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Archive for the ‘U.S. Army Air Corps’ Category

Sgt. Dick Samuelson of Tangerine Woods kept B-24s flying over Germany

In U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II on May 23, 2014 at 1:38 am
Dick Samuelson is an 18-year-old Army Air Corps recruit fresh out of boot camp in 1944 headed for the war in Europe. Photo provided

Dick Samuelson was an 18-year-old Army Air Corps recruit fresh out of boot camp in 1944 headed for the war in Europe. Photo provided

Dick Samuelson of Tangerine Woods in Englewood, Fla. admits “I was no big war hero.” Read the rest of this entry »

Elbert Bishop and crew of ‘Betty-J’ watched mushroom cloud rise over Nagasaki

In Pacific, U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II on March 19, 2014 at 1:38 am
This is the crew of "Betty-J" that includes Staff Sgt. Elbert Bishop of Punta Gorda who served as nose-gunner and radar operator aboard the B-24 "Liberator." The crew and the plane were part of the 42nd Bomb Squadron, 11th Bomb Group, 7th Air Force flying out of Tinian and Okinawa during World War II. E M Bishop (standing, 2nd from left) with other crew members standing alongside their plane, the “Betty J”, a B-24 Liberator aircraft.Photo provided

This is the crew of “Betty-J” that includes Staff Sgt. Elbert Bishop of Punta Gorda, Fla. who served as nose-gunner and radar operator aboard the B-24 “Liberator.” The crew flew out of Tinian and Okinawa during World War II. E M Bishop is the fourth crewman squatting from left. Photo provided

It was their last mission aboard “Betty-J,” a B-24 four-engine bomber named for the pilot, Jack Bates’ wife, that Elbert Bishop of Paradise Park, east of Punta Gorda, remembers most. The crew was part of the 42nd Bomb Squadron, 11th Bomb Group, 7th Air Force. Read the rest of this entry »

Former B-17 pilot recalls dangerous missions near end of WWII – Combat flight over Cologne, Germany, most hazardous

In U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II on February 17, 2014 at 1:38 am
Second Lt. Bill Haase, left, stands in front of a PT-19 biplane with his instructor and another student pilot at an Army airfield near Lubbock, Texas, where he first learned to fly. When this picture was taken he had logged 60 hours of flight time. Photo provided.

Second Lt. Bill Haase, left, stands in front of a PT-19 biplane with his instructor and another student pilot at an Army airfield near Lubbock, Texas, where he first learned to fly. When this picture was taken he had logged 60 hours of flight time. Photo provided.

By the time Capt. Bill Haase reached England and the 8th Air Force during the last half of World War II, he was an experienced aviator with 15 months under his belt flying new bombardiers on practice bombing missions stateside. Read the rest of this entry »

Sgt. Buster Yates stopped Nazi spy ring during World War II

In U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II on January 17, 2014 at 1:38 am
World War II was almost over when Sgt. Buster Yates of Port Charlotte, Fla. went to OCS and became a B-25 pilot. Here he is in flight training on the wing of a PT-13 primary trainer. Photo provided by Buster Yates

World War II was almost over when Sgt. Buster Yates of Port Charlotte, Fla. went to OCS and became a B-25 pilot. Here he is in flight training on the wing of a PT-13 primary trainer. Photo provided by Buster Yates

Retired Staff Sgt. Buster Yates decided to volunteer for the U.S. Army Air Corps before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, launching the United States into World War II. Read the rest of this entry »

Pvt. Sherfick used his 1903 Springfield to shoot at Pearl Harbor attackers

In U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II on October 7, 2013 at 1:38 am
It was Stan Sherick's job to make sure the machine guns on these P-51 Mustang fighter planes were working properly. He was a member of the 47th Pursuit Squadron in the Pacific during World War II. Photo provided

It was Stan Sherick’s job to make sure the machine guns on these P-51 Mustang fighter planes were working properly. He was a member of the 47th Pursuit Squadron in the Pacific during World War II. Photo provided

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941, Pvt. Stan Sherfick of Punta Gorda, Fla. was playing catch with a buddy at Haleiwa Field on the north side of Oahu Island, where the 47th Pursuit Squadron was based. Read the rest of this entry »

Old note brings former airman and Englishman together again

In U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II on August 19, 2013 at 1:38 am
taff Sgt. Charles Renshaw, who served with the 8th Air Force in England, stands second from the left in the middle row. Peter Brown, the 9-year-old youth who got the airman's signature at the end of the war, is believed to be standing beside him.

Staff Sgt. Charles Renshaw, who served with the 8th Air Force in England, stands second from the left in the middle row. Peter Brown, the 9-year-old youth who got the airman’s signature at the end of the war, is believed to be standing beside him. Photo provided

More than 60 years after a former B-17 bomber mechanic wrote a goodbye note to a 9-year-old English boy during a going-away party for Americans near the close of World War II, the two wore once again united through a computer. Read the rest of this entry »

B-17 pilot Ernest Erickson wrote about a bombing raid on Berlin during WW II

In Distinguished Flying Cross, U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II on August 7, 2013 at 9:18 pm
Lt. Erickson receives the Distinguished Flying Cross for several hazardous missions he successfully flew against German targets in Europe. Photo provided by Mark Erickson

Lt. Erickson receives the Distinguished Flying Cross for several  hazardous missions he flew against German targets in Europe during World War II. Photo provided by Mark Erickson

Ernest Erickson flew a “Flying Fortress,” four-engine bomber dubbed “Lili of the Lamplight,” from a base near Ipswich, England on 35 combat missions over Nazi-occupied Europe in 1943 and ’44 during World War II. It was one of thousands of B-17s flown by the 8th Air Force that devastated Germany. Read the rest of this entry »

Arcadia flying-bomb basis for WW II German ‘Buzz Bomb’

In U.S. Army Air Corps, World War I, World War II on June 3, 2013 at 2:38 am
This World War I flying bomb was tested at Carlstrom Field, near Arcadia, in October 1918 just before the end of the war. Its concept was the basis for the German V-1 "Buzz Bomb" used in WWII to devastate London. Photo provided by U.S. Cleveland

This World War I flying bomb was tested at Carlstrom Field, near Arcadia, Fla. in October 1918 just before the end of the war. Its concept was the basis for the German V-1 “Buzz Bomb” used in WWII against London.                                        Photo provided by U.S. Cleveland

The devastating German V-1 rockets that rained terror and death down on the inhabitants of London in World War II, during the ‘Blitz,’ had their birth in Arcadia, Fla. Read the rest of this entry »

Lt. Bruno Virgili and Lulubelle Gaehner got ‘hitched’ before he flew off to WW II

In U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II on May 9, 2013 at 2:38 am
Like thousands of other young couples, Lulubelle Gaehner and Lt. Bruno Virgili were married weeks before he flew off during World War II. He didn't see his new bride for three long years, until war's end. Photo provided

Like thousands of other young couples, Lulubelle Gaehner and Lt. Bruno Virgili were married weeks before he flew off during World War II.  Photo provided

Before flying off to war in North African in the spring of 1942 during World War II, Bruno Virgili married Lulubelle Gaehner. It wasn’t easy. He was a lieutenant in the Army Air Corps stationed in Long Beach, Calif. She was working in a munitions plant in Connecticut. Read the rest of this entry »

1st Lt. Rex Wilkinson bombed Ploiesti oil refineries and almost lost his B-24 bomber

In U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II on April 10, 2013 at 2:38 am
 2nd Lt. Matt Wilkinson had just received his wings when this picture was taken. He went on to fly 35 combat missions as the pilot of a B-24 "Liberator" bomber in World War II. Photo provided

2nd Lt. Rex Wilkinson had just received his wings when this picture was taken. He went on to fly 51 combat missions as the pilot of a B-24 “Liberator” bomber in World War II. Photo provided

1st Lt. Rex Wilkinson flew a shiny, silver B-24 “Liberator” bomber he named “Alberta K,” for his wife, from a base at Stornara, Italy on 51 combat missions in 1944 as part of the 745th Squadron, 456 Bomb Group, 15th Air Force.

Read the rest of this entry »

Herb May of Port Charlotte, Fla. flew as tail gunner in B-24 called ‘Wild Princess’

In U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II on July 20, 2012 at 4:38 am

Herb May of Port Charlotte, Fla. (squatting second from left). They were in the 466 Bomb Group, 786th Squadron, 8th Air Force during World War II. Photo provided

A tail gunner in a B-24 bomber dubbed “Wild Princess,” Staff Sgt. Herb May was on the first daylight mission flown by the U.S. Air Force over Berlin in February 1944. He had plenty of company — there were 800 heavy bombers in the armada that day attacking the German capital. Read the rest of this entry »

George Hardy of Sarasota was a Tuskegee Airman in World War II

In Korean War, U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II on November 7, 2011 at 4:38 am

This was 2nd Lt. George Hardy’s graduating class at Tuskegee Army Air Field Sept. 9, 1944 standing in front of a P-39 “Aircobra” fighter. He is kneeling in the front row at the far left. Photo provided

EDITOR’S NOTE: First of a two-part story.

George Hardy of Sarasota, Fla. was a Tuskegee Airman. The retired lieutenant colonel began his military career as a member of the all-black 99th Fighter Squadron, flying 21 combat missions over Germany during the final two months before V-E Day in World War II in a P-51 “Mustang” fighter plane. Read the rest of this entry »

George Lentz was B-17 top turret gunner in 8th Air Force

In U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II on October 26, 2011 at 4:38 am

This was former Staff Sgt. George Lentz’s B-17 bomber crew. He is the fellow squatting second from the left in the front row. The pictures was taken at a training base at Avon Park, Fla. in 1944. Photo provided

George Lentz of Rotonda, Fla. was a staff sergeant in the 385th Bomb Group, 549th Bomb Squadron, 92nd Wing of the 8th Air Force in World War II. He flew 29 combat missions as an engineer and top turret gunner in a B-17 “Flying Fortress” at the end of the war from a base near Ipswich in southeast England. Read the rest of this entry »

Otto Glass in Air Force months before Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor

In U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II on August 17, 2011 at 4:38 am

Pvt. Otto Glass is pictured when he was drafted into the Army Air Corp in March 1941 when he was 23 and working in an Ohio factory. Photo provided

Otto Glass was the first young man in his hometown of St. Mary’s, Ohio drafted in World War II. He went in the Army Air Force almost a year before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Read the rest of this entry »

Dick Holmes was a crew chief on C-47 ‘Gooney Bird’ during WW II

In U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II on July 25, 2011 at 4:38 am

Dick Holmes is pictured in his Class-A summer uniform.. He was probably a corporal when this picture was taken in 1944. Photo provided.

At 17, shortly after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Dick Holmes of North Port, Fla. tired to enlist, but his mom wouldn’t sign him into the military. The following year he was drafted and ended up joining the paratroopers. Read the rest of this entry »

Lt. Col. Bill Brown flew KC-135 tankers in Alaska, Vietnam and Japan

In U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II on May 23, 2011 at 4:38 am

This was cadet Bill Brown when he joined the Aviation Cadet Program in the U.S. Air Force in 1942 with his fleece-lined flying jacket, leather flying cap and goggles. Photo provided

Lt. Col. Bill Brown was flying a “Red Anchor” mission off the Russian Coast out of Thule, Greenland in his KC-135 refueling tanker when he got an emergency call on his radar scope. Read the rest of this entry »

Floyd Cole flew 30 combat missions over German territory piloting a B-17

In U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II on February 21, 2011 at 4:38 am

Lt. Floyd Cole is pictured in his uniform wearing his parachute just before climbing aboard the B-17 bomber he piloted on 30 combat missions over German occupied Europe during World War II as part of the American 8th Air Force. Photo provided.

Floyd Cole piloted a B-17 bomber on 30 combat missions over Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. He was a member of the 452nd Bomb Group, 8th Air Force that flew from a field near Norwich, England.

Read the rest of this entry »

He twice crashed in B-24s and shot down 2 German fighter planes

In U.S. Army Air Corps on February 2, 2011 at 4:38 am

This is Charlie Collins' boot camp graduation picture in 1943 when he was 17 years old. He flew as nose gunner on a B-24 bomber in the 15th Air Force in Italy during World War II. Photo provided

Former Staff Sgt. Charlie Collins of Brookside Bluff mobile home park north of Arcadia was a member of “The Cottontails.” He flew as nose gunner in a B-24 “Liberator” four-engine bomber during World War II. His bomb group had cotton bulbs painted on their tails, thus the “Cottontails” moniker.

Read the rest of this entry »

Alex Brast flew a B-26, twin-engine ‘Widowmaker” in WW II and survived

In U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II on August 2, 2010 at 4:58 am

2nd Lt. Alex Brast is pictured at 22 shortly after graduating from Aviation Cadet School and receiving his silver wings. He was designated as a pilot of a B-26 “Widowmaker” bomber. Photo provided

Alex Brast of Blue Heron Pines mobile home park, south of Punta Gorda, flew a B-26, twin-engine bomber in North Africa, Sicily, Sardinia and Italy during World War II.

These bombers were called “The Widowmaker.” Because the planes were hard to land, particularly with one engine out, a lot of airmen died when the hot attack-bomber lost air speed and fell out of the sky. It also had a tendency to develop engine trouble on takeoff and crash.

Read the rest of this entry »

Belgium Underground saves P-47 pilot shot down over Nazi territory

In Purple Heart, U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II on March 28, 2010 at 6:00 am

Second Lt. Robert Grace is pictured in his flying cap, goggles and leather flying jacket a lifetime ago. The North Port, Fla. retiree lost his P-47 Thunderbolt fighter plane to flak over Nazi-occupied Belgium in World War II. Photo provided

Their target was a railroad marshaling yard along the German-Belgium border. Second Lt. Robert Grace was making his initial pass over the target at Prum, Germany in a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter plane on May 29, 1944 when he was shot down.
Read the rest of this entry »

Last of the 7 Bailey Brothers was Tuskegee Airman

In Korean War, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army Air Corps, U.S. Navy, World War II on March 21, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Lt. Charles P. Bailey Sr. of Punta Gorda, Fla. in 1943 upon graduating as a Tuskegee Airman. The Germans called his all-black 99th Fighter Squadron the “Black Birdmen.”  Photo provided

Lt. Charles Bailey, Sr. was the last of the line. He was the last of Punta Gorda, Fla.’s “Fighting Bailey Brothers.” The last of a family of seven sons and two daughters who distinguished themselves in war and in life during World War II, Korea and much of the 20th Century. Read the rest of this entry »

Airman first meets Lindbergh flying P-38 fighters in Port Moresby, New Guinea

In U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II on March 17, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Col. Charles Lindbergh, in the jump suit, leather cap and goggles talks to Maj. Thomas McGuire, commander of the 431 Fighter Squadron, at Hollandia, New Guinea during World War II. Photo provided

Von Spahr, an Englewood, Fla. retiree, was a 19-year-old armorer in 1943 attached to the 431st Fighter Squadron, 475th Fighter Group, 5th Air Corps based at Port Moresby, New Guinea during World War II.  His company commander told him to take a Jeep and pick up a pilot flying into the local airstrip in a P-38 Lightning fighter plane and bring him back to the squadron’s ready room. Read the rest of this entry »

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