WALLY DAHLQUIST (USAAF)

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by Dave Henry, Spearfish
US Army photographer, War in Vietnam

His name is Valdemar Dahlquist of Sturgis. He is known as "Wally" to those who are acquainted with him. He was a ground crew chief on B-24 Liberators in Italy (15th Air Force). I used to work with him at Ft. Meade and he had a surprisingly large number of truly intriguing stories to tell; more than you would imagine for someone who was a ground crew member (although he did occasionally sneak aboard combat flights).
     He was forced to bail out of a burning Liberator once while they were testing it after some repair that had been done to the plane. If he doesn't want to come to one of our meetings, it would be worth setting up an appointment with him at home just to get his stories recorded. Just as an example, he had a crew that complained constantly about their aircraft being underpowered. 
  
Wally Dahlquist working on B-24s in Italy during WWII.  

He worked and worked on the engines and had them purring like kittens but the pilot insisted there was something wrong because he could barely maintain formation or for that matter, get the plane off the ground when it was combat loaded.
     Finally, Wally did an inspection of the whole aircraft, and found the crew had draped flack vests all over the hydraulic and oxygen lines. He took the vests and loaded them in the back of a Dodge power wagon. Their combined weight was so much that the tough Dodge truck set down on its axles. The crew were furious about the loss of the extra armor, but there were no more complaints about the aircraft being under powered.

Listen to audio interviews of Wally Dahlquist by Jim Kent.