Glen Beneda was a P-51 Mustang pilot in China on May 6, 1944 when he was shot down and spent two month evading the Japanese before returning to friendly forces. He landed in a rice paddy in Hubei province, his P-51 landed in a lake next to him.
The plane, even though it crashed, was still visible and the local Chinese farmers tied rocks to the floating pieces to ensure that it sank so that when the Japanese soldiers came the following day, nothing of the plane remained visible so the soldiers went elsewhere looking for Lt Beneda.
The State Administration of Cultural Heritage approved the excavation and the remnants of his P-51 will be put on display in a museum next year.
The original 100 “Flying Tigers”, and the subsequent fighter unit that inherited the AVG – American Volunteer Group - sobriquet on July 4, 1942, are well remembered – and are taught the unit history in school routinely – in China.
Full story at: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2008-12/15/content_7304193.htm
Since the first one rolled off the Production line in 1954, the Lockheed turboprop “Hercules” has traveled the world and has the same versatility as the famed C-47 “Gooney Bird” (which is still flying in some parts of the world in a commercial manner) which is essentially replaced in the US Armed forces.
This year it celebrated it’s 50th year with the Royal Australian Air Force on December 13, 2008.
More than 2,400 C-130s have been built at the Marietta Georgia plant.
Full story at: http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=100007
On December 20, 1943 Bulgaria was part of the Axis Powers and a mission by 200+ B-24 Liberators of the 15th Air Force, escorted by P-38 Lightnings, went to bomb Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. During the battle fighter pilot Dimitar Spisarevski deliberately rammed his fighter into a B-24 Liberator to bring it down – and was himself killed.
He was flying a Bf-109 G2 Messerschmitt along with 35 other pilots who broke through the P-38 escorts to attack the bomber formation.
As to if he deliberately rammed the B-24 or if it was accidental and the AXIS powers later portrayed it as deliberate act before the mission, the article does not mention that possibility. Most every fighter to bomber collision was an accident – there are not many accounts where pilots were told to ram when out of ammo, or stated over the radio to others that they are going to ram a bomber. The German ELBE fighter unit in 1945 flying modified FW-190s, and many Russian fighter pilots early in the war, are known to have deliberately rammed enemy aircraft.
In Central Sophia cemetery there is a “Walk of Pilots” were Bulgarian WW II pilots are buried.
The MACR listing for 20 December 1944 shows 11 B-24s lost that day (31 aircraft total), but only 1 ship from 15th AF bombers flying out of Italy, B-24 SN 42-83428 MACR 1592 from the 387 BG (H). The other B-24 aircraft lost that day were in the 8th and the 5th AF in the Pacific.
The three brothers Fred, Edwin, & Thomas signed up and all ended up being pilots / co-pilots in B-24s in the South Pacific -- in the same outfit.
Thomas was KIA on July 10, 1943 flying out of Guadalcanal in B-24 SN 42-40507, (MACR 4424) of the 380 BG(H). Brother Fred was killed in an accident when his plane hit power lines at Garden Plain on Oct 25, 1945.
Edwin finished 56 missions and got out of the US Army Air Corps in August 1945.
Full story: http://www.kansas.com/news/state/kansas_history/story/639685.html
Full story of “The Scratch Affair“ at:
Edward J. Giering (LTC, Ret.) spent that many years writing to various government departments trying to get his plane’s combat record corrected by the US Air Force. Shot down on February 16, 1945, the official report did not mention that his plane was part of the bomb group that bombed the rail head at Munster. Once he found out, he started writing in the early 1990s till just last month working to get the official record adjusted.
Full story at: http://www.theday.com/re.aspx?re=fdf612e4-7c18-461c-bfcd-f5d03af05f0e
On December 19, 2008 President Bush designated 9 locations as National Historic Sites these include: Tule Lake Segregation Center, amp Tule Lake (California), Atka Island, Kiska Island, Attu Island (Alaska), USS Arizona Memorial (which is sinking by the way), and the USS Utah Memorial, plus six officer bungalows and mooring quays on Ford Island (Hawaii).
The sites in Alaska are virtually un-reachable. The 11th Air Force fought against the Japanese from Alaska from 1942 thru 1945. The amphibious invasions in Alaska had a higher causality count per numbers involved than D-Day in France – both due to the Japanese and the really bad weather and lack of proper gear for the soldiers fighting in such miserable conditions in the Aleutians.
A B-17 is still lying on Atka Island.
In 1948 three B-17s were the whole heavy bomber force in Israel – escorted by Bf-109s which came from Czechoslovakia. Two of the three B-17s arrived thought the effort of Charles Winters, and he was subsequently convicted of violating the 1939 “Neutrality Laws” which forbids private citizens from providing any type of military assistance anywhere to anyone (that right is now reserved to the US Federal Government).
He was pardoned by President Bush on December 23, 2008 for his 1947 -1948 efforts to help Israel during their initial war for independence. He died in 1984.
Full story at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7799170.stm
Rudy DePaola, out of Woodstock Maryland, wrote this new book. He tells the story of A B-24 gunner in the South Pacific (5th or 13th Air Force, not sure.)
Not many stories have been written of the aerial combat in that theatre of war.
Rudolph "Rudy" DePaola joined the military in 1943 and was trained as a gunner in B-24s and was sent to New Guinea in November of 1944. He flew 25 combat missions out of Moratai airbase in the Halmaharas against Japanese targets in the Philippines, Borneo (oil fields) and other Jap held islands. The initial missions to Boreno oil fields were unescorted and were dropped after two missions due to heavy losses, until fighter escort was possible.
Wings of the Bullet * by Rudy DePaola; Story of Young Americans at War; Publication Date: March 16, 2006; Trade Paperback; $19.99; 231 pages; 978-1-4134-9816-5; Cloth Hardback; $29.99; 231 pages; 978-1-4134-9817-2
To request a complimentary paperback review copy, contact the publisher at (888) 795-4274 x. 7479. Tear sheets may be sent by regular or electronic mail to Marketing Services. To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (610) 915-0294 or call (888) 795-4274 x 7876.
Xlibris books can be purchased at Xlibris bookstore. For more information, 888-795-4274 or on the web at www.Xlibris.com
A chronicle of his time in the 615th Bomb Squadron of the 501st Bombardment Group (Heavy) flying in the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 8th Air Force. This book was created based on the notes that he took during his 35 mission tour in the ETO – European Theatre of Operations.
Elmer’s Tune (links to Amazon)
Book was published by the Peppertree Press.
Member Al Gould wrote a book Called “Millions of GHOSTS Plead... Don't Forget”, Hartly Press, Gearhart, Oregon, ISBN 0-9659081-8-6; and Clayton Kelly Gross wrote “Live Bait”, Inkwater Press, ISBN 978-1-59299-186-0. (Both web links are to Amazon)
And there are a few local chapter members who should write a book!!
Robert Otto, who lives in Everett Washington, was a B-24 tail gunner who was shot down during a strike against Vienna oil refineries, he is now a part of a painting honoring those who defeated the NAZI and thus liberated Austria.
His bomber crashed near Pollau with two dead, 1 missing and the other 5, plus Otto, captured. By this time of the war most bomber crews only had 9 men on them, they were loosing too many gunners so each bomber lost a waist gunner.
Josef Schutzenhofer is the artist and it is now in a government building in Graz.
Full story at: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20081208/NEWS01/712089906
Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure, a firm that started out allowing people to live the life of a pro race car driver for a few days, now has an “adventure” for people to fly in a B-17 – the “Liberty Belle” and be a crewman on it – over a period of three days.
http://www.wwiiadventure.com/ is the web site with the final part of it where you go up in one of the 14 Boeing B-17s still flyable in the world for a ride – without the “to whom it may concern” return delivery options that the real flyers had to deal with.
This all happens in Savannah where the 8th AF Museum is at.
Takes place Feb 27 thru March 1 2009. Cost is around US $2,000.
Don’t forget – you volunteered!
On March 20, 1945 over Berlin he did something quite remarkable – destroyed two ME-262 “Swallow” jets attacking his B-17 Bomber "Big Yank" in the low squadron, low group, as the 15th Air Force attacked the Daimler-Benz tank works within Berlin that day.
He died November 21, 2008 in Winston-Salem North Carolina.
He flew in the 840th Bomb Squadron, 483rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) out of Italy at Foggia as part of the 15th Air Force after flying missions out of England with the 8th Air Force.
One of the other gunners on his ship also got a ME-262 that day. Because of that exploit, and that the mission was the longest distance mission flown by the 15th during the entire war, the 483rd received a Distinguished Unit Citation.
Lowell Swenson, 86, died in Bemidji, Minn., on October 16, 2008. Swenson founded U.S. regional carrier Mesaba Airlines in 1978. The airline was later sold to Northwest Airlines. He is a recipient of the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for his service during World War II, in which he flew 50 B-24 Liberator bomber missions in Europe.
(Clint Gruber was a POW for 18 months at Stalag Luft One in Germany during WW2. One of his roommates at the camp for the remainder of the war was Lt Charles Early, pilot of a B17 in the 91st Bomb Group. Both Early and Clint were shot down on the same mission, to Solingen in the Ruhr Valley, on 1 December 1943.
Lt Early kept a very complete journal during his confinement. Thanks to his son, Gary Early, for permission to print Lt Early’s “Diary of Delivery”, his vivid word picture, of the final couple of weeks at Stalag One.)
April 20, 1945: Adolph Hitler’s birthday. Am told by the Germans that there has been great celebrations among the populace. Most flattering, a salute rendered by the Russians who laid down an artillery barrage from 0200 to 0800, somewhere within hearing distance of here—Stettin, most likely.
Later in the week: Russians have reached Berlin, and are advancing into the city in their best steam roller fashion. Hitler is reported to be in the front lines of the city’s defenses, so the fall of Berlin will probably bring the end of the war.
April 25: Heavy artillery fire from the south at 2045, continuing at intervals through the night. FW190s and ME109s at the airfield at Barth—tactical aircraft, so the front must not be very far away. We estimate 40-50 miles, from the sound of the firing.
April 29: Short air raid at 1240. Guns sound louder. Saw our first Feiseler “Storch”. a reconnaissance aircraft used for artillery spotting.
April 30: This morning we started walking guard in the compound. I will have a squad as soon as we take over. Col. Zemke came over and started the boys digging foxholes. Himmler is reported to have his headquarters just across the bay. Goering with him. Hitler has died in Berlin. All the planes are leaving the airfield, and demolition has commenced.
German Intelligence department has left. Barth is being evacuated. Russians reported 20 to 25 miles away, driving like mad. We can see smoke from the airfield.
April 30: 1600. The Germans are blowing up the installations at the Flak School by the South Compound, also the factory west of there. The demolitions get louder and occur at more frequent intervals. It gives one a rather queer feeling to see Germany fall to pieces before one’s eyes. Rumors are flying around so fast that I can’t keep up with them. Several
Russian pilots were shot down at Stralsund and were brought to this camp. They say that Joe will be here tonight. I shall not undress. All lights went out about 2300.
May 1: 17 months a prisoner today. Very fitting that I should be awakened this morning at 0500 by the fellows raising a hell of a racket. Looked out the window, and there are American guards in the towers It leaves me a little numb. I just can’t believe it.
Seems that the Germans stole silently away last night under cover of darkness. So, after all the talking and planning, we have finally taken over the camp. Now we wonder when the Russians will arrive. Major Blum and Col. Sluga came over about 0500 and shot the bull a bit. Everybody very excited! Wonder where the Kommandant and his staff went, and if Himmler is still on the peninsula. Know that, in the future when I read this, I shall be appalled at its coherency, but things have happened so damned fast that my head is spinning...more than somewhat
Now that it is practically over and I look back on the whole period, I find that it has not seemed so terrible. Of course, the months of the famine when we had no food or cigarettes were pretty grim, but usually we had enough food, and with a wonderful cook like Trubia we really ate quite well. Our bridge sessions with Col Sluga and Major Blum have been a lot of fun, as have our crazy discussions.
I believe that I am a more mature, level-headed person, and far more fitted to tackle life in the future. Underneath all the joy, however, lies a feeling of sadness at the thought that I may never again see the fellows that I’ve lived with and scrapped with for over a year. What a hell of a good bunch here in my room.
May 1: 0830. Listening to British Broadcasting Corporation on the barracks speakers. How wonderful it is to hear English spoken instead of the old harsh German! Col Zemke made a short talk. We’re taking over the camp today.
This afternoon we’re passing through another low feeling...an anti-climax. All sorts of wild rumors have been going around. Russians are 3 kilometers away. Burgermeister commits suicide.
10:20, or 2220, as you like. A damned historic moment. The Russians have really arrived!! The camp has gone mad. The main body is reported to be four or five hours away. German radio announced the death of Hitler...at long last. Listened to BBC again. They played the Star Spangled Banner. My God, what a moment! All the men came out of their rooms and stood at attention in the hall, tears running down their faces, some of them sobbing. More important goings-on should take place tomorrow. I’m dead!
Did I say the Russians arrived? My God, they took over the place! In order to keep us from roaming all over the peninsula, the American Senior Officers have locked the place up tighter than it ever was. A mistake, I’m afraid. The fences were torn down today on orders from a Russian who said he was a Colonel. He raised a hell of a row about us being locked up and brandished a pistol more than somewhat. (He was later exposed as a corporal). We all went barreling across the fields to Barth to see what the place looked like at close range. The Russians greeted us wildly, and wine actually flowed in the streets. They have tanks drawn up in the square, have taken all automobiles, horses, etc, and there is great activity.
The populace looks quite different that it did when we arrived here a year and a half ago. There are reports of looting and rape by the Russians, but rape seems a little on the order of wasted effort, as the frauleins are most generous. The village people seem to be glad that we’re here. After seeing the Russians!
Visited the concentration camp, which will forever remain in my memory as the most horrible sight I have ever seen! The place was surrounded by electrically charged wire, and inside were freshly dug graves which the inmates had prepared for some of the more fragrant inmates. The filth in the living quarters was indescribable. The floor and walls were covered with human offal, and over the whole place hung a sickish sweet odor....an odor which I have never before smelled, but which is instinctively recognized as death. And, indeed, the place was filled with death. We went into rooms where all the inmates were dead. Sitting up in chairs, sprawled on their bunks, or crumpled on the floor....starved to death. Not 1,000 feet away was the post hospital, a beautiful establishment with very modern medical aid, but it was denied to these poor wretches. I talked with some of the Frenchmen who had been here for years (I found it very difficult to speak French without lapsing into German every now and then). We brought the helpless ones out and carried them to the hospital where they were bathed and put into clean beds, and treatment began. Many of them are too far gone, however, to save. The most shocking thing was the number of women there.
May 10: The Russians have rounded up the cattle of the area and have driven 150 Holstein cows into our camp. We’re eating steaks!! Ah, luxury!
We still don’t know when the Americans are coming for us. It’s been 10 days since we were freed, and still they haven’t come.
May 13: They’ve come!!! Started arriving at 2:00 PM today. My old Group, the 91st Bomb Group was the 1st to arrive. Have found that I will leave tomorrow.
May 14: Rheims, France. At last, it has happened. I am out of Germany. We marched from camp this morning, through Barth to the airdrome, and were flown here. We came over the Ruhr. I don’t believe it! Huge cities like Essen, Dusseldorf, etc. can’t be so completely annihilated. It’s numbing!
We will go from here tomorrow to a camp called, of all things, “Camp Lucky Strike”, which is at St Valery en Caux, between Le Havre and Dieppe. We expect to ship from Le Havre and go straight to New York......and then home!!!
That is all. Over and out.
The above is the famous quote from President Roosevelt address to Congress on December 8, 1941, asking Congress to declare war on the Empire of Japan.
A joint Resolution of Congress declared war on Germany on December 11, because Germany (Hitler) deliberated for three days before declaring war on the USA on December 10. Germany / Italy were NOT obligated to declare against the USA since Japan was not attacked by the USA but instead attacked the USA.
This photo was taken by one of the Japanese planes at the start of the attack on Pearl Harbor. One of the first torpedoes to hit battleship row can be see as well as a “Kate” torpedo bomber silhouetted against the water. All but a few photos, and movies, that were taken during the attack by Japanese aircrew were lost since they were all stored on the Japanese carrier Akagi -- and it was sunk with three other carriers at the Battle of Midway June 4-6, 1942.
This year, December 7, actually falls on a Sunday. This means that if you change the year from 2008 to 1941 the calendars match, as does all the next four years to the same dates of events that occurred during World War II.
“The Hellish Vortex: Between Breakfast and Dinner” is a novel about the Eighth Air Force’s aerial combat of World War II by retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Richard M. Baughn. General Baughn trained in P-40s Warhawks (B/C models) and flew P-51 Mustangs when stationed with the 8th Air Force. He also had two combat tours in Vietnam.
“Baughn found that 41,802 airmen were killed from a force of about 100,000 pilots, navigators, bombardiers and aerial gunners. By comparison, the entire U.S. Navy, 3.3 million strong, lost less than 37,000 during WWII and less than 20,000 Marines were killed from a total force of over 475,000.”
The statistics are for world wide USA losses during the war – not just in the ETO.Via Amazon “The Hellish Vortex” for $20.99.
View the press release.
In the Huntsville Times there is an article that says in part “"Jesse O. Wikle in Africa Flight - Madison Boy is Pilot of 'Flaming Mayme,' Account of AP Reveals. Lieutenant Jesse O. Wikle Jr., son of Dr. and Mrs. J.O. Wikle of Madison, is the first Madison County boy to have the distinction of participating in the battle for Tunisia. He has been in foreign service approximately six months, most of it in England.” The local press officer was in each unit and they were constantly writing articles to get published in hometown newspapers, but in this case it was an AP writer who created this.
This single paragraph, knowing what we know now, means that he was part of the B-17s groups that went to North Africa from the 8th Air Force – and was in one of the groups that stayed there (97th BG (H) perhaps) and formed the 12th AF (later the bombers were re-assigned to create the 15th AF) while the other BGs returned to Britain.
This article cites other reference sources such as the US Census to fill in details about the people mentioned in the articles. If you are doing research, an article like this helps you learn how to perform research.
Pearson Army base had the first official Post Canteen – at it was first called. Later on with General Army Order number 56 it was renamed into the Post Exchange and the canteen = bar – and the selling of goods was split into different buildings. This was inspired by the British model.
Brief history of the US PX system at: http://www.aafes.com/pa/history/docs/BriefHistory.pdf
A number of theories as to the origin of the phrase "Whole Nine Yards" have been spoken of in the past and honestly, we may never know for certain which one, if any, should be considered as the actual source.
Some believe that the phrase may first have come into use in medieval times when convicts were tortured to death as a means of punishment. As you may already know there was a multitude of creative, yet unsavory means of torture employed in those days and one of the most feared was disembowelment. Depending upon one's crimes, of course, one might simply have been eviscerated and left for dead, but in response to especially heinous crimes the bowels were strewn about while the living victim writhed in pain. Since the intestines are believed to be roughly 27 feet long, the phrase "whole nine yards" referred to the complete disembowelment of the victim and the most severe punishment a person could face.
Others contend that the phrase came into use during the reign of King Henry VIII when the church declared that bodies were to be buried in graves that were of a minimum depth. If two family members were being buried at one, as was not uncommon in the days due to the rampant contagious diseases, a grave at least 6 feet long, 6 feet wide and 6 feet 9 inches deep was required These measurements surpassed the Church's minimum requirements by nine inches in depth. Among gravediggers, this became known as "the whole nine yards" as they were required to remove roughly 9 cubic feet of material, as opposed to the removal of substantially less for only one coffin.
Still others prefer to believe these origins:
Nine yards is believed to be the amount of material need to create a nun's habit, or as some would claim, a man's three-piece suit. Nine yards is the length of a maharajah's ceremonial sash, the maximum capacity of a West Virginia ore wagon, the volume of trash that a standard garbage truck can carry, the entire length of a hangman's noose, the distance you would have to run from a cell block to the outer wall in order to survive a jail break, the actual length of a standard bolt of cloth, the length of a burial shroud, the size of a soldier's backpack, the length of cloth needed to make a kilt, the number of yards in a ships sails, or that nine yards refers to some memorable event in the game of American football (that no one seems to recall specifically).
There are, of course, many others that I have not mentioned and you can recreate my search strategy to find dozens more. My favorite, and frankly the most plausible modern explanation, comes from the more recent 1940's, when, as you know, American culture was rife with slang and "old sayings", many of which originated from World War II military vernacular. As the explanation goes, the phrase "the whole nine yards" first gained fame among fighter pilots who employed the use of .50 caliber machine guns onboard their planes. The gun belt for this weapon is said to have been exactly 27 feet long, so if a pilot was really determined to hit a specific target he might completely discharge his weapon in the enemy's direction, thus giving his enemy "the whole nine yards".
Tom Davis (Oregon member 8th AFHS)
Milk Run: noun, uneventful routine. Slang for an “easy mission”. A combat mission where you attack the enemy and get credit for a successful mission toward your tour total but no enemy fighters, nor any effective anti-aircraft guns, are expected to be firing at you. Word origin based upon the routine nature of delivering milk every morning to people in the US in the 1920s. First referenced in print in 1925. See “cake walk”. Antonym of Schweinfurt.
If this TSA Legislation is enacted, it will be the end of the ‘Wings
of Freedom Tour’ (Collings Foundation) and similar flight programs.
Time sensitive action required.
RE: Docket Number TSA 2008-0021, Large Aircraft Security Program, Other Aircraft Operator Security Program and Airport Operator Security Program
On October 30, 2008, the TSA issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) with only a 60 day comment period (which includes several holidays and a period when, typically, Washington becomes a “Ghost Town”) calling for sweeping new security requirements on the operation of all aircraft exceeding 12,500 pounds.
The Collings Foundation’s preliminary assessment of the proposal is that this legislation would be so cumbersome, far reaching, and virtually impossible to comply with, that our flying of historic aircraft would not be possible.
Because of the onerous requirements and encroachment on personal freedoms suggested in the NPRM, three major aircraft associations, AOPA, EAA and NBAA, have called for extending the comment period to120-days, plus public hearings to evaluate the impact and interpretation of the proposed ruling.
Industry estimates are that over 15,000 aircraft, 10,000 operators and 300 airports will be impacted by the 67-page proposal. New concepts of third party auditors, security program training and approval, and third party watch list checking firms with timely approvals -- which would allow the general aviation community to comply with these regulations do not exist, thereby resulting in a real Catch 22.
Furthermore, there seem to be no discussions of the cost vs. benefits of this huge Federal Program, and who would pay for it other than the General Aviation Community.
As it is proposed, TSA-2008-0021 would have an enormous impact on general aviation, plus violation of Constitutional Rights issues.
As to its effect on the Collings Foundation, our assessment is that, as proposed, it would be fatal to the Wings of Freedom Tour and our ability to take these historic aircraft around the country and share them with millions of Americans annually. Please note that with some concern for political correctness please use historic aircraft rather than bombers or warbirds in your communications and correspondence.
The bottom line is that we need your help both short-term and long-term. Short-term, we need you to support the aviation communities request to extend the comment period by a minimum of at least 60 days.
The current deadline for comments is December 29, 2008.
Official Response: You may submit comments, identified by the TSA docket number TSA 2008-0021 to the Federal Docket Management System, a government-wide electronic docket management system, using any and/or all of the following methods:
Dexter Forbes, Navigator 392 BG (H) – January 13, 2008
Warren Whitting, Navigator 381 BG (H) – January 17, 2008
Stan Greer, Lead Bombardier 389 BG (H) – February, 2008
Andrew Brown, Navigator 457 BG (H) – March 15, 2008 – Founding President of Oregon Chapter
Sam Snodgrass, Supply Sgt 33 ADS – April 1, 2008
Edwin Dey, Radio Operator 92 BG (H) – April 29, 2008
Joseph R Rowland Jr, S/Sgt Eng 351 BG (H) – June 5, 2008
Jessie Pace, T/Sgt 95 BG (H) – August 31, 2008
Edgar J Mullen, S/Sgt 491 BG (H) – September 16, 2008
Virginia Knight, wife of Marvin Knight 493 BG (H) – October 8, 2008
June Richardson, wife of Stan Richardson, October 2008
As told by Doug Radcliffe, secretary of The Bomber Command Association in England, the men in the parade are normally overlooked due to lack of distinctive attire. This year, however, they will be wearing their original Irving Flying Jackets – the original Irvine “Bomber Jackets” and so named after its Canadian inventor Leslie Leroy Irvine, and each of the 4 will be carrying their flight helmets to help identify them.
Mr. Radcliffe was a Wellington Radio Operator during the Second World War. He was one of the lucky ones (especially as a Wellington crew member) to survive a tour. Bomber Command suffered a 73% overall causality rate – only 27 crew members out of 100 in Bomber command ever finished a tour of 30 night missions. This is one reason why over 55,000 members of bomber command died during the war.
As a result of this, in the UK they launched a “Forgotten Heroes” appeal to get a memorial built in central London to honor all members of the WW II Bomber Command appeal. They have around $1.4 million and need another $3 million.
Full story: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/rafbombercommand/3367366/Bomber-Command-veterans-to-wear-flying-gear-for-remembrance-parade.html
See the full story at http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2008/nov/01/seahorse-reunion/
Member of VMB-423 met recently for their now annual reunion in Knoxville Tennessee. 500 strong when these “Seahorse Marines” were stationed in the Southwest Pacific around the Bismarck Sea for over a year, there are far fewer left now.
While on Green Island and others Pacific airfields, they bombed shipping, airfields, and did low level strafing runs in their B-25s against the Japanese.
“B-25s were sturdy but hard to fly - the equivalent of flying a bank vault. They were shot through and through during low-level runs, "which were more fun," said Richard Shipley, 83, of Camarillo, Calif. He was a radioman and side gunner.
"It was boring up at 10,000 feet," he said, talking over war stories with some buddies Friday. "Nothing but Japanese flak up that high," he said.
Seahorse Marines loved what they called "heckling." Those were island night raids, dropping a single bomb, turning, and coming back to drop another, just to keep the Japanese pinned down, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
"We had these stubby beer bottles," said Shipley, the group's newsletter editor. "We'd drink the beer before we took off, and then over a target, we'd drop the stubby bottles. I don't know how, but those bottles had the same whistle as our 100-pound bombs.
"We'd drop bottles and then quit. The Japs would get confused in their counting and think the bombing was over. They counted the whistles instead of the explosions. They'd turn the lights back on, and we'd bomb them again."
"You know," said Shipley, after a pause, "the American soldier was innovative."
Full Story: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20081027/NEWS0204/810270317/1002/NEWS
This article details some of the very creative ways that Rochester New York dreamed up as ways to sell War Bonds. One, included having a miniature aircraft carrier aligned on a map to start at in the Philippines and as money was raised it kept moving – island hopping – till when the goal was reached it was at Tokyo.
Also World War II starting in 1943 you have to thank for automatic payroll deduction of income tax. This was implemented by the Treasury Department to cut down the amount of cash in circulation instead of the then practice of people sending in the tax they owed at the end of the year.
Berlin’s most famous airport, of which the curved Airport Terminal building was one of the largest buildings in the world when it was completed in the 1930s, and it survived the war, is now closed.
The airport was closed due to the similar circumstances that closed the Denver airport and relocated the airfield to the hinterlands, plus the political desire to build a massive one stop airport and close down more convenient close in airports to appease noise complaints.
Full Story at: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/local/story/281294.html
Gary Zaetz went to India to get to the crash site of “Hot as Hell”. Uncle 1st Lt. Irwin Zaetz and seven other crew members died in on 25 January 1944 when their World War II bomber crashed in this remote region.
Clayton Kuhles found the remains of the plane in 2006. Six months later, Zaetz read about it on Kuhles' Web site. http://www.miarecoveries.org/
Highly decorated Second World War Spitfire pilot known as "The Flying Fox", Hon. Col. Charles (Charley) W. Fox, 88, the subject of a recently released book, was killed Saturday afternoon (October 18th?) when his Saab was struck.
On July 17, 1944, Flight Lt. Fox is credited with helping end the career of Field Marshall Erwin Rommel -- the “Desert Fox”.
Flight Lt. Fox was piloting one of two Canadian Spitfires from the 412 Squadron when the pair unknowingly encountered Rommel and his driver on July 17, 1944 in the Normandy countryside and fired on his speeding black staff car in France.
The driver reacted to the strafing attack and then Field Marshall Erwin Rommel suffered serious head injuries after being thrown against the windshield post.
In 2004, a war expert confirmed, after consulting first-hand accounts and logs, that it was most likely Fox who fired on Rommel.
Fox is also credited with flying three patrols from the coast of France on D-Day and received the Distinguished Flying Cross for the 153 enemy attacks.
William C Wildman, 85, is one of about 100 veterans who will be on the inaugural Honor Flight to the nation’s capital Nov. 15 to visit the National World War II Memorial.
He served in the unit had earned fame in 1942 for flying 65 hours from its base in Florida, hopping from the Gold Coast of Africa to the Sudan before landing in Egypt.
There, the 376th “Stone Crushers” pulverized enemy oil refineries in Romania and helped turn back German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Corps in North Africa.
His closest call came on December 31, 1944 when a flak shell exploded and the Liberator’s windshield exploded. Shards of steel nicked Wildman’s flight jacket and removed much of the skull of flight engineer Joe Kelly, of New York, who was standing behind Wildman, holding on to the back of his seat.
“Half his head was gone. An eye was gone,” said Wildman, who flew 32 missions over Italy, Austria, Romania and Germany from fall 1944 to April 1945. “Frankly, I was pretty shook up. That could have been me.”
Full story at: http://www.thestate.com/local/story/561011.html
The Hudson bomber, used in great numbers by the RAF before and right after the US entered the war as a light bomber, assigned RAAF code A16-126, was shot down by Japanese fighters in a raid on shipping in Gasmata Harbour on February 11, 1942.
On board that day were Flying Officer Graham Gibson, Pilot Officer Frank Thorn, Sergeant Barton Coutie and Sergeant Arthur Quail.
A RAAF team went to the site after missionary Mark Reichman was told about it from a local village. They found identity tags and other personal items, but no human remains.
Due to an editing error by an Air Force Reserve amateur historian in a 1953 book he was editing saying they collided on takeoff, this factual error has been lain to rest.
The two Tuskegee airmen were reported MIA on July 2, 1943, when the men disappeared while escorting a dozen B-25 bombers on a mission near the coast of Sicily. Lt Sherman White of Montgomery and LT James McCullin of St. Louis did not die in a takeoff collision but either were killed when they collided with each other during combat with German Luftwaffe fighters, or most likely, shot down by enemy pilots.
Full story: http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081012/NEWS01/810120315/1009
John Kalusa carved out of balsa over a period of 50 years starting in 1936, a total of 5,829 miniature flying machines. They are all at 1/18 scale. This allows all of them to be visually compared when looked at.
They were all donated to Emery-Riddle Aviation and are now housed in their new Florida classroom building on the 2nd floor.
In Clovis, just outside Sacramento, Harold Kindsvater has finished a 10 year effort to restore a Bf-109G to both flying and museum standards.
Painted in the colors of JG-26 – the Abbeville Boys – it was featured on the October 12 “Showdown Air Combat” after a film crew came by to photograph it for the show.
"It took two months to paint it," Kindsvater says.
The detailed paint job includes the German lettering "nicht betreten" (don't step on) and "nicht anfassen" (don't touch) at key points on wings and tail. (They should have added Nicht schissen – don’t shoot!)
Full story: http://www.fresnobee.com/lifestyle/story/897290-p2.html
The price has been going up, it is now at $1.9 million.
Sold at Auction in Nelson, New Zealand this World War II Spitfire fighter, one of fewer than 60 still flying worldwide, sold for NZ$2.8.
The aircraft, a 1945 Mk. XVI variant was purchased by North China Shipping Holdings Co. Chairman Yan-Ming. He plans to donate the fighter to the China Aviation Museum in Beijing, China.
To rebuild a Spitfire “basket case” takes three years and $1.3 million.
A new aviation museum at the Macon Georgia air base opened up for business October 17, 2008.
40 men of the 507 PIR, 101 Airborne Division of WW II were on hand during the ceremony.
The museum will specialize in the 14th Air Force – whose AVG members -- The Flying Tigers – stayed behind and formed the nucleus of the new unit on July 4, 1942 in China. In addition, they will also have on display the history of the Tuskegee Airmen. In addition, other historical aircraft will be on display.
Still living at 82 years of age, the retired Admiral is one of a few dozen people to have ships named after them while still alive. The practice of naming ships after living people started after the Revolutionary War when some ships were named after George Washington, during the US Civil War, and then on occasions afterwards.
The most recent ships named while people are still alive to tour them include: USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) in 2001, USS Nitze (DDG-94) in 2004, USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) in 2004, USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) in 2006 and now USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108) on October 19, 2008.
On January 31, 1956 a B-25 ran out of fuel and ditched in the York River at Pittsburg. The crew escaped, but the plane’s recovery was never attempted. Now a group of people with the organizational name of “B-25 Recovery Group” tried to locate it via radar, and diving, but were unsuccessful.
Just too much other junk has been deposited onto the riverbed over the past 50 years to see it while scuba diving.
They will try again.
Don Bourgeois, past 8th AFHS Oregon President, has been writing articles for a long time and recently has been writing articles for “The Combat Report” www.thecombatreport.com web site – which is a companion site to the National Combat History Archive based in Hillsboro, Oregon.
Don spent a year on Guam as part of his job and was able to get to Tinian to visit the airfield and pad where B-29 Enola Gay and Bock’s Car were based for their mission to Japan on August 6 and 9th 1945 respectively. He was also able to get to Iwo Jima.
TCR web site has lots of interesting first person accounts from World War II onwards as well as aviation centric articles.
The 2008 reunion of American Aces (any pilot who has been officially credited with destroying 5 or more enemy planes) will occur from June 26 thru June 29th at the Radisson Hotel & Suites, 111 East Cesar Chavez Street, Austin Texas. Call 1-800-333-3333 for room reservations. Rooms are $119 plus all the extra taxes they put onto a room. You must reserve by May 27th to get these rates.
Reunion cost is $130 a person.
Send you reunion money to Col. Ward Boyce; 12408 Deer Track, Austin Texas 78727-5746
Make the check out to AFAA Reunion.
The B-17 along Highway 99-E is undergoing a slow restoration
The Boeing B-17G that was first placed there in 1947 - the Lacy Bomber - is missing its nose - along with other parts - due to the expensive ongoing restoration project. There is now a museum on the site where the nose, ball turret and other items are stored while being re-furbished. It is also a banquet room you can rent out.
It will take a few million to restore it to flying status. You can dontate money to them via their web site: www.thebomber.com .
If you wish to look at, and purchase, historical arms (or pick up rare ammo for the weapons you have) Collector's West has published their show schedule for 2008. The Portland show at the Expo Center incorporates the Rose City Gun Collectors group.
March 1 & 2 show is in Vancouver, 14-16 in Portland, and then 29 & 30 of March in Grants Pass.
This is the third year of holding the "Hero's Breakfast" started in part due to honor of the WW II B-17 men who were trained at Walla Walla.
The program honors all types of heroes, but the last 15 minutes are singled out to any military veteran, past or currently serving.
It was started by Dixie Ferguson after she heard some of the stories told by veterans.
Whitman Hotel; 6 West Rose Street; Walla Walla, Washington. 509-525-2200 for directions or information.
The Swoose, a movie start in films such as "12 O'Clock High," is the oldest B-17D in existence. It has been in storage for 50+ years in Maryland without ever being restored.
The Flying Fortress was stationed on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines on December 7, 1941 and it made a reconnaissance flight that day and then flew in the first bombing mission in the Pacific. It also made a night bombing attack on Davao Gulf a few days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was converted into a fast transport for generals.
Now this aircraft is being moved to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Dayton, Ohio - where people will actually be allowed to see it.
The famous Hasbro toy of the early 1960s, G.I. Joe, whose face was was modeled after the real hero of WW II Marine Col. Mitchell Paige, is being reworked from an American Hero, to a undefined Euro Centric UN type law enforcement outfit in the new movie by Paramount.
Hasbro originally planned for an Marine, Army, Navy, Air Force versions but ended up only having the Army and Marine version initially using the likeness of Col Paige on both.
The name now means "Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity."
See the full write up of Vin Suprynowicz's article at http://www.lvrj.com/opinion/10849526.html.
I read his column in the January issue of Shotgun News. SGN often has a great article detailing the history of a firearm in each issue.
A possible travel strike in January in UK occur on three sets of dates. One set could be on January 7 then Jan. 14 2008, and the other strike action could be for possibly two days starting Jan. 17. This is with the baggage handlers (?) for the airports.
He was in Basic Training when the war ended and never served in combat but still was part of the Army and thus qualified to be a U.S. veteran of World War I. He died in Ohio at 109 year of age at the Briar Hill Health Campus in North Baltimore.
Two other U.S. veterans are still living after the Armistice that ended the Great War to End All Wars was assigned on November 11, 1918.
Of the 4.7 million plus Americans who joined the military After the War Declaration in 1917 only 2 now remain: Frank Buckles, 106, of Charles Town, West Virginia; and Harry Richard Landis, 108, of Sun City Center, Florida.
The only Canadian veteran left is John Babcock, 107, who lives in Spokane, Washington.