dad, Kenneth E. Sivula, died when I was a boy. All I
know of his war record was that he was a bombardier.
I ran into this site accidentally and was excited to
see my father's name in the memorials section, where
he is listed as a member of the 443 squadron. I'd love
to here from anyone who knew him or could tell me more
about his wartime experiences.
Hello to all the members and family of the 320th. My grandfather was Joseph
A. Villelli, he was a 1st Lt. with the 442nd and to my knowledge flew several
missions over France and Germany during his time of service. It is with great
sadness that I inform you of his passing on February 2nd, 2000. I was unaware of
your website at the time to pass this information along. If there are any
surviving members of his group or crew out there, please contact me. I've heard
some stories of his adventures, but would welcome any new information I can
learn about his time of service. Thank you all, and have a very happy holiday
Dustin J. Root 11/22/05
We are a group of person who are interested in
trying to reconstruct the fact of an American bomber
(attached some photos) and its crew; accorrding to the
span it probably concern a B-26. It lies at 10 meters
depth at Torre di Barisardo , middle east coast of Sardinia
, 15 km south of Arbatax harbour. As far as we know
the 23 of April 1943, the 320th bomb group, led a bombing
mission on Arbatax Port , Sardinia. The Intelligence
narrative operation, related of twenty-one bombers took
off from an Algerian Air Base. It seems that after leaving
target, bombers vere attaccked by some figthers
MS-109 F's, followed a running fight of 25-30 minutes
duration, where one B-26 was probably downed. Other
four although alightly damaged, landed in emergency;
one crash landed at Bone. In the last part of the operation
report , there is a list of the combat crew who
partecipated in the Arbatax port raid: are listed only
19 crews (21 aircraft departed from Algeria. ;
Only 19 returned, leaving 2 aircraft unaccounted for).
One of the missed B-26 is quite sure that one crash
landed at Bone; the other one is that downed during
the Arbatax bombing? What about the B-26
768 ( Pilot Ross) and the B-26 853(Pilot Hallowell).
In any case these pilots seems to be present in few
days later missions again in Sardinia targets. We appreciate
if You can solve our doubts in this facts.
9 ITA ARMY, Verona
Communication Squadron 10/13/05
Hello, I need help! My
heroic uncle William J. Hoenk died when his B-26 went down in the Med on a
mission near Tunisia,
Africa. Personal accounts in
a letter written to my Grandmother (Bill’s Sister) by Lt. Homer Cheshire
indicated that he was the only crewman not to escape the aircraft before
sinking. I know that the pilot of this B-26 was Lt. Richard Chick, and that all
crew members perished in the Sea except for Lt. Cheshire. I am trying to create
a family memorial for Bill, and need specific information on the specific plane
he was in (nose art), unit patches, insignias, medals, etc. Anyone who can
provide this information would be a huge help to this project. Thanks in advance
for any assistance in helping me assure that Bill’s memory and sacrifice will
not pass into obscurity. Respectfully,
L. Scott 9/28/05
I thought some of you would find the following
account from my Dad's war diaries interesting (Dad was T/Sgt. Oscar Nixon
Sheppard, Jr., crew cheif of battle no. 84 mentioned below). My added comments
are bracketed [ ]:
1-16-44: #890 was sent on it’s
30th mission today and got 50 flak holes in it, but got back OK. The
tail gunner’s flak vest got hit, but he did not. Our squadron was leading today.
#890 [battle no. 84] was on the lead ship’s right wing and the Germans were very
accurate today and shot down the lead ship. The eight men on board bailed out.
Then the ship blew up in mid-air. F/O Peters [Ralph L.] then jumped up and took
the lead. The lead ships bombadier dropped his bombs before he bailed out and
hit the target (Bombadier Banicki [Jerome]). Our C.O., Major McCrory [James L.],
was on board on his last mission. [On board the ship that went down - Battle #
93, (S/N: 41-18292 ?)][More details of this mission can be found at:
http://320thbg.org/mission_pdfs/mission_131.pdf. Please note that some of the crews and corresponding
battle nos. are mixed up in this mission report. For example, the crew for my
Dad’s ship, battle #84 is listed as being on #96, and the crew on the aircraft
that blew up in midair, battle #93, is listed as being on #87. One wonders how
often such errors occurred. -JBS]
Joseph B. Sheppard (Son of T/Sgt., crew chief Nixon
Sheppard, Jr.) 7/23/05
Robert J. Morris, Photographer/Tailgunner with the
442 Bomb Squadron passed on 10 June 2005. He was preceeded by his wife Barbara
and is survived by his son Michael Morris of Fond du Lac WI and son Steven
Morris of Anna IL. After a couple years of college and meeting my mother, Bob
pursued a career in photography that culminated in a portrait studio in Beaver
Dam Wisconsin. His work recieved the highest critical acclaim and he was sought
out by corporated chiefs, governors, and all who could appreciate his unique
ability to get a subject to drop their mask and reveal their true selves for the
He spoke often and with fondness of his compatriots
in the 320th. Remeber him as he did you.
Michael Morris 7/12/05
I am the grandson of Lamar S. Timmons; 320th, 441st;
co-pilot of LADY HALITOSIS; if anyone has any info, pictures or whatever I'd
be greatly appreciative. I too know the military, I have 15 yrs as U.S. Army
Infantry, Opreation Iraqi Freedom vet as well as multi-peacekeeping missions in
the Balkans and am proud of my service just as my grandfather was. I don't have
much info about him and I know it's out there. Thankyou to all B-26 vets, for I
can now understand your sacrifice and dedication to the mission. E-MAIL(
SSG Eric R. Knott 7/11/05
Ralph B. Woolf passed on June 20th. He was a beloved husband,
father, grandfather and great grandfather. He leaves wonderful memories to his
wife of 57 years, Doris, Children Joyce (Dennis) Fath, Craig (Sue), Deane, and
Keith Woolf. Grandchildren Tracy, (Alan) Bates, Seth, Elizabeth, Nicki, and
Kathy Woolf and Jacob Wineinger and Great-grandaughter, Amber Bates. He was a
B-26 Pilot in the U. S. Army Air Corp. during WWII, a consummate salesman,
wedding photorapher, and so much more to many friends and family. He will be
most remembered for his legendary jokes. He will be deeply missed! Donations
can be made to the Hospice
of Palm Beach Countyor the American
and Doris Woolf 2004
320th BG Reunion
is with great sadness that I learn of the passing of
Mr. Ralph Woolf of the 320th Reunion Association. Our
hearts go out to Mr. Woolf’s family and our thoughts
are especially with his sweet wife Doris. I met
Ralph and Doris for the first time at the San Jose reunion
in 2003. I knew very little of the 320th and my
father’s service with the group, but Ralph immediately
embraced my attendance and took me in, and by the end
of the reunion I had one of the richest experiences
of my life. I know Ralph and the other men and
women who have worked so diligently to keep the memory
of the 320th alive have blessed the lives of countless
people. I for one will not soon forget the kindness
and efforts of Ralph and Doris. My sincere condolences
to Ralph’s family and to the families of others like
Mr. West, Mr. Wagar, and Mr. Perkinson, who have passed
since our last reunion.
Joe Seiley Son
of SGT. Robert E. Seiley, Radioman/Gunner, 443rd BS 6/21/05
was like a rifle shot heard in a crisp still day when
I learned of the passing of our friend Ralph Woolf.
Were I allowed to write Ralph's epitaph, it would read
simply: Well done, O good and faithful servant.
For the past several years, Ralph was the keystone that
helped keep the 320th BG Reunion Association not just alive,
but vibrant. For those of us who were privileged to know
him we realize that we have lost much more than a friend.
He seemed to care little for the recognition. The satisfaction
of the great results he achieved was enough for him.
He will be remembered for his gentle humor, kind
gestures, and a freely given smile. Those were
his trademarks. We will miss him and our thoughts and
prayers go out to Doris and the rest of Ralph's family.
Reisdorf, MD on behalf of the 320th BG Reunion Assoc. 6/20/05
I have just finished typing a transcript of the
Uncle Bill's war diary. He was a gunner/engineer in the 441st of the 320th.
His name was George Willis Lewis from Conway Springs, Kansas. (1921-1994). He
flew on 62 combat missions from July 44 thru the end of the war. His diary
often mentions flying "transition". What does that mean? His diary is fantastic
including a mission(August 22, 1944) when his plane was shot down by flak and
ditched off Corsica. If interested, one can read his diary here on the
320th B.G. website. Click here: George Willis Lewis Diary
Hi - does any one remember staff /sergeant Vito Rinaldi was a tailgunner 320th
441sqd north Africa? Any response would be greatfull! Thank you.
is with great sadness that I am writing to inform you
of my father, Ben West's passing. Ben died on 7 May
in Tucson, AZ after a short illness. He was surrounded
by his loving family in his final days, which I know
was a comfort to him.
He spoke to me so often
of his comrades and the deep bond he had for all of
those who served during WWII and especially those of
the 320th Bomb Group. Ben's final resting place is at
the Santa Fe National Cemetery where he was given full
Military Honors during his funeral. His final instructions
to me were that he wanted be interred with his
Buddies, the great Corps of men who served during
I was fortunate to share and attend
one of his 320th reunions in Albuquerque a few years
ago. I know how much he looked forward to joining with
you all each year. You brought great joy to his life
over the last decades and I know he always carried the
320th in his heart of hearts.
Doug West, Son
of Ben West (443rd) 6/8/05
and the rest of the 320th veterans and families are
very saddened to hear of the loss of our friend - Ben.
Ben was an inspiration. He contributed many stories
for the website, some of which are still in need of
being added. Our thoughts go out to you and the rest
of your family. -Dr. Franz Reisdorf
This is an absolutely world-class website. The amount of information here
is staggering. It is the best WWII/military site that I have seen. It has saved
me years of research, letter-writing and phone calls. I have been able to
download the mission summaries of all 40 of my father's (TSgt Pat J. DeSantis,
444th) combat missions. The crew lists on the mission summaries also helped me
to locate the wife of one of the tailgunners that flew with my dad. I sent her
a photo of her husband that had been sitting in my dad's album for 62 years. She
was thrilled to get it, her husband passed away 13 years ago. She made copies
for her children and grandchildren - she didn't have any photos of him during the
war. This site helped one family to remember the proud wartime service of one of
the "Greatest Generation".
I encourage anyone who has 320th wartime photos to send them to Dr.
Reisdorf for copying/archiving. He is a true professional, skilled with both
photography and computers. I sent all of the original photos from my dad's album
to him and got them back today. He treated them as if they were priceless, which
they are. He also helped me locate a photo of my father's crew in Algeria that
will soon become a great Fathers' Day present.
Also, Joe Seiley, who has done much research for
this site has been a
great help in my quest for information. He found some lost mission summaries
that brought back and reinforced many vivid memories of combat missions of 62
Joe Sheppard, another link to this site, whose father served with mine,
provided some previously unknown information on the death of one of my father's
best friends from the 320th.
I am indebted to Dr. Reisdorf and
the other members of the 320th research team for taking the time and effort to run this
site - it has been priceless to me. I encourage everyone with a connection to the
320th to support it. It is a continuing and fitting memorial to the men of the
Dave DeSantis Skaneateles, NY 6/5/05
recently sent pictures my father made while he was stationed
in North Africa with the 320th BG to Dr. Franz Reisdorf
to be scanned and archived. These pictures mean a lot
to me and my family and I wished to have them digitally
archived so that they could be preserved for the future.
The negatives have long been discarded and the
prints are 60+ years old and becoming very fragile.
Reisdorf called me when he received the prints to confirm
he received them, he scanned them and sent them back
to me plus he made some new prints that are much clearer
than the original prints and all the prints were digitally
recorded on CD's that should last for many decades in
the future. Any members or family members of the 320th
BG that have pictures of their war experiences, it is
worth sending them to Dr. Reisdorf to have them archived
for your benefit and from a historical perspective as
the history of the 320th BG is being recorded and preserved.
William M. Lankford Carrollton, GA 6/5/05
Lankford - Thanks for your kind words. I would also like
to express my own personal gratitude to the other historians
that have helped provide the information on this website.
I would especially like to thank Joe Seiley, Donna Guidry,
and Mary Reisdorf. Thanks as well to Victor
Tannehill who so diligently documented the history of
the 320th before us. - Dr. Franz Reisdorf, Chief Historian
After further research I have discovered that the
B-26 for which my father was crew chief, "Jeanie"(II), was the same aircraft
that was called "Barbara ("Sis")". The Serial No. was 41-14890 and Battle No.
84 (not S/N: 42-107532 and Battle # 86. as stated in my previous post here). To
quote my father's war diary: ""2-2-44:
#890 went on a practice mission, on landing the left main tire blew out, put new
tire on. Let Hoover[Allan C.?] paint a picture on the ship and name it after his
wife Barbara "Sis". There are numerous
references to "Jeanie" as "#890" in Dad's diaries. My father continued to call
this aircraft "Jeanie" or "Jeanie II" in his diaries.
Apparently, there has been a mystery surrounding
what to call the above aircraft for sometime. I hope to elaborate on this in an
article in the future.
Joseph B. Sheppard (Son of T/Sgt., crew chief Nixon
Sheppard, Jr.) 5/19/05
I seems I have solved the mystery of the two
"Jeanies" for which my father was crew chief. The older aircraft, a B26B-4, was
S/N:41-18061, but had no battle no., since she was sold to the French in the
beginning of Sept. of 1943. The 320th began using battle nos. later that month
as seen in the "Missions" section of this site.
The second "Jeanie" (my father referred to as
"Jeanie II") was S/N: 42-107532 and battle no. 86. This aircraft is listed
under "320th Aircraft"/"Serial Nos." on this website, but not given a name. She
is listed as shot down by enemy fighters on 11-5-44. This aircraft had
completed over 120 missions.
Joseph B. Sheppard (Son of T/Sgt., crew chief Nixon
JAMES HARWOOD WAGAR APRIL 9, 1918 - APRIL 20, 2005 James Harwood Wagar, who
came of age during the depression and became a decorated World War II
bombardier, died Wednesday, April 20th, 2005, at his home in Oakdale, CA. after
a brief illness. He was 87.
A native of upstate New York, Mr. Wagar came to California in the early 1950s
after attending the University of Kansas, where he studied civil engineering.
After working in administrative positions for several companies, he became a
cost analyst for Lockheed Missiles and Space Co. in Sunnyvale, from which he
retired in 1984. Known for his dry wit and courtly manner, Mr. Wagar was a
staunch conservative who was proud of his Republican roots. He and his second
wife, Evelyn, settled in Oakdale, CA. in 1993, where they lived out the rest of
Mr. Wagar was assigned to the 320th Bomber Group and shipped to the
Mediterranean in 1943. Flying B-26 Marauders out of Sardinia, he led bombing
raids on German positions throughout Italy and southern France. He flew 65
missions in all, as commanders kept raising the number of missions required
before airmen would be returned stateside. His Air Force records show that he
earned two presidential citations, the Air Medal with six clusters, the French
Croix de Guerre and a Purple Heart. He eventually returned to the United States
to train other bombardiers.
He left active duty in November 1946, but served in the Air Force reserves
for nearly 32 years, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1978.
Mr. Wagar is survived by six children: Robert Wagar of Yountville, CA.;
Sandra Gerrard of Santa Cruz, CA.; Sheri Borland of Oakdale, CA.; James Wagar
Jr. of Morgan Hill, CA.; Kit Wagar of Kansas City, Mo.; and Bradley Wagar of
Oakdale, CA. He is also survived by 13 grandchildren and seven
Mark Borland 5/15/05
My father was T/Sgt. Nick Sheppard, crew chief of
"Jeanie" of the 444th squadron. There were two "Jeanie"s. The first was S/N:
41-18061 (Battle no. unknown). This aircraft flew 34 missions and had 1 enemy
fighter downed before being given to the French. This B-26 was piloted by Capt.
D.K. Coulter. I'm looking for any additional photos and her battle no. (Or any
other info. for that matter).
The second "Jeanie" had over 120 missions. I do
not have this aircraft's S/N or Battle no. Unfortunately, all the photos my
father took of this B-26 were of the front on the pilot's side.
To view these aircraft, see the links on this
website and go to my memorial to my father's service.
My heartfelt thanks to all 320th men! Your heroism
will never be forgotten! Thanks,
Joseph B. Sheppard 4/01/05
I am searching for any survivors or any airmen who
served with my cousin, Peter Paul Cockrell. Paul served with the 441st Bomber
Squadron, 320th bomber. He was shot down over Italy on July 17, 1943 and was
listed as MIA. He received the Purple Heart, Air Medal and other Army medals.
He was never found. I don't know the name of his figher plane or any of his
crew mates. However, I am thankful for the men that served with him and knew
him at the last. He was only 23 when he died, and had not even married to my
knowledge. He has a brother that is still living. Any photos of the group with
Paul in them would be greatly appreciated. This is a wonderful site and a great
memorial for our great men who fought in a heartbreaking war.
As a volunteer at the Florida Air Museum in
Lakeland, Florida, I am working on a display about Drane Field as a training
field 1942-1944. We would appreciate photos of personnel at the base. We would
be happy to return original photos after we have made copies. The display will
be on exhibit during the Sun-n-Fun Fly-In April 12-18th and until 2006. Please
send photos to Florida Air Museum, 4175 Medulla Road, Lakeland, FL 33811 attn.
Suzy Eickhoff. Thanks!
My grandfather, James Wagar is preparing to leave our world. I and the rest
of his family would appreciate a phone call or message to him reminding him of
all the people that truly care about him. This small gesture may help him.
Please...let him know that you care. He needs it right now.
Mark Borland 2/20/05
Question: Does anyone know the origin "When you get
home, remember us, and say we gave all of our tomorrows for your
today"? The quote is from the last page of Tannehill's Boomerang!: The
Story of the 320th bombardment Group in World War
Jerry Headley 2/19/05
Great Website, Happy to
know better the 320th BG which was at Alto in Corsica . Happy New Year.
Dominique Taddei author of the book USS CORSICA l'Île Porte Avion.
Dominique Taddei 2/1/05
am seeking any info on 1st Lt Edward N. Bond. My daddy
flew with the 17th, 319th, or the 320. I don't
have much to go on since Daddy didn't talk much about
the war and when he did it was only bits and pieces.
Do know he was a Bombardier, was attached to the
335th at Kirkland Field, NM for training, he was at
Barksdale for a while also, and Bombardier refresher
in Midland TX. He talked of a flyer who had a
dog that flew missions....the plane that man was in
was shot down over Italy, the last thing Daddy recalled
seeing was the man bail out with the dog in his arms.
He never found out what happened to him. I
realize it's a long shot to find anyone who knew him
but I am praying at least to find out some info about
his military service., bombardier, trained at Kirkland
Field, stationed at Barksdale prior to going overseas.
Flew out of Italy/North Africa. Have very
little info since Daddy wouldn't talk! Any
love american medium bombers (Marauder :-), Havoc, Venture..) Your page is very nice and the color pictures its very
famous. I never seen so beautiful pictures of B26 like on your page!
Your page is dignified thanks to all brave
mens, who fight for liberty in WW2 aganist terror. (Grandfather of my best friend was Tail Gunner in Vickers
Wellington (R.A.F - 311.Czechoslovak bomb squadron in England))
I wish you and for your pages too, all the
best and i send you greetings from White Winter Prague.
Ondrej Patek (Czech republic) PS.Please sorry my poor english. 1/21/05
Father SSgt Patrick W. Fox passed on when I was age
4 (1973). I have been desperately trying to find out
information about his service to his country in WWII.
I submitted a request to the NARA for copies of his
military records and was told that they were destroyed
in a fire in 1968 and was directed to the VA for assistance.
I received a copy of his Enlisted Service Record. He
enlisted in the Army in 1942 in Los Angeles, CA. He
attended radio operator's school in Madison Wisconsin.
He was in Naples Foggia Campaign. Was a radio operator/mech.
He had an aircrew member badge (wings). He was discharged
in Dec 1945 from March AFB, Riverside Ca. On his honorable
discharge papers it reads discharged from 556th AAF
BU. If there is anyone who served with my father or
new of him please contact me. I would be most grateful.
W. Fox II 1/28/05
Happy New Year to you, you have a great
Our group within the American Legion is planning a May
2005 trip to the American Military Cemeteries at Nettuno and Florence, Italy to
be a part of the cycle of WWII 60th Anniversary events next spring.
We are working with the American Battle Monuments Commission and the WWII
60th Anniversary Committee to organize ceremonies on May 2nd at Nettuno and May
5th at Florence. We are working to attract veterans and their families to be
able to make the trip.
We want to make sure the 19,000 Americans and those of our allies lost
liberating Italy and efforts of hundreds of thousands of veterans are not
forgotten. Perhaps your association can be represented. Our event is listed
with the WWII 60th Anniversary Committee website for May 2005 onhttp://www.60wwii.milAny assistance you can
be in promoting this project will be very much appreciated.
Our press release is attached
here to view PDF). If
you are interested in participating in this
event, please e-mail me. My Dad was a member of the 91st Infantry which fought its way from Rome to
the Po Valley.
Kenneth G. Kraetzer American Legion Post 50,
Pelham, NY USA 1/2/05
we move into the new year, I encourage all to take a
moment to remember the brethren that we lost over this
last year. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their
E. Allen, 444
J. Burns, 443
D. Carrier, 441
E. Smith, 444
Fargo, H.Q. & 442
"Tex " Harte, 442
Reisdorf, MD on behalf of the 320th B.G. Reunion Association 1/1/05