380th Bomb Group Association
Newsletter 34 ~ Spring 2008
LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY
by Bill Bever (Son of Everett D. Bever, 528th BS)
The picture John Collins and I are holding was my dad's Combat Training Crew picture taken at the Army Air Base Training Center in Pueblo, Colorado, in 1943. Dad and his entire 528th B.G. crew came together for the first time in Pueblo to start their training as a crew before leaving for Australia to be assigned to the380th B.G.
Barb Gotham from the 380th B.G. Association sent an email to me she received from a TSgt. John Collins, stationed at Edwards Air Force Base in California. John had dad's crew picture hanging on his office wall.
John Collins is originally from Texas. John's mother had bought an old suitcase at a garage sale over 30 years ago. She was told that in the case were old picture frames. She took it home, never opened it and placed in their garage. Several years ago John's dad decided to open it up and lo and behold there was dad's Combat Training Crew picture along with other old picture frames. On the back of the picture, the entire crew names were listed. John's dad gave the picture to him and John decided the mystery picture was to hang on his office wall at Edwards Air Force Base.
John, after many years of wondering who the men were in the picture decided to surf the Internet for bomb groups to find an answer. He found the 380th B.G. Association website. He read some of the articles I had submitted and found the men's names listed corresponded with the names on the back of his picture. He noticed from one of my articles there was a different name for the navigator than what he had on his picture. John was curious about the two different names and who had originally owned the picture. John emailed Barb Gotham and Barb sent John's information to me. I was in total shock when I saw dad's combat crew picture.
I emailed John Collins in California to tell him who I was and that I could answer his questions about the picture. The two different navigators were Lt. Quinton V. Tuttle, the original navigator who somehow got their crew lost on their first two missions out of Fenton, so the command pilot, Lt. John S. DiDomenico, decided to make a change and brought Lt. John H. Reid on board as their new navigator. John's other question of who discarded the picture most likely was Mrs. Thomas Murphy who lived in the Dallas, Texas area. Thomas Murphy, her late husband, better known as "Pappy," was a gunner and oldest member of the crew. John Collins's mother could not recall from whom or where she bought the suitcase from after so many years. Just to be on the safe side, I asked Lucile Miller, the wife of the late John Miller (John was the radio operator on dad's crew) from Fort Worth about this picture. Mrs. Miller told me they had lost most of John's W.W.II pictures in Fort Worth's flood in1946. I am convinced now that Mrs. Thomas Murphy had sold the picture to John Collins's mother as Thomas Murphy and John Miller were the only two members from dad's crew living in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
TSgt. John Collins told me he would be coming to the Fort Worth area for schooling the last week in January. I invited him to dinner. John and his dad met my son and me at a restaurant to meet for the first time and look over all the information we had on the picture. John offered to give me back the picture his mother bought, but I told him I had several of that specific one and he was welcomed to keep it. John was hoping I would say that as he now has a story behind the picture he will take back to his office in California to hang back up on the wall.
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Last updated: 07/08/2012 08:24 PM