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Bill’s blog archive: Daily Posts

Fred Koebig, UCLA WWII Casualty

PRESS RELEASE: UCLA Alumni Assoc. Honors World War II Casualties in Veterans Day Event, Beigel to Speak

  Press Release: WWII Researcher and Historian Bill Beigel Presents Research of 273 UCLA Bruins Killed in World War II Click here to reserve your tickets for the event. Click here for complete event...
Beigel Workshop Fb Ad Parchment 2

WORKSHOP: WW2 Military Records Research | Torrance CA, 8/17/17

Register Below "Researching the Silent Generation: Solving the Mysteries of WW2 Military Service" Last Day to Register! Do you have a family member who served in the U.S. military in World War II? Have you been searching for information about their service? If so, plan to attend Bill Beigel’s WW2 Military Records Research Workshop on August 17 at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center, Torrance, California. If you're like most people, you probably know very little about your...
Joseph H Reus Wwii

Shot Down Twice

People who visit ancient battlefields or ruins of ancient cities will see evidence of great dramas played out, but they may be left with many more questions than answers. Who were the actual men who fought in the wars? What were their experiences? Their thoughts? Their fears? Who were their families and their friends? Sadly, the answers to most questions like this are lost in the distant past. Fortunately for me, I am an historian who researches the American flyers of the 8th Air Force,...
Captain Jack Engman
Captain Jack Engman
Captain Jack Engman
Captain Jack Engman

1 P-47 Destroyed: The story of Captain Jack Engman

By the time he left his base in England for another raid against German targets in Normandy on July 27, 1944, Captain Jack W. Engman was a veteran: a veteran in an Air Corps with so many young flyers that it was called “The Kiddie Corps.” Engman was a 20-year resident of the Los Angeles area and a graduate of Audubon Middle School and Washington High School. He entered the Air Corps at March Field in Riverside on September 26, 1941, and completed his flight training at Luke Field, in...
Paul.j.stach .02
Paul.j.stach .02
Paul.j.stach .02

A Matter of Seconds

The target for June 6, 1944 was a road junction at Caen, France. The B-26 “Marauders” of the 323rd Bomb Group were on their way to Normandy. The plan called for bombing from 12,000 feet, but poor weather caused the Marauders to come down lower: much lower. The tail gunner of the crew of B-26 tail # 41-31961, Staff Sergeant George W. Fobes, described what happened next: “…as we came over the French coast we were shot at by 40mm guns. The gun fire lasted about 1 minute and as we...
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...
American Legion Badge1
American Legion Badge1
American Legion Badge1
American Legion Badge1

Brooklyn honors immigrant son, SGT John Sardiello

SGT John Sardiello was born on August 17, 1918.  Like many of the men who served in World War 2, he was the descendant of immigrants. His parents, Joseph and Mildred (Millie), came to the United States in 1913.  Joseph Sardiello established a mattress-making business in Brooklyn. On January 24, 1941, Sardiello entered the Army, and was assigned I Company of the 119th Infantry Regiment, part of the 30th Infantry Division He was killed in the ferocious post D-Day fighting in the...
Francis Brown Wai, Medal of Honor Winner
Francis Brown Wai, Medal of Honor Winner
Francis Brown Wai, Medal of Honor Winner
Francis Brown Wai, Medal of Honor Winner
Francis Brown Wai, Medal of Honor Winner
Francis Brown Wai, Medal of Honor Winner
Francis Brown Wai, Medal of Honor Winner
Francis Brown Wai, Medal of Honor Winner

Medal of Honor Recipient Capt. Francis Wai

Francis Brown Wai was born on April 14, 1917, in Hawaii. Francis was the son of Kim Wai and Rosina Wai. Kim Wai had immigrated to Hawaii from China; in Hawaii, where he established himself as a successful banker and was both well-known and well-regarded. Francis, Kim's eldest child, had three brothers and one sister. Francis was an avid athlete and graduated from Hawaii's elite Punahou High School in 1935. He attended Sacramento Junior College from 1936 - 1937, where he played quarterback in...
333rd FS, 318th FG, 7th Army Air Force
333rd FS, 318th FG, 7th Army Air Force
333rd FS, 318th FG, 7th Army Air Force
333rd FS, 318th FG, 7th Army Air Force
333rd FS, 318th FG, 7th Army Air Force

Memorial Day: 1945

Memorial Day, May 30, 1945.  The War in Europe is over, but the bloody struggle in the Pacific continues on, with no end in sight. P-47 "Jugs" of the 318th Fighter Group were raiding targets on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu.  This mission was a so-called “Heckler” mission. These raids had no specific target; the intent was to harass and attack whatever target they might come across. The weather was bad; it was listed as “completely closed in” at the base of the 318th on the...
Just Plain Lonesome Nichols Crew
Just Plain Lonesome Nichols Crew
Just Plain Lonesome Nichols Crew
Just Plain Lonesome Nichols Crew
Just Plain Lonesome Nichols Crew

“Presumed Deceased, Remains Not Recovered”

It was Tuesday, May 30, 1944.  Memorial Day. 83 B-17’s of the 1st Bombardment Division were in the air. Their target was the aircraft industry factories at Dessau, Germany, where the Elbe and Mulde rivers converge in Saxony. According to Squadron records, the crew of B-17 tail # 42-39975, nicknamed “Just Plain Lonesome”, of the 1st Bombardment Division’s 91st Bomb Group, had averaged 16 missions flown each.  A tested, veteran crew. But at about 11:15 AM, the ‘Flying Fort’...
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