looking 401st crew member info

By: Tracy Hunt
On: 03/29/2004
I am looking for info and persons who might have known my father, Ray D. Hunt, S/SGT in the 612th. His service dates were from April 1943 (Sioux Falls, SD) and then in Deenethorpe through Oct. 1945. He was a radio operator on an a/c known as "Grin & Bear It". It seems like I recall seeing nose art on the plane in an old photo. Would also be nice to obtain a crew photo if one still exists.

Re: looking 401st crew member info

By: Scott McElvain
On: 04/04/2004
There are negatives in the National Archives of Grin 'n Bare It.  There are several references in the forum on the Archives and how to order pictures.  The negative numbers are NASA 65429AC, A65460AC (J), A65710AC (J), and 65715AC (J).  I'm still not sure what the suffixes or the (J) designate.  What you do is get in touch with them and give them the group/squadron/pilot/airplane, they will send you xerox copies of the photos so you can tell what's on them.  They also send you brochures from the different companies that can pull negatives from the Archives and make photos.  There is a fair possibility that one of these negatives might be a crew shot.  When I was looking for shots of my dad's crew and planes, there was a crew shot I hadn't seen before.........

Re: looking 401st crew member info

By: Win Bryson
On: 04/06/2004

1. The 'Still Pictures Group' in National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md., is where the negatives for WWII 401BG (and most other photo archives) are.

2. If you E-mail your request for still photos to the NARA (through either their website 'www.nara.gov' "contact us" page, or E-mail address 'stillpix@nara.gov'), and include the photo numbers Scott McKelvain noted, and include your E-mail and 'mail' name and address, they will respond with photocopies of the pictures. The better the detail you provide them with, the better the response you will likely receive from them - there may others besides those Scott listed.

3. The NARA itself does not make photos for people like you and me - you must order the photos you want through one of several photo-companys the NARA deals with regularly.

4. The NARA's response 'package' to you, will include photocopies of the photos you requested, their NARA identification numbers, a 'pile' of 'flyers' from photo-companies the NARA deals with, and NARA instructions on how to order photos.  You will need to 'pick' your own pphoto-company vendor.

5. One caution (I learned the hard way) I ordered an 8x10 print one time that was quite cheap, and I didn't find-out until it arrived that it was a large format Polaroid (which is not as permanent as a regular photo-process print). Simply ask before ordering.  

6. If you would, please ask the NARA in your E-mail what the "J" is that Scott mentioned.  I don't know it means, either - and sure would like to know.  I believe most of the photos are black-and-white, but there are color photos of that era.

I hope this doesn't make it sound more complicated than it really is to obtain photographs - I've done it several times, and it works well.  It's time-tested.

Good hunting.