What is a Ball Of Fire?
An assembly ship was used to guide the other aircraft in the direction they needed while forming up the group after takeoff. They were usually aircraft that had been retired from combat and painted with some wild schemes,like these stripes,and bright colors like red and yellow for easy visibility.
The high visibility help stop some of the formation accidents that were occuring with alarming regularity. These planes weren't armed; they never left the general area of the base while they were performing this task.
This B-24 Liberator (serial number 41-23667) nicknamed "Ball of Fire (Barber Bob)" of the 93rd Bomb Group used as a flight assembly ship.