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Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson
Air Corps 1942 - 1945

Click to view Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson's complete thirty five 
mission list and twelve B-17 Flying Fortresses flown between
March 27th thru August 26th, 1944 out of Horham Airfield, England.

An Aviator's Dream: The Man From Painted Woods
Air Corps Biography of Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson
by Mark Jon Erickson

Family Archive Project website: http://markerickson.com/home.html
Contact email: markericksonstudio@gmail.com

Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson

Thirty Five Missions flown March 27 thru August 26, 1944
334th Squadron - 95th Bomb Group - 8th Army Air Corps
13th Combat Bombardment Wing - 3rd Bomb Division
Horham Airfield – Station 119 – Suffolk County – England

Piloted Twelve B-17s

Lili of the Lamplight (44-6085) * Taint A Bird II (42-30342) * Fireball Red (42-31876) * Able Mable (42-31920)

Mirandy (42-31992) * Gen'ril Oop & Lili Brat (42-31993) * Ten Aces (42-38178) * Smilin' Sandy Sanchez (42-97290)

Paisano (42-102450) * Stand By / Goin' My Way (42-107204) *The Doodle Bug / What’s Cookin? (42-107047) * To Hell Or Glory (42-38123)

Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson - Photographs and Articles

Lt. Ernest Anders Erickson - 35 Missions: Journal

From the Beginning

Time holds still in our memory, and if we pay attention, the days we spend with our families will provide stories we can hold onto from childhood through adulthood. The life we lead reflects the lessons held in these memories. They push us forward - legends in our minds which over time become truths upon which we rely, and upon which we base our life’s most important decisions. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” suggested the newspaper reporter in the film “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” one of my father's favorite westerns.

We reflect on past adventures, even as they become part of our future. For my father, like most others of his generation, memories of his experiences in World War II formed the truths upon which he based the important decisions of his life. He shared many of these memories with me during his lifetime, and these shared memories have helped define my life, as they had my father’s.

Since his death in 2013, I have learned more about his wartime experiences piloting a B-17 bomber by looking through his memorabilia, reading about the experiences of his contemporaries, and corresponding with other researchers. The more I have learned, the more I have come to appreciate the extraordinary challenges he and his wartime companions faced, and the extraordinary courage they demonstrated.

Painted Woods, North Dakota

My father, Ernest Anders Erickson was known to his wartime buddies as 'Lindy' and to his colleagues at Lockheed Aircraft as 'E Squared' (E2). He was born on August 4th, 1922 in Painted Woods, North Dakota. That place on the edge of the river in the Dakotas became a mythical land in my mind as I was growing up; a land filled with Indian lore and western cowboy tales. In my imagination I visited the Missouri plains both before and after Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Discovery journeyed into the land of the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota and Dakota Sioux.

Raised on their family farm on the banks of the Missouri River, Ernest was the son of Swedish born parents - my grandmother Clara (Nelson) and grandfather Frank Severin Erickson; and brother to my aunt Dian (Erickson) Boutrous. Ernest enjoyed fishing, hunting and living life outdoors. When my dad was fourteen, the family moved to Bismarck. Growing up during the Depression, Ernest watched the skies for airplanes as he walked home from school each day. He enjoyed going with his father Frank to see the barnstorming flyers who put on exhibitions in the area. His childhood hero was Charles Lindbergh, and he kept a keen eye on Lindbergh in the news. Along with tales he heard from his Uncle Andrew, brother to his father Frank, who had served in France in the 101st Aero Squadron in the Air Corps during the first World War, Ernest had become quite attentive to the skies. So it was almost prophetic that he too would one day join the Army Air Corps.

The Air Corps

My father’s dream of becoming an aviator was fulfilled when he joined the Army Air Corps, soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Because he resembled his childhood hero, his bomber crew would eventually nickname him 'Lindy.' When he received his orders and left Bismarck in early 1942, Ernest was nineteen years old. He boarded a train headed for San Antonio, Texas and reported for flight training at Kelly Field. Over the next 18 months he was thrust into the world of aviation, which he found strange and difficult at first, but to which he applied himself with typical Scandinavian determination.

By early 1943 an image of my father presents a young man at the end road of his teenager years. On his own and preparing himself to be a pilot. Ernest was 20 years old at this time and it was a awesome responsibility he was about to undertake. Reflecting back, Ernest had only been as far as Washington state from his home in Bismarck before that day in 1942 when he stepped down onto the train station in San Antonio, Texas. He was there along with other Cadets to see if he had what it took to pilot a fighter plane or bomber.

As it turned out he had what it took, after sixteen months of exhaustive training, my father graduated from Advanced Flight training at Blackland Airfield in Texas in October of 1943.

He had his wings and his imagination soared, where would he be off to, Italy, England or the Pacific. He received leave and headed home to Dakota to visit his family. The reunion was momentous, even though his family knew what he was headed overseas for combat flying. They were hoping the next reunion would be sooner than later. He went hunting with his father and enjoyed time with his mother Clara and kid sister, Dian. She was just two years old when he left for the Air Corps and now she was nearly four and time was passing and he spent time with Dian, making sure she would remember her big brother, whatever happened in the next year.

Upon his return to Blackland, he was assigned to a crew and they began the process of getting comfortable with each other and taking practice flights on their new B-17. If it was to be Europe where they would be heading, the ship might be the one to take them there.

My father spent time in Langley, Virginia for additional training on the H2-X radar device system. 1943 was soon coming to an end, and he awaited word on his assignment, would it be Europe or the Pacific.

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