Thanks to the generosity of Pat and Edward Clendenin, students studying archival enterprises can now gain practical experience to help prepare them for launching their professional careers upon graduation in the Briscoe Center’s vast military history collections. The Leatrice and Edward F. Clendenin Endowed Graduate Internship in Military History, together with the 376th Heavy Bombardment Group Endowed Internship in Military History, a campaign spear-headed by Ed Clendenin, provides a stipend for a graduate student to work on preservation and accessibility projects in the center’s extensive military history collections, including the recently donated records of the World War II-era 376th Heavy Bombardment Group (HBG).
“Many thanks are due to Pat and Ed Clendenin Jr. for a gift that perpetually supports both experiential learning by archival students and the study of military history at the center,” said Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center. “In addition to his personal gift, I appreciate Ed’s leadership for encouraging the association and its members to donate their archives and contribute to the 376th Heavy Bombardment Group Endowed Graduate Internship in Military History which also supports this student. Their archive helps to give a fuller picture of the American airman’s experience during the Second World War.”
The 376th HBG grew from a task force of 231 servicemen and 23 aircraft in 1942. The unit, originally called the Halverson Project (HALPRO), was first deployed to Egypt for raids on mostly German and Italian Axis targets in North Africa. The HALPRO unit was subsequently expanded to four squadrons and became the 376th Heavy Bombardment Group. From bases in Palestine, Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia, they bombed Axis supply lines both in North Africa and Europe, flying over 450 missions before hostilities ceased in 1945.
Ed Clendenin Jr.’s father was an airman in the 512th squadron of the 376th HBG, which operated in the North African and European theaters during World War II. In 1989, father and son were touring the Air Force Museum in Dayton Ohio when they approached “Strawberry Bitch,” a B-24 bomber on display. Clendenin Sr. commented that he had flown the plane. Clendenin Jr. responded, “Yes, I know. You were a pilot and flew B-24s out of Italy.” Sr. retorted, “That is not what I meant…I flew that airplane.” Jr. was determined to verify his father’s claim, which he did after extensive research in archives held at the Air Force Historical Research Association at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. Thus, he began a herculean endeavor to document the history of the 376th, which has taken him to numerous archives and reunions. He has also led a series of oral history projects with HBG veterans.
According to Clendenin Jr., “Establishing this internship allows me to honor my parents, help a student gain practical archival experience, and make the journey of discovery easier for researchers, students, and scholars studying military history.”
Edward F. Clendenin, Jr. has had a life-long interest in aviation. He has a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was employed by several airframe manufacturers. He worked on the AV-8 Harrier, the F-4 Phantom, the F-15 Eagle, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F-18 Hornet and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. He now resides with his wife, Pat, in Georgetown, Texas, and is the author of a history of the 376th as well as The Other Doolittle Raid, which candidly documents the Roosevelt administration’s response to Pearl Harbor.