B-26 Marauder 320th Bomb Group

B-26 Marauders to italy coast

 

Home 
Editor's Message 
History 
Missions 
Photo Archive 
Film Clips 
Stories 
320th Aircraft 
Reunion Assoc. 
Memorials 
POWs 
Books/Art 
Bulletin Board 
Roster 
Remembrances 
Memorabilia 
Links 
Search 
Contact me 

 

Benjamin Reisdorf (July 8, 1922 - July 10, 2001)

  • Class 44 D - Waco and Blackland Army Airfields
  • Flew missions with the 441st bomb squadron of the 320th bomb group.
  • Accolades
    • Purple Heart
    • Air Medal
    • Distinguished Unit Citation as part of 32Oth BG.
  • Captain and pilot in Air Force Reserves after WWII

Dedication.

 

This site is dedicated to my grandfather, Benjamin Reisdorf, who served as a pilot with the 320th in the 441st bomb squadron. He spoke freely of his involvement in WWII. I am fortunate enough to have heard about his experiences. Through him I developed a flavor for what it was like to be a young man in training at the Waco and Blackland airfields. I learned about the flight path to North Africa by skipping from Puerto Rico, then South America, and landing on the small Ascension Island in the Atlantic Ocean. He often recounted having to fly through three "thunderheads" on the voyage. After landing his newly painted factory fresh B-26, he stepped out to find all the aluminum skin wrinkled/warped and the paint chipped off. On 15 March 1945 he flew his first combat mission. He earned the Purple Heart that day. After a two week convalescence, he was back flying combat again. He continued to fly with the unit up to the third to last mission on 30 April, 1945. The experiences and the esprit de corp from that momentous time in his life had a profound impact on the rest of his days. The fact that I am writing this shows as well that the effect has even transcended generations.

Although his story is quite personal to me, his is just one in a story of many. As I became more interested in the topic, I became more amazed at the remarkable accountings of the men of the 320th. It was truly a time when gallantry was commonplace. I felt compelled to share the little bit of history I had gleaned out of fear that the legacy of the 320th would gradually drift from our collective consciousness. The intention is to chronicle the history of the 320th, maintain its members stories, and preserve the images and some of the documents that ultimately have touched us all in one way or another. This site is designed to be not only a resource for the men who served with the 320th, but also a resource for their families. I hope you find it useful.

Sincerely,

Franz Reisdorf, MD


Charles O'Mahony (left) and myself in Chuck's
hometown of Pittsburgh, PA

 

Acknowledgments

 

Charles O'Mahony

Thanks to Charles O'Mahony who provided not only many of Joe Kingsbury's marvelous photos, but also numerous stories. Chuck writes with a certain charm that will give you a real flavor for what is was like to be a young man as an aviator in combat, both the humor as well as the tragedy. Thanks Chuck for sharing your experiences with us.

Victor C. Tannehill

 

Vic has devoted much time and effort in documenting the history of the 320th bomb group. His books; Boomerang, Story of the 320th Bombardment Group in World War II and Saga of the 320th, A B-26 Marauder group in WWII, describe in remarkable detail the accountings of the 320th BG. He has given permission to use his writings on the website. Thanks Vic for all your efforts and support.

 


Joe Seiley

 

Joe is the son of Robert E. Seiley who was a radioman/gunner in the 443rd. Joe is one of the Chief Historians of the 320th and has devoted much time and energy to keeping the 320th legacy alive. He has traveled to the Air Force Historical  Research Agency in Montgomery, AL to do research. In addition, he has painstakingly transferred the Mission Summaries to PDF format for download on the site. Job well done!!

 

Donna Guidry

 

Donna Guidry is the daughter of George W. (Bill) Gleason, who was a armorer gunner, then later a togglier bombardier, in the 320th's 442nd and then the 444th.  Her appreciation and respect for her dad's 65 missions with the 320th, and the courageous men with which he served, instilled in her a deep commitment to doing her part to help preserve the records for future generations.  With her dedicated mother serving as her meticulous proof-reader, Donna has taken on the task of transcribing the WWII diaries from the 320th's squadrons, a task which she considers a sacred trust.

 

Mary Reisdorf

 

Mary is the daughter of Ben Reisdorf who was a pilot with the 441st bomb squadron. Mary has been instrumental in helping to obtain the Mission Summaries, Missing Air Crew Reports (MACR), and strike photos that one can download and view on the site. She has spent two entire weeks at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland and countless additional hours to help make this information readily available. Thanks Mary for all your help.

 


Sue Brouhard

 

Sue is the daughter of William D. Shadle who served as a 1st Lieutenant with the 443rd Bomb Squadron. Sue has taken a keen interest in history of the 320th and has dedicated many hours in helping transcribe many of the War Diaries found on the site. She has a vested interest in helping other family members in their quest for information. Thanks Sue for your dedication in helping preserve this history.

Jill Norwood

 

Jill is the daughter of Dale O. Grice who served with the 441st bombardment squadron. He enlisted in July 1943 and was honorably discharged on Sept. 28, 1945. Regretfully, her father, Dale, passed away in August, 1996. Jill has taken a keen interest in her fathers's involvement with the 320th Bomb Group and has volunteered to help transcribe the Squadron Diaries for the Group. Thanks Jill for your contribution. Many other family members will benefit from and appreciate your efforts in preserving this history.


Alberto and Silvia Cabras

 

Alberto and Silvia Cabras, friends of the 320th, live in Florence, Italy. Alberto's father, Luigi Cabras, at the age of 16 spent several months with the men of the 441st. Luigi developed strong bonds with these men and has fond memories of them to this day. Alberto and Silvia have taken photographs of all the grave markers of 320th men that are buried at the Florence American Cemetery. They can be found on the Memorials section of this site. Luigi's story can also be seen on the site in the Stories section.


Paul Clouting

 

Paul has teamed up with Peter Smith (see below) to create a most impressive database cataloguing B-26 Marauder aircraft. Together they have been able to create aircraft histories for literally thousands of B-26 aircraft. Their input has been substantial in creating the aircraft listings for 320th ships found on this site. Together they have selflessly pursued documenting the history of the B-26 and the men who flew her.

 

Peter Smith

 

Peter and Paul Clouthing have shared an interest in aviation for 15 years and 4 years ago started to collect information on the B-26. Both live in Essex surrounded by airfields where the B-26 operated. Indeed, Peter was born at Earls Colne in one of the buildings that formed the technical site for the 323rd B.G. Peter remembers his father talking of the B-26s that he would watch takeoff and land at both Earles Colne and Rivenhall.

 

Joe Kingsbury

 

A special posthumous thank you goes out to Joe Kingsbury who took all the fantastic color photographs that you see on this site. Joe was a bombardier in the 441st bomb squadron. After paging through this site, think about what we would have lost if it was not for Joe.

 

 


Copyright(c) 2003. 320th B.G. Reunion Association.

 

affordable hostingBest Website Builder