Men of D-Day


    
 Troop Carrier
Michael N. Ingrisano
Robert E. Callahan
Benjamin F. Kendig
John R. Devitt
Arthur W. Hooper
Ward Smith
Julian A. Rice
Charles E. Skidmore
Sherfey T. Randolph
Louis R. Emerson Jr.
Leonard L. Baer
Robert D. Dopita
Harvey Cohen
Zane H. Graves
John J. Prince
Henry C. Hobbs
John C. Hanscom
Charles S. Cartwright
 
 82nd Airborne
Leslie Palmer Cruise Jr.
Marie-T Lavieille
Denise Lecourtois
Howard Huebner
Malcolm D. Brannen
Thomas W. Porcella
Ray T. Burchell
Robert C. Moss
Richard R. Hill
Edward W. Shimko
 
 101st Airborne
John Nasea, Jr
David 'Buck' Rogers
Marie madeleine Poisson
Roger Lecheminant
Dale Q. Gregory
George E. Willey
Raymond Geddes
 
 Utah Beach
Joseph S. Jones
Jim McKee
Eugene D. Shales
Milton Staley
 
 Omaha Beach
Melvin B. Farrell
James R. Argo
Carl E. Bombardier
Robert M. Leach
Joseph Alexander
James Branch
John Hooper
Anthony Leone
George A. Davison
James H. Jordan
Albert J. Berard
Jewel M. Vidito
H. Smith Shumway
Louis Occelli
John H. Kellers
Harley A. Reynolds
John C. Raaen
Wesley Ross
Richard J. Ford
William C. Smith
Ralph E. Gallant
James W. Gabaree
James W. Tucker
Robert Watson
Robert R. Chapman
Robert H. Searl
Leslie Dobinson
William H. Johnson
 
 Gold Beach
George F. Weightman
Norman W. Cohen
Walter Uden
 
 Juno Beach
Leonard Smith
 
 Sword Beach
Brian Guy
 
 6th Airborne
Roger Charbonneau
Frederick Glover
Jacques Courcy
Arlette Lechevalier
Charles S. Pearson
 
 U.S.A.A.F
Harvey Jacobs
William O. Gifford
 
Civils
Philippe Bauduin
Albert Lefevre
René Etrillard
Suzanne Lesueur
 

 

S/Sgt. Robert E. Callahan.
Radio Operator - 50th Troop Carrier Squadron, 314th Troop Carrier Group.

It was 11:00 p.m., June 4, 1944. Aircraft of the 50th Troop Carrier Squadron, 314th Troop Carrier Group, U. S. Ninth Air Force, were lined up on the flight line of the Saltby air field 50 miles north of London. Engines were idling, each plane loaded with a full "stick" of paratroopers made up of the Regimental Headquarters Company, 508th Infantry, and Task Force "A," 82nd Airborne Division. C-47s on airfields scattered all across England were loaded with troopers dressed in full battle gear, waiting on their respective airfields with engines idling. The order for take off was anticipated at any moment.
This was the hour for which paratroopers and troop carrier personnel had been training for months, the launching of the invasion of France: D-Day.
Earlier in the day three white stripes, each two feet wide, had been painted on the top side and the under side of the wings of each aircraft, just outside and parallel with the plane's cabin. The same three strips were painted around the aircraft just forward of the tail section. These were identifying markers to help invasion forces quickly identify whether a given aircraft was friendly or enemy.
As the moments ticked off, the aircraft crews and paratroopers began to wonder,
"What is holding us up?"
In SHAEF headquarters, a critical decision was about to be made. Would the invasion of France, code named "Overlord," be launched tonight? The weather was not good. A low cloud cover had blanketed most of England all day.
Shortly before 11:00 p. m. the order came down calling off "Neptune" for this night. "Neptune" was the airborne phase of "Overlord," the master plan for the invasion of France. When the order was received, paratroopers disembarked their assigned aircraft. Planes were taxied back to their parking places. Engines were shut down.
Because of such foul weather even a German sea-going vessel stationed in the English Channel to alert Axis forces to the pending invasion had been withdrawn and was back in port.
Twenty-four hours later, at 11:00 p.m., June 5, 1944, a Monday night, the planes were once again lined up on the flight line. Again they were loaded with paratroopers and engines were idling as pilots awaited the order for take off. The weather had not improved at the Saltby base. However, weather personnel had informed General Eisenhower that there would be a 36-hour period during which the weather would clear temporarily. This was enough for the general to order the launching of the invasion.
When the order came, troop carrier planes began their take off and began circling as they formed up in an American 850-plane formation. Air crewmen were wearing their flak suits and, where possible, steel helmets. Take off for 50th squadron planes was at 11:38 p.m. The skies began to clear as the planes flew south. In the bright moonlight as the formation made its way across the English Channel, a vast armada of naval vessels could be seen below. Those vessels that could be seen represented only a portion of the 4,000 naval vessels brought together for the invasion.
The flotilla stretched for miles and miles. Every type of vessel one could imagine, large and small, was lined up in a convoy several ships wide. Naval forces stood out in full relief as the moonlight reflected off the waters in the English Channel. In all of world history there had never been such an amassing of naval forces for battle. To observe such a scene while flying overhead made an indelible impression upon the mind. It revealed the determination and commitment of Allied forces to place the men and materials into battle to obtain the victory.
A "Pathfinder Team" of the 82nd Airborne Division was to go in at Ste. Mere Eglise one hour ahead of time for the paratroop drop to occur. Their job was to mark the drop zones with radio and radar beacons and with lighted markers. The flight formation with paratroopers aboard consisted of several serials proceeding in a west-to-east course across the Cotentin (the Cherbourg) Peninsula. Unfortunately, a cloud cover encountered by the pathfinder flight teams as they made their passage across the coast an hour earlier had prevented them from being able to mark all landing sites. The inability of the pathfinders to properly mark the drop zones as planned resulted in some paratroopers being dropped off target from their designated drop zones.
German defensive forces still did not believe the Allies would undertake such a landing and were caught completely off guard. Even after Allied forces began to land, German defensive forces did not believe this was the invasion they had been expecting. If being dropped into some random places confused the paratroopers, it threw the German defensive forces into pandemonium. They had no way of knowing how many airborne troops had descended upon them, or where they were.
German weathermen had reported to their commanders that beach landings could not be undertaken for several days because of unfavorable weather conditions. With that news, most ranking commanders had departed the area for a few days of rest. They left their units without orders as to how to proceed if the invasion should occur. Due to the uncertainty of the number of Allied airborne forces on the ground, as well as the absence of their commanders, German defensive units hesitated. In hesitating, they lost. As a result, Allied forces were able to realize a considerable amount of their first-day objectives.
At an altitude of 500 to 700 feet, the 314th Troop Carrier Group made its paratroop drop at about 2:10 a.m. on June 6. Following the dropping of the paratroopers, the flight formation continued crossing the Cotentin Peninsula on its way out to the English Channel. Of the 850 American troop carrier planes involved in the mission, all but 21 planes returned to base. Of the 400-plane British formation, only eight failed to return.
All 18 planes of the 50th squadron returned to base. However, Lieutenant Sidney W. Dunagan, piloting one of the planes, was killed in action while making a second pass over the drop zone. Two paratroopers had fouled their rip cords as the plane passed over the drop zone and other troopers had jumped. These two were not able to exit the plane at that time. The problems quickly resolved, Dunagan circled to make a second pass over the drop zone to allow the two to jump. While making the circle, he was hit with a bullet in the left side of his chest, killing him instantly. Lieutenant Walter D. Nims, co-pilot, flew the aircraft on the return flight to home base.
On this mission, the 50th squadron delivered 319 paratroopers, 1,868 pounds of ammunition and 13,935 pounds of combat equipment into the drop zone.
British Air Chief Leigh-Mallory had objected strenuously to using airborne forces in D-Day landings, believing losses would be catastrophic. When that did not occur, he wrote General Eisenhower a letter apologizing for his negative opinion. In the letter he commended Eisenhower for his effective leadership.

At 3:30 p.m. D-Day, June 6, following their first mission, aircraft crews were assembled for a briefing for a re-supply mission to be carried out early the next morning, June 7. The men returned to their quonset barracks with the mission on their minds. They were told the drop zone was in an area that was in Allied hands. No real difficulties were anticipated.
In the barracks later in the evening after the briefing, Staff Sergeant Mitchell Bacon, one of the radio men, was observed going through his barracks bags. As he began to separate items and place them in different places on his bed, a few of his barracks mates approached to ask what he was doing. It was apparent he had something in mind as he placed items in various stacks.
Bacon replied that he knew he would not be returning from the mission that was to take place the next morning. Because of that fact, he was separating his personal belongs from those issued to him by the army. It would be easier, he said, for someone to send his personal items home when he failed to return the next morning.
This was not the kind of talk men anticipating a combat mission want to hear. Others in the barracks heard the exchange. They quickly joined in the conversation.
"You can't possibly know that!" said one.
"You shouldn't even be thinking like that," others observed.
"You're crazy, Mitch. Forget that stuff," said one, half jokingly.
"Come on, man," another suggested, "Get that out of your head!"
By various means his friends in the barracks tried to dissuade Bacon from what he was doing but he kept at it until he had his belongings in the stacks he wanted.
"I have this premonition," he kept replying. "I believe my plane will not return from the mission in the morning."
Breakfast the next morning was at 3:00 a.m. As men were leaving the mess hall to board their planes, Bacon placed his arm around the shoulders of his friend, Andrew J. Kyle, a crew chief, and said,
"I just want to tell you goodbye, Andy, I am certain I won't be returning from this mission."
Early on that morning, June 7, 1944, 18 aircraft of the 50th squadron joined other 314th Troop Carrier Group planes on the re-supply mission, code named "Freeport," one of two such missions that day. Some paratroop units had failed to recover ammunition and equipment that was lost when containers parachuted into the water on D-Day. Troopers were in desperate need of those supplies. Six racks were bolted beneath each of the planes and para-packs were loaded into the racks. Other para-packs were loaded inside the planes, to be shoved out the open side door and parachuted to the men below when the drop zone was reached.
The drop was to occur at daybreak. Take off was set for 3:30 a.m. The weather was poor at the Saltby base. The cloud ceiling was 300 feet. The sky was overcast up to 5,000 feet. The formation of planes took off and flew south while attempting to stay under the 300-foot cloud ceiling.
Two of the 18 planes of the 50th squadron ran into the cloud cover and pilots lost visual contact with the formation. Being without a navigator on board, they returned to the Saltby base. A third plane turned back because of engine trouble.
As the planes flew south, the ceiling lifted to 2,500 feet some 30 miles north of the southern coast of England. That was a great help. As the formation crossed the English Channel, one of the planes came under Allied naval fire. Twice it attempted to penetrate the fire and continue its mission. After receiving fire from Allied forces the second time, the pilot gave up the mission and returned to the Saltby base.
At daybreak 14 of the 50th squadron planes remaining in the formation crossed the east coast of the Cherbourg Peninsula at sea level, flying inland and pulling up from time to time to fly over hedge rows and trees.
The drop zone was 12 miles inland, near Ste. Mere Eglise. The zone would be reached by flying so low that the surprise element at daybreak, as well as the low trajectory angle at which German forces would have to aim their anti-aircraft guns, would, hopefully, allow the planes to fly past those gunners. If defensive forces did fire on the planes, they might be shooting at their own forces. That too, it was hoped, might cause them to hesitate. At a higher altitude the planes could be knocked out of the sky easily, but at 25 feet above the ground the planes had a better chance of reaching the drop zone.
As the 14-plane formation flew inland, small arms fire being directed at them from the ground could be heard by the crewmen inside the planes. Guns thought to be 50-caliber could be heard clearly as they chattered away. The plane piloted by Lieutenant Maurice R. Perreault took two hits from small arms fire. At the same time its left elevator, at the tail section of the aircraft, was shot away.
As the formation approached the drop zone the planes climbed to an altitude of 400 feet for the drop to be made. Switches inside the cockpit were tripped and the para-packs underneath the cabin were dropped. The time was 6:15 a.m. At the same time Stanley J. Wolowski and Robert E. Callahan in Perreault's plane kicked para-packs out the open side door of the plane.
As the planes were approaching the drop zone, the plane piloted by Captain Howard W. Sass was set on fire by anti-aircraft fire. Just before reaching the drop zone the ship caught fire underneath the fuselage. The radio operator in another of the planes momentarily saw through the door of Sass' plane and described the crew compartment as a "sheet of fire." Para-packs inside the plane were seen going out the door. Pilots, witnessing Sass' plane on fire, screamed to him on their radios for the crew to bail out. No parachutes were seen departing the plane.
Once the drop had been completed, the planes began a 180-degree turn to make it back to the English Channel. Immediately they descended almost to ground level. As they did so, heavy, intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire was encountered until the planes reached a point one mile east of Ste. Mere Eglise. Two 50th squadron planes experienced a minor mid-air collision as they slapped wings while in the 180-degree turn to exit the drop zone. Although both planes were damaged, they were able to return to the Saltby base. Sass' burning ship was seen falling out of formation. Eyewitnesses saw it crash land, slide into a hedge row and explode. It was presumed by those who saw it that all crew members must surely have perished.
Friends of Mitchell Bacon, radio man on that aircraft, remembering the exchange within the barracks the night before, were stunned when Bacon's plane did not return. They were aware his plane went down but that did not necessarily mean there had been loss of life. There was still hope there were survivors aboard that plane. Two or three days later word came that Bacon had, indeed, been aboard that plane and had died in the crash and resulting fire. Bacon's barracks mates and his friend Andy Kyle, have lived with this memory from that day to the present. Do some people actually have knowledge of their pending death? Except for Lieutenant Howard W. Sass of that aircraft, who was wounded, the rest of the crew perished in the crash and the fire that followed.
Two weeks later, on June 21, Major Joseph McClure, squadron commander, received a letter from Captain Sass. He was in the 74th General Hospital in Bristol, England. Wounded but somewhat improved, he was flown back to the Saltby base the next day. He could remember nothing about his miraculous escape and very little about the events leading up to his crash. He was released from further service in the European Theater of Operations and was sent home to the USA a few days later.

An echelon of three planes of the 32nd squadron was ahead of the 50th squadron in the larger formation on the mission. As one of those planes was struggling to make its way back to the English Channel, Lieutenant Maurice R. Perreault's plane of the 50th squadron found itself about 75 yards off the right wing of that aircraft and somewhat to the rear. Captain Vincent R. "Jack" Chiodo (pronounced SHY-DOH), co-pilot aboard that 32nd squadron aircraft, with a seriously wounded pilot, carried out one of the most remarkable feats of flying ever recorded. He submitted the following account to this writer and describes his experience as follows:
"As a member of the 32nd Troop Carrier Squadron of the 314th Troop Carrier Group, we were ordered on D-Day Plus One, June 7, to re-supply airborne troops we had dropped into the Cherbourg Peninsula after midnight the preceding night, D-Day. The mission was briefed as a routine supply drop in a zone described as 'held by Allied Forces.' We were fully loaded with para-bundles inside the aircraft and six large bundles in the para-racks beneath the cabin.
"On this mission I was assigned a Captain Winford D. Taylor, a staff officer for the 314th Troop Carrier Group Headquarters. Since Captain Taylor was a qualified pilot, as a matter of courtesy on my part he occupied the left seat in the cockpit as pilot. I was in the right seat as co-pilot. Since this was considered a routine mission, the crew was made up of various members of the squadron. It was not my regular crew. Lieutenant Isadore Caplan was the navigator and Sergeant Harry D. Ray was the crew chief.
"We departed the Saltby air field very early in the morning in darkness. Before we could assemble our formation after takeoff, we encountered inclement weather. Some of the planes returned to base, including my two wingmen. I was in radio communication with Lieutenant Colonel George E. Faulkner, who was to lead the 32nd squadron, and Captain Robert Bennett, another flight commander. We decided to continue on IFR (instrument flight) and eventually we broke out to better weather. We formed a flight of three planes with Captain Taylor and me leading, Colonel Faulkner on our left wing and Captain Bennett and Lieutenant King on our right wing.
"Over the drop zone Captain Bennett, flying the aircraft on our right, was taking intense fire from the ground. It was so severe that his aircraft went out of control and into a left barrel roll while we were not more than 300 feet above the ground. His right wing came up and over in the roll. As it continued to roll over, his right wing came down and struck the right wing of our aircraft. Captain Bennett's plane was over on its back when this occurred. The ground fire was so intense that we could not sort out all that was happening at the time. We were unaware of Captain Bennett's barrel roll. Nor did we know why our aircraft was suddenly thrown into what appeared to be a barrel roll to the right. Miraculously, both planes were thrown apart from the collision and pilots of both aircraft did their best to take whatever measurers seemed appropriate at the time.
"Captain Bennett's plane leveled out after the roll and he belly landed it in German occupied territory. He and his crew were taken prisoners of war.
"We had been briefed to make a 180-degree turn to the left after the drop and to follow a course back to the Channel. At this point I was in a steep right turn, almost out of control, and saw one of our planes crashing below. The small arms fire was still intense. My instinct was to regain control of the aircraft. This was accomplished by using emergency power (50 inches of mercury) on the right engine, throttling back on the left engine, and holding full left rudder and full left aileron. The aircraft slowly began to recover and I began a very slow turn to the left by using my left engine to maneuver. Needless to say, we were trying to accomplish a 270-degree turn back to the left. That turn took us into more ground fire. At this time we were 50 feet off the ground and headed back toward the Channel.
"To maintain control, I was using both feet on the left rudder and had locked the aileron control full left with my arm. I knew that I needed help. I throttled back on the left engine and with the help of Caplan and Ray, I quickly moved into the left seat and ordered Sergeant Ray into the right seat. Ray and I had both of our feet on the left rudder while holding full left aileron with our hands and arms. At this point I did not know the damage to the plane.
"Caplan was told to go back into the cabin and look for damage. When he returned he told me about six feet of the right wing tip was broken and the aileron was heavily damaged. Looking ahead, I saw other aircraft ditched in the water near the naval ships off shore. My first thought was to ditch the aircraft. However, with Taylor severely wounded, and due to the lack of control I had, I decided not to ditch the plane. By that time a flight of P-47s had begun to escort us.
"At this point I discovered my navigation instruments were malfunctioning and, due to the plane listing to the right side, the magnetic compass was erratic. I called our assigned emergency base and the message was relayed to fighter aircraft nearby to steer me back to England. They did so by flying above and below us on a course that would take us back to an emergency base.
"My next problem was gaining enough altitude to clear the cliffs along the southern coast of England. Slowly we gained sufficient altitude to clear the cliffs. Our emergency base was Warmwell, a RAF fighter base located three miles east of Dorchester. The landing field was just beyond the cliffs. I called the emergency base to inform them that I needed a straight-in landing approach. I explained that I had no ability to go around because the right engine was overheating and I had no control to turn.
"Since Ray and I were fully engaged with the controls, I told Caplan to lower the gear at my signal, which would be at the time I crossed the end of the runway. I intended to land with or without the gear down. Because of the damage to the plane, I was not at all certain the landing gear would come down. By steering with my left engine, fortunately we touched down with the gear down. Captain Taylor was taken to the hospital and survived.
"On inspection of the aircraft after landing, we counted 46 holes in it. The right wing was broken; the right aileron was broken and partially missing. The right engine was totaled out because it ran out of oil. Also, we discovered the antiaircraft fire damaged the release mechanism for the para-packs. The para-packs had not released. They were still in their racks on the underside of the plane. Later I was told those packs were loaded with land mines.
"At one of our squadron reunions about 30 years later, I met with Captain Bennett and Lieutenant King. They told me they were hit with gunfire at the same time we were. When their plane rolled over, its right wing struck our aircraft, hitting the trailing edge of our right wing. They told me about their plane crash, their survival, and subsequently being taken as prisoners of war."

--Vincent R. "Jack" Chiodo, Dilly, Texas  

(WRITER'S NOTE: Upon learning about the writing of my book, ON WINGS OF TROOP CARRIERS, from which this account has been taken and revised as a stand-alone story, Lieutenant Isadore Caplan, navigator aboard Captain Chiodo's plane that day, requested that he be allowed to add his version of what happened that June 7, 1944, day.)

"Captain Taylor was hit after we pushed the last heavy box out of the open door of the cabin and after the collision with Captain Bennett's plane with our plane. I was the person who bound up Captain Taylor's wounds. The bullet entered at the upper point of his left hip bone. I used the GI first aid kit nearest the bulkhead in the cabin and gave him a shot of morphine.
"What is so amazing is how Captain Chiodo got control of the C-47 while occupying the right seat. He called for help as I finished assisting Taylor. I helped Chiodo to shift over to the left seat by lying down on my back between the two pilots' seats, bracing myself, and placing both feet hard against the left rudder on the co-pilot's side to hold it as Chiodo made the switch to the left seat. Chiodo stepped on my stomach as he moved from the right seat to the left.
"For a time I got in the right seat to help Chiodo hold full left rudder and full left aileron. From the right cockpit window it appeared that 10 feet of the right wing had been chopped off.
"We came out over the Vire River between Omaha and Utah beaches, flying over the battleship Nevada, engaged at that time in shelling Omaha Beach. I have never seen so much wreckage in my life. I gave Chiodo a heading of 330 degrees to Warmwell, the emergency base. Chiodo found the compass erratic and called the emergency base for help. The compass was unreliable because of the low right wing and having to hold hard left rudder and aileron. That resulted in the plane flying somewhat off line.
"The pilot of a P-47 guided us to Warmwell even though we could not successfully communicate with him. We called the emergency base and the base contacted the P-47 pilot by radio. We had to deal with the P-47's prop wash while trying to gain enough altitude to clear the cliffs along the south coast of England.
"When the Isle of Wight came into view, Chiodo wanted Sergeant Ray in the right seat for the good reason that the crew chief knew the hydraulic and electrical systems better than I did. Chiodo did a remarkable job of getting us back on the ground and overcoming the low right wing condition.
"Afterward I learned from Captain Robert L. Flory, our 32nd squadron engineering officer (now deceased), that a bullet had struck one of the 14 cylinders of the right engine, pierced the piston wall but did no damage to either the piston or the push rod. But at every stroke of the push rod, the cylinder lost a small amount of oil. Under such conditions it is amazing that the right engine ran so sweetly and performed so well all the way to Warmwell, even though losing oil slowly.
"Captain Chiodo was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroic performance."

--Isadore Caplan, Mesa, Arizona  


In the words of the well-known song, Chiodo's plane was all too literally coming in "On a Wing and a Prayer!" Chiodo's plane experienced the loss of almost 10 feet of its right wing. The plane was so badly damaged that it never flew again.
As the 50th Troop Carrier Squadron plane piloted by Lieutenant Maurice R. Perreault, with Lieutenant Norman R. Smith as co-pilot, and on which the writer was radio operator, was departing the drop zone, Perreault found himself some 75 yards to the right and behind Chiodo's plane. Perreault called his crewmen to the cockpit to observe the 32nd squadron aircraft as it appeared to be struggling so hard to make it to the coast. Perreault followed Chiodo's plane until it crossed the coastline. At that point Perreault joined other planes of the 50th squadron in returning to the Saltby base along the prescribed flight route.
Throngs of 314th Group personnel were on hand to watch as aircraft approached the field for landing. Ground personnel were usually out in force to watch when they knew it was time for the planes to be returning from a mission. Fire trucks and emergency medical vehicles, with their personnel ready, were always on hand to lend any assistance needed.

Planes of the 50th squadron suffering damage were:
43-15611: Ship lost. All crewmen killed except for the pilot.
42-23331: Right wing tip, left tire and left wing.
42-23344: Right wheel, holes in left wing, stabilizer.
42-23356: Left elevator, bullets holes in cabin.
42-23402: Oil lines out, right engine damaged.
43-15150: Hydraulic system out.
43-15505: Generator, extinguishing line and fuselage.
43-15645: Battery, stabilizer, right wheel.
42-23363: Gas tanks.

A total of 208 planes were assigned to the "Freeport" re-supply mission, one of two such missions that day. Because of bad weather, 51 planes turned back and never left England. Nine other planes encountered problems that caused the pilots to turn back. A total of 148 planes delivered 156 tons of ammunition, rations and other supplies into the drop zone. Ninety-two planes received significant damage from German ground fire.

A few days after the Normandy invasion, on orders dated June 21 and June 30, some of the 50th squadron flight crew members were given leave time at home. Having completed a tour of duty consisting of 750 or more flying hours, they were entitled to a 30-day leave at home in the USA, excluding travel time.
Among those men were the following: Merrill E. Smith, Robert L. Hammersla, Wilbur H. Buchanan, Loy C. Grimes, Lawrence J. Haas, James G. Hicks, Jr., Andrew J. Kyle, Robert E. Callahan, Gerald D. Kindy, Edward K. Ott, Casimir A. Stawinoga and Ray B. Schnittke.
It took one month of travel time for the men to return to their homes. After 30 days at home, it took one month to return to the squadron in England. Travel was on a space available basis. The men traveled as a body on the USS George Washington on their voyage home. On the return trip, they gathered in New York and boarded the USS West Point for the voyage to England. The USS West Point was the same vessel on which ground personnel of the squadron sailed to Africa in May 1943. Whatever the reason may have been, a few of the men did not return to the squadron in England.
Arriving in port in England on September 18, the men waited for two days before boarding a train for Grantham and their Saltby base. The group returned to the squadron as Operation "Market-Garden" missions were underway. They returned just in time to participate in the September 26 Mission #4 of Operation "Market-Garden," a re-supply mission into a landing field at Keene, near Grave, Holland.
Upon the return of personnel who had been on leave in the USA, the replacement of pilots and crew members began in earnest. Because of the numbers of new personnel coming in from the USA, many of the original four-member crews broke up, never to re-establish their relationship with one another. Crewmen who had returned from leave, along with new replacement personnel, were inserted as crewmen wherever the need for their services existed. They often flew with one crew one day and another crew on another day.
In July 1944 over 400 troop carrier planes were transferred from England to the Mediterranean to support the pending invasion of Southern France. That left 870 troop carrier planes in the IX Troop Carrier Command in England to support Allied forces in battle on the continent. Although both theaters of operation needed more such aircraft, it was vital to the war effort to share the numbers of planes available between both theaters. Commanders often fumed with one another over which units would receive help from the troop carriers.

Robert E. Callahan.     (April 02, 2002)

50th Squadron Aircraft Crews for the D-Day Paratrooper Drop
June 6, 1944
A/C No. 43-30651
Pilot - Myer, G. A. - Lt Col
Co-pilot - Hill, G. E. - 1st Lt
Navigator - Pluemer, H. - 1st Lt
Navigator - Heffington, G. E. - 1st Lt
Crew Chief - Goodwin, C. - S/Sgt
Radio Operator - Hastings, A. W. - Sgt
A/C No. 43-15150
Pilot - Daubenberger, C. D. - Capt
Co-pilot - Rosholm, R. - 2nd Lt
Navigator - Merryman, W. R. - 1st Lt
Crew Chief - Stevenson, E. T. - S/Sgt
Radio Operator - Wigh, S. S. - S/Sgt
A/C No. 42-23395
Pilot - Price, E. L., Jr. - 2nd Lt
Co-pilot - Hagen, C. W. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Bishop, G. A. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Sullivan, J. J. - Sgt
A/C No. 43-15214
Pilot - Haas, L. J. - 2nd Lt
Co-pilot - Crespo, O. E. - 1st Lt
Navigator - Sargeant, A. C. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Bramble, R. G. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Kindy, G. D. - S/Sgt
A/C No. 42-24384
Pilot - Ellison, T. H. - 1st Lt
Co-pilot - Rejba, E. J. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Herzog, E. H., Sr. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Hauke, F. J. - Sgt
A/C No. 42-23363
Pilot - Grimes, L. C. - 2nd Lt
Co-pilot - Burleson, H. S. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Greer, J. P. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Snodgrass, W. L. - Sgt
A/C No. 42-93088
Pilot - Dunagan, S. W.*** - 1st Lt
Co-pilot - Nims, W. D. - 1st Lt
Navigator - Thorn, J. M. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Miller, J. S. - Sgt
Radio Operator - Loughrey, W. J. - Sgt
A/C No. 42-23399
Pilot - Tarr, G. P., Jr. - 1st Lt
Co-pilot - Blain, J. J. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Robinson, H. B. - S/Sgt
Radio Operator - Borgo, R. D. - S/Sgt
*** Lieutenant Sidney W. Dunagan was killed on this mission.
A/C No. 42-23356
Pilot - Perreault, M. R. - 1st Lt
Co-pilot - Smith, N. R. - 1st Lt
Crew Chief - Wolowski, S. J. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Callahan, R. E. - S/Sgt
A/C No. 43-15180
Pilot - McClure, J. H. - Major
Co-pilot - Kraeft, N. C. - 2nd Lt
Navigator - Keel, H. S. - 1st Lt
Crew Chief - Collier, G. A. - S/Sgt
Radio Operator - Schnittke, R. B. - S/Sgt
Radar Operator - Bobo, J. W. - S/Sgt
A/C No. 42-93065
Pilot - Sass, H. W. - Capt
Co-pilot - Renwick, F. R. - 1st Lt
Navigator - Lyons, W. G. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Daley, E. - Sgt
Radio Operator - Bacon, M. W. - S/Sgt
A/C No. 42-23393
Pilot - Smith, J. H. - 1st Lt
Co-pilot - Welles, R. D. W. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Stephens, J. S., Jr. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Shipper, M. - S/Sgt
A/C No. 43-15347
Pilot - Anderson, C. B., Jr. - Capt
Co-pilot - Honeysett, H. G. - 2nd Lt
Navigator - Spudich, E. N. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Renehan, J. A. - Sgt
Radio Operator - Ott, E. K. - Sgt
A/C No. 42-23402
Pilot - Hicks, J. G., Jr. - 2nd Lt
Co-pilot - Rickman, A. P. - 1st Lt
Crew Chief - Kyle, A. J. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Stawinoga, C. A. - S/Sgt
A/C No. 42-23394
Pilot - Womack, N. J. - 1st Lt
Co-pilot - Bethune, L. T. - 1st Lt
Crew Chief - Wyatt, F. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Murdock, D. M. - Sgt
A/C No. 42-92876
Pilot - Bingham, G. D. - Capt
Co-pilot - Hutson, A. S. - 2nd Lt
Navigator - Kelly, R. J. - 1st Lt
Crew Chief - Hall, H. J. - Sgt
Radio Operator - Irons, W. C. - S/Sgt
A/C No. 42-23344
Pilot - Hammersla, R. L. - 1st Lt
Co-pilot - Jordan, R. U. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Leapley, B. G. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Larner, J. T., Jr. - Sgt
A/C No. 42-24335
Pilot - Buchanan, W. H. - 2nd Lt
Co-pilot - Schulze, J. A. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Voigt, G. F. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Authier, F. A. - S/Sgt
 
50th Squadron Aircraft Crews for the Re-Supply Mission
June 7, 1944
A/C No. 43-15180
Pilot - Lee, O. W. - Capt
Co-pilot - Price, E. L., Jr. - 2nd Lt
Navigator - Pluemer, H. - 1st Lt
Crew Chief - Collier, G. A. - S/Sgt
Radio Operator - Schnitte, R. B. - S/Sgt
Radar Operator - Bobo, J. W. - S/Sgt
A/C No. 42-93065
Pilot - Sass, H. W. - Capt
Co-pilot - Menees, L. P.*** - 2nd Lt
Navigator - Lyons, W. G.*** - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Daley, E., Jr.*** - S/Sgt
Radio Operator - Bacon, M. W.*** - S/Sgt
*** These men were killed on this mission in the fire crash and explosion of their aircraft.
A/C No. 42-23393
Pilot - Smith, J. H. - 1st Lt
Co-pilot - Welles, R. D. W. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Stephens, J. S., Jr. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Shipper, M. - S/Sgt
A/C No. 43-15214
Pilot - Smith, M. E. - Capt
Co-pilot - Renwick, F. R. - 1st Lt
Navigator - Sargent, A. C. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Bramble, R. G. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Kindy, G. D. - S/Sgt
A/C No. 42-23363
Pilot - Grimes, L. C. - 2nd Lt
Co-pilot - Burleson, H. S. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Greer, J. P. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Snodgrass, W. L. - Sgt
A/C No. 43-15645
Pilot - Crespo, O. E. - 1st Lt
Co-pilot - King, A. R. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Schrieber, J. P., Jr. - Cpl
Radio Operator - Rushton, N. R - S/Sgt
A/C No. 43-15631
Pilot - Haas, L. J. - 2nd Lt
Co-pilot - Jarratt, R. E. - 2nd Lt
Navigator - Thorn, J. M. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Robinson, H. B. - S/Sgt
Radio Operator - Slager, A., Jr. - Sgt
A/C No. 42-23356
Pilot - Perreault, M. R. - 1st Lt
Co-pilot - Smith, N. R. - 1st Lt
Crew Chief - Wolowski, S. J. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Callahan, R. E. - S/Sgt
A/C No. 42-23331
Pilot - Bethune, L. T. - 1st Lt
Co-pilot - Johnson, M. P. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Baker, P. L. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Sullivan, J. J. - Sgt
A/C No. 43-15150
Pilot - Daubenberger, C. D. - Capt
Co-pilot - Rosholm, R. - 2nd Lt
Navigator - Merryman, W. R. - 1st Lt
Crew Chief - Stevenson, E. T. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Wigh, S. S. - S/Sgt
A/C No. 42-92862
Pilot - Buchanan, W. H. - 2nd Lt
Co-pilot - Schulze, J. A. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Sadkowski, L. F. - S/Sgt
Radio Operator - Authier, F. A. - S/Sgt
A/C No. 42-23402
Pilot - Hicks, J. G., Jr. - 2nd Lt
Co-pilot - Rickman, A. P. - 1st Lt
Crew Chief - Kyle, A. J. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Stawinoga, C. A. - S/Sgt
A/C No. 43-15347
Pilot - Anderson, C. B., Jr. - Capt
Co-pilot - Honeysett, G. H. - 2nd Lt
Navigator - Spudich, E. N. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Renehan, J. A. - S/Sgt
Radio Operator - Ott, E. K. - S/Sgt
A/C No. 42-23394
Pilot - Womack, N. J. - 1st Lt
Co-pilot - Morris, R. A. - 2nd Lt
Navigator - Heffington, G. E. - 1st Lt
Crew Chief - Wyatt, F. M. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Murdock, D. M. - S/Sgt
A/C No. 42-24384
Pilot - Ellison, T. H. - 1st Lt
Co-pilot - Shanks, C. W. - F/O
Crew Chief - Herzog, E. H., Sr. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Hauke, F. J. - Sgt
A/C No 43-15505
Pilot - Bingham, G. D. - Capt
Co-pilot - Hutson, A. S. - 2nd Lt
Navigator - Kelly, R. J. - 1st Lt
Crew Chief - Morris, R. D. - Sgt
Radio Operator - Irons, W. C. - S/Sgt
A/C No 42-23344
Pilot - Hammersla, R. L. - 1st Lt
Co-pilot - Rutledge, L. W. - 2nd Lt
Crew Chief - Leapley, B. G. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Larner, J. T., Jr. - S/Sgt
A/C No. 42-24329
Pilot - Rejba, E. J. - 2nd Lt
Co-pilot - Kucera, R. A. - F/O
Crew Chief - Rodgers, C. L. - T/Sgt
Radio Operator - Keough, D. E. - S/Sgt