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HALPRO KIA SS/PH Group


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#1 Kadet

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 03:26 AM

Recently, I was able to acquire this fascinating and rare group of medals (thanks again Robert). The recipient was a member of the HALPRO (short for Halverson Project) HALPRO was the first operational US bomber unit in the ETO, and was responsible for the FIRST raid on Ploesti on 6/12/1942. HALPRO eventually morphed in to the 376th BG....the Liberandos of "Lady be Good" fame. He served on Lt. Charles O. Brown's crew as the Navigator. HALPRO consisted of three 'Flights', "A" with 7 B-24's ; Flight "B" with 8 B-24's ; and Flight "C" with 7 B-24's'. Lt. Brown flew aircraft No. 7 in Flight "A". The name of the aircraft was "Eager Beaver" and was Serial No. 41-11600.

Anderson most likely made the raid on Ploesti aboard "Eager Beaver", but was KIA on HALPRO Mission No. 22 to Benghazi, Libya on July 13/14, 1942. Lt Brown's crew was shot down, but in the "List of Downed Aircraft, it shows that he was flying "Ole Rock", which was aircraft No. 4 in Flight "A," Serial No 41-11618. "Ole Rock", the plane in which Anderson died, is pictured below w/ the # 4 prominently displayed.

The medals themselves are great, consisting of a hand engraved BB&B Silver Star and Hand Engraved early serialized/enamel PH. I don't recall ever seeing a WWII posthumous BB&B Silver Star before, although I'm sure there are more out there. The SS serial # is 22808 and the PH serial # is 100212. I specifically collect named WWII BB&B Silver Star groups, so this one makes a great addition.

I have the SS GO info, have sent away to the Air Force for the citation, and have also ordered his IDPF and service record.

An interesting group to a veteran of the first US air strike against the Germans in WWII

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Edited by Kadet, 16 July 2011 - 03:37 AM.


#2 Kadet

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 03:26 AM

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#3 Kadet

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 03:26 AM

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#4 Kadet

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 03:27 AM

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#5 Kadet

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 03:27 AM

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Edited by Kadet, 16 July 2011 - 03:28 AM.


#6 Kadet

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 03:28 AM

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#7 scottplen

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 06:24 AM

Very nice!! :salute:

#8 jmar

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 06:42 AM

An excellent and historic group! :thumbsup: You probably already know this, but Lt. Anderson is listed on page 426 of Mingos, his Silver Star is also mentioned.

Thank you for sharing and for continuing the research on this honored vet.

#9 Kadet

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 07:30 AM

Thanks. The HALPRO raid against Ploesti was the ETO equivalent of the Doolittle Raid, and the medals themselves are just super....

#10 Kadet

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 07:31 AM

An excellent and historic group! :thumbsup: You probably already know this, but Lt. Anderson is listed on page 426 of Mingos, his Silver Star is also mentioned.

Thank you for sharing and for continuing the research on this honored vet.



I did NOT know this, but will walk to my shelf and look him up!

#11 DakotaDave

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 10:01 AM

Great group, congrats on the purchase.
I was able to find a list of the Halverson Project personnel at the following website , unfortunately Malcolm R. Anderson was not one of those listed.
To access website: ploesti.com then click on "The Ploesti Roster" then click on "To view the PDF click here" then click on "The roster of the Halverson Project No. 63 A-Z".
Love those early hand engraved Silver Stars.

Regards
DakotaDave

#12 Kadet

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 04:39 AM

I was able to pick up a copy of the oop Liberandos unit history. It confirms the HALPRO crew rosters, to include Anderson, and mentions Anderson in other places. The book also gives a very good description of his last mission. Ole Rock was participating in a raid on Benghazi. The mission was recalled, but the Brown crew didn't receive the transmission. They pressed on by themselves, and were brought down when a flak round burst in the cockpit. Some of the crew escaped by parachute, including the pilot C.O. Brown. He later died of his wounds. Anderson was apparently killed instantly.

The history book turned in to an unexpected score as well. I bought it dirt cheap on Amazon.com. The edition I got apparently belonged to one of the 376 BG pilots, and had correspondence and a crew picture stuck inside that the seller didn't notice...

Edited by Kadet, 23 July 2011 - 04:59 AM.


#13 bmbrzmn101

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 06:20 AM

Kadet, Very nice group there. I used to fly in airshows with a man who was a HALPRO member B24 pilot. Had some very interesting conversations with him.

Chris

#14 KySoldier

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 02:51 AM

Great grouping to a true Hero !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#15 gettysburg

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 02:31 PM

HI,
I have a Silver Star PH pair to Corp. Donald J. Perry who was also on this plane as a Tail Gunner he was from Battle Creek MI. The Silver Star is a BB&B #32246 and PH# 154828 both are hand engraved. The Silver Star was awarded in G.O. #17 USAMEAF Egypt.

#16 decwriter

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 06:45 AM

I began researching 1st Lieutenant Malcolm R. Anderson, U.S. Army, roughly 26 months ago.  He is listed under the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) as Killed In Action from New York County, New York with ASN O-388723.  He is the only Malcolm R. Anderson on the World War II Memorial Registry and there aren’t any American Battle Monuments Commission references either.  I’ll get to that later.  

 

His headstone doesn’t have Silver Star or Purple Heart on it.

 

He was the Navigator-Bombardier on the Charles O. Brown, Jr. crew when B-24 Serial No. 41-11600 “Eager Beaver” went down due to AAA fire on 13 July 1942 over Benghazi, Libya.  This B-24 was the only one lost on that mission and according to the comments by others who survived, they stated seven chutes were seen exiting the aircraft. 

In Ed Clendenin’s new book, The Other Doolittle Raid, released in 2017, he references on 13 Jul 1942 “Five HALPRO B-24s attacked Benghazi.  Unfortunately, HALPRO lost another plane and crew – Charles Brown and Eager Beaver.”  Then he provides data from George Richardson’s unpublished book, The Forgotten Force as to what happened on that date.  “It was known that ack-ack and pursuit were plenty hot because the boys had hit the place at noon.  Ferdinand Schmidt had said that apparently an eighty-eight millimeter anti-aircraft shell had gone right through the flight deck, the ship going out of control.  Some of the crew bailed out and were picked by launch below.  We later learned that Charlie had died in a German hospital in Benghazi.  The Red Cross stated that he had received the very best medical attention.” 

So, I know basically what happened to the Charles O. Brown, Jr. crew, but not what Lt Anderson received a Silver Star Medal for.  I’ve seen reference to the men receiving the Silver Star Medal for the first mission on 12 Jun 1942 under General Order No. 17, dated 23 Sep 1942, Headquarters, United States Army Forces In The Middle East, and typed up versions that reflected the same.  But, I hadn’t seen the actual General Order (GO) in its original format, so I asked a historian friend of mine if it could be located.  He came through for me and sent the document. 

 

I tried to unravel why Lt Anderson received the Silver Star Medal (SSM) under General Order No. 17, dated 23 Sep 1942, Headquarters, United States Army Forces In The Middle East, using ASN 0-789038.  That General Order lists 50 members who were awarded the SSM, but references “having been cited for gallantry in action under General Order No. 4, dated 19 August 1942, Headquarters, United States Army Middle East Air Force are awarded the Silver Star decoration.”  On the first page of the GO, the men are listed in rank precedence, followed by alphabetic precedence, and begin with Colonel Harry A. Halverson and end on page two with Corporal Joseph (NMI) Troyanowski.  This further complicated my research in determining what the 50 men received the SSM for as the mission wasn’t referenced.  So, I began reading through books related to the Halverson Detachment in World War II.  The book, The Liberandos by James Walker has a plethora of information in it and early mission number specifics, but didn’t reveal any pertinent date on why the 50 men received the SSM.  Further digging was required.

 

I touched base with the Historian of the 376th Bomb Group, Edward F. Clendenin Jr., to find out if he had any further data on this crew who was lost so early in the war.  Ed had a document that erroneously listed Lt Anderson’s middle initial as D. versus R.  I notified him of the error and it was corrected on the 376BG website.  Ed authored 376th Bomb Group Mission History, up to its third edition now, and has a detailed listing on mission specifics that he’s worked on for many years.  His detailed book lists the Brown Crew flying on the first HALPRO mission on 12 Jun 1942 on Ploesti, Romania through their last mission on 13 Jul 1942, when “Eager Beaver” was lost.  I asked him why Lt Anderson buried at Long Island National Cemetery, New York was listed under NARA with ASN 0-388723 as this conflicted with the ASN provided in the GO for the SSM.  He wasn’t aware of the ASN variation and thought it was strange as well.  Ed provided what data he had and wished me well in my research.

 

Then I contacted Ed Biegel, a World War II researcher to locate any files on Lt Anderson in the hopes that I’d find the data and discrepancy on the ASN variation.  Ed stated it would take some time and he would do due diligence in locating all he could for me.  That was March 2016.

 

In the meantime, I continued to try to find anyone who shared in the SSM with the 50 men and if any citation existed under GO Number 4.  That was more challenging than I thought.  The book AMERICAN HEROES of the WAR IN THE AIR by Howard Mingos was a good place to start, based on early aviation decorations.  I cross referenced all 50 aviators in that book and discovered SSgt Irving Cutler wasn’t in the book at all.  This was probably an oversight.  First Lieutenant Richard G. Miller was listed in the book as a Distinguished Flying Cross recipient, but not a SSM recipient, but he did share in the award on GO Number 4.  All recipients under that GO, with the exception of Cutler, are in Mingos’ book with their names and decorations that span from pages 409 to 472.

 

The only citation contents I could locate in Mingos’ book was for TSgt Gus D. Portl, who was the aerial Engineer-Gunner on B-24 “Black Mariah II.”  His first name on GO Number 17 is listed as Gust versus Gus, but was probably a typo.  That citation covers the second mission on 15 June 1942, so I chalked it up as a GO that covered a variety of missions, but still sought an answer on Lt Anderson’s SSM.

 

Then I reached back to Ed Clendenin at the 376th Bomb Group to determine if Lt Brown’s crew took part in the 15 Jun 1942 raid on the Italian Fleet.  His records reflect that 5 B-24s from HALPRO took part in the raid.  Ed replied just to make sure we are on the same wave length, historians classify references as "primary" and "secondary."  His book and the The Liberandos book are "secondary" as they are based on other material.  He had never found the reference material used by James Walker as the book was written by a committee for the mission information.  He knew they made a major mistake by not listing the last mission flown by the 376th Bomb Group on April 15 1945.  That mistake propelled him to do his own research.  As to the June 15 mission, he had two primary sources.  George McGuire (Executive Officer of HALPRO, and upon the departure of Col Halverson, he became CO of the 1st Provisional group and then the 376th HBG) lists seven HALPRO pilots for the mission.  The two on his list and not on page two of Kalberer’s mission notes, are George Uhrich and C.O. Brown.  The second source is Kalberer.  Ed states, while it is true that he says “7” on page one, on page two he says 6 planes took off - 5 HALPRO and 1 RAF.  He took his “7” comment to refer to the briefing.  He had a third "secondary" source from another B-24 researcher who was focused on the British B-24 units in the Mediterranean.  His work states 7 HALPRO and ID's the 2 RAF planes.  Then I looked online at official history for the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in Jun 1942 and confirmed that seven planes from HALPRO and two RAF Liberators flew on the 15 Jun 1942 mission against the Italian Fleet.

 

The Liberandos book makes it a little clearer, although it’s secondary information.  On page 46 of that book, the mission details are as follows.  “Takeoff was briefed for 3:00 AM on June 15th with Colonel Halverson and Kal Kalberer in the lead of three elements.  The RAF supplied two LB-30s to make up the total of nine ships.  In command of the other HALPRO B-24s were: Paul Davis, Jim Sibert, John Payne, Charles Brown, George Uhrich and John Wilkinson.” 

 

Still trying to locate data on Lt Anderson, I resorted to Google Newspapers and received some hits.  Some of the articles from the newspaper mentioned Lt Anderson was on the first raid, which is confirmed in Ed Clendenin’s Mission History book and potentially on the second bombing raid.  One article stated “Anderson believed there” regarding the Italian Fleet bombing, but no positive proof was offered as it related that two lieutenants were part of the HALPRO unit as stated by their relatives. 

 

 

So, I began searching other HALPRO articles starting with Colonel Harry A. Halverson.  One of the articles had the caption “RAID LED BY HALVERSON, Cairo, September 23 – (AP) – Colonel Harry A. Halverson, commander of United States bombers in the Middle East theater, led in person the raid by American heavy bombers on the Rumanian oil fields last June 12, it was discovered today when he and 41 other American fliers were awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action.”  There it was in black and white, or so I thought.  But, the newspaper forgot the other nine men in GO Number 17! 

 

Then I started diligently focusing on newspaper research regarding Major Alfred Kalberer, because he was flight lead for the 12 Jun and 15 Jun 1942 bombings against Ploesti and the Italian fleet, in that order.  That’s when it all came together regarding mission data and who flew where.  In a newspaper article dated 17 Jun 1942, Major Kalberer mentioned two pilots who were in his “A” flight and they were Uhrich and C.O. Brown.  That data is not solid in Ed Clendenin’s research for the bomb group history.  I provided that proof to Ed Clendenin of the 376th Bomb Group and sent him a photo caption of the newspaper clip.

 

Then, I searched every crew member on the “Eager Beaver” against the Missing In Action listing for 13 Jul 1942 and the Brown Crew.  There was no data for some of the crew members.  Then I found several articles about SSgt Morris A. Cannon, who was the aerial Engineer-Gunner aboard the “Eager Beaver” on 13 Jul 1942.  One article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, dated 23 Jun 1942, ties SSgt Cannon and Lt Anderson when it’s mentioned that Lt Anderson is the Navigator on C.O. Brown’s crew with SSgt Cannon.  In an article in the Pittsburgh Press dated 20 Mar 1943, SSgt Cannon’s parents are accepting the SSM from Lieutenant Colonel Joseph H. Carr.  The same article details what SSgt Cannon received the SSM for and it was the 15 Jun 1942 raid against the Italian Fleet.  The part of the citation you can read in the article is verbatim with TSgt Gus D. Portl verbiage.  One article also mentions three Pittsburgh Airmen and one from Elkins, PA that received the SSM for the same 15 Jun 1942 mission. 

 

The article had verbiage about citations for Lt Cecil E. Patterson, Jr., Sgt. Robert NMI Kessler, SSgt David A. Tunno and Lt Harry W. Bert, Jr.  The article states Lt Patterson and Sgt Kessler were cited specifically for “skilled handling of their planes and maintaining themselves in readiness at all times to replace any injured member in new combat.”  SSgt Tunno was commended for “maintaining his place with precision and perfect co-ordination,” and Lt Bert for his part in “co-ordinated efforts forcing the Italians to withdraw, and manning machine guns in the successful defense against enemy fighters.”  The problem with all of these is it’s a variation of verbiage used in an actual citation, but split by a member of the press.  Without having the GO in front of you, you’re left trying to solve the puzzle.

 

The article where the parents of SSgt Cannon received the SSM also state something I didn’t know at the time because I was so focused on researching Lt Anderson.  It stated SSgt Cannon was the lone survivor of the downed crew on 13 Jul 1942 on the daylight raid over Benghazi, Libya after being shot down when he bailed out at 27,000 feet.  He landed in the Mediterranean Sea 10 miles from shore.  He swam for two hours before being captured.  He was imprisoned at Dulag Luft and later was transferred to Stalag, Germany.  NARA shows he was at Stalag Luft 3 Sagan-Silesia Bavaria (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser) 49-11 and Returned to Military Control, Liberated or Repatriated with a latest report date of 9 Jul 1945.  His organization on NARA states 98th Bombardment, Heavy because that’s how the HALPRO Group deployed from Ft. Myers, FL on Headquarters Ninety Eighth Bombardment Group (H) AAF Army Air Base, Fort Myers, Florida, Special Orders No. 45, May 15 1942.

 

As I was researching further on Lt Anderson and the C.O. Brown Jr. Crew, I decided to go to New York City to see a retired and long-time Air Force friend of mine around July 4th of 2016.  My wife wanted to see some of her relatives in Long Island, so part of that vacation involved a trip to the Long Island National Cemetery to pay my respects to Lt Anderson.  I knew he was buried on 1 Jun 1948 and definitely brought home per the family’s wishes, but didn’t know where from.  I reached out prior to my trip to a friend who happens to be a historian at Arlington National Cemetery and asked him how I could find out that data.  He stated to call the cemetery and straight out ask them.  I did that and they stated he was reinterred from El Alia Cemetery, Algeria.  When we visited the Long Island National Cemetery I explained I was doing research on Lt Anderson and they showed me the burial card, but wouldn’t provide a copy of it or let me photograph it. 

 

Then, as luck would have it, and after I returned from the NY trip, the son of SSgt Morris A. Cannon posted a comment and the only known crew photo of C.O. Brown, Jr. on the 376BG website.  I was able to make contact with him and we emailed each other regarding his Dad and the crew of “Eager Beaver.”  I stated no one had produced nor posted a copy of General Order No. 4 for the 50 men on General Order No. 17, dated 23 Sep 1942, Headquarters, United States Army Forces In The Middle East.  I asked if he had a copy and he stated he’d look for it.  The next email I received from him was he had a clear copy of his Dad’s citation and it was for the mission on 15 June 1942 for bombing the Italian Fleet.  I asked him kindly for a copy and offered to pay for time, postage, etc. to secure it.  He sent me a copy by email and even sent a copy of the letter that his Mother had received from the Mother of Charles O. Brown, Jr. after the 15 Jun 1942 mission.  In the letter, it states that seven HALPRO B-24s took part in the mission and that SSgt Cannon was credited with shooting down a German plane.

 

Then I cross referenced everything I could for that mission and the 50 men who flew it.  What I came up with was most, if not all, of the men who flew on 15 Jun 1942 were the original ferry crews who brought the aircraft overseas in May 1942.  I bounced that off the crew list in The Liberandos book and with a few exceptions, it fit.

 

 

 



#17 decwriter

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 06:46 AM

See the listing below for placement.

 

HALPRO DETACHMENT - FAYID EGYPT

 

Seven plane formation of USAAF B-24 Bombers - flew 2nd mission on 15 June 1942 to attack Italian Fleet operating in the Mediterranean Sea and received Silver Star Medals.

Plane/Crew Listing below from Liberandos book by James W. Walker pages 17-20. Crew numbers 1-7 are simply a way for me to rack and stack them.

 

Crew 1:                Aircraft No. 1       “A” FLIGHT        “Old Faithful” Serial No. 41-11595

Alfred F. Kalberer, Major                 Pilot

Harry A. Halverson, Colonel            CO of HALPRO / 1st Provisional Bomb Gp

Richard L. Rhoades, 1st Lt               Co-Pilot

Francis B. Rang, Captain                            Navigator/Bombardier

Lacey A. Whitley, SSgt                     Engineer

Anderson T. Patrick, Sgt                            Radio Operator

Robert J. Coutre, Corporal               Armorer

James R. Peterson, Corporal            Gunner

 

Crew 2:                Aircraft No. 4       “A” FLIGHT        “Ole Rock” Serial No. 41-11618

George A. Uhrich, 1st Lt                             Pilot           

Ferdinand R. Schmidt, 1st Lt            Co-Pilot

Allen V. Hopkins, 1st Lt                             Navigator/Bombardier

Louie L. Walters, SSgt                      Engineer

Douglas H. Williams, SSgt               Radio Operator

David A. Tunno, SSgt                      Gunner

John M. Thompson Jr., Corporal     Passenger on overseas trip / maybe Armorer on raid?

 

 

Crew 3:                Aircraft No. 7       “A” FLIGHT        “Eager Beaver” Serial No. 41-11600

Charles O. Brown, Jr., 1st Lt            Pilot

John R. Taylor, 1st Lt                       Co-Pilot

Malcom R. Anderson, 1st Lt             Navigator/Bombardier

Morris A. Cannon, SSgt                             Engineer

Irving NMI Cutler, SSgt                    Radio Operator             

Harold L. Osgood, Corporal             Armorer

Donald J. Perry Jr., Corporal            Gunner / replaced Robert E. Thompson (original crew)?

 

Crew 4:                Aircraft No. 3       “B” FLIGHT        “Yank” Serial No. 41-11625

Paul F. Davis, Major                         Pilot

Edward A. Crouchley, 1st Lt            Co-Pilot

William R. Joyner, 1st Lt                            Navigator/Bombardier

Joe C. Saia, Sgt                                 Engineer

Joseph P. Komurke, TSgt                           Radio Operator / replaced Raul R. Venegas (original crew)?

Ralph NMI Alexander, SSgt             Armorer

Edward F. Weingart, Sgt                            Gunner

 

 

 

Crew 5:                Aircraft No. 9       “B” FLIGHT        “Queen B” Serial No. 41-11591

James W. Sibert, Major                     Pilot

Richard G. Miller, 1st Lt                             Co-Pilot

Harry W. Ebert Jr., 1st Lt                           Navigator/Bombardier

Claudie F. Anglin, SSgt                    Engineer

Noel W. Meek, SSgt                          Radio Operator

James R. Milliren, SSgt                     Armorer

Anthony NMI Filippi, Corporal                 Gunner

 

Crew 6:                Aircraft No. 21     “B” FLIGHT        “Babe the Big Blue Ox” Serial No. 41-11602

John W. Wilkinson, Captain             Pilot

John R. Wilcox, 1st Lt                      Co-Pilot

Walter L. Shea, 1st Lt                       Navigator/Bombardier

Albert S. Fisher, SSgt                       Engineer

Roy R. Taylor, SSgt                         Radio Operator

Charles E. Salmon Jr., Sgt                Armorer

Joseph NMI Troyanowski, Corporal         Gunner

 

Crew 7:                Aircraft No. 18     “C” FLIGHT        “Black Mariah II” Serial No. 41-11593

John H. Payne, Major                       Pilot

Cecil E. Patterson Jr., 1st Lt             Co-Pilot

Olen C. Bryant, 1st Lt                      Navigator/Bombardier

Gus D. Portl, TSgt                                      Engineer

Robert NMI Kessler, Sgt                             Radio Operator

James H. Leaman, SSgt                     Armorer

John J. Beatty Jr., Corporal              Gunner

 

Two – RAF LB-30s from the Royal Air Force

_________________________________________________________________

 

Planes by Group No. according to the 376th Bomb Group Mission History (Third Edition) by Ed Clendenin, Jr. are below, BUT seven planes conducted the raid with two RAF LB-30s to make up a total of nine planes, noted on page 46 of Liberandos.  So, two aircraft by name aren’t accounted for in Clendenin’s book, but crews for Eager Beaver and Ole Rock received SSMs. It can be assumed they flew their dedicated aircraft, but not 100% sure!

 

Clendenin’s book page 14 - Mission 2

 

Group 1 - A. F. Kalberer

41-11595 Ole Faithful

Group 9 – J. W. Sibert                                                  Group 3 - P. F. Davis

41-11591 Queen B/ Lorraine                                                   41-11625 Yank

Group 18 – J. H. Payne

* 41-11593 Black Mariah II

Group 21 – J. W. Wilkinson

41-11602 Babe the Blue Ox

 

*Also referred to as Black Maria II in Ed Clendenin’s book, but Liberandos by James Walker refers to aircraft as Black Mariah II.

 

“A” FLIGHT wingmen Lt. Ulrich and Lt. C.O. Brown, Jr. are noted in a newspaper article dated 17 Jun 1942 and is what was quoted by Maj Kalberer.  He also stated Maj Davis led “B” FLIGHT and Maj Payne led “C” FLIGHT.

 

So, there’s my answer to the crew listing and the 50 men on the SSM list.

 

Now, back to the HALPRO member who started it all for me!

 

The official MIA telegram for Lt Anderson was sent to the family on July 17, 1942.  The KIA telegram was sent on October 6, 1942.

In looking for where the other crew members were buried, I found that Lt Taylor, SSgt Cutler and SSgt Perry’s remains were memorialized at the North African American Cemetery in Carthage, Tunisia.  Lt Brown is buried in his home state in Nebraska, and Corp Osgood is buried at the Golden Gate National Cemetery in CA.

 

In March of 2017, the file arrived from Ed Biegel after I returned from a deployment and I was able to find out the details about Lt Anderson.  In the paperwork sent, there was a translation of photostatic copy of death certificate and it begins “Copy of death certificate, issued by the Minister of War for Second Lieutenant Malcolm Anderson, 0739088, Pilot, as registered by the Command Piazza De Bengasi, on Page 2, No. 2

 

Second Lieutenant Malcom Anderson, Pilot, U.S.A. 0739088, died on July 13, 1942, in the locality of Suami el Tica.  The said Malcom Anderson drowned by falling in the ocean with his damaged (plane?) and was buried at Bengasi, Christian Cemetery, Tomb 16.  /s/ Lt. Col Filibero Zucca

 

So, here’s another ASN to deal with! 

On the report of death by the War Department (Copy For Army effects Bureau), his ASN is correctly identified as 0-388723, but the paperwork that flows from the Middle Eastern Theater on a form dated 16 September 1943, states “A.S.N. of 1st. Lt. Malcolm R. Anderson, deceased, previously recorded a this office as 0-789038, has been re-checked with 376th Bomb Group.  Correct number is found to be 0-789088.

The attempt to correctly identify Lt. Anderson by his true ASN remains on paperwork through 1944 and is on some correspondence from the War Department as late as 1947.

This became an issue when the family reached out looking for Lt. Anderson’s effects after his death in 1942 that ran its course until January1945.  In those letters to and from the War Department, the ping-pong game was due to the multiple ASNs used in the correspondence by all parties.

Then in a letter to the War Department from his sister, she states “Lt Anderson’s serial number was 0-789088, and just before his death was changed to 0-388723, which was his old R.O.T.C. number.”  At last, we have a “why” with the ASN change!

His sister did most, if not all, of the corresponding with the War Department, although his mother was listed as the beneficiary and nearest relative, with his father as an alternate beneficiary. 

That’s the ASN story and here’s the lengthy burial trail.  He was first buried “near Benghazi” according to a German report.  In a Burial Information Reported By The Enemy Form through the International Committee Red Cross, Geneva, Switzerland, his KIA date and ASN are correct, but in the Remarks section it states “Previously reported as English in English Dead List No. 89/108.”

The next document, from May of 1943, shows First burial was at Benghazi mil Cemetery at Plot 1, Row D, Grave 16.  On 22 Apr 43 body was re-interred to Plot number 3, Row A, Grave 7, Plot 3 is the American Plot at Benghazi Cemetery.

On August 19, 1943 he is dis-interred from British Military Cemetery, Benghazi, Plot 3, Row A, Grave 7, although the previous document stated it was an American Cemetery, and re-interred to the American Military Cemetery, Benghazi.  He is placed in Grave 11, Row G, marked with a Cross, and Harold L. Osgood is buried on his right in Grave 12 and Charles O. Brown Jr., is buried on his left in Grave 10.

On September 9, 1946, he is dis-interred from the Benghazi Cemetery after that cemetery is closed and re-interred at the U.S. Military Cemetery, Heliopolis, Egypt.  He is buried in a coffin and his marker is a Flush slab w/Cross and he is placed at Row P, Grave No. 2.

His final movement overseas is when he is dis-interred from the U.S. Military Cemetery, Heliopolis, Egypt and re-interred on 27 March 1947 at the U.S. Military Section, El-Alia Cemetery, Algiers, Algeria.  He is placed in Plot 12B, Row No. 3, Grave No. 29. 

On 10 March 1947, the government sent a letter to the family and told them where Lt Anderson was interred.  The letter assured the family he is identified and interred with dignity and solemnity, and under the constant care and supervision of United States military personnel.

 On 12 September 1947, the government sent a letter to the family explaining several options to them as to the remains and a final burial of the heroic dead of World War II regarding Lt Anderson.  The letter states to select an option as to whether the family wants him brought home or left in place.  They also wanted a reply within 30 days to avoid unnecessary delays after their decision.  Mrs. Anderson signed the paperwork on October 3, 1947.

At the direction of his next of kin (his mother; his father had died in 1944), his remains were dis-interred from Algiers.  The U.S. Disinterment Directive is dated November 15, 1947 and Lt Anderson is disinterred from El Alia Cemetery on 14 January 1948.  His remains were brought to Port Storage that same day and remained there until being accepted to begin the long trek home aboard the USAT Barney Kirschbaum, a ‘Victory’ class cargo ship reconfigured for use as a mortuary vessel. 

The ship arrived at the New York Port of Embarkation, Brooklyn, NY on May 14, 1948 and from there the remains were sent by train to the Long Island National Cemetery in final preparation for his last burial.  His military escort was 1st Lieutenant Richard O. Ransbottom, AO-42231, USAF, and his final resting place is the Long Island National Cemetery is Section H, Grave No. 9731 with a burial date of 1 June 1948.   He’s where his family wanted him and where we can honor him.

Here’s what really interesting in the papers I received from the researcher.  The next to the last page of Lt Anderson’s file is an Index Sheet Synopsis dated 23 Jun 1947.  Here it is verbatim below.

 

 

FROM: OQMG.

TO        Mr. Morris A. Cannon, Clairton, Pa.

RE:       Investigation is being conducted by this office to determine the identity of an Unk American Airman, believed to be one of the deceased crew members of the aircraft shot down in the Benghazi area, 13 Jul 42, with a crew of seven………



#18 decwriter

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 06:48 AM

That triggered a NARA request for SSgt Morris A. Cannon and his documentation narrowed down further information I was seeking.

This is where the paperwork gets confusing as 50 men were awarded the SSM.  But a newspaper article stated Col Harry Halverson and 41 other American fliers were awarded the medals.  When I received the records for SSgt Cannon the answer was right in front of me.

 

 

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  • SSMs for 23 Sep 1942.jpg


#19 decwriter

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 06:51 AM

The reason the newspapers covered it that way is because eight of the American fliers were Missing in Action and seven of them were from the Charles O. Brown Jr. crew.  One MIA was from another crew that went down on 9 July 1942.  The newspaper did goof as the official document states Col Halverson Returned to the United States, so technically they shouldn’t have included him in the article as he wasn’t present either.  He received his SSM in Dec 1942.

Official War Department letters were sent as early as Dec 1942 to Cannon’s parents stating he’d received the SSM for his actions on 15 Jun 1942.  SSgt Cannon’s SSM is numbered 22804 and it was presented in Mar 1943 to his parents.  Lt Anderson’s SSM is four digits off from this one and is 22808.

Then I had the good fortune of touching base with the son of a HALPRO pilot and he sent me the actual citation for Lt Anderson on Christmas Eve, 2017.  Here it is and the puzzle is solved.  RIP Lt Anderson...

 

 

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  • Anderson.jpg


#20 hmmca

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 07:37 AM

Great info and awesome grouping

Thanks for sharing

#21 Kadet

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 08:16 AM

Well done! Those medals truly found the right home

#22 Dave

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 11:40 AM

Wow...impressive research!!!



#23 KASTAUFFER

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 12:17 PM

Nice work Randy!

Kurt

#24 Hermanus

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 02:39 PM

Great research Randy. I love the story.

Regards
Herman

#25 decwriter

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 02:56 AM

Although not listed in the books regarding Uhrich and Brown, here are Major Kalberer’s comments in a newspaper article on 17 Jun 1942 about the bombing mission against the Italian Fleet.

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