the following together to help me keep track of the research I've
done with regards to my dad's family in Word War II.
Warning: There's a lot of stuff here and it would take a long time to
click on all the links.
- vjw 15-Jun-2002 - - fixed broken links 23-Apr-2006 -
Last update: 04-Jan-2017, fixed and removed some links
When my dad died of a stroke in 1998, I inherited a scrapbook that my
grandfather kept for him. Gramps kept one for each of his five sons that
served in WWII. I'm the namesake of my Uncle Vinnie, who was KIA, with his
entire B-17 crew, over Nazi German in October, 1943 (The Saturday before
what became known as Black Thursday). I decided that my kids should know
about what their grandfather and his family went through in that war. Since
my dad never talked about it to anyone, our family never really knew. So I
bought a scanner that started me on quite a journey. I really didn't know
how to make a web page when I started this one in early 2001:
I gave myself a crash course in web-authoring. I made two rules for myself:
1) No fancy stuff, like spinning objects, java scripts or frames.
2) I wanted people with poor vision to be able to read it. My dad's best
friend since childhood is a retired Colonel from the USAF. He's blind in
one eye and has very poor vision in the other. He served as a
B-24 navigator in the Aleutian Islands. He is presently almost 80 and
learning to use computers, like me.
But, I've learned a lot since I "published" that page. I've met
many people online, including book authors and members of my dad's
squadron, their family members, and members of the 57th Bomb Wing
Association. They've provided me with plenty more information. (Before
2001, I never even heard of the 57th Bomb Wing, which was part of the
12th Army Air Force). Also, my aunts and uncles (my dad's parents had
11 kids) have provided me with additional letters, scrapbooks, photos
and other information. So, I've become the family historian and I'm
overwhelmed with info. Included below are links to some of the scans
that are not currently on my web page.
The following scans were sent to me by Dominique Taddei of Corsica.
Dominique has written a book about these men. His native language
is Corsu, The book is soon to be released in his second language,
French (He's excellent at English, as well. Three of the photos below
show the crash landing of my dad's plane, after completion of a
successful mission, on what became his (310th) Bomb Group's worst day.
The plane had sixty-five flak holes, nineteen of which were around my
dad's compartment. His microphone was shot out of his mouth! Only
the tail gunner was hurt on the crash landing. Others in the group
weren't so lucky that day. Dominique is truly a saint. He appreciates
what these brave men and boys have done for his country. No one should
Here's a photo, taken on the same day, of the B-25 that top turret
gunner, George Underwood was in. George is another friend
I've met online who served in my dad's squadron.
George also sent me a book he wrote titled, "My War Years." Included
is a 381st Squadron Combat Roster, shown here (my first-ever glimpse
of the names of my dad's crew members). Dad's crew is listed in
"F" Flight, aircraft serial number 561 (43-27561). 561's last
flight was on 22-Jun-44 (shown above). George and his crew were
in "B" Flight a/c 507:
These matchbooks were in my dad's scrapbook:
I don't think my dad trained in Las Vegas, so I assume that one
was from my Uncle Vinnie. An article that includes a map of Vinnie's
final "text book" mission is featured in the March 1994 issue of
Here are some scans of my dad's 1943 address book. It's about
the size of a matchbook. His three older brothers are listed
on the first page:
Tom Hora is another friend I met online. His dad, S/Sgt. Kenneth
Hora, served in the 310th, 379th from March through June, 1945.
Tom sent me these photos to add to my collection:
http://57thbombwing.com/gallery2/v/MenOf57th/310thBG/379th/379th_Hora/ [link rot victim]
I've never heard from any vets who actually knew my Dad. I fear his crew
members may all be deceased. I *was* able to help Tom Hora locate veterans
who knew *his* dad, though. He was thrilled, as was I.
Other friends I've met online include Erich Hetzel who provides a list
server to keep the memory of 57th Bomb Wing members alive. He also has
a web site that memorializes his father, T/Sgt. Thomas A. Hetzel
(1919 - 1991):
Dave McEldery is writing a book about his dad, Richard D. McEldery,
a 310th BG, 428th Sqdrn pilot, who was awarded the Distinguished Flying
Cross (DFC) for his part in the mission to Ora Bridge, March 10, 1945
that won the 310th another Presidential Unit Citation.
Recently, Dave sent me the following message:
"In May, my son and I, along with two 428th pilots will embark on a trip
to Corsica and northern Italy. After connecting with Dominique and
spending 3 or 4 days in Corsica, we'll head for Italia. We're looking
for partisans who helped Joe Anderson and his crew after they bailed out
over the Apennines March 10, 1945. Joe is going with us, and he hopes
to personally thank the folks who helped him. He was injured when he
landed and was behind enemy lines for weeks. He and one of his gunners
had a number of adventures with the partisans before making it to 5th
Army territory and back to Corsica. It should be a pretty good
adventure." Dave is a cool guy!
Update ** - Here's part of an email I received from Dave after his trip:
"Attached is a photo taken by the proprietor of a nice little restaurant in
Ile Rousse. The look on my face is due to cleverness. I was saying "fromage"
instead of cheese. From left to right are: Marvin Hall (Lt. Col USAF ret.
428th pilot in WWII), Joe Anderson (FAA ret., former Major Kentucky Air
Nat'l Guard, 428th pilot WWII), me, Dominique, and mio figlio, Sean. This
was taken May 15th.
Paci i Salute,"
Jerry Rosenthal is an online friend that I also met at the 57th BW 2001
reunion in Virginia Beach. Jerry sent me the three 16 mm microfiche
cartridges, containing a history of the 310th BG, that he purchased
from Maxwell Air Force Base. On Saturday, 04-May-2002, I viewed part
of the cartride containing Dad's 381st Squadron history. It contained
Squadron Diaries, Awards, Combat Operations Summaries, etc.
Under a "Special Outline Section," the 381st announces that, "On two
missions, our bombers went far afield and attacked, for the first time,
vital enemy communications in Yugoslavia. See:
The microfiche pages have black backgrounds and white text -- not
conducive to printing. I used software to generate the negative shown.
I should make that scan bigger, so it's easier to read.
With the cartridge, I learned the first names of my dad's *regular*
crew members, among them: Fred Woodley (KIA 18-Nov-44). Here's the
tragic story of Fred, as told by L.A. Taylor in a letter to my dad
and another crew member, nicknamed "Big Boy":
Dominique also sent me a series of bmp files that contain, essentially
what's on the following link, except the real title is, "Letter to an
American." It was written by the famous French author and P-38 fighter
pilot, Antoine de Saint Exupery. His last P38 mission in June 1944 was
one from which he never returned...
http://www.worldwar2pilots.com/ww2-StExupery1.htm [link rot victim]