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  B-32-20-CF "Harriet's Chariot" Serial Number 42-108543  
USAAF
5th AF
312th BG
386th BS

PacificWrecks.com
PacificWrecks.com
Gruer August 1945

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated-Vultee at Fort Worth, Texas. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-32-20-CF Dominator serial number 42-108543. Also known as #532 for the last three digits of the serial number.

During early August 1945 one of four Dominators flown from the United States via Hickam Field then across the Pacific via Guam and Kwajalein before arriving at Clark Field as replacement aircraft for combat testing in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).

Wartime History
On August 12, 1945 assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 312th Bombardment Group (312th BG), 386th Bombardment Squadron (386th BS). Assigned to pilot Lt. Lyman P. Combs. Nicknamed "Harriet's Chariot" after his wife Harriet Combs with the nose art of the outline of the State of Indiana painted in orange plus the names of the fifteen crew members on the left side of the nose. Next flown to Floridablanca Airfield and then to Yontan Airfield on Okinawa.

On August 16, 1945 at 5:30am took off from Yontan Airfield on a photographic mission over Tokyo to document Japanese compliance with the terms of surrender with B-32 "Hobo Queen II" 42-108532 over Katori Airfield and Konoiko Airfield and were tracked by radar and one anti-aircraft position. Over the coast of Japan, an engine caught fire but was able to return safely.

On August 25, 1945 took off from Yontan Airfield on another photographic mission over Tokyo. On the way to the target, this bomber and B-32 "Hobo Queen II" 42-108532 both aborted the mission due to mechanical problems and returned safely.

On October 13, 1945 at 11:00pm took off from Yontan Airfield piloted by Combs with B-32 42-108534 on a flight across the Pacific back to the United States. Shortly after take off, returned to land with a loose cowl flap that was repaired and took off again two hours later flying to Guam arriving on October 14, 1945 at 8:25am and spent the day relaxing. On October 15, 1945 departed Guam flying to Kwajalein but experienced problems with the no. 1 engine and after landing, a cylinder was replaced. On October 18, 1945 at 5:00pm departed Kwajalein on the next leg of the flight to John Rodgers Field on Oahu landing October 19, 1945 at 5:00am. Finally, on October 21, 1945 at 5:15pm took off from John Rodgers Field on the final leg of the flight and arrived at Mather Field on October 22, 1945 at 5:30am completing the 7,970 mile journey. After the ferry flight, Combs was granted 45 day leave and took a train back to Indiana and was discharged with enough points.

Later, flown to Kingman Field and scrapped during late 1945 or 1946.

Memorials
Combs passed away December 10, 2010 at age 87. He is buried at Washington Park East Cemetery in Indianapolis, IN. His wife Harriet Combs passed away December 17, 2015 at age 90.

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Lyman P. Combs
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-32-20-CF Dominator 42-108543

"108543 to Kingman, AZ and scrapped"
Dominator (1984) pages 46, 49
Echoes of the Dominator (2007) pages 109, 112-113, 147
B-32 Dominator Relics - B-32 "Harriet's Chariot" 42-108543 (photos)
FindAGrave - Lyman P. Combs (photos, obituary)
FindAGrave - Harriet Elliott Combs (obituary)
Rampage of the Roarin' 20's (2009) pages 328 (August 16, 1945 mission), 341-342 (photo), 356 (42-108543), 377 (nose art reference), 406 (index)

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Last Updated
October 18, 2020

 

Tech Information
B-32


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