Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (p. 143) defines a "buddy" as "companion, partner", or "fellow". It gives that the word evolved probably from baby talk as a alternative to "brother". The following pictured dated January 14, 1946 shows a group of "buddies".
It would have been roughly half a year since WWII had ended. These fellows were in post war Germany, and most all seem to have a smile across their face. My Dad must have been taking the picture since his smiling face does not appear.
A "buddy system" is an arrangement in which two individuals are paired as for mutual safety in a hazardous situation. I would guess that blowing up planes after the war would be considered hazardous since TNT was used most of the time. My Dad tells a few stories about this activity. These few buddies were included.