Photos of Crews: 831st Squadron
Abbott crew-831st Sqdn-Replacement Crew
Front Row, Left to Right: Philip Cadenhead, tailgunner; Fred Sherer, top gunner; Alton Tice, nosegunner, Robert Suberian, ballgunner; and Bill Brokaw, radio operator/waist gunner. Back Row, Left to Right: Arthur Bloom, navigator; David Blood, copilot; Curtis Abbot, pilot; James Beck, bombardier. Missing from the photo is Richard Tufts, engineer/waist gunner. Abbotís crew joined the 485th in August, 1944. Their assigned plane was Star Dust. David Blood later became a 1st pilot and got his own crew, taking Fred Sherer with him. Blood and Sherer went down over Yugoslavia on the 12/26/44 mission to Blechhammer, but they (and the rest of that crew) were found by the Partisans, and returned safely to Italy. Several were still in Venosa at warís end and were nearly finished with their missions.
Bacorn crew-831st Sqdn-Replacement crew
This crew was a replacement crew and was still in Italy when the war ended. Front Row, Left to Right: Robert Jennings, radio operator; Ken Baird, gunner; Wendell Burton, flight engineer; John Cox, gunner; Robert Mahoney, gunner and Frank Nose, gunner. Back Row, Left to Right: Sherman Swartz, copilot; Theodore Sherbow, navigator; Leonard Caplan, bombardier and Richard Bacorn, pilot.
Baker crew-831st Sqdn-Replacement crew
Front Row, Left to Right: George Abele, asst. crew chief; Richard McLawhorn, bombardier; Robert Baker, pilot; Hazen Suttkus, navigator; Jim Scheib, copilot and James Houlihan, crew chief. Back Row, Left to Right: B.W. Nauman, engineer; Bill Argie, ballgunner; Bill Miller, radio operator; Fred Hosier top gunner, John Manfrida, nosegunner, and Wayne Whiting, tailgunner. Bakerís crew joined the 485th in October, 1944, after coming overseas on the Liberty Ship Richard J.Gatling. In early 1945 they were assigned Tail Heavy as their plane. The crew flew the last mission of the war, to Linz, on 4/25/45. This was also the 100th mission for Tail Heavy. This last mission completed 35 sorties for Hazen Suttkus, and the rest of the crew had 31-34 sorties. The entire crew survived the war.
Blake crew-831st Sqdn-Replacement crew
Front Row, Left to Right: Robert Egan, top turret gunner; Frank Moore, engineer/waist gunner; Robert Sanford, nose gunner; Othmar Young, radio operator/waist gunner; Henry Tyminski, ball gunner, and Nathan Feiden, tail gunner. Back Row, Left to Right: William Blake, pilot; Frank Rubenstein, copilot; Howard Tannenbaum, bombardier, and Richard Stanley, navigator. This replacement crew arrived in Italy in October 1944.
Brown crew-831st Sqdn-Replacement crew
Front Row, Left to Right: Leland Dalby, navigator; Don Webb, copilot; Bob Brown, pilot, and Walter Savitski, bombardier. Back Row, Left to Right: Joseph Maull, tail gunner; Paul Knoll, nose gunner; Tom Straight, top turret; Ken Lawrence, radio operator; Ralph Raines, ball gunner, and Leo Michelac, engineer. This 831st replacement crew arrived in Italy in August of 1944. Don Webb later became the 1st pilot when Brown was transferred to headquarters. Ralph Raines flew 9 missions as an enlisted navigator when the squadron was short of navigators. The entire crew survived the war.
Cotton crew-831st Sqdn-Replacement crew
Front Row, Left to Right: George Balego, tail gunner; Cletus Harner, radio operator; Frank Chaffin, nose gunner; Calvin Kelly, top gunner; Lavern Bock engineer, and George Boatwright, ball gunner. Back Row, Left to Right: George Schutt, bombardier; Marvin Birken, copilot; Homer Cotton, pilot, and Lynn Cotterman, navigator. (Schutt didnít go overseas with this crew and Cotterman handled the bombardier duties, as well as navigation.) This crew arrived in February, 1945 and began flying missions shortly thereafter. The entire crew survived the war. The above photo was taken prior to shipment overseas.
Craighead crew-831st Sqdn-Original crew #78
Front Row, Left to Right: Kenneth Craighead, pilot; Edward Hammel, copilot; Stanley W. Plesnarski, bombardier, and Philip Higgins, navigator. Back Row, Left to Right: Ralph Wadlington, gunner; Wesley M. Wagner, radio operator; Fredrick A. Ricker, gunner; Robert B. Plocica, gunner; Walter L. Dougherty, gunner, and George A. Judd, engineer. Craigheadís crew was assigned Tail Heavy, which was one of 3 bombers in the 485th to later complete 100 missions. The photo was taken before the crew flew overseas. Hammel went overseas by boat and was killed when the Hamilton was sunk by enemy aircraft. Craighead didnít complete his missions and was replaced by Homer Disharoon. The crew flew with various copilots. Daugherty went down on the 8/7/44 mission to Blechhammer, while flying with Erhardtís crew, and survived the war as a POW.
Desjardins crew-831st Sqdn-Replacement crew
Front Row, Left to Right: Anthony Skarl, gunner, Joseph Boone, gunner; Lewis Kees, gunner: Wright (unknown first name) gunner, Stephen Levcik, flight engineer and Stanley Gluckmen, radio operator. Back Row, Left to Right: Robert Hermans, bombardier; Mel Olsen, navigator; Dale Marston, copilot and Earl Desjardins, pilot. At least most of the men on this crew were temporarly transferred to the 885th Bomb Squadron, stationed at Mason Blanche, Algiers. It's unknown if Olsen and Gluck transferred with the rest of the crew. DesJardins and his crew flew clandestine missions with the 885th and were all lost when they hit a mountain in southern France on a night mission on October 12, 1944.
Frels crew-831st Sqdn-Replacement crew
Front Row, Left to Right: John Krueger, ball gunner; Robert Boynton, nose gunner; Richard Barnes, radio operator; Donald Martin, tail gunner; Theoron Ivy, top turret, and Francis Winners, flight engineer. Back Row, Left to Right: Chester Cram, bombardier; Donald Vincent, navigator; Dennis Griggs, copilot, and Herbert Frels, pilot. This crew was an early replacement crew. They were shot down on the June 13, 1944 mission to the Milbertshofen Ordnance Depot in Munich, by German ME 109ís. Boynton was murdered on the ground by Nazi officials, as was Griggs. It's believed that Ivy was killed several days later by the same group of Nazis. The navigator died when his parachute didnít open. Frels crash-landed the plane, Gawgia Peach (42-52709) in a wheat field, believing others were still in the plane. The others survived the war as POWs.
Gillette crew-831st Sqdn-Replacement crew
Front Row, Left to Right: Robert Gillette, pilot; Harley Beard, copilot; Willis Bloomquist, navigator and Harry Twitchell, bombardier. Back Row, Left to Right: Tom Gigliotti, engineer; Jim Night, radio operator; John Driscoll, top gunner; John Hirsh, nose gunner; George Uroszek, ball gunner and Ed Wright, tail gunner. This crew was a replacement crew. On 12/18/44, returning from a mission to Blechhammer, they were forced to ditch in the Adriatic. Captain John Buker (pilot) was also flying with them on this mission, as was Jacob Bloomfield, a navigator from Schaeferís crew. Bloomfield, Gillette, and Twichell were killed. All the others were wounded. (Gigliotti and Night were not on the mission, Night having been replaced by Paul Doukas, who was also wounded.)
Hanson crew-831st Sqdn-Original crew #67
Front Row, Left to Right: John Woodward, navigator; J, Kitzmiller, substitute bombardier; John Hanson, pilot, and Ed Sibila, copilot. Back Row, Left to Right: Forrest Wallace, ballgunner; Raymond Root, top gunner; Norman Hoyer, tailgunner; Rodney Hufstader, nosegunner; Thomas Fry, radio operator, and Gilbert Smith, engineer. Not pictured: William Harrington, bombardier. Hansonís crew was an original crew. Their assigned plane was Hitlerís Egg Men. The entire crew completed 50 missions. An interesting sidelight to this story is that two of the gunners on the crew, Smith and Fry, returned from Italy to the U.S. by ship, upon completion of their missions. Both served aboard ship as prison guards for German POWís, who were being sent to POW camps in America.
Hasulak crew-831st Sqdn-Replacement crew
This crew arrived in Italy in July 1944. Front Row, Left to Right: Walter Partacz, flight engineer; Cloyd Hoskins, radio operator; Ernie Prantis, nose gunner; Wade Allen, tail gunner; Gino Chiodetti, top turret gunner and Bill Hattaway, ball gunner. Back Row, Left to Right: Ed Siantz, navigator; Joe Hasulak, pilot; Hal Morrill, copilot, and Jim Hourihan, bombardier. This crew survived a mid-air collision on November 5, 1944 with another B-24 and the crew finished their missions.
Hess crew-831st Sqdn-Replacement crew
Front Row, Left to Right: Robert Cruickshank, tail gunner; Raymond Paneri, radio operator/waist gunner; John Mincheff, top turret gunner; Robert McIntyre, ball gunner; Russell Howard, nose gunner, and Lavern Butler, engineer, waist gunner. Back Row, Left to Right: James Schaeffer, copilot; Irving Reichbardt, bombardier; Glenn Hess, pilot, and Oliver Haden, navigator. This replacement crew arrived in December 1944. Haden often flew as a lead navigator with other pilots. Hess was also an instructor pilot. Reicharbardt was removed from the crew immediately after the crew arrived in Italy.
Jackson crew-831st Sqdn-Replacement crew
Front Row, Left to Right: Glen Bell, tailgunner; Harlen Tinney, engineer; Bob Halling, nosegunner; Jack Bremer, radio operator; John Sharp, top gunner, and Stanley Link, ballgunner. Back Row, Left to Right: Oliver Fisher, navigator; Otto W. Meyers, bombardier; Bob Hanson, copilot, and John Jackson, pilot. Jacksonís crew was a replacement crew and arrived at Venosa in September 1944. Their assigned aircraft was Bachelorís Roost, the name a result of the unmarried status of the crew. Bremer was one of the first men in the 485th trained in ďPantherĒ, a device designed to defeat the tracking of the radar-controlled anti-aircraft guns used by the Germans. Bremer completed his sorties earlier than the rest of the crew, having flown a few missions with other crews. The remainder of the crew completed their 35 sorties on 4/25/45, the last mission flown by the 485th.