Bomb Group

380th Bomb Group Association
World War II Veterans Group

NEWSLETTER #45 - Winter 2010/2011



Sept 01, 2010

From T.A. Cafarella

To 380th Bomb Group Association

Dear 380th,

My copy of #43, 380th Bomb Group newsletter contained a story by Roger W. Caputo, which I not only found very interesting, but full of praise for the Australian servicemen he became associated with while doing his tour of duty out here.

I only wish I could have his words printed in letters six feet high and displayed on the highest mountain of our beautiful country for all Aussies to read forever and let the whole world know what one brave American who served his country and Australia during WW2 thought of the Australian soldier.

It was high praise indeed and I would like to shake his hand if only metaphorically, thanking him on behalf of the complete fighting forces of Australia.

As a member of the RAAF, I served as a radio telegraphist in Australia's most secret air base known as 73 OBU (Operational base unit) in Corunna Downs, Western Australia, when the 380th Bomb Group was based there.

Being impossible for me to reach so far to shake hands personally, I have enclosed a book I produced about that unit, which I humbly beg the 380th to pass on to Roger for remembrance reasons and a considered handshake.

I really appreciate the newsletter as it helps me to keep in touch with memories of our associations with American USAF personnel who saved Australia from falling into the hands of the enemy. How can we Aussies ever thank you enough for that?

Yours faithfully,

Antonio Cafarella

Tony's book is: CORUNNA DOWNS, THE INVISIBLE WW2 AIRFIELD: An Airman's Story of WW2 Experienced not far from Marble Bar



Sept 30, 2010

From Roger Caputo

To Antonio Cafarella

Copied to B. Gotham, 380th Bomb Group Assn.

Dear Antonio:

On September 24th I received your booklet, Corunna Downs The Invisible, forwarded to me by the 380th Bomb Group Association.

Thanks to you and Barbara Gotham for the booklet!

Given that my Military Service in WW II was entirely in the Headquarters, Intelligence Section, of the 380th Bomb Group, I was aware of the presence of the Corunna Downs Air Base. However, I knew little or nothing of it other than our Group flew two missions from Corunna Downs into the Dutch East Indies. One mission was to Surabaya on Java and the other to a point on the Western shore of Lombock Island. The Surabaya mission target was an airfield occupied by the Japs and the Lombock mission was to destroy some heavy cannon Japs had installed in bunkers to fire on U.S. submarines who used the Lombock Strait.

About 15 years ago one of our sons urged me to write the story of my experiences in WWII. So I did, but today my memory is beginning to fail (age 89) and I probably could not write the story.

Again: Thank You, Thank You!


Roger Caputo



Thu, Sep 23, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Taps for Waldo W. Meyers - 380th Bomb Group Association, 5th AF, RAAF (The Flying Circus)

It is with sadness that I have to inform you of the passing of Waldo W. Meyers, TSGT, 528th Squadron, 380th Bomb Group (Herman Corrado's crew). Our dad died September 5 and was interred with full military honors at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery on September 10.

Your 380th Bomb Group newsletter #38 (Spring 2009) Mail Call section published letters and a photo of Dad with his pilot Herman "Rudy" Corrado. Thank you for sending the newsletters to him these last few years - he enjoyed reading them very much. If possible, I would like to continue his membership and receive future newsletters.

I have attached some photos which may be of interest to other veterans and/or their families. They include both sides of his handpainted flight bag (he earned extra money and/or bottles of liquor to barter by painting other crewmembers bags), his dress hat with the flag and shell casings from his military burial ceremony, and 3 of the pins/tags he removed from bomb releasing mechanisms with his notes on the date and target of the mission. He kept a pin/tag from each of his 32 missions.


Robert L. Meyers (son)


from Tony DiNardo

Thu, Oct 7, 2010 at 4:10 PM

subject Ray Colie


I read your message in the News 44 380th Newsletter about your grandfather. My name is Tony DiNardo. I was the bombardier on Blum's crew, and contacted Harry Blum, our pilot, and Bob Winters, our nose gunner, to confirm our joint recollections. I'm happy to tell you that indeed your grandfather did fly with our crew, and that he is the man kneeling in the crew picture, second from the left as you thought. The person to Ray's left is Bob Winters and the one on the far right is me--Harry Blum is standing third from the left, and the other crew members have passed on.

Ray joined our crew as a waist gunner when our original gunner was transferred to another crew. Thus, while he flew a few earlier missions with other crews, he flew most of his missions with us. He was an excellent gunner, with a quiet, confident manner, and an integral part of the crew.

P.S. to Barbara--I was happy to see such a clear picture of our crew. We tried once before, but the result was blurred. The picture we are talking about was taken the day we returned from Male Call's 100th mission. She was an "old" Model D with no nose turret, but mechanics had attached one from a damaged Model J. It leaked water in storms down onto me, and the hydraulic fluid from the turret dripped a little, but she took good care of us.

Glad we could help Mathew.


Sun, Oct 24, 2010 at 3:52 PM

subject 380th Bomb Group Association

Dear Mr. Williams and Ms. Gotham:

This is a special letter of thanks for preserving the memories and honor of our fighting men and women from the Second World War. I just came from a 90th birthday celebration for my grandfather. My mother recently told me, of our entire family, I am the only member to whom my grandfather has ever given any details of his service. After putting together some of his war stories and factoids, I stumbled upon your website. Through your careful records and wonderful hard work, I was able to piece together the solid fact my grandfather is Radio Operator Technical Sergeant Seymour Shapiro of the 380th Bombardment Group, 529th Squadron. Through your website, I was able to learn great details never before captured by anyone in the family. My grandfather confirmed today, my findings are 100% accurate. This is exceptionally meaningful as he is very humble and has remained virtually silent for so many years regarding the tremendous sacrifice he and so many others made in loving service to a grateful nation. I cannot thank you enough for making these findings possible. Since, we have recovered his uniform, a medal for good conduct, and his Army ring which he gave to me today. We cannot thank you enough.

Best Regards and many thanks on behalf of my entire extended family,

Joshua A. Sirt

from Ben Bevers

Tue, Oct 5, 2010

Dear Barbara,

I found group photos of crews from the 380 in my uncles papers and wanted to share. My uncle Acft Cmdr; Gunnery Officer Aaron Paul Bevers. There were 12 photos minus one that was cut out (unk reason), Paul's crew on middle bottom of photo. He and his crew were in the Flying Circus newsletter # 41. Hope you can use them.


Ben Bevers


From: Richard Kee

Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 12:10 AM

To: Gotham, Barbara J.

Subject: Fw: New Private Message at War Relics forum

For your letters portion of your winter newsletter.

From: "WW2 militaria collectors-War relics forum. Uniforms, Guns, helmets, battlefield archaeology" <forum@warrelics.eu>

Sent: Thursday, September 02, 2010 11:09 PM

Subject: New Private Message at War Relics forum


My name is Tony and I am the one who has been posting these pics of the Darwin area. I am very honoured that I have been able to show the 380th Veterans a small piece of what is left to see. I was in the Aussie Army for 18 years and served in East Timor and Iraq and have a passion for military history and honouring our Veterans.

I have a 50 Cal machine gun barrel that I found in a puddle in a former USAAF maintenance and supply area, I found two actually, I kept one and donated the other to the Darwin Air Museum. I have been told it came from a B24, but I doubt there is any way of confirming that, having said that, I really do believe that such things should remain with those that may have used them, I have cleaned it up and keep it behind my bar and tell all who visit my place what it is and how I found it. The connection that my pics have found with the 380th really puts things into perspective for me, these things are not just rusted pieces of wreckage and a few black and white photos, the crash sites and pieces I find belonged to real people and units and the fact that Veterans of the 380th may have known the blokes who died in that plane wreck that I took my daughter to show her about our history really shows the human element to all this.

I look after and respect the 50 cal, trust me, but do you think I would be able to donate it back to the Association? Is that something they would like?

It is just a thought, I'd like to think someone would do the same for my family, and your association is a family.

Please let me know if this is feasible,

My deepest respects,

Tony Kornacki

SGT Royal Australian Corps of Transport (Ret)

All the best,

War Relics forum Administration


January 25, 2011


What I have elected to do is set up an account (there is no cost) for all 380th members at the following website:


This will be a trip back in time for all of your members. After the first of 6 pages, there are probably 80, old and new, related to the 380th, Fenton and Darwin.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes.



Richard Kee




From: Bob Livingstone

Thursday, November 04, 2010 6:24 AM

Subject: Alley Oop crash


A pic associated with the Alley Oop accident.



from: Michael Grados

Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 5:45 PM

Subject: MILADY B-24 Picture


Here is an image given to me by my father of his Uncle, Mike Simon in front of the B-24 MILADY. I appreciate your efforts in maintaining the history of WWII aircraft and the crews behind them. Please feel free to use this image as you see fit.

Mike Simon is the middle of the three men, the other names are unknown.

Thanks again,

Capt Mike Grados



If you know who the other fellows are in this photo, please contact Barb Gotham


From: Natalie Richards

Sent: Monday, September 20, 2010 3:22 PM

Subject: WWII Information

Dear Ms. Gotham,

My name is Natalie Richards, and I work for SR Education Group, an education resource provider. I recently created a World War II resource that was inspired by my grandfather, a WWII Navy Chief. After hours of sitting around his kitchen table, this war, with its rich historical context and sociopolitical implications, has become one of my favorite subjects.

I was looking at your 380th Bomb Group Association website, and I thought I would offer this resource to you in case you, or the people who visit your links to related sites, might have any interest. http://www.guidetoonlineschools.com/library/wwii

Thank you for your time.


Natalie Richards

Project Manager

SR Education Group, Inc

From: Richard Wardman

To: Ted Williams, Barbara Gotham

Mon, Dec 6, 2010 at 6:58 AM

Subject: Visit to Jefferson Barracks War Grave for Aussie Uncle and American Flyers in Big Ass Bird

Theodore J Williams

The 380th Bomb Group Association

About three years ago we exchanged emails about the fate of the USAAF Liberator 'Big Ass Bird' which was carrying Australian commandos to a raid in Western New Guinea. The aircraft crashed on 19 March 1944 killing all on board. My uncle, Geoff Mitchell-Burden was one of those commandos.

This month I am visiting Canada and the USA for the first time. The penultimate leg of my journey will be to St Louis MI, where my daughter and I plan to visit Jefferson Barracks War Cemetery and honour my uncle's memory by placing a simple wreath on his grave.

The grave is a communal grave for all the men who perished in that aircraft, and I would like you and other veterans know that, by this act, I am hoping that all those brave men will be honoured and memory of their deeds kept fresh.


Richard Wardman

from: Gene Stadler

Wed, Jan 5, 2011 at 1:16 PM

subject: A must read

Dear Barb,

I was completely mesmerized when I read Laura Hillenbrand's book UNBROKEN. It is a true story of the life of Luis Samperini. Much of the book deals with his wartime experiences as a bombardier on B-24s and about his POW experiences.

The book is so well written that once you begin you can't put it down.

Gene Stadler


Released in November 2010 by Random House, Laura Hillenbrand's (Seabiscuit) Unbroken is the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete who endured incredible hardships during World War II.




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Last updated:  07/09/2012 07:46 PM