The Correspondence of Curtis Lemay

The Correspondence of Curtis Lemay

By: Rhiannon Roberts

While stationed at Offutt AFB, Nebraska; Lt. Gen. Curtis Lemay coordinated the Korean War effort through diligent command of the SAC or Strategic Air Command; the founding of this particular organization was to support bomber aircraft with nuclear capabilities. The following correspondence is from Lt. Gen. Lemay and Brig. Gen. Robert H. Terrell that concerns new weapons tactics that would eliminate the threat of North Korean retaliatory efforts that had been eliminating the accuracy of B-29 bombers.

One device in particular, known as the M-17 anti-ricochet device, developed by the Japanese; was created to prevent the accuracy of North Korean flak launched on American bombers. However this was only after several series of testing were completed that proved it would be successful in the ensuing battles. The following photographs are evidence of the B-29 conducting these tests.

Curtis Lemay correspondence, all pages

The last two letters are from Lt. Gen. Lemay to Brig. Gen. James E. Briggs; who was the commanding officer of the Far East Air Force (FEAF) based out of Okinawa, Japan. These letters indicate that while North Korean flak had created a sense of urgency to establish a method that could be used to counter their effectiveness, coordinating a testing location for the M-17 anti-ricochet device proved difficult.

This information was taken from the following and has been declassified for public viewing on March 28, 2013:
Record Group 342
Boxes 1-6 (FRC)
Entry 342-53-7010
NND 001872/64444

2 thoughts on “The Correspondence of Curtis Lemay

  1. Curtis Lemay stands out as one of the few great military leaders that truly understood war and what was required to prevail. While some may consider his strategies and tactics excessive, over-the-top or even inhumane, the bottom line is he like Grant, Sherman and Patton understood that to win in war and prevail as a society and miminize the impact to our way of life, we should go all-out, and take the war to the enemy to the maximum amount of our capabilities. We should be thankful for this type of leadership for in war only the strong both physically and mentally can survive.

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