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LATEPASS SPRING 2018 ISSUE

WWW.449TH.COM

449th BOMB GROUP ASSOCIATION

THE PRESIDENT’S REPORT BY RICHARD LAPHAM, VICE PRESIDENT

Sharing Special Memories of Reunion #24 –San Antonio

The Flying Horsemen 449th Bombardment Group (H) B-24 Aircraft Long Range Heavy Bomber WWII European Theater 15th Air Force, 47th Bomb Wing 449th Bombardment Group Bomb Squadrons: 716, 717, 718, 719 January 1944 – April 1945 Grottaglie, Italy Bombardment Targets Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Rumania, Yugoslavia 254 Combat Missions In 475 days of combat, 111 B-24 bombers lost, 199 Axis fighters destroyed Personnel Loss/Interred or Evaded 393 KIA / 63 DED (other deaths) 359 POW / 186 Evaded / 9 Interred Distinguished Unit Citations (DUC) Bucharest, Romania, April 4, 1944 Ploiesti, Romania, July 9, 1944

I often think of our last reunion in San Antonio. Not only was it one of our best locations for the 449th reunion, but also quite honestly, it was one of my best personal vacations. An amazing experience with perfect weather, the beautiful River Walk only a few short steps from our hotel and a city with history galore. Exotic flowers planted among the century old trees lining the river, branches reaching out over the slow drift of the river with stone walkways on either side made the River Walk a true paradise. Along the river were many amazing restaurants and shops of all sizes and kinds. It was here that I purchased my $1,000,000 bill (for $1.00); I love pulling it out to set up the bar at the Elks Lodge, always gets a good laugh from the new members. The first day was our visit to Fredericksburg, originally founded by German immigrants in 1846. The main draw of the tour was the Museum of the Pacific War, and it didn’t disappoint. I have done some study of the ETO, mainly because of the 449th but didn’t realize how little I knew about the war in the Pacific (pretty embarrassing for a west coast boy). Pictures and stories adorning all of the walls in the Museum depicted every aspect of the Glory and horror of the war in the Pacific. Assorted armament, both American and Japanese, were strategically placed throughout the Museum; amazing what innovative ideas that man can conjure up to kill their fellow man during a war. I found the strange small submarine stationed outside the front door of the museum to be one of the most interesting contraptions at the museum. It would be interesting to see the psychological profile of the men that were willing to board such a vessel! I thought the town itself was of equal interest to the Museum. Amazing architecture dating back to the 1800s, small shops scattered up and down both sides of the street with all manner of gift items to haul home, and of course several great restaurants. We (and several other 449ers) ended up dining at an eatery with a beautiful shaded patio under a huge tree. I suspect that the tree might be as old as the town. I ordered a German dish of some type and a large frosty mug of

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ice-cold beer. In the background, was the sound of a guitar and smooth voice of a local musician singing ballads; just loud enough to enjoy the music but not so loud that you couldn’t have a good conversation. He was so good; we ended up buying one of his CD’s. As I lifted my mug of cold beer as a toast to another great day with Cynthia sitting across from me in the patio, I thought it doesn’t get much better than this! From all the smiling faces on our return, I think most of the group felt the same way. The Alamo was an altogether different experience. As I toured the buildings and the adjoining courtyards, I felt that I was literally going back in history. I could see Santa Ana firing the cannons at the Alamo, I could see Davey Crockett & Jim Bowie standing on the wall of the Alamo with all the other brave men standing up to a superior force, I could smell the odor of gun powder spiraling from the tips of their rifles. Of course I have seen the movie a couple of times, so maybe not everyone had the same feeling. Then there was the absolutely amazing light show projected against the face of the San Fernando Cathedral in the main plaza; the same Cathedral that purportedly holds the remains of the defenders of the Alamo, including the names Travis, Bowie and Crocket. The 24 minute show depicted the long history of San Antonio projected in vivid colors and phenomenal animation…a special experience not to be forgotten! We changed things up a bit in San Antonio and had our guest speaker for the Squad dinner; and what a speaker he was! Mr. Dennis Norton, one of the motivating forces behind the Willow Run renovation project gave a very informative and entertaining speech in regard to the plan to renovate the Willow Run facility. The room was completely silent and all eyes were glued to Dennis as he went through a power point presentation explaining each and every detail of the renovation. As Dennis mentioned during his presentation, many of the B-24’s from the 449th were produced at this plant.

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V IC E P R E SI DE N T ’ S M E S S AG E

STATUS REPORT

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F OR M AC R 2 7 1 1 A N D 1 2 5 1 1 BY ALAN DAVIS, 2ND GEN, 716TH

BY JOHNIE E. WEBB, JR. / DEFENSE POW/MIA ACCOUNTING AGENCY, JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, HAWAII

We feel that the Willow Run project is a perfect opportunity to move forward with our drive to carry on the legacy of the 449th BGA; what better place to have a presence than the location where our planes were constructed. Please contact Alan Davis, 449th Legacy coordinator, for more information on the Willow Run project or if you have a desire to make a donation to the project in the name of the 449th BGA. In closing, I would like to give my sincere appreciation to all of the 449th Board of Directors that worked so diligently to make San Antonio such a great success. More importantly, I want to convey a very special thank you to all the members of the 449th BGA, without whom there would be no Reunion, or for that matter 449th Association. Thanks for your heartfelt support of our great organization!

KENDALL CREW | DOWNED JAN 30, 1944 NORTHERN ITALY Original Combat Crew: Front row (L-R) Hill, McGuire, Kendall, Porter Back row: (L-R) Gavalas, Lamarca, Gann, Herrington, Thompson, Grooms

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Kendall Crew - MACR 2711 “When we last updated you on activities taken by DPAA related to plans to recover still unaccounted-for crew members associated with B-24H #41-29217(Missing Air Crew Report 2711), they were awaiting the development of a statement of work and an environmental assessment by the Corps of Engineers. Upon receiving that product, DPAA experts discovered that the plan which had been developed did not fully encompass the area which would need to be excavated for a full recovery of the site. Subsequently, DPAA, through its Strategic Partnerships Directorate, has partnered with the underwater archaeology program at Eastern Carolina University. A team from that university is slated to conduct an archaeological and geophysical survey of the crash site in late February and early March of 2018. The team will produce detailed mapping data of the debris field and terrain which will assist DPAA in determining the size and complexity of the follow-up recovery operation.”

“For the Hanson crew, I’m waiting on our scientist to return from the American Academy of Forensic Science conference to get the latest. They will be back in the lab on Monday and I will provide you the update then.” – Johnie Webb 449th BGA: MIA Homecoming Update Of the remains that were recovered in the Adriatic Sea by the DPAA during May 2016, DNA testing produced identification of three MIA crew members: 2 Lt.

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And let us not forget two very special guests that saved the day for the 449th in the absence of Rev. Denise Trogdon, our Group Chaplain. Chaplain Jack Steel Jr. from District 20 of the local VFW offered to preside over our memorial service and was perfect; almost as tough he were a 20 year member of the 449th. He is in fact retired USAF, which makes him a close kin. The 449th owes Jack a great deal of gratitude for presiding over our Memorial Service and making our reunion in San Antonio a very special time. The second guest was Father Michael O’Gorman who did a superb job delivering the Banquet Invocation. Being of Irish decent, Father O’Gorman seemed to enjoy meeting as many 449th members as possible and discussing any number of subjects while sprinkling in a wee bit of Irish humor, a twinkle in his eye and a larger than life smile. Also an Irish trait, he absolutely insisted on visiting with each and every veteran and every MIA family attending, expressing gratitude to the veterans while giving compassionate words to the MIA families. Thank you Father O’Gorman for bringing levity, hope and compassion to our Banquet; a banquet not to be forgotten.

449th Bomb Group Association Officers | 2018 President: Floyd H. Trogdon, BrigGen/Retired, 719th Vice President: Richard Lapham, 2nd Gen, 719th Secretary: Mary Crowley, 2nd Gen, 717th

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449th BG Museum: David Duane Livingston Memorial Museum Dan & Carol Livingston, 2nd Gen, 718th

PX Officers: Gary Smith & Debbie Utz, 2nd Gen, 717th Veterans Correspondence: Deborah Hill, 2nd Generation, 718th

Treasurer: Richard Lapham, 2nd Gen, 719th

Chaplain: Rev. Denise Trogdon, 2nd Gen, 719th

449th BG Historian: Mark Coffee, 2nd Gen, 718th

Executive Assistant: Rod Miller, 2nd Gen, 716th

Legacy Project: Alan Davis, 2nd Gen, 716th

Archives Manager: Denise Riegel, 2nd Gen, 718th

Public Relations: Sandra Latta, 2nd Gen, 718th

Social Media Research Tad Garner, 3rd Gen, 717th

449th.com | 449th Flying Horsemen


75TH ANNIVERSARY REUNION CHARLOTTE, NC | SEPT. 13, 14, 15 - 2018 BY RICHARD LAPHAM, VP 449TH BOMB GROUP

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Our next reunion will be in Charlotte, NC slated for September 13th, 14th and 15th. We will be staying at the Omni Hotel in down town. I have it on good authority, from Mary Crowley our renowned Group Secretary that Omni hotels are wonderful places to stay. They have given us a great price and are centrally located to downtown attractions. There seems to be a never ending number of good restaurants and bars, NASCAR Hall of Fame, Performing Art Center, Park, History Museum all within walking distance of the hotel. NOTE: There will be a special drawing for some lucky 449th family that will be given 3 free nights at the hotel. To be eligible for the “early bird” drawing, you must have your registration in by June 30th. The lucky ticket will be drawn at the Get Acquainted Party on our first night. As usual, we have put together some great tours. First is the Charlotte Motor Speedway where our group will actually get to ride around the Speedway following in the same tread marks as the NASCAR race cars and experience the

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24-degree curve banking! Twenty-four degrees? Look out of the side window of one side of the car and you would be looking at the blur of the racetrack flashing before your eyes. The other side, it seems you would be looking at low flying birds. After the Speedway, we get to go across the street to view some rare, classic and high performance cars at Hendricks Performance. City tour and a visit to the Billy Graham Library are also part of our tour agenda. (See registration form for more details) The Banquet will be held at the Carolinas Aviation Museum, which sports a spectacular collection of planes and aviation artifacts celebrating flight from the Wright Brothers to the jet age. The miracle on the Hudson is also housed at the Aviation Museum I am not one that particularly likes to fly. I wouldn’t say its fear. I figure if our father’s could fly in unpressurized four engine ice boxes, in temperatures pushing 40 degrees below zero, flying through heavy devastating flak while ME109’s were firing 20mm cannons at their planes, I really shouldn’t have any worries. However, I thank God I wasn’t on that U.S. Airways flight,

call sign “Cactus 1549” on January 15, 2009. The Airbus A-320 took off from La Guardia at 3:24 on January 15, 2009. At 3:27 the plane hit a flock of Canada geese that took out both engines. Piloting the plane was Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, a 57-year-old retired USAF fighter pilot who also had experience with gliders. The copilot was Jeffrey Skiles with 15,000 flight hours, Sully had over 19,000 hrs. of flight time. They called in a Mayday, and made the only decision that was viable, to ditch in the Hudson River. The temperature hovered around 19 degrees F. The National Transportation Safety Board stated that the landing on the Hudson was “the most successful ditching in aviation history”. Miraculously, all 155 passengers had been evacuated from the plane by 3:55 that afternoon. Now we will have the opportunity to “get up close and personal” with Cactus 1549 at our Banquet. It puts shivers down my spine to think we will be so close to this historic plane and feeling the thoughts of the 150 passengers and the heroic crew that flew her…. we will be witnessing a true miracle.

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SHARE YOUR STORY

Save the Date! The WWII Flying Horsemen 449th BG Association

T E L L YO U R V E T E R A N S S TORY BY ALAN DAVIS, 2ND GEN, 716TH

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The story of the 449th BG(H) is not only made up of the unit’s official records, but it’s also made up of the stories of the veterans who served in the unit and their families. Since 2018 is the 75th anniversary of formation, training and deployment of the 449th BG(H), leadership thinks Veterans Day (Nov 11) would be a perfect time to share its story. We hope you’ll consider sending a Letter to the Editor of your local paper sharing your veteran’s story. Please include the 449th BGA’s website address with a suggestion that readers visit it. If your letter gets published, please send an email with a link to the paper to: Tad Garner at tadgarner@hotmail.com and Denise Riegel at redriegel@yahoo.com That way we can add links to it on our Facebook Page and Website. We look forward to reading the stories you tell. And thanks for helping spread the word about the important role the 449th BG(H) played in winning WWII.

Charlotte, NC

Sept. 13-15, 2018 BANQUET / Carolinas Aviation Museum Tours: Charlotte Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports Museum, Billy Graham Library & Tour of the Queen City!

CALLING ALL Veterans, Widows, Family, 2nd & 3rd Generation and Friends ALL are encouraged to attend this event! EVENT EXCEPTIONALLY HANDICAPPED FRIENDLY Omni Charlotte Hotel 132 E. Trade Street, Charlotte, NC 28202

Ph: (800) 843-6664

Please reference 449th Bomb Group 4

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449TH BG ASSN. & MILITARY AFFILIATIONS

CHARLOTTE, NC | SEPT. 13 - 15 - 2018

REGISTRATION FORM OR SIMPLY REGISTER ONLINE AT: WWW.449TH.COM 449thBomb Group: I will have a total of

persons attending.

SQDN:

Are you the Veteran or Spouse?

Yes

No

If NO, please state relationship & Veteran’s name: Name(s) of all attendees as they will appear on the NAME TAGS:

Other AFFILIATION:

I will have a total of

Name:

persons attending.

Are you the Veteran or Spouse?

Assgn.: Yes

No

If NO, please state relationship & Veteran’s name: Name(s) of all attendees as they will appear on the NAME TAGS:

Home Address: City:

State:

E-Mail:

Zip Code: Check if appropriate:

This is my 1st reunion

Yes

No

I have attended

Please make check payable to: 449th BG Association

# of Reunions

Mail check to: Deborah Hill / Reunion Register 4335 West 1325 South Cedar City, Utah 84720

Phone: New Home Address You will be traveling by:

New Email Address Plane

Car

Please call if you have any questions. (Mountain T ime) Cell: 714-658-6802 Fax: 714-846-0965

HOTEL RATES: $129 per day for our members and are applicable two days before and after the reunion. Please reference 449th Bomb Group when you are making your reservation REUNION & HOTEL REGISTRATIONS must be made by Thursday, August 30, 2018 Omni Charlotte Hotel 132 E Trade St. Charlotte, NC 28202 Phone: (800) 843-6664

* There are a limited number of handicap rooms available. Please remember to request a room if needed. * Hotel is located in the heart of the downtown and within walking distance to many major attractions. Please note that the hotel rate is significantly less than any hotel in the area given the time of year and incredible location.

• TRANSPORTATION Distance from the airport to Omni Hotel is 6.4 miles - There is no hotel shuttle service

-U  BER or LYFT approximately cost is $15-$20 depending on time of day and size of car

- TAXI SERVICE is also available at the airport – flat fee of $25

- Hotel parking is $24 per night

WIN 3 FREE NIGHTS!

Register before July 15 and win a chance for your hotel accommodations for three nights to be paid for by the 449th BGA.

(Standard King or 2 double beds with double occupancy). Drawing/Winner announced at Get Acquainted Night

REFUND POLICY: If a crisis forces a cancellation, refunds will be available for all items, except registration fee / August 30, 2018.


CHARLOTTE, NC | SEPT. 13 - 15 - 2018 Registration

EVENTS & ACTIVITIES

COST

Veteran (Accompanied by a Spouse or ONE Traveling Companion) OR Primary Family Member

PERSON TOTAL

$30

THURSDAY

Each Additional Family Guest (all ages) $20 Sept. 13 9:30 AM – 3:00 PM — A real “Pit Stop:” Charlotte Speedway Tour & Hendrick Motorsports $48 •C  HARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY: Home to famous NASCAR races and home base for many racing teams. Upon arrival we will transfer into smaller Speedway vans that will allow us to tour the garage area and take a ride through two infield race tracks. Along with learning about the nuts and bolts of the industry, we will get a quick look behind-the-scenes at Pit Road and areas normally restricted to visitors. Flying the colors of the 449th BG, we then take a lap around the speedway itself, experiencing a 24-degree banking tilt, and then ending with a photo op at the winner’s circle. To “top it off,” we will have a light lunch and a view of the start & finish line from the 6th floor private Speedway Club. •H  endrick Motorsports Museum: Showcasing the famed racing years of Hendricks, his private

collection, and race shops of current teams. “This venue is for the non-NASCAR fan or real NASCAR fans will lose their minds!” At your own pace, enjoy the museum that showcases some of the most storied cars in NASCAR’s history. Then wander into the two pristine race shops areas. One houses the No. 9 Chass Elliot, & No. 24 William Byron teams, the other the No. 48 Jimmie Johnson & No. 88 Alex Bowman teams. • Price of a light lunch (sandwich) is included (drinks optional/on your own). • Tour Handicapped friendly Limited bus seating for the first 55 registered

FRIDAY

3 - 6 PM REGISTRATION / PX & Memorabilia Room Gathering 6:00 PM GET ACQUAINTED PARTY Appetizers / Light Buffet *The 1940’s evening will come alive with vintage dress, song & entertainment! $30 Sept. 14 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM Billy Graham Library & sites of the Queen city $38 •F  ROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS TO PASTOR IN CHIEF: Serving 11 Presidents from 1945-2009, the Billy Graham Library was dedicated in May 2007. Multimedia exhibits and memorabilia are housed inside a 40,000 sq ft barn that served as Graham’s home for most of his youth. Milkshakes, ice cream and sandwiches are served in the nostalgic Dairy Bar cafe, styled to look like a barn reminiscent of Graham’s farm-based childhood. We will be having lunch here! •C  ITY TOUR: Nicknamed the Queen City, in honor of German princess who had become the Queen Consort of Great Britain and Ireland in 1761, seven years before the town’s incorporation. Our tour covers over 100 sites: Historic District in Uptown and two Old South suburbs that feature tree-lined streets, beautiful grand old southern homes boasting designs of Tudor, Colonial, Revival, Bungalow, Georgian, and Spanish styles. In addition, we will be making a couple stops along the way at the Seventh Street Market, old settler’s cemetery (dating back to the Revolutionary war) and Duke Mansion Former Home of James B. Duke/Duke University • Price of lunch not included • Handicapped-friendly 6:00 PM 449th SQUARDON DINNER $40 Sept. 15 BREAKFAST On your own

SATURDAY

10:00 AM MEMORIAL SERVICE 12:00 – 4:00 PM This afternoon is free to explore, all within a short walking distance • NASCAR Hall of Fame: (10-minute walk) *Must See – Evolution of Racing and its Legends • Enjoy amazing artifacts, interactive exhibits, simulator rides • Admission $22 Seniors. Self-guided group tour $20 (15 or more people - Sign up at registration) • Wells Fargo History Museum – free and interesting • Levine Museum of the New South – interactive, multi-sensory exhibits dedicated to exploring the Southern US during the post -Civil War period 6:00 – 10:00 PM BANQUET - Carolinas Aviation Museum – Smithsonian Affiliated • Home to aircraft and the advent of aviation and artifacts. Highlighted by the US Airways passenger jet “Miracle on the Hudson” (Cost includes meal & shuttle bus transportation) 6:00 – 7:00 PM Cocktail hour Business Attire Very handicapped friendly $62

TOTAL


S TAT U S R E P ORT

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HANSON CREW | DOWNED FEBRUARY 28, 1945, COAST OF NORTHERN ITALY Original Combat Crew: Back row: (L-R) Cpt Hanson, Sgt. Cox, Lt Betz, Lt. Fermano, Sgt Brady, Lt GermanFront row: (L-R ) Sgt. McGraw, Sgt Acompora, Sgt. Turpin, Sgt. Nally

Clarence Dragoo, Co-Pilot Sanydville West Virgina/ 2 Lt Richard Horwitz, Radar Navigator, Brookline, Massachusetts / Staff Sgt. Thomas M. McGraw, Nose Gunner, Lakewood, Ohio. All three airmen were given military honors and were buried in their home towns last fall. BACKGROUND OF HANSON CRASH by Mark Coffee: On 28 February 1945, Hanson crippled B-24 radar equipped “Mickey Ship” with eleven crew members aboard, crashed into the Adriatic Sea approximately eight nautical miles

from Grado, Italy. Flying as deputy lead, the radio operator would have been dedicated to the radio console rather than manning a gun position as normal. Thus Lawrence Nally would have been at the radio console and ball turret gunner Adolph Turpin took his place at the right waist position. Antonio D. Fermano was the normal navigator of the Hanson crew but was replaced by Clarence L. Dragoo of the McGrath crew for the mission as a lead navigator. Richard Horwitz flew aboard lead ships as needed to operate the Mickey radar set. In the following month from May – August 1945, four bodies washed ashore near the town of Grado (south of Venice) and were buried in US Military Cemeteries in Italy: Adolph Turpin, Darrell German, James Cox, Edward Betz. In 1950, the body of Albert Acampora was discovered by a fishing boat in the same vicinity and his remains were returned to the US and buried in New Haven, Connecticut in July 1957 Still Missing In Action But Not Forgotten: 1 Lt Howard Hanson, Pilot / T/Sgt Lawrence W. Brady Flight Engineer and T/ Sgt Lawrence F. Nally Radio Operator

VETERANS BANQUET 2017 REUN I N 2ND S AGEN, N A N TON IO, T X BY ION ALAN DAVIS, 716TH

Vernon William Petersen, 716th Bombardier, 25 missions, Jamesport, NY (99 years young) Bud Rosch, 716th Radio/Op, Wilding Crew, bailed out of Lady in the Dark, 51 missions, Bethpage, NY Ed West, 717th Navigator, Trumbull Crew, 449th “Crooner,” 55 missions, State College, PA

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Paul Corkill, Jr., 718th Navigator, 43 missions, Keplar & Egan Crews, DFC, Jasper, Georgia (1st reunion) Harvey Gann, 718th Flight Eng, 14 missions, Downed Kendall’s Crew 30 Jan 1944, German POW, Original Cadre, Lago Vista TX

Reese Mathieu, Jr., 718th Navigator, Progar Crew, 50 missions, Dallas, TX Bill Hamill, 719th Ball Gunner, Wood Crew, 50 missions, Richland, MI Robert Geisert, 719th Pilot, Downed 14 July 1944 aboard OUR BABY POW Poland, Oregon, Ohio

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HISTORIAN’S CORNER F ROM T HBYEALAN DEDAVIS, SK 2ND OFGEN, M 716TH A R K C OF F E E

willow run MARK COFFEE, 449TH GROUP HISTORIAN (For documentation and research contact 449historian@gmail.com)

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In hindsight, the outcome of World War II was a foregone conclusion once the United States entered the war and her manpower and industrial might were focused on the war effort. The Axis Powers were overwhelmed in both quantity and quality of armament produced by U.S. manufacturing that they could not hope to match. The U.S. not only produced all of the material necessary to support her efforts in both Europe and the Pacific, but also supplied vast quantities of war materials to both the United Kingdom and the USSR through Lend-lease programs. Aircraft production is indicative of the imbalance of war production between the Axis and Allies. German produced approximately 120,000 aircraft from 1939 through the end of the war. Japan produced only about 76,000. The U.S. produced 300,000 aircraft - almost three times Germany’s output - although the U.S. aircraft industry was not at full war production until 1942. Added to the production of the UK and USSR, the Allies produced about 75% of the total aircraft of the five major powers. Mass production was pioneered by Henry Ford and his assembly lines producing the Model T between 1915 and 1920. Aircraft production world-wide was still utilizing labor intensive craft building methods at the beginning of the War where aircraft were essentially hand built and produced in small batches. The same was true for most aircraft components such as engines, propellers, etc. Even as war production ramped up, most aircraft were still being built in much the same way. Parts were hand fit to the particular aircraft being worked on, thus there was little ability to interchange airframe parts from one aircraft to another of the same model. That was about to change.

With the war in Europe ongoing since 1939, US military planners began looking at the automotive industry in the Fall of 1941, as a way to supplement aircraft production. This move raised fears among the aircraft companies that collaboration with automotive companies might result in post-war competition. Thus the decision was made that the auto makers would be utilized as parts makers rather than aircraft makers. To meet the large anticipated requirements for the Consolidated B-24, a Liberator production pool was established in early 1941. Consolidated’s home plant at San Diego was to be supplemented by a second assembly plant in Fort Worth, Texas. A new Douglas Aircraft Plant in Tulsa, Oklahoma was also slated to assemble B-24’s. The San Diego plant built complete B24s while the Fort Worth and Tulsa plants were to assemble finished aircraft from knock-down or “KD” assemblies supplied by the new Ford Motor Company Willow Run Plant. The North American Aviation plant in Dallas, Texas was also contracted to build complete B-24’s the fifth plant to be part of the Liberator production pool. Each KD assembly produced at Willow Run included the major components of the airframe, the fuselage, wings, tail and landing gear. The KD assemblies would be shipped via truck or rail to the final assembly plants where they would be joined with all of the systems to make a functional aircraft. Ford was later awarded a contract to build complete B-24’s at Willow Run. Incorporating mass production techniques pioneered by the company, Ford would build 6,792 complete aircraft and supplied 1,893 KD kits to Fort Worth and Tulsa. At peak production a B-24 rolled out of Willow Run once per hour. [photo: knockdown] The sixty two original B-24H aircraft that the 449th took overseas were all either built by Wil-

low Run or built from knock-down kits supplied by Willow Run. Forty-one of the original aircraft were completed at Willow Run, thirteen completed at Consolidated Fort Worth and the remaining eight were completed by Douglas Tulsa. Only six of the original aircraft were known to survive the war. Some of the more notable aircraft of the 449th were Willow Run products. A B-24H named “Shirley Jean” joined the 716th Squadron on June 10, 1944 and completed 100 missions by the end of the war. Along the way she made numerous emergency landings at friendly fields, but always ultimately returned home. Another Ford product and original aircraft was “Classy Chassy” of the 717th Squadron which was on her 88th mission when lost with the Ludtke crew aboard. The Ford built aircraft named “The Shack” flew her first mission with the 718th Squadron on April 22, 1944 and completed at least 87 missions before suffering severe flak damage on April 8, 1945. She was retired from combat and salvaged after the war. Her serial number is visible in the accompanying photo taken on the Willow Run factory floor. [photo: The Shack at Willow Run] Ford built “Wood’s Chopper” was an original cadre aircraft assigned to the John Wood crew of the 718th Squadron. Her original nose art depicted an arm swinging an axe at Tojo on a chopping block, with Hitler’s head nearby. After many missions, Headquarters ordered the nose art painted over to ‘not offend the enemy’. “Wood’s Chopper” crashed near base returning from her 70th mission having suffering severe flak damage over Ploesti with the Kirkland crew aboard. The Hanson crew aircraft that was the subject of the recent MIA recovery case was a Willow Run built B-24J. It had arrived in the 449th in December, 1944, prior to its loss on February 28, 1945. The Kendall aircraft of the still pending MIA re-

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HISTORIAN’S CORNER F ROM T HBYEALAN DEDAVIS, SK 2ND OFGEN, M 716TH A R K C OF F E E

W I L L OW RU N

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covery effort was built by Consolidated Fort Worth from a Willow Run supplied KD kit. The Kendall aircraft with Harvey Gann as the sole survivor was lost on January 30, 1944. The aircraft that became “Two Ton Tessie” was featured in a publicity photo being signed by movie star Gloria Swanson. The story of this aircraft as well as the story of the Hanson saga can be found at the “Save The Willow Run Bomber Plant” website. Links to these stories can be found at www.449th.com/links/. At least 257 identifiable aircraft passed through the 449th Bomb Group during the war. Of those, 124 were built at Willow Run and another 70 were assembled from Ford KD kits. Willow Run played an important role in the history of the 449th Bomb Group as approximately 75% of all aircraft used by the Group were produced at least in part by Ford at Willow Run.

449th Flying Horsemen | 449th.com

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MAN OF THE HOUR HADAVIS, D M OH E716TH NY BYT ALAN 2ND GEN,

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A couple of reunions ago we decided to abandon the four separate rooms for the squad dinner and incorporate all four squadrons into one room. As our Veteran attendees have declined, it made little sense to continue separating into four rooms. As it has turned out, the one room format has worked out quite well, allowing veterans and second generation to visit as a group and enjoy each other’s company. Moving to the large one group concept after some 20 previous reunions as separated squadrons has required the steady hand of a skilled group facilitator. Enter Thad Mahoney! Son of the pilot who piloted Worry Bird of the 719th, Thad has obviously inherited the necessary skills of detail and organization to make our Squad Dinner one of the highlights of our reunions. Along with wife Marilyn’s help to organize squad historical facts, Thad is always prepared to interject interesting & accurate squad

information during the evening. I had the pleasure to work closely with Thad at our banquet atop the Towers of Americas in San Antonio. An impending last minute disaster was brewing when we discovered that we needed a P.A. system and none were to be found at the towers of Americas. Thad had driven to the reunion, so he volunteered to make the grueling drive to a guitar shop across town. One of the experienced employees of the shop went into great detail how to set up the amplifier and speakers; Thad and I listened intently to every word of the instructor. When we arrived at the Towers of the Americas with little time before the arrival of the group, Thad began to set up the equipment; it was then that we discovered that the employee from the guitar shop had neglected to include one of the speaker wires in the case. Quick thinking, Thad immediately called the guitar shop to see if they could deliver the cord, but no luck - the shop was closed. He then hunted down

a longer extension cord and centered the one speaker as well as possible so group could hear the Invocation, presentation to Rick and Lynn for the years of service to the PX and other important announcements. We all owe Thad and wife Marilyn a great deal of gratitude for their skillful and dedicated service to the 449th. They make a large contribution to our goal of carrying on the legacy of the Group, as well as the great success of our reunions.

CENTENARIAN BIRTHDAYS H EBYROE S T U2ND RN IN G 100 ALAN DAVIS, GEN, 716TH

L to R Top: William “Bill”/ “Mac” McCahill, Ellsworth “Whitey” / “Danny” Daniels and Peter “Pete” Zuzzola Bottom: Robert “Bob” Kohn, Pasquale “Pat” Olivette, and Steve Formica

PETER ZUZZOLO November 1917, Farmingdale, NY 717th BS Crew Chief- Classy Chassy, A/C believed to be the first ship to complete 50 missions without an early return. A/C was downed on her 101st mission 28 Feb 1945 – second highest number of combat sorties by a 449th aircraft.

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First airman on the left.

VERNON PETERSEN July 1918 – Jamesport, New York (Has currently attended the last several reunions. See you in Charlotte!) 716th BS 25 mission, Bivens Crew Bombardier, flew Shirley Jean.

LT JAMES CADY Porter Crew, Bombardier / Flew Big Noise Over Kentucky and others. He was an early crew member flying from northern Africa before moving to Grottaglie. Orig. 449th /transferred to the 8th /93rd Flew 15 missions

449th.com | 449th Flying Horsemen


Home of the 449th BGA Archives & Memorabilia

The month of October 2017 certainly favored our Reunion Group with wonderful weather and a great destination to gather in San Antonio for “Number 24.“ With our hotel right on the River Walk, we had the opportunity to ride a river barge for a unique view of old buildings, restaurants and shops available or just stroll along the pathways lining the waterway. First things first, we joined Gary Smith and Debbie Utz as they set up the always popular PX, to arrange our museum offerings for viewing. Our central theme involved featuring our grandsons dressed in authentic WWII uniforms reenacting some of the essential positions required such as pilot, bombardier, navigator, gunner and radio operator. Photos were taken at the David Duane Livingston Museum where each scene is on display. At the museum, work continues on the Handley-Page WWI Bomber re-creation. It includes an original MK-1A Bomb Sight mounted just below the “bomb aimer”-an early name for the bombardier-who is posed in authentic WWI garb. This one of a kind replica of the front sec-

449th Flying Horsemen | 449th.com

tion of the plane was handcrafted by Dan and expert woodworker, Jose Gomez. This eclipsed the ME-262 German fighter nose section, which Dan and Jose created a few months before the Handley-Page. It houses a rare original Lofte-7 German bombsight and would have been converted from a fighter to a bomber with this nose section. Mary Crowley and her son-in-law, Tad, paid a visit for a tour last year and were able to see this full scale display first hand. This plane was never put into production so this could well be the only mock-up in existence. We have had an association with the Moffett Field Historical Society for several years, taking a number of museum pieces for display every May when the Collings Foundation beings their planes to Moffett Field for tours and flights. Because of this, we have gotten to know the Board of Directors of the Historical Society, who recently commissioned Dan, assisted by Jose, to build a display to house an original Medal of Honor. A formal presentation will take place in April to the family of Rear

Admiral William A. Moffett. He distinguished himself for a “daring and unguided entry into an inner harbor to land a force of Marines and Seamen during the occupation of Vera Cruz, Mexico in April 1914.“ A special highlight for the DDL museum this year has been the efforts of our younger son, Daniel, who spent 40 plus hours to complete a translation of “Sinners Dream” by Freddy Furlan from Italian to English. This book is a comprehensive narrative of the 1-30-1944 aerial battle over North Eastern Italy which includes accounts of American bombers and fighters as well as German and eye witness statements of the actual event. Freddy took the name of the book from Dan’s fathers plane. We are extremely grateful to Freddy for his years spent researching and compiling this information into a book and the opportunity to now be able to read his work. We look forward to the coming year to continue to pay respect to all Veterans for their essential and courageous contributions to our Freedom.

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THE LEGACY PROJECT

L E G AC Y— S OM E T H I N G R E C E I V D FDAVIS, ROM R E DE C E S S OR OR F ROM T H E PAS T BYEALAN 2ND A GEN,P716TH

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The 449th BGA was initially formed to give 449th BG(H) veterans an opportunity to meet and share news about their lives and stories about their service. More recently it has become an opportunity for their children, grandchildren and others to learn about the 449th and honor their veterans. Soon, the opportunity to have firsthand experience with our veterans will have past, so the role of telling their stories becomes all the more important. There are many ways that can be accomplished. That’s where “The Legacy Project” gains so much importance. Leadership has identified one such possibility. The Willow Run B-24 Factory is being saved and turned into a world class museum honoring an important part of the factory’s history: the people who worked there, those who flew the planes manufactured at the factory, and the role they each played in winning WWII. It offers naming rights for those who contribute to their fund raising efforts. Imagine having an office, conference room or portion of the museum named for the 449th BG(H). Imagine if that office, conference room or portion of the

museum had a display designed to highlight our veterans’ service. The 449th BGA leadership believes this is a project worthy of support. My wife and I see this as a great way to honor her father’s service, so we’ve donated $1,000 towards this legacy project. We hope others will join in this effort. If you would like to participate, please send your check made out to the 449th BGA to the address listed below. Mark “Willow Run Project” in the memo line. In addition to the Willow Run Project, other needs have been identified. They include continued work on our outstanding website, creating meaningful documentation on the 449th, creating archives for the unit’s artifacts and documents and ensuring that there are the necessary funds to continue reunions. Your financial support would be greatly appreciated. THANK YOU The 449th BGA thanks those who have offered financial assistance this past year through the purchase of a “Just a Bad Day” print, by honoring their veteran through the “Red Rose – Honor Roll” program, by purchases from the PX and by making an unsolicited donation.

Thanks goes out to Bud Rosch, Marsha & Harry Kiefer, Richard Lapham, Reese and Martha Mathieu, Monty & Teddy Hartley and Author Scheff who helped offset 2017 costs by making donations at the reunion. A special thanks goes out to Ryan Baker, a fan of Harvey Gann’s, who’s made a $1,000 donation for the upcoming Willow Run Event. GIVING OPTIONS We hope you will consider supporting the 449th BGA. Ways that you can help include: Purchase of a “Just a Bad Day” print, a donation supporting this year’s Willow Run event or reunion or by adding the 449th BGA to your estate plan. Checks should be made out to the 449th BGA and sent to: Alan R. Davis 370 Braewood Drive Chillicothe, OH 45601 449thLegacy@gmail.com *Please note the purpose of your donation in the check’s memo line. The 449th BGA is an IRS designated 501 © (19) Non-Profit Organization: #43-129704

449TH BG 75th ANNIVERSARY SHIRTS & BALL CAPS MEN’S SHIRTS

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4 4 9 T H B GBY 2ALAN 4 TDAVIS, H R2ND E UGEN, N ION 716TH P HOTO S

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13


CHAPLAIN’S CORNER

1 LT HOWA R D HA N S ON M E M OR IA L SE RV IC E BY MARY CROWLEY

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Of greatest importance for our reunion is the Memorial Service that takes place on Saturday morning. It is a solemn time. A time of remembrance and re1 Lt Howard Hanson flections. It is a brief moment in time, when you hear your love one’s name read, that you again feel a connection. A name read means, he/they have not been forgotten. To walk a rose for a departed veteran is truly an honor. At this reunion over 140 roses were walked down the aisle and placed on the Missing Man Table. It is inspiring to witness a young adult, slowly walk towards the alter, who is far removed from the effects and sacrifices of WWII, moved by the privileged of honoring someone they made not of known and giving that loved one a moment in time of respect for their service. The following is an excerpt from the Memorial Service. The WWII 449th Bomb Group arrived in Grottaglie, Italy in December of 1943 and departed in June of 1945. Over the 17 months of operation, the bomb group flew 254 combat missions. Staggering statistics showed a total of 103 B-24s aircraft were lost, with 388 crewmen killed or missing in action, and 363 prisoners of war. It was an intense time for those young men, overcoming fatigue of long

flights, the bitter cold of flying at high altitudes, the never ending deadly flak and enemy fighters, and the emotional strains of missing loved ones. One such loss was the eleven MIA airmen from the Hanson crew. (716th BS). Like many crews it was a tight knit group of young men who had banded together, trained, and flown together since June 1943 up until that day in February 1945. A number of years ago, before the Hanson crash site had been discovered, the 449th BG Secretary had a phone interview with veteran Antonio D. Fermano from New Hampshire. It was an extremely difficult and emotional interview for Mr. Fermano. He related an incident, a mission, that had haunted him his entire life. His story was later confirmed by the official accident report. The following is airman Fermano commentary from that phone call. It typifies the camaraderie, love, and dedication the 716th Hanson crew members had for each other. A love for each other that never died. Antonio Fermano was the original navigator for the Hanson crew. That meant, he and had been assigned to Hanson since his training in the states. He rarely flew with another crew. They were best friends. On, February 28, 1945, the combat air strike in northern Italy changed his life forever. Antonio was ordered off the Hanson plane at the last minute and placed as navigator on McGrath crew. In the flight formation, McGrath’s

ship was in the left-wing position, Hanson’s B-24 (Micky/Radar) ship was on the right, and the two planes flew at close range to one another. “I could see Howard at the controls.” On the run, from the Initial Point to the target, the formation began to encounter moderate to intense flak that was highly accurate. The lead bomber of the 716th Squadron was bracketed with such accuracy that all eight ships received damage. The formation held tight and from Antonio’s vantage point in the nose of his aircraft, he maintained good visual contact with the Hanson ship. As the group was coming off the target, he witnessed Hanson’s B-24 in trouble. Two engines were out and smoke was coming from the aircraft. With his head phones on, Antonio heard his friend calls for help, Hanson shouting out “May Day, May Day.” Antonio watched helplessly as the crippled B-24 dropped out of formation and began a slow spiral downward and the crew faded from sight. He waited, for what seemed like an eternity, for any signs of life. He waited to count the parachutes but saw none. Sadly, that night, he was the only Hanson crew member to return to the barracks. Navigator Antonio Fermano never forgot his crew. Each year, on February 28th, until he died at the age of 91, Antonio went to church and lit a candle in memory of his crew: Howard, Ed, Darrell, Lawrence, Larry, Adolph, Al, Jim, and Tom. For Antonio Fermano, these men were held in his heart for life. They were never forgotten.

Memorial Service 15 Sept. 18 | Walking the Red Rose | Roll Call of Honor Conveys Respect, Love, and Courage For a minimal donation of $25 (to cover expenses: rose, program and postage) your airman’s name will be placed on the Roll Call of Honor and read within his squadron. A RED ROSE will be escorted down the aisle when the name is read and then placed on the Missing Man Table. The Red Rose will remain on the Missing Man Table for the banquet held later that evening. After the reunion, a Memorial program will be sent to you.

In honor of Airman / Crew

For those who would like to have their AIRMAN’S name read or that of a specific CREW, please enclose a check $25 with this request to: 449th BGA – Legacy Project Alan Davis 370 Braewood Dr., Chillicothe, OH 45601-2171

Squadron (if known)

Given in honor by

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449th.com | 449th Flying Horsemen


HONOR ROLL

NA M E S R E A D AT T H E 2 5 T H R E U N ION M E M OR IA L SE RV IC E

716 th Bomb Squadron

716th

Wayne Kennedy*

717th

Thomas Nasser

716th

John R. “Doc” Allen Jr.*

716th

Kenneth Blake*

717th

George T. Potts* KIA

716th

Bernard W Bannigan*

716th

William Maynard

717th

Kenne W. Powell

716th

Frank R. Bauman

716th

Frank Wise

717th

Joseph I. Reznick

716th

Calvin “Ted” Beale

716th

Joe Fleming

717th

Mike D. Roth

717th

Albert G. Schwartz*

717th

Roger R. Trumbull*

717th

Gordon R. Wynne

716th

John B. Beam

716th

Kenneth Blake, Jr*

Webb Crew*

716th

William T. Bolt

716th

716th

Lawrence Brady* MIA/KIA

716th

Donald F. Bresnahan

Hanson Crew

716th

Fred W. Bryant

716th

Howard Hanson MIA/KIA

718th

Leo F. Alpert

716th

Gerald Burgess

716th

Edward Betz KIA

718th

John E. Burchell

716th

Howard E. Button

716th

Clarence Dragoo KIA

718th

Allen Carrico

716th

Herbert R. Clements*

716th

Richard Horwitz* KIA

718th

Morris Coffee

716th

Samuel A. Curtis

716th

Darrell German KIA

718th

Donald R. Currier

716th

Arnold Dehn, KIA/MIA

716th

Lawrence Brady* MIA/KIA

718th

George F. Ditzhazy

716th

Eugene L. Erickson*

716th

Thomas McGraw KIA

718th

William K. Dorton

716th

Paul Farrell*

716th

Lawrence Nally MIA/KIA

718th

Raymond Ericksen*

716th

Dr. Richard E. Gramsey

716th

James Cox KIA

718th

Charles Gran

716th

Howard Hanson MIA/KIA

716th

Albert Acampora KIA

718th

John L. Hargrove

716th

Donald Hoglund

716th

Adolph Turpin KIA

718th

Everett P. Hopkins

716th

Walter A. Kaess

718th

Charles Klensch

716th

Wayne C. Kennedy*

717th Bomb Squadron

718th

J. Edward Latta

716th

Thomas McGraw, KIA

717th

Robert C. Anderson, POW

718th

David Livingston, POW

716th

Col. Jim Miller

717th

Richard Babcock

718th

John I. Manecke

716th

Clarence R. Nelson

717th

Emil Brenckman

718th

Harry McGuire, MIA/KIA

716th

Roland J. Prescher

717th

Edward B. Bright

718th

Robert C. McIntyre

716th

Robert E. Renz

717th

Clifton Denny

718th

Rodger Meek, EVD

716th

Richard Ridge

717th

John Desmond*

718th

Carl P. Mountain

716th

Clemens J. Rosen

717th

Elmo S. Dooley

718th

Charles Orrico*

716th

Robert M. Shaw

717th

James R. Edwards*

718th

Peter G. Peterson*

716th

Arur G. Shultz

717th

John B. Elza

716th

Francis C. Stack

717th

Wally Green

Fox Crew*

716th

Don Tuttle

717th

Herbert E. Green

718th

716th

Raymond A. Zoeller

717th

Donald Guimont*

Willis Webb

Pilot

Downed 2/28/1945

718th Bomb Squadron

Ralph, Pilot

717th

Andrew R. Hanna

Kendall Downed 1/30/1944

Shirley Jean (#1) *

717th

John M. Holyfield

718th

Ben Kendall KIA

716th

John Cunningham

717th

Robert E. Izor

718th

Fletcher Porter KIA

716th

Paul Land

717th

Edward M. Kolek

718th

Harry McGuire MIA/KIA

716th

Paul Farrell*

717th

Chester F. Lang

718th

Pershing Hill* MIA/KIA

716th

Thomas McGinnis

717th

John J. Miller

718th

Given Grooms MIA/KIA

716th

James Linton

717th

James “Bud” Mullen*

718th

Nick Gavalas* MIA/KIA

(Continued on Page 16)

449th Flying Horsemen | 449th.com

15


449th Bomb Group

LATEPASS

Mary Crowley, Secretary 2nd Generation 16292 Content Circle Huntington Beach, CA 92649 Phone: 714.840.1805 Fax: 714.846.0965 Email: 449thSecretary@gmail.com

The term LATEPASS refers to the control tower CALL SIGN at Grottaglie SPRING 2017 NEWSLETTER 449th Bomb Group Association 716 - 717 - 718 - 719 Bomb Squadrons

Info RE: Mailing List / Removal / Deceased Member Please report any changes, or removal, of your mailing address or information regarding a deceased Veteran to Mary Crowley.

For WWII 449th BG documentation and research, please contact: Mark Coffee / Group Historian 449historian@gmail.com

*No membership dues assessed. Reprinting in whole or in part, without written permission, is prohibited. All rights and contents are reserved by the 449th BGA, A Not for Profit Organization, funded by member donations and contributions. Contributions to the 449th BGA are deductible on IRS1040 Schedule A, if not made for merchandise or services.

HON OR ROL L

(Continued from Page 15) 718th

Gerald Herrington MIA/KIA

719th

Hugh J. Martin, Jr

Weaver Crew *

718th

William Jones MIA/KIA

719th

John M. McCormick

Harold Thompson MIA/KIA

719th

Max W. Minton*

Pilot - “Last man standing”

718th

719th

Everett L. Mount

719th

Fernando O’Dell

719th Bomb Squadron

719th

John Weaver Pilot (Living)

719th

Jacques Meyer

719th

719th

P. James Bates

719th

Dwane A. Thompson

Lincoln Robinson

719th

719th

Bruce R. Curry

719th

Frederick I. Ross

Kenneth Rimmer

John H. Cyrus*

719th

719th

719th

Willard M. Sherman

Thomas Silvestri

719th

Leland A. Davis

719th

Thomas Sommers*

719th

Leland Stalker

Paul Fuller

719th

Stewart S. Taylor*

719th

719th

John Yarbrough

719th

John Johnson

719th

Donald D. Van Lier

719th

Steven Wirtes

Peter Alford Keen

719th

Sheldon Zimmerman, KIA

719th

719th

Reginald Johnson

719th

719th

James E. Kuepper

Richard Berzinski

719th

Donald Lapham

Baer Crew*

719th

George F. Littlejohn

719th

719th

Harry Mahoney

Emil Baer

Headquarters Pilot

Eric F. Bessels Edwin R. Sievers Richard R. Proper

Names that appear are known deceased airmen who have passed away since Sept 2016 and airmen who have not previously been acknowledged. BOLD NAMES indicate: In honor of 449th BG airmen, family members were in attendance at the 2017 Memorial Service BOLD NAME* (With Asterisk) RED ROSE-Legacy Donation. A RED ROSE was escorted and placed on the Missing Man Table for airmen who families have donated to the Legacy Project

LatePass Spring 2018  

LatePass Spring 2018 – 449th Bomb Group

LatePass Spring 2018  

LatePass Spring 2018 – 449th Bomb Group

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