E. F. "Bud" Thues
Bud Thues of Anaheim and San Francisco came across as the old man of Jay Zeamer's crew, despite being only 24. (At 27, Joe Sarnoski was actually the oldest.) The premature gray in his hair helped the impression, but so did the quiet, thoughtful nature. He had an impishness—he enjoyed a good prank, and enjoyed the comedy in life—but it was the humor of an everyman philosopher, someone who observed and thought about life. A reader and student of history, especially military history, Thues probably more than anyone than Zeamer—perhaps even Zeamer—appreciated the nature of the war around them. Certainly his quiet determination and skill as an engineer was an instant draw for Jay Zeamer when he came looking for a flight engineer. The two men clearly admired one another, with Zeamer more than once urging Thues to apply to officer candidate school. Thues would never take it, though. He'd found his tribe and was loyal to it. Hence his anger at being denied the chance, due to sickness, to be with his crew over Bougainville Island for the mission that would change their lives. It would tug at him the rest of his life.
But the man who wouldn't become an officer did become an officer after the war, rising to assistant chief of police in Pacific Grove, CA. He could have been chief, when the position opened prematurely, but Thues wouldn't take it. He was close to retirement; it wouldn't be fair to make the city find another chief so soon. Because that's the kind of guy Bud Thues was.