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COL  Darr H. ALKIRE

UNIT: GRP POSITION: C.O.

Colonel Dar Alkire the 100th's first Commanding Officer. (100th Photo Archives)

Col Darr H. Alkire, 1st C.O. Of 100th BG and C.O. Of 449th BG

SERIAL #: O-16639 STATUS: XFR
MACR:

Comments1: GROUP COMMANDING OFFICER 14 NOV 1942 -- 26 APR 1943

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

DARR H. ALKIRE

WAS FIRST 100TH COMMANDING OFFICER; LATER COMMANDED A B-24 GROUP AND WAS A POW. IN A BIT OF IRONY HE WAS THE SENIOR POW OFFICER AT STALAG  LUFT III WHERE A GREAT MANY OF THE 100TH AIRMEN WERE SENT.
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COMMANDING OFFICERS OF 449TH
On the back cover of the 449th book #2 entitled FROM TUCSON TO GROTTAGLIE there are three pictures of the commanders OF the 449th with a few word about each of them:

“All were tough courageous leaders. There was no question who was in the lead ship.

They were of different temperaments:

Col. Darr Alkire once said “Every time this God damned group goes up on a mission, I’m going to lead it”
Col. Thomas Gent when faced with a tough target said, “Let’s go get them men!”
Col. Jack Randolph, under battle conditions, said, “Come and follow me, boys!” Col. Randolph was also called 180 Randolph because after leading the men through flak, he turned around and went back through it again.
It was Col. Darr Alkire who was the Company Commander while the group was at Bruning. There was no question that Col. Alkire was a stern and severe disciplinarian.

One young pilot said that he arrived in Bruning, put his gear in the barracks and went up to see the hangars to check out the facilities. While in a hanger a dark figure loomed out of the darkness and yelled, “Lieutenant. why didn’t you salute me?” “You are not wearing a coat, and have nothing on your uniform to indicate you are a superior officer, Sir” was the young Lieutenant’s answer.

“ I am Col. Alkire, the commander of this group and I don’t need anything on my uniform. Take a look at this FACE and don’t you forget it. Every time you see it, YOU SALUTE!”

Col Alkire also was quoted as saying, "I can get all the God damned Lieutenants I w

Roy Jackson of Minneapolis, MN, a retired Captain of the U.S. Air force wrote:

“Our group commander, Colonel Darr Alkire, joined early in our stay at Bruning. The Colonel had just returned from London where he had been a military observer during the Battle of Britain. He was a fine leader and never failed to impress us that this was “SERIOUS BUSINESS”

In his book entitled "50 MISSION CRUSH", by Lt. Col. Donald R. Currier USAF (retired) written with the help of his wife, Blondie, he has this to say about Col. Alkire:

“The first of October 1943 was an eventful day in my life. First I encountered the toughest guy I had yet to meet. I, along with all the other officers of the 449th who had so far reported in, were assembled in the base theatre that morning for a mandatory formation. On the stage all by himself stood our group commander, Colonel Darr H. Alkire.

He confronted us with a piercing stare and lo and behold , the place fell as silent as a tomb. When he finally spoke, there was no word of welcome or even an introduction. There really wasn’t any need because we Second Lieutenants recognized God wearing those two eagles on his blouse.

When Col. Alkire began to speak, his message was direct and to the point. I guess everyone there assembled still recalls, his words:

"You young punks with that pot metal on your chests think you’re pretty good flyers. Well, you’re not! You know nothing of combat flying, but that’s what I am here to teach you."

Then he got down to business and read us the riot act, scaring the hell out of us in the process. He told us what he expected and how unhappy he would be if he didn’t get it. He itemized a series of fines that would be imposed on any officer who, in any way, screwed up.

The fines depending on the gravity of the sin, could reach $75 which was equal to our monthly flight pay. Father Flannigan’s Boys Town, which was in Nebraska, was to be the recipient.”

This is the attitude most all the men had towards Col. Alkire. That is, all except for Lt. Col. Hollie Wilkes. Hollie tells quite a different story. He, too, met Col. Alkire for the first time in the number three hangar at Bruning.

The two men bonded immediately. Hollie Wilkes was non-commissioned. He was in maintenance. Perhaps it was because he was not a pilot that Darr Alkire felt free to talk to him. And talk they did. They sat on one of the planes and talked for nearly 2 hours upon meeting.

From that moment on, Hollie was Alkire’s confidant. Whenever Col. Alkire bawled the men out, (which was often) he would grin and boast to Hollie afterward about the great job he had done scaring and putting fear into the men. That was his strategy. He wanted the men to be afraid of him more than anything else. He wanted the men to fear him more than the enemy. He wanted his men to obey him and they did.

Bruning, to Hollie Wilkes, was hell They had to learn in just 6 weeks what would normally take 6 months to learn. He remembered going to work one Sunday and not getting to bed until Wednesday without a break from the aircraft maintenance work needed. When he awoke Thursday, his eyes were so swollen he could not open them.

All the tar paper barracks at Bruning had 3 coal burning stoves in them. The draft wasn’t set correctly on one of the coal burning stoves. and Hollies eyes were swollen from the smoke. To work from Sunday to Wednesday also shows what perseverance Hollie Wilkes showed even then. Hollie was given a field commission as soon as they got to Italy. Probably being Alkires best friend also helped. He has done much to preserve the history of the 449th.

Hollie Wilkes remained Col. Darr Alkire’s confidant until Col. Alkire was shot down and became a Prisoner of War. It is said that when Alkire became a prisoner of war, he took over the POW camp, in the same way he took command of everything.

He told the German’s they didn’t know how to run a POW camp and proceeded to run a strict disciplined POW camp for them. The men were given assignments, they were required to do certain jobs, carefully dole out the meger rations methodically and were required to maintain cleanliness as best they could. Once again the men were probably more afraid of Col. Akire than they were of the enemy. Even his captours were afraid of him. Undoubtely life in that POW camp was better than most.

Darr Alkire was later promoted to Brigadier General.
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                                                 BRIGADIER GENERAL DARR H. ALKIRE
 
                                                 
Retired Oct. 31, 1956.   
Died July 22, 1977

Darr Hayes Alkire was born in Fay, Nev. He graduated from high school at Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1913, and attended the University of Utah for two years. 

Appointed a flying cadet March 10, 1924, General Alkire entered Primary Flying School at Brooks Field, Texas, graduated from Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas, March 14, 1925, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Reserve. Receiving his regular commission as a second lieutenant of Air Corps June 30, 1926, he was assigned with the Sixth Pursuit Squadron at Wheeler Field, Hawaii. In April 1930 he became a flying instructor at the Flying School at March Field, Calif., and in October 1931 moved in that capacity to the Flying School at Randolph Field, Texas. 

Assuming command of the 96th Bomb Squadron at Langley Field, Va., in June 1937, in January 1942 General Alkire assumed command of the Second Bomb Group there, and that November he was appointed commanding officer of the 100th Bomb Group at Kearney, Neb. Moving to Biggs Field, Texas in May 1943 he was air inspector of the 16th Bomb Wing, and the following month was moved chief of staff of the First Bomber Command there. 

Going to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations that November, General Alkire assumed command of the 449th Bomb Group. Shot down and captured Jan. 31, 1944, he was released from prisoner-of-war camp in April 1945, and returned to the United States. That September he was named deputy for supply of the Sacramento Air Technical Service Command at McClellan Field, Calif. He went to Tokyo, Japan as deputy chief of staff for materiel of the Far East Air Forces in July 1948. 

Four years later General Alkire was appointed commanding general of the Newark Transportation Control Depot, N.J. On Dec. 1, 1954 he assumed command of the 3101st U.S. Air Force Logistic Control Group at Brooklyn Army Base, N.Y., with additional duty as commanding general of the Newark Transportation Control Depot. 

His decorations include the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with oak leaf cluster. He is rated a command pilot.

EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
He was promoted to first lieutenant (permanent) Aug. 1, 1932; to captain (permanent) June 30, 1946; to major (temporary) Feb. 3, 1948; to lieutenant colonel (temporary) Jan. 1942


Col. Darr Hayes Alkire

WAS FIRST 100TH COMMANDING OFFICER; LATER COMMANDED A B-24 GROUP AND WAS A POW. IN A BIT OF IRONY HE WAS THE SENIOR POW OFFICER AT STALAG LUFT III WHERE A GREAT MANY OF THE 100TH AIRMEN WERE SENT.

BRIGADIER GENERAL DARR H. ALKIRE
Retired Oct. 31, 1956.
Died Aug. 1, 1977.

Darr Hayes Alkire was born in Fay, Nev. He graduated from high school at Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1913, and attended the University of Utah for two years.

Appointed a flying cadet March 10, 1924, General Alkire entered Primary Flying School at Brooks Field, Texas, graduated from Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas, March 14, 1925, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Reserve. Receiving his regular commission as a second lieutenant of Air Corps June 30, 1926, he was assigned with the Sixth Pursuit Squadron at Wheeler Field, Hawaii. In April 1930 he became a flying instructor at the Flying School at March Field, Calif., and in October 1931 moved in that capacity to the Flying School at Randolph Field, Texas.

Assuming command of the 96th Bomb Squadron at Langley Field, Va., in June 1937, in January 1942 General Alkire assumed command of the Second Bomb Group there, and that November he was appointed commanding officer of the 100th Bomb Group at Kearney, Neb. Moving to Biggs Field, Texas in May 1943 he was air inspector of the 16th Bomb Wing, and the following month was moved chief of staff of the First Bomber Command there.

Going to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations that November, General Alkire assumed command of the 449th Bomb Group (B-24). Shot down and captured Jan. 31, 1944, he was released from prisoner-of-war camp in April 1945, and returned to the United States. That September he was named deputy for supply of the Sacramento Air Technical Service Command at McClellan Field, Calif. He went to Tokyo, Japan as deputy chief of staff for materiel of the Far East Air Forces in July 1948.

Four years later General Alkire was appointed commanding general of the Newark Transportation Control Depot, N.J. On Dec. 1, 1954 he assumed command of the 3101st U.S. Air Force Logistic Control Group at Brooklyn Army Base, N.Y., with additional duty as commanding general of the Newark Transportation Control Depot.

His decorations include the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with oak leaf cluster. He is rated a command pilot.

EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
He was promoted to first lieutenant (permanent) Aug. 1, 1932; to captain (permanent) June 30, 1946; to major (temporary) Feb 3, 1948, to lieutenant colonel (temporary) Jan 1942. 
Posted by Ann Sorensen at 3:38 PM 0 comments  
Labels: Darr Alkire 
Brigadier General Darr Hayes Alkire was a pilot of the United States Army Air Corps in 1932,[4] the United States Army Air Forces (1941), and the United States Air Force (1947); and was the first commander of the World War II 100th Bombardment Group.[1] After his 19th B-24 Liberator mission[5]:23 when the Lurchin Urchin[6] (41-29223)[7] crashed near Cervia,[8] he was a POW commander until April 4, 1945; then marched to Stalag Luft III where on April 27 he was the West Compound commander[9] until liberated.

Alkire crashed Douglas BT-2C #31-445 at Yorktown, Texas, on April 11, 1932,[10] and was piloting the "Maui Maid" (41-28623, named for his 2nd wife) which was the first 449th Bombardment Group B-24 to land in Italy[11] (at Grottaglie Airfield). The Maui Maid was scrapped for parts after a different crew struck an embankment.[12] In 1958, Alkire appeared on television in 1958 regarding the "Rocket Age" 
Posted by Ann Sorensen at 3:36 PM 0 comments  
Labels: Darr Alkire 
Darr Hayes Alkire 
Darr Hayes Alkire US-O7 insignia.svg
31 December 1903 – 22 July 1977

Place of birth Fay, Nevada[1]
Place of Burial National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu[1]
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army Air Forces

United States Air Force
Years of service March 10, 1924-October 31, 1956[1]
Rank Brigadier General
Commands held 1937: 96th Bomb Squadron
1942: Second Bombardment Group
1942: 100th Bombardment Group
1943: 449th Bombardment Group
1954: Newark Transportation Control Depot
1954: 3101st Logistics Control Group[1]
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War
Awards Air Force DSM, Silver Star

Relations 
1927-8 marriage: Ruth Eleanor McKee (divorce), son Michael E Alkire (1927)
1930 marriage:[2] Alma Tate Robinson,[3] daughters Darrilyn Ann Alkire (1932) & Jacqueline Hayes Alkire (1934)

Cindy, I would go with the familys data for his TAPS database listing
BORN  FAY,NEVADA  31 DEC 1903
DIED    22 JULY,1977    SALT LAKE CITY,UTAH
 
PLACE OF BURIAL; NATIONAL MEMORIAL CEMETERY OF THE PACIFIC, HONOLULU

MEMO 2:

Link to MACR:  http://449th.com/macr-2403/

Darr H. Alkire was a Colonel in the Army during World War II. Darr was captured by the Nazis while serving in Germany, and was sent to Stalag Luft 3 near Sagan, Germany where 6,667 other American POWs were held. Darr's capture was first reported to the International Committee of the Red Cross on January 31, 1944, and the last report was made on May 15, 1945. Based on these two reports, Darr was imprisoned for at least 470 days (1 year and ~4 months). The average duration of imprisonment was 363 days. Ultimately, Darr was returned to military control, liberated or repatriated.
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LURCHIN URCHIN
An original cadre ship acquired 28 October ’43 and assigned to Kury’s crew who flew her overseas in December ’43. The “Urchin” went down on 31 January ’44 over the Aviano Airdrome, Northern Italy, as the Group Lead ship with Colonel Darr Alkire, 449th Group Commander, aboard. Colonel Alkire and 7 others were taken POW, 3 KIA. MACR 2403.

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Davis Mothan Aviation Field Register:

Darr Alkire (December 31, 1903 to July 22, 1977) landed solo and signed the Register on Thursday, May 29, 1930. He flew a Douglas O-32 that he identified as "183." He appears to have been one of a flight of four originating at Riverside, CA March Field. His flight remained on the ground for a half hour before continuing eastbound toward El Paso, TX. His fellow pilots were Lee Wasser, Keith Park and Wentworth Goss. All flew Douglas O-2s and all signed "OK" in the remarks column of the Register.

Pilot Alkire has a good Web presence. One biography, including a photograph, is at the link. That biography states, "In April 1930 he became a flying instructor at the Flying School at March Field, Calif...." This suggests a possible reason for his passage through Tucson. Perhaps his flight of four was a routine cross-country training flight.
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KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: DATE:  
AIRCRAFT: CAUSE:  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

Notice of Col Alkire being POW  (Article courtesy of Matt Mabe)

100th BG first Commanding Officer Col Darr Alkire.  Image from 200 mission pamphlet for 449th Bomb Group, 15th AF which Darr took over after the 100th BG. 

Col Darr H. Alkire MARC Report 2403

Col Darr H. Alkire MARC Report 2403

Col Darr H. Alkire MARC Report 2403

POW log page from Stalag Luft III with names of Prisoners. Darr Alkire and John C Egan are on this page from 100th BG

 

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ID: 50