The 376th Heavy Bombardment Group (376th HBG) was the first heavy bombardment group to operate in the Middle East Theater during World War II, focusing on Axis supply lines. Nicknamed the “Liberandos,” the group flew 451 missions, was awarded three Distinguished Unit Citations, and earned 15 campaign awards.
In 2017, the 376th Bomb Group Association donated the 376th Heavy Bombardment Group’s records to the Briscoe Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin where they join the center’s extensive military history collections. The center is devoted to preserving and sharing its collections to ensure the history at the heart of American identities, origins, and values remains rooted in evidence. It is fitting that the records of the 376th HBG join this important resource.
Since the 1880s, The University of Texas at Austin has been amassing military history-related material, particularly material related to the Texas Revolution, the Mexican-American War, and the Civil War. As early as 1918, UT began collecting materials related to World War I—before the troops were even home. The logic was simple: the war would be an important avenue of historical inquiry in the future. Equipped with contributed funds, a university scholar traveled the state to gather Word War I-related materials. The resulting archive, the Texas War Records, now spans both world wars and stands as one of the largest collections related to Texas military history in existence. Much material related to the Korean and Vietnam wars has been added since the 1990s as have archives that document more recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan. The military history collections include oral histories, photographic archives, art, and news media papers, as well as the personal effects of soldiers, generals, and diplomats. The addition of the 376th HBG records perfectly complements the national scope of the military history collection.
The 376th HBG Records is comprised of 18 linear feet of correspondence, newspaper clippings, legal documents, photographs, notes, microfilm, oral history interviews with veterans, and artifacts such as flight jackets, helmets, insignia, and a bomb load adjuster. The archive also includes records of the 376th Bomb Group Association’s reunions.
Learn more about resources held in the military history collections.
The 376th Bomb Group Association board of directors donated its archive and voted to establish a $100,000 endowment to support a graduate intern studying archival enterprises for one semester a year in perpetuity.
Under the supervision of a professional archivist, the 376th HBG Intern will process new material in the military history collections with a preference for the 376th HBG Records to make them accessible to students, scholars, and researchers and provide reference services. The essential steps in processing an archive include arranging and rehousing the records into acid-free housing, describing the archival material, entering data into the center’s accessions database, and producing a key word searchable online finding aid. Additionally, 376 HBG Interns may assist with projects that make the military history collections available to a wider audience through exhibitions, books, digital and film projects. The 376th HBG Endowment provides a stipend to the student as they build their professional résumé through guided work experiences at the Briscoe Center.
Meet Gillian Morton
The inaugural 376th Heavy Bombardment Group Intern in Archival Enterprises and Leatrice and Edward Clendenin Graduate Intern in Military History
Q&A with Gillian
Tell us about your fall 2019 internship project.
The 376th HBG Records include 93 reels of microfilm, with tens of thousands of frames, from Maxwell Air Force Base. My goal was to expand the finding aid’s description of those reels and make digital copies of some reels publicly accessible online. The results of my project allow people, from the comfort of their own homes, to zero in on particular content in 22,000 frames of material. Now, rather than reading “93 reels of microfilm” on the finding aid, or scrolling through hundreds of frames to find what they are looking for, researchers can search by date and topic and skip to the exact reel and frame they need.
What part of the 376th HBG story is now available for teaching and research thanks to your work?
The reels cover mission reports, sortie reports, target information, interrogation forms, and intelligence annex to operations orders, ranging from May 1943 to April 1945. They also contain information about the U.S. Army Air Force in general during World War II.
How has this internship helped prepare you for a career in archives?
It was very helpful to work closely with, and learn from, several of the Briscoe Center’s professional archivists to develop and complete the project. I learned a lot about digitizing microfilm and creating metadata that will prepare me to work in an archive when I graduate. I especially enjoyed problem-solving with staff to determine how best to upload the reels I found.
Any last words?
Thank you to the members of the 376th Bomb Group Association and Pat and Ed Clendenin for creating this internship. It has been invaluable to me. I come from a military family so it was especially meaningful to me to work with military records.
376th HBG Endowment campaign progress
Thank you to our
376th HBG Endowment campaign donors
Richard P. Bowers in memory of Sgt. Richard H. Miller
Allen E. Brennecke in honor of the 376th Heavy Bombardment Group
James O. Britt Jr. in memory of Col. James O. Britt
Theresa A. Callaghan in memory of Sgt. Richard H. Miller
Pat and Edward F. Clendenin Jr.
Marie G. Cook and Bruce E. Cook in memory of Gordon Webster Cook
Allen Dines/Celeste Smither in memory of SSgt. William R. Smither
Paul J. Fallon Jr. in memory of Capt. Paul J. Fallon
Susan A. Frost
Stanley L. Hahn
Noel M. Jeffrey in memory of Sgt. Richard H. Miller
Mark D. Landry in honor of 1st Lt. Wayne Victor Friberg
George E. Loughran
Travis Maness in memory of Sgt. Richard H. Miller
Nancy Marshall in memory of SSgt. Tim McLaughlin and Al Brennecke
Mayflower Cruises and Tours
Denise E. Mayorga
Charles H. Midgley Jr. in honor of Charles H. Midgley
Lisa A. Murray in honor of Sgt. Richard H. Miller
Elizabeth M. Nicholson and family in memory of SSgt. William R. Smither
Robert B. Oliver in honor of Col. J. W. Oliver Jr.
The Pretzel City Chorus in memory of Sgt. Richard H. Miller
La Verne M. Reiterman in memory of Milton F. Reiterman
Mark W. Smither in memory of SSgt. William R. Smither
Sandy Steele in memory of Vaughn Steele
Marque R. Strohlin and Mila Brewster in honor of Charles Ferber
Keith L. Talley in memory of Donald King Talley
Gary Torfin in memory of Curtis Torfin
James J. Toth in memory of John F. Toth
Richard F. Trainor
Francene Weyland in memory of 1st. Lt. Russel S. Weyland
Beverly R. Wildermann in memory of Rudolph Wildermann
Geneva E. Wilkinson
Deborah Wissman in memory of Lawrence Wissman
Lt. Col. Stuart A. Young in memory of SMSgt. Alfred W. Young Jr.
376th Bomb Group Association
Recognizing donors of gifts received prior to November 1, 2021.
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mail a check or money order made out to The University of Texas at Austin with “BCAH-376 HBG Intern” in the memo line to:
Briscoe Center for American History
The University of Texas at Austin
P.O. Box 7458
Austin, TX 78713-7458
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376th HBG Records archival donations
If you would like to donate original material, especially diaries, correspondence, or photographs, please contact: