Photo above - standing left to right:
Billy O'Connor (Buffalo, NY) started each morning by jumping up and down on his bed singing at the top of his lungs, "I don't care if it rains or freezes, I am Jesus' Little Lamb."
Bob Bloch (Brooklyn, NY) teller of shaggy dog stories.
Ray Voss (Chicago) was a first baseman in the Northern League when the war started, and was sore as hell that Howie Schultz, who was not as good as he was, wound up playing in the majors.
Gordon "Goober" Arrowood (Asheville, NC) whose daughter, Barbara Jean, was born just before we went overseas, and whom he didn't see till we got back. She was named after a plane that we flew in Tucson, and is now an associate member of the BGA.
Bill Clark (Jackson, TN) use to get airsick from the way the tail swayed and bounced, until they started shooting at us. Never got sick after that.
Bill Dale (Oregon) turned 21 on our way home. He was the only one of us that was sent back for a second tour, although we had all signed up for it.
Irvin Klanecky (Nebraska) - A really solid citizen, fine pilot; a guy who went to bat for the enlisted men on the crew any time we needed help. He flew with a new crew on this mission, while we broke in a replacement, because he opted to fly the full complement of 35 missions before coming home. Irvin would later be transferred to a lead crew.
Bob Taylor (Tyler, TX) became the navigator by default when Johnny Johnson was transferred to lead bombardier, and did a great job of it.
Harold Johnson (Texas) was small, rough, funny and so good that we lost him to lead.
Raymond Grantham (Wynn, AR) is not photographed because he was hospitalized with flak wounds. He's a guy who'd do anything for anyone on the crew. Once told MAJ Thompson, to whom the local farmers had complained, "Ain't no fence a Limey can build that a Yankee can't cross!" (A photo of Raymond is in the lower right of the crew photo. During the photos shoot he was in the hospital recoverying from wounds suffered on an earlier mission.)
All but the last 5 missions were flown in B24s. After a 3 day pass in July we returned to find the airfield crowded with newly arrived B17s. We were told, "Take one up, and try it out. You're flying a mission tomorrow!" I was lucky, I had flown in one once before.
When we were first finished in August '44. We were given the option of flying 30, going home for 30 days R & R, and coming back for another tour, or flying 35 and going home period. All of us except Irvin Klanecky, co-pilot, opted for the 30 and back.
Irvin flew his last 5 with another crew. Of those of us who went home, when it came time to return they said they only needed pilots, so Bill went back and flew another tour with another outfit.
We actually only flew 29 missions. The 8th had a war bond drive, and to stimulate sales, the 486th gave one mission free to any crew that bought $1,000 worth between them. That only cost $75 per crewman, and cashing in our bonds seemed a much better bet than cashing in our chips!
- Robert L. Bloch
|Name||Rank||Position||First Mission||Last Mission||Status|
|Dale, William C., Jr.||LT||Pilot||05//44||08/14/44||Completed tour. Did second tour with another group.|
|Klanecky, Irvin L.||LT||Copilot||05/20/44||44||Flew 5 additional missions with another crew for 30+ missions total.|
|Johnson, Harold C.||LT||Navigator||05/20/44||08/14/44||Completed tour with 29 missions.|
|Taylor, George R.||LT||Bombardier||05/20/44||08/14/44||Completed tour with 29 missions.|
|Bloch, Robert L.||SGT||Flight Engineer/Top||05/20/44||08/14/44||Completed tour with 29 missions.|
|Arrowood, Gordon C.||SGT||Radio Operator||05/20/44||08/14/44||Completed tour with 29 missions.|
|Voss, Raymond H.||SGT||Gunner||05/20/44||08/14/44||Completed tour with 29 missions.|
|Grantham, Raymond H.||SGT||Gunner||05/20/44||08/14/44||Completed tour with 29 missions.|
|Clark, William F.||SGT||Gunner||05/20/44||08/14/44||Completed tour with 29 missions.|
|O'Connor, William||SGT||Ball||05/20/44||08/14/44||Completed tour with 29 missions.|
|Curtiss, Robert L.||Crew Chief||05/20/44||08/14/44||Completed tour.|
|036 - Recall||07/01/44||Gremlin's Roost||TS||601||B24H|
|044 - Aborted||07/14/44||Gremlin's Roost||TS||601||B24H|
|053||08/04/44||The Blue Fairy||TJ||942||B17G|
|061||08/14/44||Pursuit of Happiness||TH||43-37931||B17G|
|Created 09/10/99||Modified 04/25/00|
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