Bomb Group

380th Bomb Group Association
World War II Veterans Group

Newsletter #55 - Spring 2014


June 21 2013

A friend of mine, Ron Taafe of Sanctuary Lakes, Victoria, Aus, has lent me 3 newsletters of the 380th Bomb Group. I am very pleased to hear that you are continuing the good work for all those interested. As a pilot I was seconded to the 530th Squadron on September 7, 1943 til June 7, 1944. I did some training with Gus Connery in "Gus's Bus" and then assigned to Joe Cesario as his co-pilot on missions around the Pacific and New Guinea. Sharing my tent was Bob Craig and Gus Connery, the latter being C.O. and then Group Operations Officer.

During my stay at Fenton I made many friends and I am still in touch with Mary Connery and Dottie Cesario. I was checked out as a plane commander about May 1944 and was then sent to Tocumwal in New South Wales as an instructor on B24s training new crews for the new B24s we were receiving from the U.S. I continued to fly these machines until 1946 (May) and then retired from the R.A.A.F.

My wife and I have attended the following reunions: Plattsburgh 1983, Australia 1988, Norfolk 1989, Orlando 1991, Denver 1994, and Savannah 1996. As I am now 94, I do not travel very well but I do assist in rebuilding a B24 at Werribee in Victoria as I was an RAAF fitter 1940, 41 and 42. I was one of the last pilots to fly A72.176 on March 22, 1946.

My grateful thanks to you all for continuing the good work.

E.L. Crabtree, Australia

Enclosed is an extract from my log book.

Crabtree log book

Nov 25 2013

I am a researcher with the WFI Research Group www.wfirg.comwww.wfirg.com

I am presently working on a case of an unknown airman that I believe to be Lt. Edward P. Skuzinski, who went missing on 21 Sept 1943. Would like to make contact with any of the Morris Crew members or anyone who may have known him.

Thank you,
Ted Darcy

Feb 21 2014

Since I wrote a few more things have happened as the research continues. Skuzinski is still of interest.

The first five on this list were all in one aircraft. One of them is buried as an unknown in the Philippines. I believe Skuzinski is buried as an unknown in the Punchbowl. Any additional information you can gather would help. Possibly we can get them identified and sent home.

I looked over the history project you mentioned. I checked the database here and found we carry 386 Americans as lost with the 380th BG.

Talk soon,


Darcy List

January 1 2014

A few days ago I received the #54 Newsletter. On the second lst page under "Mail Call" is a short letter from Richard Hebner regarding the "Juarez Whistle." I was a crew member on that ship right thru 1943 so have written to Mr. Hebner. I thought you might also like to include the following bit in the next Mail Call.

Thank you and best wishes,
Dick Dakeyne, Australia

My name is Richard (Dick) Dakeyne. I was one of that small group of RAAF, RCM operators attached to each squadron. My squadron was the 530th and I flew as a crew member on John Dennis' crew in 1943 and Ed Harkins' crew in 1944. In August '44, I was transferred to the Jolly Rogers on Biak Island. I finished up with 528 combat hours. After the war, I went to Sydney University and after some years teaching outside, ended up teaching geography there.

I regret that I was never able to attend a reunion of the 380th in the States, but I just want to say that my time with the 380th, and the friends I made there, was one of the happiest and enjoyable of my life - a real highlight.

Best wishes to you all for 2014.

Dick Dakeyne

Jan 6 2014

About 10 years back I hosted a website called the Fenton and Long airstrip research page with much help from Ted Williams. I put this page together to gather information regarding the social histories of Fenton and Long airstrips and associated camps during ww2. On completion of my university degree and the commencement of full time employment I had to remove the site due to time restrictions and well life in general. I have recently taken the decision to rebuild my web page, but this time with a larger scope. The primary focus will be to document WW2 sites from across the Northern Territory and gather together information regarding the social, rather than purely the military aspects of these sites. Areas of focus on the web site will be, living conditions, accommodation (tents/ buildings), food, entertainment, uniforms and flight gear worn, means of transport and communication, personal stories related to the climate and landscape of the Northern Territory. Currently I am working on uniforms and accommodation part of the web site but require information / references / help.

For example I have purchased a number of historic items including 380th uniforms and documents that I wish to use on my website but need to ask someone to ensure I have given correct historical commentary on these items.
I am also after photos of tents, building, and camp life and anyone who might have detailed knowledge of these areas/items.

My website will be 100% non profit and is purely for research gathering purposes. I am currently adding content and gathering permissions and references before I go live with the site.

I currently live in the NT and am employed as an educator of History in secondary educational context.

Clinton Bock

January 27 2014

My name is Joseph Veltre and I am a resident of Bellerose Village, NY - a tiny hamlet on Long Island consisting of only approximately 370 homes. In 2012, as a volunteer, I assisted our Mayor Henry Schreiber, obtain photos and biographical data of 9 servicemen who died during both World Wars and Vietnam, and whose names were inscribed on a stone memorial outside our village hall. This resulted in an indoor display so that residents and non-residents could put a face to a name and also read something about their pre-enlistment life and their ultimate sacrifice during wartime. Though I thought my job concluded in 2012, in my continued research I recently came across another former Bellerose resident who, while serving overseas in the U.S. Army Air Force, perished in a flying accident in 1945. While his name is not on the stone memorial, we would like to change that. I have photos and sufficient biographical data thanks to my contact with his younger brother, Henry H. Feltman, now living in Florida.

Joe Veltre

   Richard H Feltman  2Lt Richard H. Feltman

February 16 2014
My name is John Bird and my Father was Donald L. Bird. He was a navigational bombardier during WW2. He had a picture in front of an airplane he flew on named Patty's Pig. He never talked about the war and the only thing I know is that his plane was shot down on Oct. 9, 1944. I believe he was on leave or sick and never knew the details about missions or what he did to serve our country. He met my mother in England at a dance and they have both passed away. Thanks very much. - John Bird

Apr 4 2014
I found this photo of Patty's Pig airplane and its crew. Donald Bird (my father) is the third from the left. I hope you can get this to any family and relatives of this crew.

John Bird

Patty's Pig crew

May 17 2014

I am writing to find any crew members from the 530th Bomb Squadron who may have flown/served with my Grandfather, Ernest Howell. In a picture of B-24J 42-100209, it appears that he flew with a crew commanded by Capt DeLoache. The other crew members shown in the picture are Jerry Guerard, Sgt Phillpott, Sgt Chelling, Sgt Palmer, Sgt Bissaillon, Sgt Robinson, and Lt Langdon.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Lt Col Jason Eckberg, USAF

Jan 24, 2014 / Feb 19, 2014

My dad was Jimmy Snyder.
Snyder, James R. / 530 / 33268136 / Ware's Overseas Crew (Passenger) (Staff Extra-530) / Ground Staff, Power Turret Spec / POOCHIE
Snyder, James R. / GP / 33268136 / Ware's Overseas Crew (Passenger) (Staff Extra-530) / Ground Staff, Power Turret Spec / POOCHIE
He gave me his Purple Heart.

He had a heckuva combat story.
What I've seen of the record was that he serviced Poochie.
The story was of being shot down, kicking out the glass to escape the sinking plane, and saving the pilot, then hanging onto a floating fuselage with the pilot hanging off him until they were rescued. Pilot supposedly got a Silver Star. I don't know if it's fiction or not!

Other than that, I don't know anyone that knew him or what he was like during war time, and I don't have any photos of him in the service.

Carl Snyder

Nov 1, 2013

I am the granddaughter of Alvin D Powell, Gunner, Whitlock Crew, 531st. I am interested in possible resources for photographs. His records are not available due to a fire, so any suggestions would be great appreciated. Thank you.

Crystal Runyan

May 2 2014

My Dad, Marvin Gardner, is now in an assisted living center in Price, Utah. He is doing quite well for being almost 92. He keeps in contact with Keith Baker who was on his crew. We have donated several of his Military things to a museum in Palm Springs, Calif. I still have his history-we are slowly going through a ton of pictures taken during the war and in his service years that we are trying to catalog and will donate them also.

Thank you for your concern.
Kathleen Gardner Clements

April 26, 2014

Hi Barb, I met you at the 2008 Tucson reunion with my Dad, Len Gronkowski.

I recently had a print made dedicated to him and the crew of Rough Knight. The artist's name is Arthur Eggers and this print is really great work so if anyone is interested go to:


and click on B-24J Rough Knight. It is really worth looking at and can use format to do another crew.

Rick Gronkowski

  Gronkowski Digital Art by Arthur Eggers

Jan 30 2014

I am seeking your assistance in finding the identity of a B24 which completed service and was disposed of at Lae. To put you in the picture, my father was an Aust Army Captain attached to the Army General Hospital and the convalescent depot at Lae throughout 1945. After the war he brought home a piece of silver fabric marked "Fabric from B24 liberator 5th USAAF, Record of service 69 missions, ---Jaff downed during interception. swpa."

I was told by my father that the Aust Army Hospital had an occupational therapy hobby shed and the aircraft was a source of aluminium which the soldier/patients melted in the hobby sheds making craft items particularly ashtrays decorated with model aircraft which were very common after the war.

Regrettably, my father has died some years ago and I have no contacts in the US that may have knowledge.

You may well be wondering why I am inquiring, but the reason is I have incorporated it in a model liberator made of many samples of wood taken from the Jungle at Lae, and it is creating much interest in the model, but the main inquiry is to what happened to the plane's occupants, hence the big interest.

Your association records disclose 2 B24 aircraft which ceased service with 69 missions, Frisco Frannie and Little Lulu, but does not disclose whether they were ever taken to Lae for salvaging.

If you have any information to help, or any lines of inquiry you may be able to recommend, it would be greatly appreciated.

Incidental to this, I have been doing quite a lot of research on the 5th USAAF in the SWPA and it certainly shows powerful reasons for the US/Australian bond.

Best wishes to you and your association
John Watts

Feb 12 2014

Attached are the data sheets for FRISCO FRANNIE and LITTLE LULU. The first page shows any information we have about that plane, including salvaging. I don't see on either of them that it says Lae. There is a code UCIP on both of them, which is the code for delivery to the 8th Air Force (other unknown reason).

I'm not sure where to refer you, other than perhaps the 8th Air Force. They have a museum and library in Pooler SC.

Feel free to ask me additional questions - I will do what I can to assist you.

Best regards,
Barbara Gotham


May 8 2014

My father's details are: Ewan M WATTS, Army Reg No, VX585544. Discharged 1946. Date of Death was 2nd Nov 1971 at Collie West Australia.

During almost all of 1945 he was attached to the Australian Army Medical Corps and at Lae New Guinea and had a strong association with the US Army there.

The local Air Force Association museum researcher informed me that the fabric would have been from the flaps or tail of a J type liberator; however, I am unsure if he was certain or was his best estimation.

I will shortly be contacting the West Australian Newspaper which have "Can We Help" page where people can enter items seeking information. Apparently it is surprising the information, photographs and other leads that are forthcoming from that source. I am chasing down information from Australian sources who may have details regarding the demolishing of the aircraft. In respect to the US Army Air Force, your bomb group appears to be the only one of the Fifth Air Force that has the excellent quality of recording for which you must be proud. Of the 5th Air Force my checks have eliminated the liberators down to 250.

On my inquiries, I called at a museum at Werribee in Melbourne Victoria (Aust) where a liberator was being restored and I was put on to a Mr Crabtree for information.He had been a RAAF pilot attached to the 380 Bomb Group in New Guinea.He was well and active some of your veterans may remember him. His information was very helpful.

I will patiently continue my search and let you know how I get on.

Best wishes
John Watts

Little Lulu   Frisco Frannie

May 3, 2014 - I've been looking over your 380th Bomb Group web page and it's fantastic. I've been doing research on a couple of the crews listed on your page and I wanted to pass along a bit of information to you. Author Gill went down on Big Chief Cockeye in July 1944 but he was actually captured by the Japanese. He didn't die in the crash of the plane. Author ended up dying in July 1945 in the Omori POW camp in Japan. Author was beaten severely by his guards and ended up starving to death due to internal injuries. I have the guards trial transcripts if you'd like to have them. I have also built basic biographies on all the crewmembers of Big Chief Cockeye and I have some individual photographs of them as well. However, what I cannot find is a picture of Author. I was wondering if you had a picture of him and possibly a better scan of the Cecil Wells crew picture on your web page. The Cecil Wells crew picture has most of the Big Chief Cockeye crew on it.

By the way, I'm interested in the Big Chief Cockeye crew because they were on a weather recon mission when they crashed and I'm researching all weathermen and weather recon crews who perished during the war. - Craig

May 5, 2014 - Here are some individual pictures I have of the Big Chief Cockeye (Thornton) crew. I met up with Lt Douglas McMillin's (killed on the Thornton mission) daughter yesterday and she gave me a better copy of the Cecil Wells crew picture I wrote to you about. I'm also in touch with the Corbin and Kosciuszek families, so I should be receiving better images of those two men as well. Author Gill is the one person who I just cannot find any picture of. Author wasn't a member of a regular crew and only flew on the one mission. If you can find a picture of Author, I'd truly appreciate it. - Craig

May 6, 2014 - Here are some scanned images of the Thornton and Wells crew that Lt McMillin's daughter had.

Craig M. Kirwin, CMSgt, USAF


1Lt Douglas G. McMillan


2Lt William C. Karbach Jr.


TSgt Richard W. Corbin


SSgt Steve J. Buccia


Lt Vincent J McManus


Lt Max Rubin

Wells Crew (37)
Acft Cmdr, Pilot: Wells, Cecil F.
Pilot, Acft Cmdr: Thornton, Harold A.
Navigator: McMillin, Douglas G.
Navigator, Photographer: Light, Dudley L. Bombardier: Rubin, Max (NMI)
Flt Eng: Corbin, Richard W.
Radio Opr: Johnson, Clarence L.
Radio Opr: Reed, Harry H., Jr.
Gunner: Buccia, Steve J.
Gunner: Hawthorne, J. D.

Thornton's Crew (19)
Pilot, Acft Cmdr: Thornton, Harold A.
Pilot: Karbach, William C., Jr.
Asst Radio Opr, Gunner: Pickens, Samuel W.
Gunner: Koscuiszek, Peter P.
Weather Observer: Gill, Author H., Jr.

FO Harold Thornton


May 7, 2014

My father was Victor Morales. He was a radio operator on the "Toddy." Here's a couple of photos from his collection.

David Sandoval

  Grover Crew


Acft Cmdr, Asst Sqdn
Opns Officer: Grover, Niles L.
Pilot: Manley, Harold J.
Navigator: Gurthet, Robert E.
Bombardier: Panos, Peter S.
Flt Eng: Owens, Carl W.
Radio Opr: Morales, Victor C.
Asst Flt Eng, Gunner: O'Connell, Cornelius D., Jr.,
Gunner: Bronakowski, Anthony E.
Gunner: Gudgeon, Gerald R.
Gunner: Uhrich, Gilbert A.

  Grover Crew

November 26, 2013

Nose art photos sent from Doug Tilley

Hells Belle Hot Rocks
Jugglin Josie Lil D'Icer
Mary M Miss Hap
Satins Secretary Eh What's Up Doc



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Last updated:    11 June 2014