November 10, 2013

Rememberance Day at Little Waldingfield.


August 18, 2013

David Goldberg, son of Jordan Goldberg, 833rd, stands next to the B17G, "Chuckie".  Chuckie is currently painted in 832nd colors, but will soon be repainted in 1st division colors.  Chuckie underwent restoration at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach, VA, where she got a chin and ball turrets.  She now resides at the Tillamook Air Museum, in Tillamook, OR.  Chuckie was originally owned by Dr. Hospers and his wife, Charlyn, aka, "Chuckie", of San Antonio.

David has volunteered his time at the Seattle Museum of Flight and assisted in the renovation of the B17F, "Boeing Bee."  David also enjoys re-enactments, and was given a "Class A" uniform by Jack Bryant, 832nd.

Photograph by Bryan Heim.

October 28, 2012

TSGT James Savarese (left) poses with his younger brother, Airman Jonathan Savarese, after Jonathan's graduation from the USAF Basic Military Training School at Lackland AFB, TX.   Jonathan and James are grandson's of John Savarese, radio operator, 832nd.  Another brother, Craig, served with the US Army.

Jonathan's mother poses with him in front of a static display P-47 painted as Francis Gabreski's aircraft.

May 11, 2012

Harley Stroven was the armaments officer of the 835th Squadron.  He shot this film during his assignment from May 1944 to May 1945.

January 16, 2012

303rd BG (H) Newsletter

An interesting short film entitled, "The German."

"The Great Escape"...digging tunnel Harry

FLAK -- Army Air Corps training film. Very interesting!

How to take off in a you'll be ready when opportunity knocks!

The Red Tails

November 27, 2011

Bomb Ballistics

Dick Grace

GI Memories

November 26, 2011

Bill Nopar: Valley WWII vet making sure B-17 crew's dramatic stories survive

Aviation Links:

Molesworth Pilot

World War Two Website


October 30, 2011

COL Russell S. Knapp, navigator, Berry Crew, 833rd, is presented the French Legion of Honor at his hospital bedside by the French Consular.


July 23, 2011

A tribute to the Blue Angels: The Three Horsemen

May 07, 2011

The story of SGT Bob Mallory, tail gunner, 833rd.

Merlin powered Chevy

Sound of Music?

April 17, 2011


The book "MISSION TO BERLIN" by Robert F. Dorr is being published April 15. This is a general-interest World War II history that focuses on the B-17 Flying Fortress crews who attacked Berlin on February 3, 1945 in the largest mission ever flown against a single target. The book also includes a new look at the entire bombing campaign in Europe.

The young men who flew and maintained the B-17 are at the center of the story but "MISSION TO BERLIN" also has lengthy passages about Americans who flew and maintained the B-24 Liberator, P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang.

The official cover price is $ 28.00. The book can be pre-ordered from Amazon today at a lower price plus shipping.

If you would like to get a first-edition signed copy directly from me, the author, send me a check for $ 35.00 to cover book, signature, packaging and shipping. Very important: be sure that any communication includes your ADDRESS. If I hear from you before the book is available, I'll cash your check and send you the book when it appears -- expected to be between April 15 and May 2.

The book is dedicated to pilot Marvin D. Lord, co-pilot Robert Des Lauriers, togglier Ray Fredette and tail gunner Frank Chrastka. You'll encounter famous air aces like Brooks Liles and Grant Turley and bomber pilots crewmembers like Mike Banta and Manny Klette. The book will be of interest to the 91st Bombardment Group e-mail ring, the 390th Bombardment Group Memorial Museum, and many other veterans' and reunion groups.

Be a charter reader by getting this book from me now. Somebody out there is going to be the first person to get a copy of this book.

If you don't wish to receive e-mail messages from me, let me know.  If you have questions, please pick up the phone.

Best wishes to all

Bob Dorr

Robert F. Dorr
3411 Valewood Drive
Oakton VA 22124
(703) 264-8950

Mission Berlin @

Also available from

Americans, Germans, and War Crimes Justice: Law, Memory, and "The Good War"

Book Description

During World War II, both Americans and Germans committed war crimes, but the ways in which the U.S. Army dealt with crimes committed by their own soldiers were drastically different from its treatment of German atrocities. In fact, by the standards the U.S. Army used to try enemy commanders for war crimes, General George Patton could have been deemed a war criminal.

"This is a well-designed and well-executed comparative study of war crimes committed by Germans and by Americans, and their prosecutions, during World War II. Weingartner guides the reader through the incidents themselves, as well as the ensuing investigations and trials, offering pithy summaries of the presentation of evidence and counsels' arguments. He adds accounts of the trial aftermaths and offers sage, and fair-minded comparisons of the uneven ways that the post-war military tribunals treated German and American defendants. A major contribution." — Peter Karsten, University of Pittsburgh and author of Law, Soldiers and Combat

Americans, Germans and War Crimes Justice @

April 15, 2011

The photography is HD, the planes are gorgeous, and, most notably, it is shot as the B17 takes off from Falcon Field in Mesa, AZ and then flies over the Superstition Mountains. to the east of Apache Junction and then on to Roosevelt & Canyon lakes on the east edge of the Phoenix valley. The backdrops are stunning. Music is from the mini seriers John Adams. Great combo.

B17 & B25

This is the B17 "Chuckie", which was once owned by Doc Chuck Hospers in Texas.  The plane was sold to the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach and arrived there a couple months ago.  What is remarkable about this plane, other than the fact it's a B17, is that it is painted in the colors of the 486th Bomb Group of which I am webmaster and historian.  The Fort is missing a ball and chin turret.  A plexiglas dome was installed for the ball turret to make it look like a pathfinder.  Not much you can do about the chin turret.

The colors are late WWII markings.  The 486th Forts were originally natural metal finish.  The yellow tail and wing chevron symbolized the 4th Combat Bombardment Wing.  The black square on the tail represented the 3rd Air Division.  The white "W" on the black square, the three yellow waist bands and the red and blue of the chevron indicated the 486th Heavy Bombardment Group.  The yellow "H" and yellow nose band signified the 832nd Heavy Bombardment Squadron.

The first 10 minutes aren't terribly exciting unless you want to watch them start all four engines.  What's remarkable about start up happens inside the hull, which seems to amplify the sound.  This is particularly intense when the pilots run up the engines for their manifold pressure test.  The ship shakes itself and your body cavities resonate from the sound.  I refused hearing protection during my 1/2 hour ride in 1998 and was deaf for two hours afterward.

Nothing like 5" naval gun fire, rock and roll, and a B17 ride to mess up your hearing!

March 07, 2011

A WWII Army sniper gets a special honor and a touching tribute.

Acoustic detection equipment for anti-aircraft defenses

8th AF Historical Society, Oregon Chapter, newsletter


February 21, 2011

Keith Krasemann, son of H. C. Krasemann, 832nd, passes along this link about a B17 crewman.

B-17 veteran back in air aboard a WWII-era bomber

Malcolm "Ozzie" Osborn, of the UK sends the following:  The link below leads to a delightful film made in 1942.  If you can understand the 'plum in the mouth' accent (always the way narrations were spoken up until the late 1950s in fact) - it is a fascinating glimpse of English village life prior to the arrival of the 8th AAF.  Each base had approximately 2750 personnel, Lavenham had its own airfield just three miles from the village with the 487th BG, the 486th at Sudbury was just a few miles away as was the 447th BG at Rattlesden and the 94th BG at Rougham (Bury St Edmunds). So you can imagine the impact the sudden arrival of all those Americans had. In fact, Winston Churchill ensured that the local cinemas showed mainly American movies in order to prepare the population for the American accents.

By 1945 there were so many war brides that a conference was held at Oxford University in order to discuss potential problems with returning British soldiers.

I got this link from a friend of mine, it runs for approximately 10 minutes and is well worth watching.

It appears to all be filmed at Kersey and Lavenham south of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

Great shots of the Standard Fordson's in the fields and the village blacksmith and certainly gives you an insight into why the Americans made such an impact on the local community if that was how the region functioned in 1942 just before their arrival! Pity they didn't film any of the local airfields under construction a few months later!

February 05, 20111

Mission to Berlin, by Robert F. Dorr

Bob's book is scheduled to be published April 15th.  This book is about the February 3, 1945 attack on Berlin, in which the 486th took part. 1,003 B-17s are sent to hit the Tempelhof marshalling yard in Berlin.  Of these bombers 23 are lost, the crew lead by Lewis Cloud, the core of which was on their last mission, was lost near Raydon just after the ship crossed the English coast.  A second was the Ogle crew, which was forced to make a landing in Poland due to battle damage.  That crew returned to Station 174 several weeks later, after having gotten a tour of the middle-east.  This attack on Berlin was the biggest of the war and occurred nearly a year after the first attack by the 8th AF on Berlin since VIII Bomber Command attack on March 6, 1944.

Pre-order at




George Rubin reminds us about the video produced in England about the Friendly Invasion, which is about the US presence in Suffolk during the War, and features artwork, Hope and Glory, by Roger Lane.  The DVD is based upon the book of the same name by Henry Buckton.  The Yanks had a profound affect on the British in terms of culture and camaraderie.  George enjoyed the DVD very much, and thinks everyone else will, too!  The DVD sells for $29.95, not including S&H.

If you're looking for a chance to experience the air war over Europe, a company in Savannah has a deal for you.  World War II Adventure  offers a 3 day camp for wannabe aerial gunners.  Their last camp took place last month, but stay tuned for new opportunities!

January 30, 2010

If you're interested in a nice views of the Enola Gay's cockpit, check out this link:

Enola Gay Cockpit

January 26, 2010

For the veterans:  You may recall that I forwarded the following link

some time ago.  The woman's daughter has just contacted me and ask for our help.  There is a crew photo on this page she would like our help in putting names to the faces.  Also, she would like to hear from anyone was spent time the 136th Station Hospital.

For everyone:  If you are an aviation enthusiast and are always looking for aviation art to hang on your wall, give these links a look:

You can also find a smaller, cheaper copy of the Leo print at

And search on the item catalog number 70363C.

I am using voice recognition software to dictate my emails.  This is proving to be a long and laborious process.  So my response time to your emails may be even longer than normal.  While I try to catch and correct mistakes, I still miss quite a few.  So if you stumble upon a passage may sound like I'm on my pain meds, its just the software.

January 24, 2010

The B17 "Chuckie", located at the Vintage Air Museum in Dallas/FT Worth is moving.  See the article below:

She will retain her 486th colors.

January 17, 2011

Happy Annivsersary!

In 1998 a friend and colleague, Cedric Welch, approached me at work with information he had gathered regarding an uncle who was killed in action on 3 February, 1945.  Knowing of my military background and interest in the air war over Europe, he hoped I would be able to lend some insight into the information he had.  I was able to fill in some general details of the war, aircraft and tactics, but information specific to the group and some other small details were unknown to me.  I turned to the Internet to search these details out and discovered the 486th had no website, and so I took it upon myself to create one.

Cedric's uncle, Arnold "Ray" Welch, 832nd, was original assigned to the Himel crew.  Ed "Jim" Himel was given another crew to lead, which resulted in his original crew being placed in the pool to fly with other crews as vacancies demanded.  On that fateful day, Ray was slying with the Cloud crew, which was flying their last mission.  Once safely back over the English coast the crew began to celebrate their fortune.  Using the Very (flare) pistol the crew generated their own fireworks show.  It's believed one of the flares hit an edge of the waist window and ricocheted back into the aircraft where it promptly set hydraulic fluid and the wood flooring on fire.  The crew was ordered to bail out, with only 5 managing to do so, but one died when his chute failed to open.  Ray remained on board having given his chute to another crewman.  He parished along with the pilot, Lewis Cloud, Johnnie Jones and Frank Chrastka.  Jones and Chrastka were originally assigned to the Bereman crew, who had a front seat to the tragedy that unfolded that day.

The Himel, Cloud and Bereman crews were the first crews posted on the website, which was originally posted on the Geocities community.  The website was primitive and featured an insignia yellow background, the color of the 4th Combat wing in late 1945.  Four colored bombs represented the four squadrons, each colored according to the squadron colors.

In January 1999, the website came to the attention of the then commander, Bob Cross, 835th.  After an initial email exchange, Bob and I had a phone conversation and next thing I knew, I was the holder of the 486th history archives.  Bob didn't know me from Adam, but I must have impressed him enough to be entrusted with all he had.  I hope I haven't let him down!

The site grew piece by piece as veterans and family began sending me photos and documents.  Today, the website is composed of 3,294 images, including graphics I generated for the website.  These images, and information about the group, are presented on 3,863 webpages, which are all linked together by 25,553 hyperlinks.  Since finding a new host in May 2010, the website was visited by 9,616 unique visitors for 15,580 visits.  They downloaded 186,285 pages at a bandwidth of 10.04 Gigabytes.  Since the first of the year, 801 unique visitors have visited the site 1,069 times, who viewed 15,028 pages for a bandwidth of 355.84 Megabytes.  Search engines have "hit" the 486th website 26,162.

Visitors come from all over the World, including Third World countries that had no part in WWII.  The US, naturally, is home to most of the visitors.  Russia, surprisingly, comes in second, followed by surfers in the Netherlands, Great Britain, German and France to name the top 6.  Romania edged out Belgium for the #7 slot.

The website has been a portal into history that many have not known prior to their visit.  Many family members have been given insights into their veteran's WWII experiences that their veteran never spoke about over the years.  Historians in the US and Europe have benefited by the information that they found on the website.  While I have expended some of my own time, effort and money to accumulate what can be found, most of this information was provided by veterans and their families.  Without your help, and support, the website would not be as informative and interesting as it is.    I get many kudos for the website, but those kudos belong to you.  On behalf of all who have visited, and learned from their visits, I thank you!

The 486th Bomb Group Association members have also supported a number of projects, which include at least three books, one of which was published in the Czech Republic, by Radovan Helt, who is the curator of a museum at Brx-Most, just across the border from Germany.  Two of our crews were shot down there, and are memorialized by Mr. Helt at his museum.  He holds yearly ceremonies to commemorate their and other crews's sacrifices.

Two other books are to be published this Spring.  One will cover War Crimes Tribunals held after the war.  Of the cases featured in the book is the Borkum incident.  The Borkum incident is another highlight of my "career" with the 486th.  On 4 August 1944, on a raid to Hamburg, three aircraft were lost, with one crew being shot down, and all aboard sitting out the war in PoW camps.  The other two collided near Bremen.  Seven members of one crew perished in the crash of the B-17 immediately after the collision.  Two crewmen of the second bailed out, but those who remained aboard almost made good their escape back to England when damage to their aircraft prevented them from crossing the channel.  The made a successful emergency landing on the North Sea Island of Borkum the WESTERN most island in the East Frisian Islands in Germany.  The seven crewman were taken into custody with the intent of being moved to the mainland.  Unfortunately, they were murdered before being transported.  I had the privilege of accompanying the two survivors, and next of kin, to Borkum in August 2003 to take part in a memorial dedication ceremony to the fallen airmen.  This story was later featured in the German periodical, DER SPIEGEL (The Mirror), and was reported in the German media, and most recently on German TV.

The author of this book is Dr. James Garntner, professor emeritus of history at the University of Southern Illinois, who also wrote "A Peculiar Crusade" and "Crossroad of Death", which discuss the Malmedy Massacre and the war tribunal that ensued.  I enjoyed the former very much, and would recommend.  Both books are available at Amazon, the former being available for Kindles.

The third book is about the 3 February 1945 raid on Berlin, which is coming full circle for me.  This book is being written by Robert Door, a USAF veteran and retired US Diplomat, who often writes on air warfare for various periodicals.  Among the various books he has authored, he co-authored (with astronaut Tom Jones) "Hell Hawks", the story of the 356th Fighter Group.  An excerpt of Bob's newest book appeared in the magazine "Aircraft".

The 486th also supported a documentary on the B17:  "B17:  Flying Legend".  This documentary was produced and directed by Mark Feijo and released in 2003.  It won a variety of awards.  I am embarrassed to say that my name features prominently in the credits, but I am also backed up by the names of everyone from the 486th who contributed to the project.

I am still providing support to an historian from Freital, Germany, which the 486th lead an attack on on 24 August 1944.  This attack was the first to be executed in the Dresden area during the war.

Many of you may also be interested to know that Roley Andrews' photo collection will be put into a book.  Joan Andrews gave Roley's collection of photos to Derek Smith, who did the same for the 447th BG (H).  Derek is hoping to have this book published later this year.  An associate/friend of Derek's, Malcolm Osborn, is providing invaluable support by scanning over 2,000 photos in Roley's collection.  Derek will be donating proceeds from the book to Joan Andrews.

This is only a sampling of the work the 486th supported over the years.  There have also been archeological projects in France, Belgium and Poland.  Information from the 486th has allowed researchers to put names, and sometimes faces, to the men who lost their lives during the war.

I have made many friends among the 486ers, researchers (domestic and foreign) and webmasters/historians of other bomb and fighter associations.  I cherish each one!

Thanks for the trust, and support everyone has provided me over the years!

November 14, 2010

I saw an interesting program on WWI on Veteran's Day, a day formerly known as Armistice Day.  I had read that the American Civil War served as the blue print for future wars.  The American Civil War concluded with trench warfare at Petersburg, VA.  The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia had dug in at Petersburg and Richmond, and the Army of the Potomac and James, led by US Grant, attempted to lay seige to the confederate forces.  The stalemate lasted 9 months before RE Lee attempted to join forces with western elements of the Confederate Army.  At one point early in the siege, in an attempted to breach the Confederate trenches and breastworks, GEN Burnsides and his Ohio Engineers dug a tunnel from the Union lines to the Confederate lines.  Once they determined they had reached the confederate defenses, they laid explosives.  The ensuing detonation had the desired affect, but the follow-up charge by the Union army were bungled and the attack failed.  Burnsides was finally relieved of his command.

The same tactics were employed by the British at the Somme and Flanders Fields.  The British Royal Engineers built an extensive tunnel network designed to breach the German lines in 22 places.  The Germans foiled one of the mine emplacements and only 19 of the remaining 21 actually succeded.  Several of these craters still remain and are considered grave sites due to the presence of German soldiers buried beneath the craters.  If you go to Google Maps and type in (or copy and paste) the following coordinates, you can see aerial views of these craters:

Lochnagar Crater - 50.015556 N 002.697222 E on Google Maps

 Hawthorne Ridge - 50.08339 N 002.65015 E

There are numerous cemeteries maintained by the British.  This one is the 5th Australian Memorial - 50.855779 N 002.991752 E

pool of peace - 50.775964 N 002.861874 E

Hooge Crater - 50.846896 N 002.945023 E

Hill 60 crater - 50.822397 N 002.928774 E

November 03, 2010

I am happy to report that Russell Knapp, bombardier, 833rd, will be awarded the Croix de Guerre and Legion of Honor by the government of France.  The CdG will be awarded next week, and the LoH will be awarded in the Spring.  Russell's son, Albert, will provide copies of the citations and photos after the ceremonies.  Congratulations to Russell!

Albert also treated his father to a ride on the B-17 "Yankee Lady" earlier this year.  You can see photos here:


Mack Parkhill and David Goldberg have sent me several links of interest I'd like to share with you.,_south_carolina.htm

I know several of you have "issues" with links I send via email.  I'm not sure what is going on with them.  Some links may be broken if they are too long.  If this is the case, you may have to cut and paste the links in the URL window of your browser.  If the link appears on two separate lines, and it fails to work, you'll have to copy and paste both parts in the URL window of your browser.  I can't fix a problem I can't duplicate.  When asked why he didn't fix the leak in his roof, the farmer replied, "When it rains I can't, and when it doesn't rain, it doesn't leak!"

If any of you are more familiar with this problem and have a solution let me know.  I am sending this email with a different encoding in hopes of getting these links to work for one and all.

October 30, 2010

Got word from Dee and Tom Dale.  They spend some time fly fishing in Idaho.  Dee tells me that the recently took a flight in a B17, something Dee was dying to do.  She took this photo (left) of Ted sitting in a jump seat behind the pilot.

Gene Petersen updated me on a "Flak Home" he and the officers of his crew visited during their tour.  I think I have photos of this place on the Himel crew page.  I've been trying to ID the mansion, and think this is the one that Gene visited.  If you do a Google Search on Eynsham Hall you'll find some links about the place.  Wikipedia also has a short entry.

Flying Pinballs?

Aerial gunnery is not an easy art to learn.  David Traub and his wife had tried their hand at the Waist Gunner Simulator at the 8th AF Museum the last time the group met there.  Dave complained his wife bested him.  That's because he was shooting like an aerial gunner and tried to apply the proper amount of lead, whereas his wife just pointed at the target and pulled the trigger.  With virtual bullets flying at the speed of light, leading the target had no meaning.


Having done aerial gunner in flight simulators, I can tell you it's not an easy task.  Trying to shoot a moving target from a moving platform is sometimes counter-intuitive I'm told.  My Flight Sim experience would bear that out.  I read that well over 90% of rounds fired by aerial gunners during the war fell into open space.  About 50% of rounds hitting bombers in formation came from neighboring aircraft.  Gunners were told to use short bursts when shooting at their targets.  This was to not only conserve ammo, but also to give the gunner time to assess who may be in the line of sight!

The USAAF realized this problem and sought ways to improve gunners' aim.  One method involved having the gunners shoot from moving trucks  A riskier method was developed later in the war.  Brave pilots flew P-63 King Cobras as live targets.  The gunners fired "frangible" bullets at the aircraft, not sleeves in tow!  The "frangible" bullets were bakelite casings filled with lead powder.  When the bullet struck the P-63, which was painted bright orange, the bullet would disintegrate.  The P-63 was armored to prolong the longetivity of the craft and pilot.

When the bullets struck the P-63, sensors on the aircraft would turn on a red light in the spinner.  The blinking light led gunners to dub the P-63 the "Flying Pinball".

The photo at left is of the P-63 at the USAAF museum in Dayton.  The P-63 and it's older sibling, the P-39 Aerocobra, were not used extensively by the USAAF during WWII.  It's primary purpose was armed reconnaisance.  That aside, there are aces that earned their kills in the P-39.  The Russians loved the aircraft, however, and flew it against the German Luftwaffe.

The P-39/63 is unique in that the engine is behind the pilot.  The axle for the propeller runs under the pilot.  A cannon fired through the propeller boss.  The pilot entered the aircraft through a "car door", which can barely be seen in the photo at left.  Because the engine is behind the pilot, the pilot has to sit foward of the wings to center the aircraft's mass over the center of lift.  This gave the pilot excellent vision downwards.

October 16, 2010

Phylis Craig, our treasurer, has sent me photos from our recent joint reunion with the 487th.  You can see the photos here:

Some of the folks are from the 487th.

I have FINALLY digitized the pages of the logbook, which the membership helped me purchase last year.  I had intended to put the digitized images online, and I may still do that, but I have to figure out what kind of trade off I will have to make between readability and file size.  Currently, I am close to a gigabyte, or two, of memory.  This will be too much for our server to store and download.  To reformat the files will take time.  A lot of time.  But, Summer is over, and my activities will be scaled back.  I may experiment with a few pages then decide how I want to proceed.  I may offer the images on CD, or DVD, for your study.  In fact, I can do that regardless of my ultimate plans.  I would charge the cost of the disc, shipping and handling.  The cost is yet to be determined.

I have also FINALLY posted a photo I purchased through e-bay earlier this summer.  The seller was local to my sister, who agreed to pick up the photo and hold it for me until I got "home" to pick it up.  This saved me the cost of shipping, which was considerable.  The photo itself wasn't all that expensive, but I hated to add to the expencse knowing I could get it more cheaply.  The photo is of the entire 473rd Sub Depot detachment at Station 174.  The former owner identified himself as "Dosty" on the photo.  We have a Viktor Doty on our listing, but on Dosty.  A phonebook search of the Wisconsinites shows a number of Doty's, but no Dosty's.  So, I'm not certain who this photo belonged, too.  You can view the photo here:

I consider such photos true prizes, because the support squadrons are the strong, silent types, who rarely toot their own horn.

I think I have managed to fix most, if not all, broken links on the website.  There really are too many links for me to track down easily, and I have to rely on error reports from the server.  If you are using old links to revisit the site, and they don't appear to work, let me know, and I'll update the link for you.  The URL is still the same, but the use of capital letters is now an issue with our current server.  The use the LINUX operating system, which uses case sensitive file naming conventions.  I tried to be sensitive to this with previous servers even though they used a Windows operating system, but I wasn't as successful as I thought.

I have a better photo of Wolfel Bear that I will be posting as quickly as I find the time.  It isn't much different from those already on the web.  It is a better quality, however.

I have also received relics from the crash site of Al Sanders' and his crew.  Al and his crew were forced down early in the combat history of the 486th.  The crew was eventually rounded up by the SS in Belgium.  If you should ever catch the show "NAZI Ghost Train" on the History Channel, give it a look.  Al Sanders is interviewed.  The story is quite riveting and little known to 486ers.  Take a look here

I'll post a photo of the relics soon, too.  They aren't much, and nothing recognizeable as a plane, but I do have the story, and location.

Rutgers University has a site dedicated to the history of NJ.  Included is a site dedicated to Camp Kilmer.  The vets who made the move from DM AAB to Station 174 know a little about the camp.  You can learn more here:

I was forced to miss the recent visit of the Collings Foundation B24 and B17 to Winchester Airport, VA.  I meant to pass word, but couldn't get it out in time.  For those of you still itching to get up close and personal with the Heavies, check out these sites:

Dan Tolliver sent this link to a website having photos from the Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO).

I think I sent this link out before, but it's worth doing again.  If you'd like a medallion placed on the headstone of any deceased veteran you know, you can apply with the VA.

If you're curious about the Norden and how it compares to the Sperry bombsight, you can ready about it here:

John Albanese told me he preferred the Sperry, because it was more ergonimic than the Norden.  Typically, the Sperry was used on B24s, and the Norden on the B17s, but not always.

Of course, there were other branches of service that helped the USAAF win the war.  A pesonal favore of mine:

Robert Dorr has finished his book about the mission to Berlin on 03FEB45, and expects it to be published next March.  One of the crews he'll be featuring in the story is the Cloud crew, 832nd, which crashed in England after finishing their tour of duty with the loss of 5 men.

Dr. James Weingartner has also gone to print with his book.  He's writing about the War Crimes Tribunals following the war.  The murders of the airmen of the Walthall crew, 832nd, on the North Sea island of Borkum.  That should be available next March, too.

I'm trying really hard to catch up on my correspondences, some of which to back to early Summer.  Things have been busy here with a lot of family and work activities.  I've gotten back to some of you and I'm working on the rest.  Thanks for your patience!

December 14, 2009

I thought some of you might be interested in this experience:

The price is a bit steep for my blood, but if you're itching to fly a B17 (90 minute flight), this may be the ticket.

For those of us content to fly vicariously through others, you might be interested in this video.

This reporter was priveleged to fly as a passenger in a (trainer) U-2.  He flew to the edge of space (70,000 feet) and gives us a riveting view of that boundary between Heaven and Earth.  It's breath-taking!  From what I know of the U-2 it flies at the edge of the envelope all the time, having only a few knots between its maximum speed, and its stall speed.  The engine is pulsed once it's at altitude to save on fuel.  It doesn't have a wide undercarriage to save weight.  It has reinforced wing tips that it will slide along on when the speed drops low enough.  Small wheels are then inserted for taxi and take-off.  U-2 crews and Shuttle crews wear the same spacesuit.  The high cockpit is normally for an instructor pilot.  Normally, the second seat is internal and little can be seen from the back seet.  Notice how they seem to "hang" in space!

December 01, 2009

I trust all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family.  For those of you who have family and friends who are currently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, I hope they are safe and will be reunited with you soon!

I was told that has one copy of the originally published "The War Stories of the O & W".  It's pricey at $139.  Be the first on your block to own one!

If that link doesn't work, go to and do a search on the title.

Jim Martin took part in the dedication of a War Memorial at Glencairn Garden in Rock Hill, SC.  His daughter, Beth Koin, posted some photos of Jim at the dedication.

In both cases, if the link doesn't work when you click on it, try highlighting, copying then pasting it in the URL window of your browser.  The link may appear on two lines, which will require you to paste both portions as one line.  Or, perhaps you can right click, select properties, then copy the entire line that appears in your browser.

Jim looks good in his uniform!  I'm very jealous.  My uniform shrank in the closet!

Bob Harper travelled to Sudbury to take part in Remembrance Day celebrations there.  The Sudbury Trust and Museum kicked off, and Bob represented the 486th.  I was given a book that was written by Valerie Herbert and Shirley Smith entitled "No Glorious Dead".  The title is taken from a poem written by a veteran of Dunkirk and North Africa campaigns.  This is written in response to the cenotaph in Whitehall, suggested by Rudyard Kipling, "The Glorious Dead".  Kipling's son was killed during WWI.

"Your monuments are lies,
There are no glorious dead.
The dead stink and flies
drink and befoul
the crimson tides of youth.."

The subtitle to this book is "The Impact of War on Sudbury - a Suffolk Market Town".  The book starts with WWI in the year 1914, and goes on through the end of WWII and into 1946.  A chapter to the "Friendly Invasion" features the 486th Heavy Bombardment Group.  A list of all known airmen killed while serving with the 486th is included.  Try as I might, I could not find the often cited number of 400+ KIA.

The book is well written.  I enjoy reading British literary works.  Their writing style gives English a breath of fresh air, I think.  It has a bit more flair than our writings, but that may be just because I'm so familiar with American writing styles that the change of pace is refreshing.

The price is 14.95 GBP, which at the moment is about 24.85 USD.  This is before the S&H charges.  The proceeds from the sales go to support the Sudbury Trust and Museum.

if you're interested in the book NO GLORIOUS DEAD, you can contact

I received this link from Jeanne (Bodin) McCusack.  I thought it a fitting tribute to our young men and women currently engaged with the enemy in the Middle East.

A fellow from England is now engaged to write a new history book for the 486th.  Apparently, this fellow, Derek Smith, has written a group history for the 447th BG(H), and got the rights to Roley's collection and intends to compile the book into, at least, a photo album.  I'm not completely sure of the format, but we did discuss the rights of the 486th BGA to keep, maintain and publish photos that continue to come to the association.  I do not know how long the project will take, but will keep you posted.

November 08, 2009

I have been remiss in not updating you about the Tower Log.  As a result of discussions at the reunion, we've come to the conclusion that it was not kept at the tower, but at the communications center at Station 174.  Thanks with the help of an amateur ham radio operator, I have been able to make sense of some of the entries.  I currently have the log set aside while I figure out how to convert it to electronic form.

I would like to recognize the contributors to the purchase of the log.

Keith Krasemann — $200.00
H. Gleen Carson — $200.00
Robin Smith     — $150.00
Robert Crawford — $110.00
Clint Pentz     — $100.00
Bill Frost      — $100.00
Shelley Bereman — $100.00
Brian Lindner   — $100.00
Tony Guercia    — $100.00
Clarence Kooi   — $100.00
Karen Garner    — $100.00
Tom Dembowski   — $100.00
Brenda Schaffer —  $50.00
Robert Phillips —  $50.00
Robert Bloch    —  $50.00
Trudy Ronson    —  $50.00
Jim Martin      —  $40.00

The total is $1,700, which gives our british friend enough to cover his cost, and some left over to put toward his creation of a Typhoon cockpit.  He was very moved to see pictures of some of the Vets reading the book at Phoenix.

June 24, 2009

Mack Parkhill, USAF (ret), and friend of the 486th sent me the first link.  This young lady performed at a concert in Maastrich.  "Il Silenzio", or "The Silence."  The young lady plays magnificently.  This is not Taps, even though there are similar notes.  The author may borrowed a few stanzas from the American Taps.

Taps is one of the first songs I remember learning to sing.  It was taught to me by my father, a Korean War vet.  I include a couple other links for those of you interested in the history of Taps, or to hear "Echo" Taps.  A haunting rendition of an already haunting melody.

I also include similar songs played by the British and Germans as tribute to their war dead.  Il Silenzio — The Silence

American "Taps"  Echo Taps  History of Taps  History of Taps

British "Last Post"

German "Ich hatt' einen Kamerad"

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