Robert R. Cotton

Crew Leads B-24s Over Jap Targets
A 7TH AAF HEAVY BOMBER BASE IN THE PALAUS—In 23 bombing strikes against the Japs, Staff Sergeant Robert R. Cotton, radio operator of Eau Claire, and his crew have led formidable forces of Seventh Army Air Force Liberators over the target 15 times. 

On three of the flights, they headed four squadron formations and, on the other 12, their plane led squadrons.

Most of these strikes were Seventh Army Air Force neutralization blows against Jap air power in the Philippines. They included three flights over heavily defended Clark Field, the softening up of Corregidor, and widespread attacks on other enemy strongholds. Flights of 2,500 miles and 15 hours duration were not unusual.  

Sergeant Cotton's Seventh Army Air Force Group is credited with one of the best bombing records in the Pacific. He made two flights over a target without other planes, once when his bomber fell behind the formation because of engine trouble and again when he lost the formation in a storm.

"The weather is almost as dangerous as the Japs out this way," said the Eau Claire radio operator. One of his worst experiences took place 500 miles at sea, when his Liberator was caught in a severe storm, which threw the compass off bearing and nearly tore the wings from the bomber. A difficult night landing at a tiny island base was an additional hazard. 

Sergeant Cotton's parents, Mr. and Mrs. C. A. Cotton, live at 840 First Street, Eau Claire. He was graduated from the Eau Claire High School in 1937 and, prior to entering the service in December 1942, was a student at Eau Claire State Teachers College.

Commended for 40 Bomber Missions Against Japanese
A 7TH AAF HEAVY BOMBER BASE IN THE PALAUS.  Technical Sergeant Robert R. Cotton, 23, of Eau Claire, and other members of his Seventh Army Air Force Liberator bomber crew, have completed 40 combat missions against the Japs--missions for which they have been officially commended.

All but two of the flights were attacks against Jap air power, shipping and ground installations in the Philippines. Although in danger from ack-ack, enemy fighters and operational failures, the plane, The Bomb Babe, and its crew came through without serious mishap.

The big bomber was hit by anti-aircraft fire several times and had to turn back twice because of engine trouble.

"Weather was our major problem, and it often was more dangerous that the several wild air battles we were in over the Manila area," said Sergeant Cotton.

They dropped more than 100 tons of bombs and received several commendations for accuracy in destroying assigned target areas. Statistics reveal that Sergeant Cotton's squadron has one of the best bombing records in the Pacific Theater.

Flights of 14 hours and 2,500 miles [**data missing**]