449th LatePass 2024

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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, Romania, Yugoslavia

254 Combat Missions

In 475 days of combat, 111 B-24 bombers lost, 199 Axis fighters destroyed

Personnel Loss/Interned or Evaded 396 KIA / 63 DED (other deaths) 359 POW / 186 Evaded / 9 Interned

Distinguished Unit Citations (DUC) Bucharest, Romania, April 4, 1944

Ploesti, Romania, July 9, 1944

WWII 449th Bomb Group Wreath Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Presented by 3rd and 4th Generation members Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C., Oct 2023.

Washington D.C., one of the most iconic places on Earth. Founded in July 16, 1790, Washington D.C. was established by the Constitution of the United States of America as the nation’s capital. President George Washington had been inaugurated as the first President of the United States on April 30, 1789, elected by 69 out of 69 first round votes cast by the U.S. Electoral College. I guess that would be considered a landslide victory in modern terms!

For those interested, as was I, D.C. (District of Columbia) denotes two entirely different messages. The plan was to make the Capital distinct from the states by creating a separate district locating the White House & Congress. Columbia (feminized version of Columbus) is a tribute to Christopher Columbus.

President Washington was authorized to pick the exact location on the Potomac to establish

Washington D.C., where it stands to this day. Rich in our history, national monuments, vast memorials, and impressive museums, Washington D.C. is a magical place.

Include great tours, banquet dinners, special speakers and intermixing GROUP companionship to make it a special, memorable reunion. Kudos to the 15th AF for a reunion beyond compare!


The 449th Memorial service has become finely tuned. This year it began with over 200 Red Roses being escorted down the aisle and placed on the squadron’s Missing Man tables to honor our fallen Veterans. With Honor Roll Call readers in place, Mary Crowley and the team kept the walking of the roses flowing. The Reverend Denise Trogdon overseeing the ceremony gave a brilliant eulogy as only

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she can do. Elaine Trogdon made the arrangements for the Honor Guard and even brought in a bugler to play taps at the conclusion of the Memorial service. Always compassionate and emotionally moving, it was a Memorial well done. Mission accomplished with no losses.

Then the crème de la crème; Air Force Memorial!

The next phase of the Memorial was over the top! We were bused to the Air Force Memorial for an additional ceremony and the final resting place for our four Squadron rose bouquets.

As we boarded the bus to head to the Air Force Memorial, the clouds above took on a dark, menacing, appearance. By the time we stepped off the bus at the Air Force Memorial a light rain was being driven by a chilly wind. Some of the smarter people stepped off the bus fully clothed with rain gear carrying an umbrella. Then there were those with raincoats but no umbrellas, and lastly a few like me, that had no raincoat or umbrella. (Californian).

As we were lining up by squadron to place the rose bouquets in position, the rain turned from light to heavy and the wind increased decidedly. Someone had been kind enough to loan me an extra rain poncho, but it was too late to keep dry. Yet no one was in a hurry.

Waiting for the 719th turn to place the bouquet, I gazed at the other squadrons scattered across the concrete slab now barely visible

from the downpour. Members of the 449th heads down trying to escape the driving rain, sharing umbrellas, all in the cause to honor our fathers, uncles, veterans; to carry on their legacy. A gallant cause. And then the sound of Taps and all stood still.

My mind wandered to my dad’s war diary — those bitter cold days in early January of 1944 at Grottaglie. Rain, mud and the field a quagmire-facing misery for a gallant cause.

It was then that it dawned on me. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Bringing It Home: Arlington National Cemetery, Wreath Laying Ceremony

Though the weather never seemed to let up, the 449th BG forged on. Later that afternoon we were at Arlington National Cemetery, and nothing could dampen our spirits. Many thanks to Bill Petzinger/717th BS for arranging and coordinating the event. The following is a press release.

449th Bomb Group Lays Wreath at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 14, 2024) — Members of the 449th Bomb Group Association (WWII) recently traveled from all over the U.S. to attend a joint reunion with the 15th Air Force in

Washington, D.C. Three members of the group’s “third and fourth generation”had the honor of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Taking part in the wreath laying ceremony were Richard Gardner, Pittsburgh, PA; Kimberly Hoglund, Overland Park, KS; and Kelly Keena, Westminster, MA. They accompanied a tomb guard to place the wreath by the sarcophagus and crypts that hold the unidentified remains of three fallen soldiers from World War I, the Korean War and World War II. The wreath was adorned with red, white and blue flowers with a blue ribbon that read WWII 449th Bomb Group.

Laying a wreath at the tomb is a commemorative way to honor the memory and actions of every man and woman who bore arms for the country. The back of the tomb itself reads “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”

“Arlington is a really impactful and special place,” Hoglund said. “It took my breath away to be there, and then to be part of the ceremony for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is such an honor.”

Gardner, Hoglund and Keena are among the many grandchildren and great grandchildren of 449th BG veterans who served in WWII.

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Few, if any members, in the 449th had any idea that the first reunion was in Tucson, AZ. Or for that matter, why it was held there. The answer was found in an article of the first anniversary copy of 449th Bomb Group, dated early fall 1983. The article reads:

“The 449th Bombardment Group was activated May 1, 1943, under authority of a Second Air Force General Order. The Four Squadrons comprising the Group were designated as the 716th, 717th, 718th and 719th Bombardment Squadrons and were to operate B-24 type airplanes in heavy bombardment. The composition of the group has not changed since its activation. The organization was activated at Davis-Monthan Field, Tucson, Arizona.”

So, there we have it! The 449th BG was born in Tucson, Arizona.

This October the Group will again return for the first time in 40 years back to its roots. By fate or circumstance of this year’s reunion destination, the base has granted us permissions for our RED ROSE MEMORIAL SERVICE to be held on base at the Davis-Monthan AFB chapel to honor our departed veterans.

The Mission of the Second Generation is unchanged; to support the memory of our veterans by all means available and support future reunions as best we can to carry on the tradition of the 449th BGA. How fitting for the next generations of families to reconnect.



“In November 1943, the 449th Bombardment Group (H) AAF completed its third phase training and passed tests by higher headquarters pertaining to its readiness for overseas. To the historian it appears that November was keynoted by improvement in cohesion, unity and command.”

Starting in late November and into December, will the 449th Bomb Group ever reassemble? Airplanes are scattered all over South America, North Africa, and Italy. The ground echelon is scattered all over the Mediterranean conditions at Grottaglie are horrendous. There are no lights, no latrines, poor food, no beds, bombed out buildings, no heat, no nothing. So, this is war! At Grottaglie it becomes a matter of survival. What we wouldn’t give for a bath.”

In early January the group flew its first missions! And from then to the end of the war the 449th lent its full weight to the war machine that overcame the Nazi horror. The Group’s record of achievement is unsurpassed. Its personnel, both ground and air, earned the right to be proud!

We meet once again. Command, Ground, and Air to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of our departure to the war theater.”

With this reunion I am sure that old friendships will be rekindled. Memories long dormant will be brought to life – and the camaraderie that we experienced in those combat years, renewed. It is my sincere hope that this first – out 40th anniversary reunion will not be our last. I am sure many of our cohorts still haven’t got the word – and when they do, they will surely join us at another time if they are able.”

So again, welcome Flying Horsemen to our 1st Reunion — our 40th anniversary. I am extremely proud to have been a part of this outstanding group and to share in its cherished traditions and memories.”


Col. Jack Randolph (USAF-ret.)

Surviving Commander Officer 449th Bomb Group



Four decades after they saw some of their comrades spiraling to probable death in crippled B-24s, veterans of a former Davis Monthan-based bomber group apparently are encountering flesh-and-blood ghosts in Tucson. Meeting as a group for the first time, members of the 449th Bombardment Group are renewing acquaintances with men who could have died in twisted bomber-coffins, but bailed out at the last minute, said a member of the group.

“For many of us, this is a highly emotional gathering,” said group historian Don Lapham. “The last we saw of some of these people was almost 40 years ago — when we saw a B-24 going down in flames. We are just now finding out who did and who didn’t survive the war.”

Col. Jack Randolph, retired and the last surviving commander of the 449th – who brought the group back home in May 1945 — told veterans at the Desert Inn gathering:

“We meet once again, command, group and air — to celebrate the 40th anniversary of our departure to the war theater. With this reunion I’m sure old friendships will be rekindled. Memories long dormant will be brought to life and the comradeship that we experienced in those combat years renewed.”


Be it known that the week of November 3 — 6 is declared 449th Bomb Group week in the city of Tucson, AZ... the city of birth.

Congratulations of war record and 40 Years of earned memories.

Lew Murphy

Mayor of Tucson

OLD TIMES – The men of the 449th Bombardment Group holding their first full reunion ever, had a lot of reminiscing to do when they gathered in Tucson this week. Right Dale Davidson, a bombardier, and his wife Rani met Carl Thorberg, and his wife Kay. Thorberg was a nose gunner.

SQDN: 716th 717th 718th 719th HQ Unknown

If NO, please state relationship & Veteran’s name:

Name(s) of all attendees as they will appear on the NAME TAGS:


Name(s) of all attendees as they will appear on the NAME TAGS: Total of persons attending.

• An all suites hotel with one bedroom and a pull out couch in every suite. Rooms are well appointed and thoroughly comfortable.

• Suites are $135 plus tax for single/double occupancy, $145 for triple and $155 for quad.

• Group rates are available from October 23— November 2, 2024

• You must reserve your suite no later than Midnight, October 4, 2024

• A full, hot breakfast buffet is included

• Parking is plentiful and complimentary, including RVs.

• 24 Hour airport shuttle—2-minute ride—10 minute walk if you prefer.

• The hotel is pet friendly with a fee and size restriction. Contact the hotel for details.


Register by Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 2, 2024 for a chance to win hotel accommodations for three nights to be paid for by the 449th BGA. Standard King or 2 double beds with double occupancy. 7051 South Tucson Blvd.

• Consider staying extra days as there is much to see and do that we won’t have time for.

The Room Block has LIMITED AVAILABILITY. Book NOW! Registration must be received no later than Oct 4, 2024.

6:30 pm

TUCSON, AZ | OCT. 26 –

449th Veteran / Wife / Widow + 1 traveling companion

Primary Family Member (Not a Veteran, Wife or Widow) Additional Guest(s)

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base has acknowledged the 80th Anniversary of WWII 449th BG activated at DMAFB on May 1943. At this point, we are the only Group allowed on base. The itinerary has not yet been completely confirmed. However, our Group has been given permission to hold our Red Rose Memorial Service at the base chapel (sometime after 2:00 pm). DMAFB has also offered us the opportunity to have lunch somewhere on the base prior to our Memorial Service.


Steak Floret

Seared Chicken Breast

Spinach & Cheese Ravioli

7:00 pm


6oz Sirloin Steak

Atlantic Grilled Salmon

Grilled Vegetable Mushroom Risotto

Provided by KENNY RAY HORTON. A Gold-Record awarded singer/songwriter Kenny Ray has “a pocket full of great songs, a strong voice and an addictive presence.” He will deliver a toe-tapping performance that will include rhythm and songs from bluegrass, country, and gospel. Recently retiring from a 21-year Naval career, he was one of the top lead singers for the US Navy’s Premier Country and Bluegrass band “Country Current” that provided entertainment from Pearl Harbor to Washington D.C.


Buses board for tour of the Pima Air & Space Museum Tour w/ Box lunch in the museum main hanger. (5-hours). Collection of 400+ aircraft and 125,000+ artifacts. In addition, three World War II Hangars (Hangars 3, 4 & 5) and 80-acre outdoor display grounds. Buses board for San Xavier del Bac Mission tour. A National Historic Landmark, San Xavier Mission was founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692.

Construction of the current church began in 1783 and was completed in 1797. The oldest intact European structure in Arizona, the church’s interior is filled with marvelous original statuary and mural paintings. It is a place where visitors can truly step back in time and enter an authentic 18th Century space.

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“It was a great honor and privilege to be able to participate in the wreath laying ceremony,” Gardner said.

and fun times. Something parents and grandparents all have in common.

The speech.

As expected, the speech was very enlightening and direct. Dave not only discussed trouble spots around the globe, but the possibility of additional impending hostilities flaring up at any time. It appears that his prediction was dead on, it would seem that we have evolved into a World at War since our last reunion.

Squadron Night Dinner: From Djibouti to Washington D.C., the Legacy Carries On... As fate would have it, the fortunes of the 449th Bomb Group (H) WWII Legacy Mission would make a giant leap forward on July 23, 2012, in a far way place that most of us had never heard of. That was the day that Air Force Colonel David Harris Jr. assumed command of the 449th Expeditionary Group assigned to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, North Africa.

As soon as he took Command, Colonel Harris reached out to the 449th BGA (WWII) to learn more about our organization. As it turned out, we learned far more from him about the 449th than he learned from us. During his keynote speech to 449th BGA 20th reunion in April of 2013, Colonel Harris detailed the lineage of the 449th from its origin in 1943 to the present day 449th Expeditionary Force stationed in North Africa. A proud history of achievement contributing to the legacy of the 449th Pegasus emblem, unchanged for eighty years. A great legacy indeed.

By the closing of our 20th reunion in Louisville, KY, we were on a first name basis with Col. Harris. A friend, compatriot and honorary member of the 449th BGA. A man that had flown 7,600 miles, some 23 hours in the air just to speak to us. President Floyd Trogdon said of him, “Dave is a special man, he will go far in the U.S. Air Force.”

Nice prophecy Floyd, from a Colonel to Lieutenant General in 11 short years.

Eleven years later, Washington D.C., our 29th reunion. We were now inviting Dave (aka Lieutenant General David Harris Jr.) and his wife to be our guests at our banquet dinner. After asking if Dave could be our keynote speaker, he graciously accepted our invitation.

The plan was to have a short informal pre-banquet get-together with Dave, wife Ashley, and a few members of the board. We were to meet in one of the hotel meeting rooms with plenty of seating for those involved.

But we have all heard the idiom, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.” Well astray our short pre-banquet get-together went — standing room only and lasting well over an hour. A great time for everyone that attended, a time I will never forget. I especially enjoyed talking with Ashley about the joys of raising our kids, the challenges— hard times

Dave also shared the challenges of countering these threats to our National Security. His personal challenge as Lt. General of the USAF to balance financial budgets with the mission of a fully capable Air Force to deter any and all threats against our Country. Not an enviable job.

Along with many others, I found the speech somewhat troubling. After all, war is a troubling subject. It is the nature of man, man will never, ever understand the futility of war. So, the only solution is to be strong enough to prevent war or win it if be necessary. For that reason, I believe Dave gave a great speech — a necessary speech.

In closing, I would like to say for myself and every member of the 449th BGA, this country is blessed to have such men as Lt. General Harris Jr. in charge of the destiny of this country. I will sleep better knowing he is on the job.

The 12-year-old welcome poster for Colonel David Harris, J. from 2012 / Lieutenant General David Harris Jr


INCLUDED: City tour, Mount Vernon, National US Army Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum, Squadron Dinner


...opening with the 1st annual Edith Van Lier Hat Parade, Guest speakers, Banquet, Red Rose Memorial Service and fun, fun, fun!


For documentation and research contact: 449historian@gmail.com


TThe United States Military has a long tradition of recognizing the acts of valor performed by Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. The earliest American military award was the Badge of Military Merit, created by General George Washington in 1782. It was created to honor enlisted soldiers who “displayed unusual gallantry or extraordinary fidelity.” This award has evolved into what is now known as the Purple Heart which honors those service members wounded or killed in the line of duty.

Several military awards for valor have been created since General Washington created that first award. The Silver Star evolved from the Army Citation Star and the Navy Commendation Star. The Silver Star is awarded for “gallantry in action against an opposing armed force.”

The Silver Star was awarded to forty-eight members of the 449th Bomb Group during action in World War II.

The Distinguished Service Cross was created in 1918 and is awarded “for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force.” The Navy authorized the equivalent Navy Cross in 1919. The Air Force created the Air Force Cross in 1960. Before that, deserving airmen received the Army’s Distinguished Service Cross, as was the case during WWII. The Service Crosses are second in precedence only to the Medal of Honor awarded for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.”

Four members of the 449th Bomb Group were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest honor. What follows are their stories...

T/Sgt James A. O’Neal, April 4, 1944

The mission to Bucharest, Romania on April 4, 1944 earned the 449th Bomb Group its first Presidential Unit Citation. The Group became separated from the other Groups in the Wing in bad weather and proceeded over the target alone. The Group experienced two sustained attacks by enemy fighters and lost seven air-

craft in the prolonged battle while claiming 40 enemy fighters shot down.

T/Sgt James O’Neal was flying with the Thieme crew of the 719th Squadron as a photographer on this mission. Approaching the target area, they encountered fierce opposition from both intense flak and multiple aggressive enemy fighters. Twenty-millimeter shells from the fighters struck the plane killing the ball gunner and right waist gunner and wounding the left waist gunner. As O’Neal was preparing to take photos over the target a shell fragment struck him in his left foot shattering his heel

and ankle. Despite intense pain, he remained at his camera taking photos over the target. Another flak shell hit the camera blowing it entirely out of the camera hatch.

The Thieme aircraft had lost two engines and was straggling behind the formation, thus was singled out by the enemy fighters. Disregarding the intense pain, O’Neal crawled to the left waist window, repaired and untangled the ammunition belts and commenced firing on the approaching enemy fighters. Fire soon broke out in the bomb bay and the order to bail out was given. Fighting to remain conscious, O’Neal began making his way back to the camera hatch to bail out. He noticed the wounded waist gunner John Belcher was unable to bail out on his own. Belcher had been hit in the head and stomach during the fighter attacks. Disregarding his own safety, O’Neal crawled back to him, checking that Belcher’s parachute was attached, then dragged him to the hatch. Wrapping his arms around his wounded comrade, O’Neal fell out the hatch clutching Belcher. Once free of the plane, O’Neal opened Belcher’s parachute before releasing him, then deployed his own parachute.

Of the eleven men aboard, only four made it out of the aircraft. O’Neal and Belcher were captured just over the Bulgarian boarder and were taken prisoner and put in the same room at a Bulgarian hospital. Belcher died one week later from his wounds. After two months in the hospital, James O’Neal was sent to a POW camp in Romania where he remained until liberated in September 1944.

James O’Neal was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in February 1945 for his actions. “By his brilliant display of courage and gallantry to the extent of unselfishly endangering his own life, T/Sgt O’Neal had upheld the highest traditions of the Military Service and has reflected great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States of America.” O’Neal was the only enlisted man in the 449th to be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

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Captain John B. Wright, October 13, 1944

On Friday October 13, 1944, the 449th was assigned the R/R repair shops at the Vienna North (Florisdorf) marshalling yard as its target. This was the only repair station in the area equipped for heavy repair of locomotives and was considered the most important station in Austria. The mission is detailed in the Summer 2021 “Late Pass” (An Unlucky Mission).

Captain John Wright of the 717th Squadron was leading the B Section of the group flying the Mickey ship “Miss ‘N’ Moan.” Entering the second bomb run over Vienna a flak burst struck the nose of the plane demolishing the nose turret. The damage affected the flight characteristics of the aircraft making it difficult to control. Another burst entered the cockpit mortally wounding co-pilot Robert Eaton and severely wounding Capt. Wright. Wright suffered gaping wounds to his left side and left arm rendering it useless. Despite the shock, intense pain and loss of blood, Capt. Wright refused first aid and continued to lead

the B Section over the target keeping the section intact. He called for the navigator to remove the dead co-pilot from his seat and to assist in flying the airplane. Wright ordered water poured on his face to enable him to remain conscious and fly the plane. Striving against the pain of the wound and the intense shock, Wright continued on the bomb run and enabled his bombardier to drop their bombs on target.

Over the target the plane was again riddled with flak. The number 2 and 3 engines were hit and began operating erratically. The communications and hydraulic systems were demolished and the flaps rendered inoperable. The crew then set out to attempt to reach a friendly field. The navigator returned to his station to direct their course and the tail gunner took the co-pilot’s seat where Wright directed him in the duties of a co-pilot. In the two hours it took to reach a safe field, Wright remained in his seat flying the badly damaged aircraft with one arm. He refused morphine for his

pain but still drifted into occasional semiconsciousness from shock and loss of blood. Despite the intense pain, the loss of blood and the use of only one arm, Wright made a safe landing of the plane which had one flat tire with no further injury to the crew at the field at Lucera. Captain John Wright was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for “his extraordinary courage and heroic devotion to duty.”

Lieutenant Gerald S. Witt, October 17, 1944

The 449th returned to Vienna on October 17 to attack the Vienna-Saurwerken armored vehicle works. Vienna was the second most heavily defended city in Europe behind Berlin and was defended by an estimated three hundred twenty-seven heavy flak guns. Due to cloud cover over the primary target the Group attacked the industrial area in southwest Vienna by radar.

Approaching the bombing run, the plane commanded by Lt. Gerald Witt of the 719th Squadron was struck by intense anti-aircraft fire. Several of the crew members were wounded and the number two and three engines were damaged and began operating erratically. One engine was badly leaking oil and threatened to burst into flame at any moment. The other had a runaway prop, rotating at tremendous speed and could not be feathered to bring it under control.

A second flak burst riddled the tail surfaces of the plane making it extremely difficult to control the aircraft. Nevertheless, Lt. Witt as able to keep the aircraft in formation long enough for his bombardier to drop his bombs on target.

Leaving the target the aircraft was rapidly losing altitude and Lt. Witt could not remain with the formation. Witt ordered the crew to jettison all loose equipment to lighten the plane and set course for the Island of Vis, attempting to reach friendly territory for the crew to safely bail out.

Approximately an hour after leaving the target the crew were approaching Vis and were

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Wright Crew: Back Row: Harold Perkins, Bombardier; James Freeh, Co-Pilot; George Harlan, Navigator; John Wright, Pilot; Glenn Rogers, Mickey Navigator. Front Row: Pasqual Baldone. Left Waist; John Brady, Tail Turret; Robert Franklin, Nose Turret; Dale Murray, Rt Waist; A.A. Ferraro. Flight Engineer


within minutes of safety when the runaway prop tore off the engine mount. Lt. Witt sent the crew back to the waist area of the ship with orders to stand by to bail out. The flight engineer S/ Sgt Roert Hagg stayed with Lt. Witt and co-pilot Lt. William Kertis. Disregarding his own personal safety Lt. Witt was determined to reach friendly territory to enable his crew to safely bail out. At that moment the other engine burst into flame and the aircraft plunged earthward. With superhuman effort Lts. Witt

and Kertis and S/Sgt Hagg struggled with the controls and brought the ship back level to provide and safe platform for the crew to bail out. Seven members of the crew parachuted to safety. The aircraft the went into a vertical dive, exploding on the ground with the three remaining men still at their posts. Three gallant men died in order that their comrades might live. For his part in this epic of heroism, Lt. Witt was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

Witt crew: (Not individually identified in photo)

Crew Included: Gerald S Witt (P); William G Kertis (CP); Eugene S Kruszynski (B); Leonard J Viola (FE); Robert S Hagg (NG); Francis D McCoy (TG); Harold Vanderwiere (BG); Wilfred J Nasse (WG); Calvin C Snyder (WG).

Mason Crew: Slade third from left standing, Mason third from right standing.

Lieutenant Slade seized a fire extinguisher and proceeded to check the plane to see if all had been able to bail out. Knowing the pilot and engineer were still on the flight deck, Lt. Slade ignoring his own safety remained aboard and continued fighting the fires to give the others time to escape. An explosion occurred damaging the bomb bay doors and blocking their escape route. Lt. Slade began kicking through the flames at the obstructions and thought badly burned and knowing the ship was doomed, continued until he had cleared the way for the pilot, engineer and himself to escape and bail out. For his “unquestionable valor.” Lieutenant Richard Slade was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Lt. George Mason was awarded the Silver Star for his part in this action.


After returning to the States, James O’Neal spent a year in various Army hospitals trying to heal his foot. He ran a restaurant with his brother, worked as a mailman and later entered the oil industry. He later moved to Louisiana where he married and raised a family. James O’Neal died in December 2004 at the age of 85.

First Lieutenant Richard J. Slade, November 8, 1944

German troop concentrations in the town of Sjenica, Yugoslavia was the target for November 8. 1st Lieutenant Richard J. Slade was flying as co-pilot with the George Mason crew of the 718th Squadron. Approaching the target area the aircraft was struck by exploding enemy anti-aircraft shells in the left wing, puncturing the fuel tanks and starting a fire which began to spread towards the fuselage. Lts. Mason and Slade maneuvered the plane into a side-slip to keep

the flames from reaching the fuselage and continued the bomb run over the target.

Immediately after bombs away the pilots left the formation and set course for friendly territory. As they left the formation the aircraft was struck again by anti-aircraft fire in the number three engine, starting a fire which soon spread to the entire right wing. By this time fires had started in the bomb bay and flight deck and flames were spreading throughout the plane and the order was given to bail out.

John Wright remained in the Air Force and flew missions in the Korean War, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He passed away in November 1973 at the age of 55.

Gerald Witt was commissioned in the Army Air Forces in November 1943. He married his hometown sweetheart in December of that year. Lt. Witt died at the age of 22, two months before his son was born. His remains were reinterred in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania.

Richard Slade evaded capture with the assistance of local Partisans and returned to duty where he completed 50 missions. After the war he graduated from Yale University and worked in industrial administration. He died in October 1985 at the age of 62.

IIt has been our privilege as curator/owners of the David Duane Livingston Museum to display special items and artifacts of our own as well as donations from families of the 449th Bomb Group Association. These items do not belong to us unless the family has noted they do not want the item back. We have been fortunate to have the opportunity to exhibit a portion of our collection at Wings of History Air Museum in San Martin, CA.

Keeping the legacy alive, we have included displays for the 449th BG. To be clear, our collection and the 449th display do not belong to Wings of History. Our items are on loan only and cannot be sold. In addition, over time we’ve acquired a limited number of boxes of original 449th BG historical documents which were reviewed by members of the Board and returned to us as caretakers for the present.

We have been active in donating to several museums personally and have received plaques and a nice letter from a Southern university in recognition of Peter Ihrie, Navigator of Sinners Dream, who attended their school. He was honored with an onsite display at the school.

Legacy onward, we had the privilege to meet last fall and provide a tour in at Wings of History to Michael Colangelo, grandson of Benny Adamo, Engineer on Brady’s Gang-shot down 1/31/1944. Benny was rescued and survived by working 16 months for the Red Cross in Italy.

On the subject of donations to museums, there are several things to consider. If donation of money is of interest it is placed in the general fund unless it is specified for a project.

For donation of artifacts, make sure they have a need for them and will display them. Consider asking for an agreement/contract that they will not be sold. Otherwise, items are theirs to do what they want. We caught this early on – from donation to artifact.

Let’s face it, museums do not have money to build displays for every donation.

Approach a museum with items and supply display cabinet-they may be more receptive.

Donate materials to museums to pass out about the 449th Legacy.

On that subject, we recently co-hosted a group of 33 students and chaperones for a tour about WWII at Wings of History. We donated a copy of a “Just a Bad Day” print, the history of the print and copy of Harvey Gann’s book “Escape I Must” plus a framed print of the “Halyard Mission” and booklet by John Capella. The teacher was most appreciative.

There are many ways to make an impact on the importance of remembering history and helping to disseminate it.

Livingston Family: 2nd thru 5th 449th BG Generations
Dan and Michael Colangelo (Benny Adamo’s grandson) 716 BS, Ball turret/ Brady Crew / Downed 31 Jan 44, EVD
Rosales Family learning about the 449th BG history



WWe are fortunate to still have 10 veterans living to represent their fellow crewmen in the 449th Bomb Group Association. These men are still carrying the torch for their fellow airmen including command, ground and air. Never to be forgotten, they are shining light on their fellow airmen. Get to know a few tidbits about these amazing men through their stories here.

Tony Orsini — Tony was the Navigator for the Wilding crew 716th Sq. but flew his first mission with Rye’s crew. Tony bailed out 22 July 44 over Yugoslavia with the Wilding crew and was rescued by the Chetniks. He was returned 35 days later as one of the 41 449th BGA members who were part of Operation Halyard, aka The Forgotten 500. He floated around as Navigator upon his return and flew a total of 35 missions. Tony lives in the New Jersey Veterans Home sharing stories of his WWII memories with many. He is still standing for not only the Wilding and Rye’s crew, and the various crews he flew with as a much-needed replacement, but also for the other 40 449th airmen who returned to carry on operations after Operation Halyard.

Bill Hirsch — Bill was in the 717th Sq. as Navigator on the Neville Crew. Arriving in Italy as replacement crew in October 1944, he flew 45 missions and left at the end of the war. He was able to attend a few reunions in the early days of the BGA. He and his wife Roberta visited Grottaglie many years ago and said it is an interesting area for tourism. When meeting with Bill in Pennsylvania in 2021 he shared a story about each member of his crew. Every story was full of love and admiration. They met at times after the war. He said that even though they were all from different religions and backgrounds, they all got along together wonderfully. Such a tribute he pays to his crew as he is still standing for them at 100 years old.

Ed Stringham - Not to be beat out by Tony Orsini, Ed Stringham was also a member of the Wilding Crew 716th Sq. and was flying his 2nd mission as Ball Gunner with Rye’s crew (along with Orsini) when they bailed on 22 Jul 44, rescued by the Chetniks, and returned under Operation Halyard. But Ed went a step further and was flying with Wilding crew 5 months later in Lady of the Dark when they were downed by flak on the Brenner Pass mission 28 Dec 44. He returned to duty safely. Ed had a 31-year career with the USAF and now is 99 and residing in Texas. He has a love of skiing and sailing and shared a story of sailing off the coast in the Mediterranean offshore of a submarine base and a sub cruised right under their boat! His wings were sent up to the Space Station with help from his daughter who is in the AF and works for NASA.


Bob Herres — Bob was in the 717th Sq. serving as Tail Gunner on the Morton Crew. He is Original Cadre arriving in Grottaglie in December 43. He was on his 49th mission flying with the Morton Crew in Shack Happy when they were downed by enemy fighters over Ploesti 5 May 44. He was taken as a Romanian POW. Bob now lives in Florida and is 102. Bob is an avid carpenter and is still making intricate cabinets in his garage. Since his eyesight is failing his wife Diana helps with the measuring while he does the cutting. He has a huge treasure trove of pictures and documents from WWII that he shared with us for our 449th Archives.

Louis Beggs — As a member of the Jenny Crew in the 718th Sq. Louis was the Flight Engineer. He arrived in Italy in Oct 44 and flew 53 missions before returning stateside in May 45 at the end of the war. He states their crew had either a forced landing or were shot down four times! They were forced to land in Bari by a German flyer in a new 109. Over Vienna a German plot fired one bullet into the main hydraulic tank and drained the oil. They had to crank the landing gear down by hand, landed with no flaps and one brake after dropping their bombs by hand, prying the bomb wires out. He loves sharing stories of their WWII adventures flying in Forever Amber. Louis lives in Florida and is 101 years young.

Clarence Copping — The Copping Crew was a part of the 493rd, 8th AF and transferred to the 449th flying in Old Sac/For Men Only to Grottaglie in 12 Feb 45. Clarence lives in Illinois with his wife Louise and is 102. His birthday is coming up in June! He and his Navigator/Bombardier Jim Ash were very close and kept in contact for many years. Clarence is quite a storyteller and has a lot to share about his experience in WWII. He has a daughter and son who followed in his footsteps to become Commercial Pilots.

Ervin Clower — Ervin was flying as Flight Engineer on a Ploesti mission with the 451st BG on 17 Aug 44 in the Merry Barbara when severe damage forced them to bail out over water. He was rescued after 1.5 days in the water. He was reassigned to the 449th and became a driver who chauffeured the squadron Chaplain up and down Italy to many bases to perform church services. He is proud of the work he did as all the US Airmen deserved to have church services. He and the Chaplain remained friends and had a very memorable reunion in their later years. We visited him in 2021 and he was going strong at 100 years old. He’s now 103 and living in Texas.

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Stanley Grapp — Stan went through pilot training, but they didn’t need any more pilots so he became a Navigator. He arrived in Italy in March 1945 with the Hofmann Crew. They flew a replacement plane over via the Newfoundland/ Azores/Africa route. He was able to fly ten missions before the war in Europe ended. He and Karen live in Florida and will be celebrating his 101 birthday in July! His time in WWII may have been short but he has lived a full life. He kept up with members of his crew attending reunions together in the early days. Stan shared addresses and stories of the crew after the war.

Clarence “Bud” Hunziker — Bud arrived in Italy in September 1944 with the Sommer Crew serving as Tail Gunner. He flew 50 missions with 5 of those as Navigator! He left in May of 45 and said that while on leave awaiting transport, he was approached by German soldiers wanting to turn themselves in. After WWII Bud studied art and worked as an illustrator for Lockheed Martin and Hiller on developments of new helicopters. He is an artist extraordinaire with hundreds of beautiful paintings around his home created by him and his late wife, Pat. Bud lives in California and celebrated his 100th birthday last year.

Joe Loviglio — Joe was a Mess Sergeant assigned as cook in the 449th and went to Italy with the Original Cadre. As ground support he served the full 1½ years that the group was in Grottaglie. Flyers got to go home after 50 missions, which may have been 6 or 9 months. Ground support was there throughout! He says they said his coffee was good and that he doesn’t think he knocked anybody off with his cooking! He may joke about it, but we realize that mess crews probably got up at 2 a.m. each morning to cook a breakfast for the flyboys before they flew off at dawn. You can’t fly on an empty stomach and we’re proud that Joe is representing those on the various ground crews who helped make the magic happen in the sky.


Airmen Donald Beck

100 yrs / Millersville, PA

716th BS, Webb Crew Co Pilot / 23 missions

Adrian Buchholtz

100 yrs., May 30, 2023

Mansfield, OH

716th BS, Hochendel Crew Tail Gunner/ 34 missions

Airman Harvey Gann

103 yrs. March 25, 2024

Lago Vista, Texas

718th, BS, Kendall Crew Flight Engineer / POW / 14 missions

Airman Tommy Guzzardi

99 yrs. April 5, 2024

East Brunswick, NJ

717th BS, Kolek Crew Flight Engineer / 50 missions

Harry Horak

101 yrs October 2, 2023

Arcadia, CA

716th BS, Maerk Crew Bombardier / 44 missions

Michael Sallen

99 yrs, April 2023

Brookline, MA

718th BS, Temchulla Crew Radio Operator / POW / 21 missions



Help to Preserve the Legacy of the 449th BG

OOur Archives started back in 1982 when the 449th BGA first got off the ground. One of the reasons they decided to organize was to gather and preserve the combined story they shared of their service in Italy during WWII. As stated in Book II: Stories recalled after Forty Years by members of the 449th Bomb Group Association... from Grottaglie, Italy. 1943, 1944 and 1945.

With that goal they produced four books based on the history and story of the 449th Bomb Group. It was a crowning achievement that members felt great pride participating in preserving their stories.

Dan and Carol Livingston discovered the location of the box of “original” stories and pictures of the 449th. They followed the trail for 10 years ensuring that it came into the possession of the group again. It was a treasure trove and on January 18 2015, Mary Crowley and Denise Riegel completed The Sorting Project. That became the beginning of our physical Archives identified by individual veterans.

That project is far from being completed and organized into a serviceable format. But it is preserved and ready for action. But the action required soon became gathering what we could from our veterans while they were still living. Deborah Hill, The Voice of the 449th, started her efforts of calling and keeping track of our veterans and widows and collected more of their documents and pictures along the way.

We also started adding to that effort at preservation at the Rapid City SD reunion in 2008 by collecting our first Oral Histories.

We recorded 42 that week! We now have a total of 82 oral histories in our files. All unedited. A few have been formatted to show via YouTube, but we need a member who has the skills and desire to format the rest of the recordings. They are in a rough format, considering the first done in 2008 were on small reel tapes from a VCR! You’re right, that’s old technology. They have been converted to electronic format but need a lot of work to finish. Anyone out there ready and willing to make this goal come true?!?!

We continued to gather information from veterans and families at reunions, from the Late Pass, more 2nd and 3rd generation members becoming involved with the story of their WWII vet as well as connections to families we made upon the loss of our veterans throughout the years.

The next major stage of adding to our archives came about with the Maximum Effort Tour. Also known as the MET. Most of you are aware of this adventure. Our main goal was to find which of our veterans were still living and to have them sign the MET art prints. In addition, we captured pictures and documents not yet shared with the group. Each veteran we met was recorded in conversation about the 449th to add to our oral history. That resulted in an additional 30 stories. And less than a handful were a part of the oral history project.

Edward Latta, Flight Engineer on the Blaney Crew and his wife Patricia attended all of the reunion from the beginning. And after Edward passed in 1999 (she continued their tradition and is the only member who has attended all 28 reunions! Better yet, she has kept all of the memorabilia

from each reunion. Yet another treasure trove for our archives.

Now we have our group Facebook Page! The 449th Bomb Group (WW2 B-24) has attracted new people to our group who are sharing pictures and stories of their father, uncle or grandfather who served in the 449th in WWII. This opens a new horizon for us to expand the story our 1st Generation Veterans started back in 1982. I couldn’t be more proud of leading this project into the future!

Mary Crowley 717th BG & Denise Riegel, 718th BG
Sandra Latta, Jeanne Anderson Kenna & Mrs. Patricia Latta


Good evening. I’d like to introduce myself to you. My name is Evelyn and I have the privilege of speaking for the Women on the Home Front. No doubt, you know a bit about the 350,00 women who joined the military and showed their patriotism through this type of service.

I’d like to acquaint you with my story and those of a few women I knew during the early 40’s. Every city, town and village was overflowing with patriotism. It wasn’t just the men who wanted to defend our great country, every single woman I knew was up for the challenges that would come rushing at us over the month ahead.

Our ranks in the work force swelled to over 7.25 million strong. The government put out posters like Rosie the Riveter… combating the idea that do a man’s job unfeminine. Many of us moved outside our comfort

zones and into nontraditional jobs; such as farming, driving trucks, taxis and trolleys, building planes, ships, and trains, working in factories. Others ventured into journalism, photography and broadcasting.

As the workforce of women increase so did the need for childcare. Many of us had our hands full with work, getting kiddos to and from childcare, running the house, living within a tight budget, rationing and a million other things. Some of us learned to fix the car, paint the house and do basic plumbing.

But we developed lifelong friendships with our neighbors and co-workers and much deeper relationships with our families. Communities shared rations for canning fruit for the local hospitals or to bake goodies and coffee as troops passed our train stations. These events gave us common goals and the hope that others would do the same things for our boys who were so far from home.

Let me tell you about my sister, Emmy. She had married Harvey just a few months before Pearl Harbor happened. Emmy always kept up on the news and when Pearl Harbor happened, she didn’t seem all that surprised. She was concerned Harvey would be drafted and sent into combat, but one day a letter came from the Army/Navy branch of the YMCA. The letter said a security check had been done and he was eligible for USO training. They were first assigned to the USO in Charleston, SC. They worked long, long hours and weren’t prepared at all for the job at hand.

One of her jobs was to go into a small room, with service personnel, where there was a recorder. The boys could make a recording to send to their mothers, wives or girlfriends. Many records were sent in response to Dear John letters and reports of severe injuries from battle that just broke her heart.

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Emmy and Harvey found the long hours, generally from eight in the morning until 2 a.m. exhausting. But in truth, they found this type of service fulfilling as they planned dances and church services and organized volunteers helping so many through all the aspects of the USO.

Then I need to tell you about my best friend, Dorothy. She was teaching school at the time the war was declared. So many of her students signed up and left for boot camp that her class sizes shrink considerably. The school became active in supporting the war as the staff was so keen to do something for the war effort. They had competitions to collect metal and they see who could sell the most war bonds.

In addition to her day job, Dorothy became an air raid warden instructor. She wrote to me, telling of her training at the armory in a nearby town. Once home, she taught others to be air raid wardens and how to implement procedures for getting people into shelters and deal with casualties.

Next, she joined the food rationing board for sugar. Evenings, Dorothy wrote letter after letter to her students who kept in frequent contact. She’s quoted as saying, “Somewhere, in every almost every home a letter is being written to a son or husband, father or sweetheart this evening.”

Dorothy told me about another teacher/librarian she knew by the name of Mildred. Her high school sweetheart proposed just before shipping out and as was the fashion she and Frank planned to be married over an upcoming weekend.

Today, being married wouldn’t cause a problem, but in the early ‘40’s women who married were expected to quit their jobs. If you think about it, married women began their fight to stay on jobs and later on tried for equal pay once the war was over.

Another gal that pops into my mind is Marie. She was a senior in high school, but that didn’t stop her from finding ways to be involve on the Home Front.

Marie joined a group that rolled badly needed bandages. The group used all sorts of fabrics to meet the demand; heirloom tablecloths, sheets on and even old clothing was cut up and rolled into bandages that found their way to our boys in war torn Europe.

Marie sure would have liked to be on a date with Gene, from Algebra, but like so many of her classmates he’d volunteered for the Army Air Corp. Gene was now stationed in Grottaglie, Italy with the 449th Bomb Group.

The next best thing to a Friday night date with Gene was to head down to the USO. It

was a great way to pass time on weekends and Marie enjoyed serving donuts and coffee and listening to the stories told be the soldiers from all the country. And then of course, there was the dancing!

As for me, I joined the many young women who flooded Washington, D.C. joining the ranks of those working for the government. In 1940, FBI agents totaled 898 but by 1945 that number had jumped to 4,886. With the dramatic changes and influence the agency had, the administrative areas had grown exponentially. I was one of the women who stepped into a secretarial position that lasted through the war and into the cold war era.

I worked for the FBI in D.C., L.A. and Milwaukee, WI. I’m proud to have been able to serve my country in this way. Taking advantage of the many opportunities that came my way, taught me about the country and the diversity of the people who lived here. I believe this is true for all of us as we experienced the challenges that came our way throughout WWII.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short stroll down memory lane with me. Always remember what the Women on the Home Front accomplished and use our stories to inspire and help you through seemingly insurmountable experiences.



SUBJECT: About a lengthy mission, “target of opportunity,” ground personnel that got ‘em back in the air, good buddies & crew assignments, living in a tent with heat, fine dining, villagers of Grottaglie, aircraft that flew on fumes, green flare/red flare, mud & rain, R&R in Cairo, dirty laundry, packages from home, basic training, “walking the blade,” equipment that never failed, heated flying suits, sounds of flak, frostbite, silk gloves & guns, Tito’s Partisans, favorite USO show, HQ & debriefing, morse code, a memorable reunion... Let’s share it in the LatePass.

If you are pen shy or a little rusty in the writing department and have a good story, don’t hesitate to give me a call. I’m great at taking notes and together we will compose the article. Bottom line, we need your stories... - .... .- .--. (ASAP)




Author in front of a B24D Liberator at the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

2nd generation 449th Association member, Rod Stanley, has recently published a World War II historical novel: “Worrybird – The Life Story of a WWII Bomber and the Crew Who Flew Her” after almost three years of research, writing and editing. Inspiring him forward to completion was a promise made to himself and indirectly to his father, William Stanley, the bombardier on the Worrybird, a member of the 719th Squadron. An ardent lover of history, Rod’s father always thought that his wartime diary, along with those of the pilot, “Pop” Blomgren, and navigator, Bob Simmons, would make a great book. William Stanley never fulfilled his dream before he became the last of Worrybird’s ten “Band of Brothers” to leave us in 2019.

“As my brothers, sister, and I went through Dad’s personal belongings, I was deemed the depository of most things historically related to our family. As I perused through the documents that occupied the full length of a folding table, I came across a box full

of files labeled: Discharge Forms, Bombardiering Records, Army Records, and Diaries. That’s when I made the promise to myself to complete what my dad had never started,” explained Rod.

In an effort to make the book stand out from the many excellent WWII novels and first-hand accounts currently available, Rod searched for a way to tell the story in a different manner. Rod explains further: “I decided that in order to tell the full story, Worrybird herself would become the eleventh crewmember.” From her Dallas, TX “birth” to her ultimate “death,” the book tells the complete story of WWII’s air war over Europe not only from the crew’s perspective, but also via the plane’s perspective.

In writing the book Rod utilized the three diaries and intertwined them with Army Air Corps mission records. The stories “Worrybird” relates all occurred. The names of the planes, of the aircrews, the nuances of the missions, and the results occurred mostly as written. The three diaries supplied not only the real-time inner thoughts of those three officers, but also details of the mundane life between missions, as well as the

lighter moments of life on the airbase. Rod shares, “The diaries are exceptional in their similarities. It’s hard not to imagine Stan, my father’s war-time nickname, Pop, and Bob, sitting at their small individual tables under flickering kerosene lamp light in the olive groves of Grottaglie, putting down on paper their thoughts of the day, each with only a slightly different take on the day’s events.”

Corroborating and expanding on the diary accounts were the individual mission files kept at the Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery Alabama. While the sterile data, such as takeoff, bombing, and landing times of every plane was in itself useful, it was the aftermission interrogation reports that shed light on an individual plane’s mission experience. “These reports gave the aircrew the opportunity to not only document their observations, but also a chance to vent their true, immediate thoughts and emotions concerning the mission without fear of reprisal. This unvarnished, emotional stuff never gets in the books. It does in this one,” Rod explains.

Rod realized after completing the book just how ordinary these citizen soldiers-turnedsky warriors were. Ordinary people in extraordinary times. And yet, how could a man not be forever changed by what he had seen and experienced? Diary entries such as: “Can’t see how a man can get through 50 missions. Am I capable of the job?” “Damn, I hate that place!” “Stanley, what the hell are you doing here?” “Five out of our squadron’s seven ships lost,” validate this.

Rod admits “These may have been ‘ordinary’ men going in, but certainly not when they returned.” He quotes Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who recounted his own Civil War experience: “…in our youth our hearts were touched with fire. It was given to us to learn at the outset that life is a profound and passionate thing.”

“Worrybird” may be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or ordered from your favorite bookstore.



2024 marks the 80th anniversary of Operation Halyard, the rescue of over 500 American airmen from Nazi-occupied Serbia. The commemoration ceremony honoring the mission will take place on Galovica Field, just outside the village of Pranjani, Serbia. From this location, U.S. airmen were flown from behind enemy lines back to their bases in Italy.

The Halyard Mission Foundation is a non-profit organization that seeks to educate, commemorate, and increase awareness of the Halyard Mission, and the role the Serbs played in its success. A permanent memorial site was established on the site in September 2020. Each year a commemoration ceremony is conducted on the third Saturday in September paying tribute to the U.S. airmen that flew missions to liberate Europe and the allies that supported them in their time of need.

Many families of rescued airmen, and the OSS officers who helped plan and execute the mission, will attend this year’s special event. The Halyard Mission Foundation is working to find all the families of rescued airmen and the Serbian families who assisted them.

Our goal is to connect as many families as possible, bringing together generations to continue commemorating this important rescue mission and remember all those who served in the U.S. Army Air Force.

449th Bomb Group Association Officers | 2024

President: Richard Lapham, 2nd Gen, 719th

Vice President: Elaine Trogdon Martz, 2nd Gen, 719th

Secretary: Mary Crowley, 2nd Gen, 717th

Treasurer: Thad Mahoney, 2nd Gen, 719th

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

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

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

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

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


PX Officers: Gary Smith & Debbie Utz, 2nd Gen, 717th

Veterans Correspondence: Lynn Moran, 2nd Generation, 718th

Social Media Research

Tad Garner, 3rd Gen, 717th

Looking for a volunteer with accounting experience to take over the Treasurer position of the 449th BGA. Anyone that is interested in helping out our group please contact Richard Lapham / rlapham0445@gmail.com


WWII 449th BG B-24 Flying Horsemen

Service: Monthan Air Force Base Chapel

Sunday, October 27, 2024

The 80th Anniversary of the 449th BG... COMING HOME

It began in Tucson, and it is here where we will lay our roses in honor of our beloved Veterans.

It is an honor to walk a red rose for those families who are unable to attend. It is equally inspiring to see the youth of tomorrow participate in the ceremony, knowing that they are invested in the WWII 449th BG legacy.



Names to be read at the Tucson, AZ Reunion

Sunday, October 27, 2024

As part of this sacred and honorable tribute given to our fallen heroes each year, it has come to our attention that there are families who have not been able to attend the service, but wish to have their AIRMAN’S name or a specific CREW to be included in Roll Call of Honor during the Memorial Service.

For a minimal donation of $25 or more (to cover cost of roses and facility expenses) 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 Squadron Table.

In honor of Airman / Crew Squadron (if known)

Given in honor by

Any questions, please call: Mary Crowley, 449th BGA Secretary (CA) 714-925-8111

Requests need to be received by October 1, 2024

CHECK: Please enclose Veteran/Crew Information 449th BGA Thad Mahoney, Treasurer 205 Lynn Dr., Seville, OH 44273

QR Code: Quick & Easy After payment, email or text information to 449thsecretary@gmail.com (CA) 714-925-8111

Subject: Reunion Red Rose Memorial Veteran/Crew Information



Names in Bold UPPER CASE denotes Airmen whose families were in attendance. Names with an *ASTERISK denotes a RED ROSE Denotation to be walked in honor of the Airman. Names that appear in Small Print are known deceased Airmen who have passed away since October 2023 and Airmen whose names have not been previously acknowledged.

POW: Prisoner of War KIA: Killed in Action MIA: Missing in Action

716th Squadron

Albert Allumbaugh * KIA

Lynford Austin * KIA

Charles Bentz * KIA

Kenneth Blake, Jr. *

Bernard Bowers *

Mario Colleluori *

James Collins * POW

Eugene Erickson * POW


John W. Hamilton



Harold H. Hultquist

Arthur Jean *

Wayne Kennedy *

Arnold Kohler *

John Marlow *

John Miller *


Clarence Nelson *

Russell Newton, Jr.

Einar Niklason *

Wallace Osborne *


Jessie Priest *

Bernard Rosch *

Frank Shoaf *

Harold Swenson *

Burr Tarrant *

Frank Visciglia * KIA

Patrick L. Wehling *

716th Crews


28-Feb-45 9 KIA 3 MIA

Howard Hanson * MIA

Lawarence Brady * MIA

Lawarence Nally * MIA


Bryan’s Crew

29-Aug-44 11 POW


Cummingham Crew

TWINKLETOES * Collins Crew

717th Squadron


Richard Asbury *

Lenville Ashworth *

John Aulner, Jr. * POW


Ellsworth Daniels “Whitey” *

John Desmond *


Artur Fallon *

Michael Fiordaliso

Alexander Gallo

Wayland Givens *


Clarence Grimes *

George Harlan *

John E. Jones

Robert Kaley *

Berle Keck * POW

Robert Kubiak

James Ludeke *

Jerald Meschke *

John Mueller *


Jack Pizzitola *

George Potts * KIA

John Price

Hal A Ross *


Frank Shirey


Marce Stevens *


Joseph Whitlock * KIA

William Witham *

Warren Wykel *

717th Crews


Ivers Crew

29-Mar-44 2 KIA 8 Injured

INSTABLE * Depuy Crew

19-Feb-45 10 KIA

718th Squadron

Howard G. Bower

Floyd Byfield *

James C. Cady


Frank Catanzarite *

Morris Coffee *

George Ditzhazy *


Thomas Duffy, Jr. *

Raymond Eriksen *

Reuben Feld *

Henry Flesh III *

James Forester *

Joseph Fritsche * POW

Nick Gavalas * MIA

Robert Gettens *


Raymond Grinold *

Paul Harper *

Robert Hathorn *

Wayne Huffman *



Charles Lynn *

Mat Mathieu *

Harold McCarty

Harry McGuire * KIA

Earl McLeod *


Frank Murin

Edwin O’Brien *

Richard Peacock *

Peter Peterson * Cornelius Reisdorf *

Michael Sallen

Charles Shepherd *


Ernest Taberski *

Edward Way * KIA

718th Crews



30-Jan-44 2 KIA 7 MIA 1 POW


30-Jan-44 6 KIA 4 POW

* Lt. Thomas Chandler Pilot KIA

* Lt. Robert Winter Co-Pilot KIA

* Lt David Livingston Bombardier POW

* Lt. Peter Ihrie Jr. Navigator KIA

* Sgt. John Wood Tail Gunner KIA

* Sgt Roland Vickery R/OP Gunner POW

* S/Sgt. Julius Stewart

Gunner POW

* T/Sgt. Edward Fechko

Eng/Waist KIA

* T/Sgt Edward Lucy

Waist Gun POW

* Sgt Charles Tibbetts

Waist Gun KIA

* S/Sgt Paul Zickler

Photographer POW


Fabian crew

719th Squadron

Lewis Anderson *

Emil Baer *

Denver Barnett * POW

James Bubenko *

Henry Butehorn *

Walter Bynum *

Alvin Charnes *

John Cyrus *

Wilbur Debnam *

Frank DeFelice

Robert Geisert * POW

William Hamill *

William Herrmann *

Robert Huges *

Robert Humrick *


J.R. Kervin * POW



Max Minton *


Bartholomeo Peluso *

Edward Riley


Raymond Sunderland KIA

David Tack *

Carl Thorberg *


Joe B. Truemper POW



(Continued on Back Cover)


Mary Crowley, Secretary

2nd Generation

16292 Content Circle

Huntington Beach, CA 92649

Phone: 714.840.1805

Email: 449thSecretary@gmail.com

The term LATEPASS refers to the control tower CALL SIGN at Grottaglie

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.


(Continued from Page 23)


Scott R. Brewer


Harold Hartman *

Jack Randolph * Commander of the 449th BG 1944-1945

In Loving Memory

717 Mrs. Ann Desmond*

717 Edward Zupich*

718 Judy Bynum Carpenter


719 Mrs. Delores Rosen



A Gold Star Family is one that has lost an immediate family member in the line of duty of military service. The Butehorn family of Bethpage, New York received two Gold Stars during WWII. All three Butehorn brothers Henry, Joseph, and Charles were deployed during World War II.

Henry, the oldest enlisted in the Amy Air Corps and was assigned to the 449th Bomb Group/ 719th BS in Italy. Charles chose the Army Infantry and was shipped overseas to Europe. Joseph enlisted in the US Marine Corps, assigned to a unit in the Pacific Theater. Charles at the age of 19 was wounded in the offensive campaign near the Bulge region, hospitalized and later returned to his outfit. On 28 Nov 1944 he was killed in action. Six months later Jospeh became a prisoner of war with the Japanese and died from his injures at the age of 22 in the Pacific.

Younger brothers of Henry Butehorn, 719 BG

WWII US Marine Corps , Pacific

Joseph Butehorn * POW/KIA

WWII Army Infantry, France

Charles Butehorn * KIA

Henry, who had flown over 30 missions with McKee crew as a Flight Engineer and Left waist gunner was ordered home by the War Department under a newly created Congressional policy and petitioned by his parents, that protected the “only sons, the last son to carry the family name.” Henry refused, declining the request and went on to complete his 50 required missions with his crew. All three brothers now rest in Long Island Nation Cemetery East Farmingdale, NY.

VFW-Butehorn Brothers Post 4987, in Bethpage, NY, received its charter on December 4, 1945, in honor and sacrifice of the Butehorn brothers.

Gold Star Butehorn Family

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