WWII Reconnaissance Photograph Album
The late David R. Eastburn Jr. joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1941 as an aviation cadet. After training as a photographic officer with the 67th Reconnaissance Group, he flew antisubmarine patrols along the east coast of the US. Eastburn was in England in the late summer of 1942 for additional training with the Eighth Air Force. The 67th transferred to the Ninth Air Force when its training was complete in December, 1943.
He “supervised technical procedures followed by the 67th Group in providing the First Army with more reconnaissance photography than ever before used by an American army “according to records.” At his direction P-51 Mustang and P-38 Lightning scout planes flew 6,000 successful combat missions to obtain 2,200,000 intelligence pictures.”
Captain Eastburn aided in photographing most of the important campaigns in the European Theatre. He invented or made mechanical improvements to aerial photographic equipment. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for perfecting a camera that allowed low altitude, oblique photography of enemy territory. The technique was extensively used in the weeks leading up to the Normandy invasion.
His group received the Distinguished Unit Citation for work during the D-Day landings. The group continued to support allied troop movements through France in the advance to Germany. The 67th supplied weather information, ground force positions and visual reconnaissance photographs before attacks on the German Siegfried Line, The Battle of the Bulge and the final crossing of the Roer and Rhine Rivers. Eastburn was present and photographed the collapse of the famous bridge at Remagen.
Throughout his tour in Europe, he assembled this scrapbook which contains many images of the events mentioned above.
Eastburn, promoted to major, remained in Air Corps for several years after the war’s end. He attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before returning to his home in Delaware.
His daughter, Lynn Eastburn, donated his album to Pencader Heritage Museum in order to preserve and share her father’s work. More than 100 pages of photographs are available for study. Please visit the museum to see this important historical record of WWII.
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