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Bill’s blog archive: Daily Posts

Windy City Dive Poster by Jim Greco
Windy City Dive Poster by Jim Greco
Windy City Dive Poster by Jim Greco
Windy City Dive Poster by Jim Greco
Windy City Dive Poster by Jim Greco
Windy City Dive Poster by Jim Greco

“Windy City”

Back on April 21, in a post called "Three Sprained Ankles", I blogged about "Windy City," a B-24 downed on June 6, 1944. Jim Greco, the son of a man who flew in "Windy City" (but not on June 6, 1944 mission) has created some excellent artwork of this B-24 Liberator, which I am honored to post here. Jim also sent along a photo of his father, August J (Gus) Greco. Gus flew for Crew 19 of the 451st Bomb Group (Castelluccio Airfield, Italy). Although injuring his back in a crash landing on May...
41 Basset Ave 1945 1
41 Basset Ave 1945 1
41 Basset Ave 1945 1
41 Basset Ave 1945 1
41 Basset Ave 1945 1
41 Basset Ave 1945 1

“How am I to know?”

"How am I to know?" is the ironic caption on William Hummer’s yearbook photo from Dover High School, class of 1941. William “Bill” Minton Hummer was killed in Operation Varsity in WWII at the age of 22. He was a stand-in for a regular crew member on an extremely dangerous mission, dropping supplies at tree-level to troops in heavy fighting in Germany just before the end of the war. According to the 44th Bomb Group historian, due to the risk of friendly-fire accidents, the B-24s on...
Maxwell House 42 94885
Maxwell House 42 94885
Maxwell House 42 94885
Maxwell House 42 94885
Maxwell House 42 94885
Maxwell House 42 94885
Maxwell House 42 94885
Maxwell House 42 94885
Maxwell House 42 94885
Maxwell House 42 94885
Maxwell House 42 94885
Maxwell House 42 94885

“Maxwell House”

The desperate search for 2nd Lt. Peter Pokrifcsak The letter was dated July 2, 1944.  Like so many tens of thousands written during the War, it was a plea for information, any information at all.  It was written by Ellen Kroboth, girlfriend of 2nd Lieutenant Peter G. Pokrifcsak and friend of his family. (Ellen's last name is misspelled in the typed letter.) Chaplain Frank L. Whitney: I am writing on behalf of Lt. Peter Pokrifcsak’s family and myself.  We want to thank you very...
WINDYCITY1 B24bestweb
WINDYCITY1 B24bestweb
WINDYCITY1 B24bestweb
WINDYCITY1 B24bestweb
WINDYCITY1 B24bestweb

Three Sprained Ankles

Luck played such a large role in it all.  For some, Lady Luck frowned, but for others, she gave her friendliest smile.  Such was the case for a crew with the 451st Bomb Group of the 15th Air Force, B-24 tail # 42-7757, nicknamed “Windy City”. On June 6, 1944, flying back to Italy from their target, the oil fields of Ploesti, Romania, “Windy City” was hit by German anti-aircraft.  The bombardier, 2nd LT Alex Chesbowitz, told what happened next: And the luck of the crew of...
Ucla Royce Quad 1940s Lrg
Ucla Royce Quad 1940s Lrg
Ucla Royce Quad 1940s Lrg
Ucla Royce Quad 1940s Lrg
Ucla Royce Quad 1940s Lrg
Ucla Royce Quad 1940s Lrg
Ucla Royce Quad 1940s Lrg
Ucla Royce Quad 1940s Lrg

The World War II Dead of University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA)

More than 260 UCLA students, faculty  and alumni were killed in World War II; only Harvard University suffered more casualties.  As a two-time graduate of UCLA, I was honored to research every one of their stories in order to memorialize their sacrifices, their humanity, and their often heroic last acts. A summary of how and where they died provides a snapshot of the American military experience in World War II. My files consist of many hundreds of pages of military service records,...
flight-officer-ernie-phillips-and-b24-crew

Six B-24s From Baker Box Downed

The men - the boys, really - were right from Central Casting. An All-American crew. Ready and able for the mission of July 2, 1944. The pilot was 2nd LT Laurence Whittaker, of Little Rock, Arkansas. His fellow officers were Flight Officer Ernest C. Phillips, copilot, from Chester, Pennsylvania. The navigator was 2nd Lieutenant John F. Wark, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, and the bombardier was 2nd LT Russell M. Sharples, of Thorton, Ohio. Only LT Sharples was married. There were six...