Robert P. Hunter
1 LT
U. S. Army Air Corps
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 02/21/1943 - 10/10/1945
Bombardier, 84th Bomb Sq, 47th Bomb Grp

Robert was born in Chicago as one of three children to Claude Edward Hunter and Sylvia Lucille Lucas Hunter. The family lived on the west side, in an area called Austin. His father was a master electrician, while his mother worked for an electric company winding coils into meters. In the Depression, he recalls that the government "helped and subsidized us with some food." He also recalls severe winters when the family had only the wood burning stove for cooking and heating. Robert attended Austin High School, but dropped out. He worked as a delivery boy for an optical company and operated a drill press for Simpson Electric. He also worked at a woodshop at National Metal Company. Robert joined the U.S. Army Air Forces and was called to duty on February 21, 1942. Sent first to Wichita Falls, Texas, he was then ordered to Centenary College in Shreveport to take refresher course work. There he attended classes five days a week, took "a lot of PT" (physical training) on Saturday, and took ground school and flew with instructors at a nearby airport. Sent to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Robert was classified for bombardier training. He took preflight training at Ellington Field in Houston, gunnery school in Harlingen, Texas, and bombardier school in Childress, Texas. He was commissioned on April 29, 1944. At Florence, South Carolina, Robert took ground school in the A-20 aircraft, and was "crewed up." His pilot in the crew of four was Clifford Brandstad. They sailed on a Liberty ship from Hampton Roads in Virginia, reaching Naples, he believes, on November 17, 1944. There he and his crew were placed in the 84th Squadron of the 47th Bombardment Group in Rosignano, Italy. He flew his first of 38 missions in January of 1945. His missions were at night, and most were "a little over two hours." He says their plane was shot at only once, and he never saw enemy fighter planes. On his last mission he could see allied forces moving up into the Po Valley. By the time the war ended in Europe he was a first lieutenant. "Italy wasn't too stressful. We just did our jobs," he says. Returning home on a Liberty ship, he arrived on July 9, 1945 in New York where passengers were met with "bands playing and the ladies waving at us, and was treated to ice cream and fresh milk. He was serving on the West Coast when Japan surrendered. Robert returned to Shreveport in September of 1945 where he remained in the reserves and attended Centenary College on the GI Bill. Meanwhile, on August 9, 1946 he married Margaret Phelps. (They had one son.) Robert graduated in May of 1948 with a degree in accounting and served as an auditor for Great American Indemnity Company, United Gas, and for Oakland Corporation, where he worked for twenty-one years. Meanwhile, he returned to active duty on May 1, 1951 and flew B-29s during the Korean War, although he did not serve in Korea. He was discharged on January 31, 1953. Robert went to work for Franks Petroleum, Inc., where his boss, John Franks, was also involved in thoroughbred horses. Hunter became comptroller for the horse business as well. He retired from Franks Petroleum on January 1, 1991.