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Crews & Planes

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"Planes fell in flames, planes fell not in flames, an occasional one pulled out and crash-landed, sometimes successfully, sometimes they blew up. Men fell in flames, men fell in parachutes, some candlesticked (when their parachutes didn't open). Pieces of men dropped through the hole, pieces of planes ... Have you any idea of what it's like to vomit in an oxygen mask? ... These bomber guys had seen the inside of hell." - Stephen E. Ambrose, The Wild Blue


"Tough Titti"


14th AF / 308th BG / 375th BS

US Army B-24J Serial #44-40296

My grandfather flew with this ship and crew in July '44.
ChengKung Air Base, China.

(Standing, L. to R.) Walter Kaestner (Pilot); John Apsega (Co-Pilot)
Harold Crawford (Navigator); Ben H. Adelson (Bombardier)

(Front, L. to R.) James Mann (Nose Gunner); Thomas Young (Tail Gunner)
William Smith (Engineer/Waist Gunner); Hobert Jones Flight Engineer (Top Turret)
William Luebbers (Radio Operator/Waist Gunner); Don Bartell (Ball Turret)
[I.D. Courtesy of Ellen Dunham]



Walt Kaestner's Original "Crew 57"

(Standing, L. to R.) Harold Crawford (Navigator); John Apsega (Co-Pilot); Walter Kaestner (Pilot); Donald Bassist (Bombardier)

(Front, L. to R.) Hobert Jones (Flight Engineer/Top Turret); Thomas Young (Tail Gunner)
William Luebbers (Radio Operator/Waist Gunner); William Smith (Engineer/Waist Gunner)
James Alton (Ball Turret); James Mann (Nose Gunner)

Harold R. Crawford served in both Korea and Viet Nam, retiring as a Lt. Colonel.
[I.D. Courtesy of Hobert Jones]


Left to Right: Walt Kaestner, Harold Crawford and John Apsega
(Photos Courtesy of Harold & Frieda Crawford)


Another picture of "Tough Titti" with my grandfather standing at far right.
[Photo courtesy of Walter Kaestner]



John Zehren's Crew

10th AF / 7thBG / 9thBS

Back Row, L-R: Robert J. Crosson (Navigator), Charles Reisinger (Bombardier)
John J. Folander (Co-Pilot), John G. Zehren (Pilot)

Front Row, L-R: George Lawrence (Nose Gun), John Hyatt (Waist Gun), Charles Whalen (Engineer)
Thomas Lawson (Tail Gun), Ira McClanahan (Radio Operator)
India, 1944
[Photo/I.D. Courtesy of Joe Zehren]

The documents below were provided by Joe Zehren

Flight Log of John Hyatt - Page 1 2

Recollections of Charles D. Whalen

Flight Logs of Charles D. Whalen, Page 1 2 3


"Tough Titti"
[Courtesy of William K. Barnard]




"The Bitch's Sister"

14th AF / 308thBG / 375thBS

US Army B-24J Serial #42-73319

Back, L-R: Willam Barnard (B), Donald Howland (CP)
John (Jake) Havens (P), Paul Hosp (N)

Front, L-R: Robert Newton (TT), Wes Schneider (TG)
Isidore Swillinger (NG), Andrew Verbosh (RO), Jerald Moore (E), Irwin Saurer (BT)
[I.D. Courtesy of Jack Gross]



The "Georgia Peach"

14th AF / 308th BG / 375th BS

US Army B-24J-45-CO, Serial #42-73445

She flew at least 36 missions. Withdrawn from service in March 1945.

Standing, L-R: Vernon E. "Skinny" Childers, Lt. Skaggs, Thomas C. Glover (B), Bernard Piersa (N)

Front, L-R: Ernest J. Churchill (E), Lamar C. Cartwright (RO), Bob Barker
Marion W. Catania, Max "Pappy" Cline, Joseph W. Bailey
[I.D. Courtesy of Jack Gross]


[Photo/I.D. Courtesy of Steve Sheriff]

"Ubangi Bag III"
14th AF/308th BG/374th BS
US Army B-24J Serial #42-73436

Standing, L-R: James F. Pitterle (N), Morris Ethridge (P), Bill Anderson (CP)
Cecil Parish (B), Douglas Sheriff (TT)

Front, L-R: Anthony "Murphy" Wojtkiewicz (E), William Mullen (BT), Lyle Swadener (RO-G)
Clifford Siem (NG), John Croley (TG)


[Photo/I.D. Courtesy of Steve Sheriff]

"Ubangi Bag III"
14th AF/308th BG/374th BS
US Army B-24J Serial #42-73436


(Photo/ID Courtesy of Jack Gross)

Crew of the Hilo Hattie (42-109887). Picked up on 30 May 1944, ten days after bailing out over Northern Viet Nam.

Standing, Left to Right: Herbert Gross (AE); Headley Holbrook (E);
James Kelleher (G); Unknown (Pilot of the rescue plane);
Arthur "A.P." Smith (N); Walter Hopper (CP); Jesse DeHay (P)
Kneeling, Left to Right: Harold Sigmund (ARO); Allan Randle (B);
Cecil Bumgarner (RO); George Link (Observer)

Max Cline (Gunner), the 11th man on the crew of the Hilo Hattie “walked out” seven days later.

The rescue plane, a single-engined Canadian-built "Beaver" was dispatched to Mengtze without knowledge of how many airmen were to be picked up. It had six seats and only one or two extra parachutes. One pilot and ten rescuees squeezed in - three packed into a baggage area behind the seats - for the trip back to the 375th Squadron's base and Chengkung.



Lt. Zerba's Crew & "Rose of Juarez"

Standing, Left to Right: Unknown, Unknown, Mel Lees (B), Oswald Endler (N)
Front, Left to Right: Dale M. Doty (AG), Unknown, Unknown
Truitt C. Sims (G), James N. Early (RO), Unknown
(Photo/ID Courtesy of John Zerba/Jack Gross)



Lt. Leary's Crew
10th AF / 7th BG / 493rd BS

Front, Left to Right: Sgt. William Roth (E), TSgt. Lynden Lee (RO), Sgt. Clarence Magnus (G),
SSgt. Fred Jurisch (G), MSgt. Nathan Sturch (G) & Sgt. Stanley Gordon (G)

Standing, Left to Right: 1Lt. Ray Leary (P), 1Lt. Howard "Pete" Fauerby (CP),
2Lt. Gale McGrew (N) & 2Lt. Dan "Tiger" Muszynski (B)

At some point, Sgt. James Paar (G) replaced Stanley Gordon and TSgt. James Rasch (E) replaced William Roth.

(Photo/ID/Info Courtesy of Meg Jurisch-Hromyak)

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