Bernard Breiter and the B-24 "Lil' Audrey"

Bernard John Breiter            Born:  March 17, 1919     Died:  February 20, 2009

Barney was a Co-Pilot of the famous WWII B-24 bomber "Lil' Audrey" which saw extensive action against Japanese targets in the Pacific Ocean Island campaign.  Lil' Audrey was the first B-24 in the 7th Air Force to successfully complete 100 missions.  Barney was a member of the Francis Pouls (Pilot) crew, which flew the last 40 of those missions from mid 1944 to early 1945.  The plane and crew were then sent Stateside on a publicity tour. What follows is a chronology of Barney's flying career and a tribute to the contributions of the 7th Air Force, 11th Bomb Group, 431st Bombing Squadron, Pouls crew.

Learning to fly

Barney began learning to fly in November, 1940.  He took weekly 1/2 hour lessons from Elmhurst, IL  in a Piper J-3 "Cub" like this one.

 He would reminisce years later at  EAA Oshkosh Fly-Ins, on seeing the Cub, how simple and fun they were to fly. 

Barney kept meticulous records and made his first solo flight in May, 1941.

Pearl harbor and America's entry into the War loomed on the horizon.

He continued these weekly lessons through April, 1942 - three months after he was Draft Classified 1-A.

Army Air Force - Flight Training near Houston, Texas

Barney entered the service in Summer, 1942, Serial# 0-672025.

Cadet candidate Bernard Breiter first flew a series of Army training aircraft from Randolph and Ellington Fields near Houston, Texas.
Barney wrote home weekly, mainly to his brother-in-law Willard and sister Winnie, his sister Ivy and his 6 others sibling, nieces/nephews and friends.
He worried in letters home that he would wash out, like many of the cadets around him.
He alternately joked about "get(ting) rid of this stationary before I get washed out. ha."

Through December, 1942 at Randoph he flew in the 2-seat PT-19A, then on to the BT-9.
Several cadets crashed in the BT-9.
Later at Ellington, he flew Curtiss AT-9 and  Beach AT-10.

Barney graduated February 16, 1943 Class 43B with a rating of:  Pilot and rank of: 2nd Lieutenant.

Home on Leave - February 1943


Class 43B  Ellington Field, TX
Granted 10 days leave on February 17th.

Barney penciled in some notes on a few servicemen and their fates:

JAMES L HARPER ("missing over China Sea")

ROBERT E HARRIS ("killed")
RAYMOND E MOREL ("capt" Captain), FREDERICK M MORRISON ("1st Lt" 1st Lieutenant)

John F. Sullivan ("Killed")


Barney, nephew Lowell Palm, nephew Paul Gregg, niece Sharon Palm

                                                     brother-in-law Harry Gregg, Barney, brother-in-law Willard Palm


                                                                                                                  Sharon, sister Winnifred (Winnie) Palm, Barney

Barney, sister Helane (Lane), Lowell, Paul and Sharon, dog Pal