T/Sgt. Clarence Ray Rendlemen - Crew Chief
385th Fighter Sqdn, 364th Fighter Group
Enough could never be said for the valiant crew chief. Working day and night, in freezing cold or
uncomfortable heat, often with little sleep, to ensure their aircraft was ready for the next days
mission. In addition to the pressure of getting the aircraft ready for battle was the added concern
that the pilot assigned to the aircraft was also depending on the crew chief for their very survival.
Ask any WWII ace and they'll tell you that a lot of their success depended on the terrific ability of
their crew chief.
T/Sgt. Clarence Ray Rendlemen was one of those men tasked with ensuring the Air Corps could
take the fight to the Third Reich and the Luftwaffe. Born March 12, 1916 in Sedalia, Missouri,
Rendlemen was the owner of a jewelery business before the war. Like most American men of
fighting age, he responded to the call of his nation and enlisted into the United States Army Air
Corps on December 14,1942. As indicated by notes he recorded throughout the first months of
his enlistment, he quickly found Army life was neither necessarily fun or comfortable. Rendlemen
would be stationed at the following bases during training:
Fort Bliss, Texas 2-15-42 to 12-21-42
Kelly Field, Texas 12-22-42 to 1-3-43
Camp Luna, Nevada 1-3-42 to 1-6-43
Gulfport Field, Mississippi 1-6-43 to 5-14-43
Rendlemen would then proceed to the Lockheed Plant for P-38 technical training, in Burbank,
California. He would spend a short time at Camp Kearns, Utah, then more training at Hammer
Field, in Fresno, California. He would travel to Van Nuys Army Air Base, in Van Nuys, California
where he would then be assigned to the 385th Fighter Squadron, 364th Fighter Group as a P-38
crew chief. The squadron would spend less than a month at Santa Maria Army Air Base in Santa
Maria, California for additional training. The squadron then made their way to New York in
December 1943, to depart for the European continent and war.
The 364th also flew air-sea rescue missions, engaged in patrol activities, and continued to
support ground forces as the battle line moved through France and into Germany. The squadron
took part in the effort to invade the Netherlands by air in September of 1944; the Battle of the
Bulge, between December of 1944 to January of 1945; and the assault across the Rhine, in March
Although the last mission by the 364th took place on April 25th, 1945, the group did not leave
England until November, returning to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, for inactivation.
The squadron departed New York in "secrecy." It was intended that very few knew of their
departure and where they were going. Unit members were forbidden to even call home and say
goodbye. The squadron left on the Queen Elizabeth, bound for Scotland, still in "secrecy." After
their arrival in Scotland, the squadron traveled by train to Honington, England which would be
their operating base until the end of the war. Later that night, while tuning their radios for
entertainment, squadron members would receive a welcome from Lord Haw Haw, welcoming the
squadron, identifying them by number, to Honington, promising to "visit them later that night."
The squadron was treated that night to an air raid from the Luftwaffe, as promised. So much for
The back of the photo says simply, "It's over."
T/Sgt. Clarence Ray Rendlemen proudly displays
his discharge paperwork, having been discharged
on September 28,1945. On his arms are his
technical sergeant stripes, an 8th Air Force pin
proudly displayed on his overseas cap, and the
famous "Ruptured Duck" is sewn to his right
chest. Rendlemen would go on to be the owner of
a casino and later a wrecking yard, raising a family
and living out his life in Silver City, New Mexico.
The enlisted men of the 385th Fighter Squadron, the photograph was taken following V-E Day.
Rendlemen is in the top row, directly below the red indicator.
The pilots of the 364th Fighter Group flew escort, dive-bombing, strafing, and patrol missions in
France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. The group initially operated primarily as escort
for B-17/B-24 Liberator heavy bombers, but would later also take on the roles of patrolling the
English Channel during the D-Day invasion, continuing escort operations, supporting ground
forces in France after the invasion by strafing and bombing locomotives, marshaling yards,
bridges, barges, and other targets.
The squadron converted from P-38 Lightnings to P-51 Mustangs in the summer of 1944 and
from then until the end of the war flew many long-range escort missions heavy bombers that
attacked oil refineries, industries, and other strategic objectives at Berlin, Regensburg,
Merseburg, Stuttgart, Brussels, and elsewhere. The 364th received a Distinguished Unit Citation
for an escort mission on 27 December 1944 when the group dispersed a large force of German
fighters that attacked the bomber formation the group was escorting on a raid to Frankfurt.
|This page is dedicated to Clarence Ray Rendlemen and the men of the 364th Fighter
Group. This page is also dedicated to the men who served as the ground crew for the
many Air Corps squadrons who took the fight to the Luftwaffe. Without these men,
the air battle could never have been won.
Rendlemen (far right) and his buddies enjoy a still practiced tradition, taking a photo while
sitting atop the Landseer's Lions in Trafalgar Square.
|The enlisted men of the 364th Fighter Group, shown returning home on the Queen Elizabeth.
V-E day at Honington!! A snapshot showing the enlisted men of the 385th Fighter Squadron,
gathering to celebrate the end of the war in Europe. Despite the end of the war, the men would
remain at Honington until November of 1945, before returning home to their awaiting families.
|A B-17, serial number 2102884 sitting with an unidentified B-17, and a B-24 from the 453rd
|Standing with a "Spotted Cow." This photo shows a well documented aircraft, B-17 serial
number 42-3441, referred to as the "Spotted Cow." This war wary B-17, painted white with blue
polka dots, was used by the 384th Bomb Group, 547th Bomb Squadron as an assembly ship,
providing an easy visual for the bomb group pilots to gather with after take off, allowing the
bombers to form up before heading across the channel on their mission.
|B-17 "5 Grand." This is an original photo of the 5,000th B-17 to be built by Boeing, serial number
40-37716. Before leaving the Boeing plant and being delivered to the war department in May of
1944, the aircraft was signed by over 13,000 workers who had helped to build her. 5 Grand
would eventually be assigned to the 388th Bomber Group and would fly 78 missions over the
Third Reich, complete with its signatures proudly displayed. It has been noted that this B-17
would fly almost 7miles per hour slower, simply because of the weight of the ink used on the
bare metal skin and the drag caused by the signatures. 5 Grand survived the war only to be sold
for scrap after the war and destroyed.
|The real working end of the air war, as fought on the ground! Rendlemen (left) and another
ground crewman service a P-51 Mustang.
I am very honored to have T/Sgt. Rendlemen's items within my private collection. Shown here is
a small cross section of the items in his grouping. Preserving these items and telling the story of
this man's service is the least I can do for his sacrifice and his service to our nation in a time of
need. It is because of the unsung work of men like Rendlemen that our pilots succeeded in battle,
and that our country was able to overcome the Axis powers in WWII. A very special thank you to
his daughter Bonnie, for helping to preserve these items.
Rendlemen's grouping includes a large number of original, wartime photographs, paperwork
from his service time, his overseas cap with 8th Air Force insignia, his hand painted, leather
squadron chest patch from his jacket, as well as other items, including a modern history of the
364th Fighter Group.
|A few original photos of other aircraft:
December 14th, 1942
Private First Class
March 15th, 1943
June 13th, 1943
August 1st, 1943
December 1st, 1943
February 1st, 1944
| Rendlemen was promoted through the enlisted ranks as follows:
|Rendlemen's original, hand painted, squadron chest patch, as shown on his jacket in the
photograph on the left.
|From Lightnings to Mustangs!!!
|On the left, Rendlemen "runs up" the aircraft prior to the pilot's arrival. On the right, the pilot,
taxis forward for take-off. A close look at the photograph on the right reveals a 500 pound bomb
slung below the left wing.
| A fellow crew chief sitting in
the cockpit of one of the
|Rendlemen's Army Air Corps enlisted men's overseas cap, with 8th Air Force insignia.
|Capt. Tybus standing in front of "Moron
Mansion - Flight B", the quarters of his
|T/Sgt. Rendlemen and Capt. Trybus
Rendlemen was assigned as the crew chief of 385th Fighter Squadron pilot Capt. Alfred J.
Trybus (Trybuszewski). Trybus and Rendlemen were likely assigned to each other when they
each joined the squadron in September of 1943 in Van Nuys, California. They would remain
together until the squadron deactivated in November of 1945.
Capt. Trybus, with Rendlemen maintaining his aircraft, would fly a total of 79 missions, 82
sorties, with 193 combat hours in the P-38 and 77 combat hours in the P-51. He was credited with
the destruction of 2 Messerschmitt 109's and another one damaged. He was awarded the
Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 cluster and the Air Medal with 5 clusters. His success and
survival as a fighter pilot in the air war over Europe can only be attributed to two things: his ability
as a fighter pilot and the proficiency of his crew chief in maintaining the aircraft.
Trybus came close to losing his life while hedge hopping with several other squadron members
over England, on their way back to base. As the aircraft buzzed the English countryside, 20 to 30
feet off the ground, Trybus flew through two power pole lines, that had been narrowly missed by
the two aircraft ahead of him. Luckily, the incident caused little damage and with the help of
Rendlemen, the P-38 was quickly repaired and put back into action.
Trybus and Rendlemen would stay in occasional contact after the war had ended and both men
|Left: Rendlemen standing in front of Capt. Trybus' P-51. Right: Rendlemen assists Capt. Trybus
in the cockpit of his P-51. The caption on the back of the photo idicates this is Trybus' last
|Above, P-51 serial number 44-14025, was the aircraft of Capt. Trybus and this was the aircraft
crew chiefed by Rendlemen. It was in this aircraft on September 11th, 1944, Trybus claimed the
destruction of 2 Messerschmitt 109's and the damaging of a third, in the skies west of Leipzig. On
that day, the squadron encountered approximately 100 German fighters, including both
Messerschmitt 109's and Focke_Wulf 190's.
Six days later, on September 17th, 1944, Lt. Douglas R. Drysdale was flying this aircraft when he
was shot down by flak near Neimegan, (part of Operation Market Garden). Drysdale was hidden
by aid of the Dutch resistance and was later rescued by the 82nd Airborne. This was only
Drysdale's second mission as a fighter pilot. He had previously completed a 35 mission tour as a
bomber pilot in the 8th Air Force.
This aircraft is listed with the nose art of "Lovin Aline" on numerous websites. As can be seen
below, the spelling on some of these sites is slightly off. The nose art clearly reads: Lovin Alien.
Rendlemen can be seen on the wing of the aircraft. The two kill marks indicate this photo was
most likely taken between September 11th and September 16th, 1944.
|The Dottie B II, these original photos show the
aircraft of Captain Jasper E. Hargrove, who would
end the war with 3 1/2 air victories to his credit.
Hargove was wounded on April 16th, 1945, while
strafing a German target in Austria. Hargrove was
able to land his plane just outside of Frankfurt, at
landing field Y-74. Hargrove would finish the war
with 56 missions in the P-51, totaling 250 hours of
|Note: As with all of the original photographs shared on my website, each of the photographs on
this page have been altered slightly to prevent unauthorized use.
|Rendlemen and a large, captured, German battle flag.
|Two 385th Fighter Squadron P-51's take off for a mission. The back of the photo comments on
the ever present clouds.
|Left: Rendlemen's copy of "Private
Doakes and Me!" This book was
intended to help new soldiers get
accustomed to the Army and the
Army-way. The book provided the new
soldier with empty pages and
questions, to allow the new soldier
space to record their impressions and
thoughts. Rendlemen left a number of
notes throughout the booklet,
providing his impression and thoughts
of moving from civilian life into military
life. In one entry he relates, "the
military had turned me every which way