A Brief History of the 80th Bomb Squadron,

45th Bomb Group (Heavy)


The 80th Bomb Squadron formed in July of 1941 at Grenier Field (outside link to Grenier Field), Manchester N.H.  James Cooney was one of the original cadre.  He joined the unit as a mechanic and moved to flight engineer.  Of the approximately 40 mechanics all but two were from Texas.  The unit was originally equipped with Douglas B-18 bombers .


By the end of 1941 the 80th  squadron was transferred to Dover Air Base in Delaware and assigned to Anti-Submarine Patrol.   At this time the unit was equipped with a mix of B-18 and DB-7 bombers.

My grandfather (right) and William Dees in “Mosquito Haven”
                       Dover Delaware (1941).  


During the summer of 1942 the unit was again transferred to Miami Florida.  First stationed at Opa Locka Naval Station, they moved to the 36th Street Airport after a couple of months.  At the 36th Street Airport they first received the Consolidated Vultee B-24D  four engine bomber.  The 80th was renamed the 9th Anti Submarine Squadron and was assigned to the protection of  shipping in the Atlantic and Caribbean.

Unit mascot was a black Scottish terrier
         named Little Black Cinder.”    



Pit crew in Miami 1943
 James Cooney far left. 


On Sept 2nd, 1943 James Cooney was transferred from the 9th Anti Submarine to Charleston S.C.  There an experienced cadre from the 9th and other units formed the 1st Bomber Command Training Detachment #2 at Charleston Army Air Base.  Much of the remainder of the 9th AntiSubmarine formed the cadre for the 835th Bomb Squadron (H) of the 486th Bomb Group.


One of the challenges that existed at Training Detachment #2 was that there was no equipment available with which to train the new recruits.  Word reached the training detachment that there was a wrecked B-24 at Langley Field Virginia from which parts could be obtained to make suitable training mock ups.  My grandfather and several other men were unofficially “sent” to Langley to liberate parts for the mock ups.  


They were ferried to Langley in a B-24 whose pilot obtained permission to conduct a practice landing at Langley.   At the end of the runway the group exited the plane through the bomb bay doors and the pilot flew off.  My grandfather and his coconspirators worked for seven days stripping parts from the wrecked B-24.  They slept in an empty barracks and women working in a nearby lighter than air hanger brought them food.


The Mockup


At the end of the seven days two trucks were sent from Charleston to retrieve the parts.  The bomber returned and executed another practice landing, retrieving the requisition party.  The parts were used to create a fully functional mock up with working gauges and controls.  There was a later inquiry into how the detachment built the mock ups and the conspirators had to reveal how they obtained the parts.   Although those involved were expecting to face discipline, instead they received a commendation.

James Cooney remained at Charleston Army Air Base until the end of the war.  He went on to run several of his own businesses, including a diner, a machine shop, and a gas station and is currently living in Sebring FL.  He met his wife Arlene, now deceased, after the war, and together they raised two sons and one daughter; as of March 2007 eight grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren had been added to his clan.


James and Arlene Cooney


If you can provide more information on the 80th Bomb Squadron or the 9th Anti Submarine please email me.