The World War II Photo of the Week
for 5 May 2003
|Loaded for Bear ...|
Taken by a member of the 2nd Mapping (Photographic) Squadron at an unidentified Alaskan base, this series of photos shows that the artillerymen manning these guns are truly "loaded for bear" as a pair of bear cubs are having fun on the gun. And a bear cub sporting a camera just happens to be the mascot of the squadron (see squadron nose art further below)! The 2nd Mapping Squadron was originally based at Gray Field, Fort Lewis, Washington, in 1941. During the period these photos were taken (seven months before Pearl Harbor), they flew charting missions in F-2 aircraft throughout Alaska and provided aerial photographic assistance to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the construction of the Alaska-Canada Highway. During the war, they would fly A-29 aircraft, modified for photography, in the Aleutian Island operations in the early days of the war. Official USAAF photograph, dated May 18, 1941.