Sp).
 
Keith Shields has graciously provided this mission (bomb drop test) history for the FTS personnel from his Father, Major Clyde S. Shields records in PDF format. This record can serve as a roster for the FTS of the 216th AAFBU (Sp), although this is not actually a roster and may or may not be a complete listing of all personnel of the FTS it is far closer than any other record found to date. The only possible drawback for this document is that it may only represent the air echelon of the FTS and probably omits any ground echelon assigned to the FTS. The file is slightly too large to post to the forum so I have provided the following dropbox link:https://dl.dropbox.com/u/87296379/Flight%20Test%20Section%20Personnel%20and%20Missions%20Flown.pdf
 
Keith Shields has honored his father in this article through his local newspaper http://www.victorpost.com/features/x536732885/War-hero-Clyde-Stanley-Shields-remembered?zc_p=0 which shows Major Shields WW II service starting before the war began while stationed in Hawaii during the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was this article that lead me to Keith in the first place and as a result provided information that appears to not be available from the U.S. Air Force or the U.S. Government. As of this posting I have yet to receive a response to my request for this and other data on the 216th AAFBU (Sp) from NARA or the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. 
 
Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) chart can be found here: http://www.armyairforces.com/Data/MOS.aspx
 
Scott
Edit: 25Kingman49 08:20, 28 Oct 2012 added MOS chart link
post edited by 25Kingman49 - 2012/10/30 23:40:40

1 Reply Related Threads

    25Kingman49
    Moderator
    • Total Posts : 1297
    • Reward points : 3402
    • Joined: 2012/03/09 14:15:40
    • Location: Utah
    • Status: offline
    Re:Major Clyde S. Shield, FTS, 216th AAFBU, 2nd AF (Information found) 2012/10/29 21:11:15 (permalink)
    +2 (1)
    Now that more new information is becoming Available through Keith Shields, son of Major Clyde S. (Stan) Shields about the Flight Test Section of the 216th AAFBU (Sp), Wendover Field, Utah it is appropriate to cover some history about the early aviation aspects of the Manhattan Project. The development of the original Prototype Silverplate aircraft B-29-5-BW-42-6259 was developed and modified at Wright Field, Ohio under project number MX-496 (code name ‘Pullman”) with these modifications being completed in January 1944.
     
    It is important to highlight at this point that both Major Clyde S. Shields and Capt. Dave Semple (aircraft commander/pilot & bombardier respectively) were already working on test programs at Wright Field and were chosen to participate in this early Manhattan Project bomb delivery program. The first drop tests with this newly modified B-29 took place at Muroc Field, CA (later to become Edwards AFB) in February and March 1944.
     
    In essence Maj. Shields and Capt. Semple became the first Manhattan aviators ten long months before the activation of the 509th CG and reorganization of the 216th AAFBU into its (Special) designation at Wendover, Field, UT on 17 December 1944. Both Maj. Shields and Capt. Semple were instrumental in the success of the Manhattan Project and there could never be enough accolades to their service in the development, testing and delivery modifications for the first atomic bombs. Maj. Shields went on to become the Commanding Officer of the Flight Test Section (FTS) of the 216th AAFBU (Sp) reporting directly to Col. Clifford J. Heflin, CO, 216th AAFBU (Sp), Hq. Wendover Field and Capt. Semple became the lead bombardier of the 216th  AAFBU (Sp), FTS.
     
    Due to the elimination of the Thin Man Pu-239 gun type nuclear weapon as not feasible the prototype Silverplate B-29 42-6259 was flown back to Wright Field for further modification to accommodate the new Fat Man Pu-239 implosion nuclear weapon as well as the Little Boy U-235 gun type nuclear weapon; see this link on Project Alberta Weapons: http://forum.armyairforces.com/Project-Alberta-The-Weapons-m217380.aspx When these modification were completed the aircraft was flown out to Wendover Field where the 509th CG was about to be activated and the 216th AAFBU was about to become the most (Special) Base Units in the US Army Air Forces.
     
    From this point forward the FTS of the 216th AAFBU (Sp) continued to grow under the command of Maj. Shields from this first single prototype Silverplate B-29 to 14 Silverplate’s eventually forming Squadron A, 216th AAFBU (Sp), Second Air Force as this unit was never attached in any way to the 509th CG and remained a separate entity throughout the Manhattan Project test phases at Wendover Field reporting to 2nd AF and Los Alamos. In addition; during May 1945 the 320th Troop Carrier Squadron “Green Hornets” was reassigned from the 509th CG and placed under the command of Maj. Shields in conjunction with his command of the Flight Test Section B-29's; here is a forum link to the 320th TCS: http://forum.armyairforces.com/320th-Troop-Carrier-Squadron-509th-Composite-Group-m219200.aspx the critical shipments of bomb components made by this Squadron to Tinian was under the direction of Maj. Shields; covered here: http://forum.armyairforces.com/Transport-of-Little-Boy-unit-L11-components-to-Tinian-for-use-by-the-m217998.aspx and here: http://forum.armyairforces.com/Transport-of-the-1st-PU239-core-and-initiator-and-three-FM-units-to-T-m217600.aspx
     
    Keith Shields has provided a more complete mission (bomb drop test) history for the FTS air echelon personnel, detailing some of the FTS accomplishment including suggested modification to the bombs, bomb delivery and the Silverplate’s, truly the nuts and bolts of making Manhattan a success. This file again is too large to post here and this dropbox link is provided: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/87296379/FLIGHT_TEST_SECTION_RECORD_OF_ACCOMPLISHMENTS_092545.pdf
     
    Sources: Major Clyde S. Shields thru Keith Shields, LANL, “The Silverplate Bombers” by Richard H. Campbell, “Atomic Bombs The Top Secret Inside Story of Little Boy and Fat Man” by John Coster-Mullen, The National WW II Museum
     
    Scott
     
    Prototype "Pullman"/Silverplate B-29-5-BW-42-6259; initial aircraft used my Maj. Shields and Capt. Semple during the Manhattan Project
    [1] Prototype...W-42-6259
    Major Clyde S. (Stan) Shields, CO, FTS, 216th AAFBU (Sp), 2nd AF 
    [2] Major Cly... - F Copy
    Captain Dave Semple, lead bombardier,FTS, 216th AAFBU (Sp), 2nd AF 
    [3] Capt. Dave Semple  
     
    Edit: 25Kingman49 - 30 Oct 2012 changed title to include Major Clyde S. Shields for internet searches
    post edited by 25Kingman49 - 2013/01/08 11:40:54
    Jump to:
    © 2014 APG vNext Commercial Version 5.0