Original site photo of mascot, Delbert McNasty
Delbert McNasty was an original member of the group, having been smuggled across the Atlantic during the Group's transfer from the US to England in May 1943.
Delbert was purchased in Salt Lake City by Gloria and Bob Kennedy. They saw him in a pet shop window and paid the princely price of $10 for him. At Wendover, and again at Sioux City, Delbert spent most of the time with the Kennedys but spent some time in the BOQ, for occasional "puppy sitting." He was quartered at the vets while the crew was on 5 day leave before going to England, but whether this was in Sioux City or Kearney is pretty vague. He flew to Gander, Newfoundland, where the crew waited for days for favorable tail winds before departing for England. Since they were at altitude for what turned out to be a twelve hour flight, Delbert had to be protected from hypoxia, since there was no puppy oxygen mask available, he was placed in a duffel bag with an oxygen hose attached when they reached the critical altitude of 10,000 feet. This was fine except for the fact that Delbert did not like being confined in the bag and kept getting out and running around. He was pursued and returned to the bag many times, but it was often wondered that if his later, somewhat aberrant behavior, was a result of possible brain damage due to lack of oxygen. This was Delbert's only flying experience, and he DID NOT fly on any combat missions.
At Grafton, Delbert divided his time between the officers' quarters and the non-coms' quarters and started to use shoes as his private latrine. After repeated offenses, he was hauled up before a sergeant's court martial and listened attentatively to the charges before he calmly repeated the "offense."
Delbert also repeatedly irritated the mess officer by "invading" the mess hall whenever the notion struck him. When the mess officer threatened to kill Delbert if he ever came in again, Co-Pilot Donald MacKenzie did a very uncharacteristic thing: he took his issue .45, stormed into the mess hall and told that officer that if he harmed Delbert, he, MacKenzie, would kill him! The complaint about the threat reached COL Peaslee, who calmly told the mess officer to overlook the threat since "his men were under a lot of tension."
As more and more of the 544th BS crews did not return from their missions, Delbert seemed to miss many of his buddies. When the Hausenfluck crew did not return on August 17, 1943, he was all alone. The story was later told that he was "adopted" by a Red Cross girl, and he left, never to be seen by another 384th' er.
Photo courtesy of James Traylor.