Re:From a B-24 crash site, south Italy, 16 july 1943
Thanks to a Google translation I have now read your web page on the loss of the Prchal and Payne crews on 11 January 43. You have done an excellent job.
I have done quite a bit of research on the Halverson Detachment and perhaps can add a line or two to your story. Johnny
Payne and Dick (Candy)Sanders were the best of friends. They had flown together since before WW2 and were inseparable. Louis Prchal was Sanders’ original co-pilot on Halpro #22, MALICIOUS (41-110603).
As you note, Sanders was also on the Naples mission and watched helplessly as his best friend and his former co-pilot were both shot down before his eyes. This was a real blow to Sanders and in fact when I interviewed him 30 years later as a retired Major General he asked that I turn off the tape recorder before discussing the mission. "I’ll never get through this without breaking up", he said. And he did.
I attach a candid shot taken in Cairo of Payne and Sanders horsing around with swords, and another taken at Fort Myers as the Halpro planes got ready to leave the States. Payne and Sanders are the two officers in the middle row. The man on the right in the back row may be Prchal but I am not positive about this.