From the March 25, 1945, 464th Bomb Group newsletter, The Tower
Volume 1, Number 19


      This new man in the front office is just what the doctor ordered. When you first meet him, Colonel A. J. Bird Jr. impresses you us a man who knows his job, and his men. He is cordial, and his hearty cleancut smile sets you immediately at ease. He was born in Georgia, in 1909, Spent the greater part of his youth there. His first contact with the AAF came when he joined the aviation cadet training program in 1931.
      Eager to learn, and sure that there was more to an airplane than just flying, Cadet Bird put on his coveralls and set about finding the why of flying as well as the how. His experience later on as an engineering officer makes him appreciate the importance of good ground crew work.
      After his graduation Lieutenant Bird followed the familiar peace time path to Panama, where he spent a short time at France Field, then to Honolulu for 1933 and the greater part of '34, Returning to the States he found the Air Corps at low ebb. The Three C's were at their height and in 1935 and '36 he served a year with the triple C's.' In 1936 the yen to fly Came over him and he accepted a reduction in grade to return to the Air Corps at Barksdale Field in early 1937. He stayed at Barksdale for some years with the Third Attack Group. To move from the Reserve to the Regular Army in 1939 he took competitive examinations and accepted another reduction back to 2nd Lieutenant. He became 1st Lt. again in' '42, and the promotions were very rapid from there on.
      In 1933 he married, and now has two children, Barbara, aged seven, and Richard, two and a half. One of the events the Colonel most enjoys is receiving his almost daily letter from Barbara. Mrs. Bird and the children are at present living in Greenville, South Carolina.
      During most of the Colonel's Air Corps time he was trained, and worked as a light and medium bombardment man. For more than two years he commanded the first B-25 RTU to be organized. Their specialty was low level flying. While he had flown thousands of hours back in the States, his first introduction to combat duty and the B-24 came in November of last year, On his arrival to Italy he was assigned to the the 49th Wing Headquarters. There he served as deputy wing commander, and A-3 head.
      Everyone is naturally interested in Colonel Bird's reaction to the B-24, especially due to his recent change from medium bombardment. He thinks the Baker two four is a good dependable ship, and as far as likes and dislikes go, "A pilot likes the plane in which he has done the most flying." The Colonel is a business man, and flying is his business. Like any good business man, he wants to do the best job the best way. He understands and appreciates a 35 sortie buzz, but in general feels that stunts are not good piloting. The idea is to get there, do the job properly, and return safely.
      One quality that all of us will appreciate in our new CO is the fact that his door is always open, and he is readily accessible. He is the type of, man who automatically commands your respect. And he has a sense of humor. In closing my, interview he told me of one of his former Squadron commanders, now leading a B-25 outfit in China. The old friend wrote, "Gee' I'm sorry to hear that you, an old low level man from away back would wind up as an integral part of a packing crate"

G. H. Merriam

PDF of the original newsletter