Reply to post

Seeking any information on a B-24 crew of the 425th BS

Author
Bill Moeller / son of Robert J. Moeller 425th BS
Cadet
  • Total Posts : 4
  • Reward points : 28
  • Joined: 2013/05/27 21:05:12
  • Status: offline
2013/05/27 22:30:09 (permalink)
0

Seeking any information on a B-24 crew of the 425th BS

I am not sure why it took me some time to get up the nerve to write in, but Memorial Day has allowed me to push through the fear. I would be grateful to learn any information of the B-24 crew of the Esky Special from the 425th BS. My father, T/Sgt. Robert J. (Bob) Moeller was the radio operator on that crew. My Dad died in an accident / ? when I was six years old, leaving a wife and six children. Like many men from WWII, he did not talk about the war with my mother and was careful not to have her overhear details from his time in service. After receiving my Dad's medals after my mother passed away last year, I read everything in print I could get my hands on about Chennault's 308th BG. One of the things that has alluded me is any detail on a mission to Yochow on July 3, 1944. In a commendation letter from Colonel Fisher it states:
 
" In spite of adverse weather enroute the crews assembled, proceeded to and attacked the target successfully. Although there was no fighter cover provided and the rest of the formation did not make rendezvous, your squadron attacked as briefed in daylight and when intercepted by a large number of enemy fighters successfully repelled them, destroying some and returned safely with all planes and crews to their base."
 
Could this particular mission be the reason the crew was presented the DFC or was it more likely from completing all the required missions? Anything I could learn about other members of the crew would be appreciated, I have first names only.
Thank you for your time in advance,
Bill Moeller
 

Attached Image(s)

11 Replies Related Threads

    VitaminP
    Squadron Member
    • Total Posts : 55
    • Reward points : 3097
    • Joined: 2008/10/08 15:16:59
    • Location: New Orleans area
    • Status: offline
    Re: Seeking any information on a B-24 crew of the 425th BS 2013/05/28 11:51:56 (permalink)
    0
    Bill!
    Welcome to history. 
    I first learned of ESKY SPECIAL long ago by tripping over a photograph of it on the internet. Where I found it is lost in time, too, because it occurred before I started recording such data. The nose art name was similar to two other planes in the 308BG - ESKY in the 373BS and ESKY II in the 374BS.  The shark's mouth motif and the revetment it was in all "said" it was in China, too, most likely with the 308BG. In 1996, the 14th Air Force Association published its third volume of autobiographical sketches by members, sharing a bit of their military experiences and their post-war lives. That is where I found my only other reference to ESKY SPECIAL. Thurman G. Binkley wrote that he and his crew arrived in China in May 1944 in ESKY SPECIAL. The pilot was George Ignasiak (the name on the crew photo). Thurman appears to be the man standing, 2nd from the left.  He says the crew received the citation for "a mission over Hankow. Thirteen Zeros jumped four B-24s without fighter cover. Several Zeros were shot down, but they didn't lose a plane."
     
    I'll have to review the Mission Reports to identify the Hankow mission in question.
     
    More, later.
     
    Jack Gross
    son of S/Sgt. Herbert Gross, 375BS, engineer/gunner on Vitamin-P II and other B-24s in China, 1943-1944
     
     
    post edited by VitaminP - 2013/05/28 16:22:05

    Attached Image(s)

    B-24 Best Web
    AKA *BBW
    • Total Posts : 1248
    • Reward points : 9849
    • Joined: 2003/07/13 15:56:24
    • Location: Phoenix, AZ USA
    • Status: offline
    Re: Seeking any information on a B-24 crew of the 425th BS 2013/05/28 12:34:46 (permalink)
    0
    Featured on B-24 Best Web (Still Need S/N):
    PIC(s) and More Info on 308th BG's ESKY SPECIAL...
    http://www.b24bestweb.com/Pics-E-ES-EU.htm

    Daniel L. Stockton *B-24 Best Web "Over 12000 Images!!"...

    http://www.b24bestweb.com/
     
    Are you on FACEBOOK? "B-24 Discussion GROUP"...
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/b24bestweb/
    VitaminP
    Squadron Member
    • Total Posts : 55
    • Reward points : 3097
    • Joined: 2008/10/08 15:16:59
    • Location: New Orleans area
    • Status: offline
    Re: Seeking any information on a B-24 crew of the 425th BS 2013/05/28 16:34:17 (permalink)
    0
    Bill:
    The July 3 1944 Mission to Yochow was #167 to bomb railroad yards. Four B-24Js from the 425BS took off from Kunming in the afternoon and bombed the yards "with good results." Leaving the target area, they were beset by twelve Japanese interceptors (Zeros in the report, but more likely Ki-43 Oscars). One Japanese plane was "shot down in flames" by the bomber gunners. All planes returned to Kunming, but three were damaged in the aerial battle. There were no American casualties. The planes participating in the raid were:
    42-73250 BOOMERANG III
    42-73253 BURMA QUEEN
    42-73318 KRACHY KOURIER
    42-100235 LONESOME POLECAT Jr.
    [the Hankow raid is still being researched]
    Jack Gross
    Bill Moeller / son of Robert J. Moeller 425th BS
    Cadet
    • Total Posts : 4
    • Reward points : 28
    • Joined: 2013/05/27 21:05:12
    • Status: offline
    Re: Seeking any information on a B-24 crew of the 425th BS 2013/05/28 19:19:31 (permalink)
    0
    Hi Jack,
    Various photos sent back to my mom during the war have names written in the margins. A few have the name
    " Bink" on them. In the full crew photo my Dad, Bob Moeller, is standing far left. And from other photos, that would be Bink, Thurman Binkley, as you pointed out, standing next to him. A photo in the mix has written in that he was the crew Engineer.
    From the mission report, it appears that the crew of the Esky Special was using a borrowed B-24. That is one of the reasons I was never able to connect the Esky Special to that particular mission. It is great to see some pieces to the puzzle come together.
     
    Thanks and I await more bits and pieces,
    Bill Moeller
     
    tonystro
    Wing Member
    • Total Posts : 665
    • Reward points : 10328
    • Joined: 2005/04/25 23:56:55
    • Status: offline
    Re: Seeking any information on a B-24 crew of the 425th BS 2013/05/28 22:26:12 (permalink)
    0
    Bill & Jack,
     
    I have extracted the unreadable Mission #167 Report (4 pages) and another 17 supplemental pages (readable) from the History Microfilm CD (B0228-0760 thru 0780); and saved as a PDF.  Unfortunately, it is 7.6 megabytes in size, too large to post to the forum or in a Private Message.
     
    Bill, please PM me your email address and I will send it to you.
     
    Jack, I know you can look it up, but will email to you anyway.

    Tony Strotman, MSgt (ret.), USAF
    Son of T/Sgt Francis E. Strotman, Engineer-Gunner,
    491st Bm Sq / 341st Bm Gp (M), Yangkai, China
    "USAAF in CBI Tribute" http://www.usaaf-in-cbi.com
    VitaminP
    Squadron Member
    • Total Posts : 55
    • Reward points : 3097
    • Joined: 2008/10/08 15:16:59
    • Location: New Orleans area
    • Status: offline
    Re: Seeking any information on a B-24 crew of the 425th BS 2013/05/29 02:34:49 (permalink)
    0
    Bill:
    Here's a long shot - could the officer kneeling, 2nd from left, be 2nd Lt. Bernard Berman - navigator?  If so, the enlisted man standing at the far right might be James Vaughn. Do those names connect with any info you have?
    As for not flying ESKY SPECIAL on the Yochow mission, Gen. Chennault rejected the concept of officers and enlisted crews "having" an airplane. Some crews tended to be kept intact - snooper (LAB radar) crews, for instance.  Crews were generally pieced together from squadron lists as needed, and they were assigned to whatever plane was ready to fly.  
    Unlike other theaters of operation, 308BG crewmen were not awarded a DFC for "merely" completing their tour. Some men flew thirty to fifty missions or more, and were awarded Air Medals with an Oak Leaf Cluster. DFCs were earned the hard way.
    Back to mission 167: Tony Strotman sent me Intelligence supplements to the Mission Report. It raises the number of Japanese planes shot down to 2 (1 "Tony" + 1 "Oscar") and three were damaged (2 "Tojos" + 1 "Oscar").  The supplements included the names of many enlisted men and some officers from the four planes.  If you can place any of them on the ESKY SPECIAL crew, then we'll know which bomber they were flying that day:
    42-73318 Steve Porubcansky, Charles M. Knapp, Charles D. Johnson (B)
    42-73250 Michael Phillips, LeRoy Skalecki,
    42-73253 Jerome R. Colombo, Joel B. Grayson (CP)
    42-100235 James B. Musgrave, Charles H. McCarty, Carl M. Styles
    Still planning to research that Hankow mission.
     
    Jack Gross
    Bill Moeller / son of Robert J. Moeller 425th BS
    Cadet
    • Total Posts : 4
    • Reward points : 28
    • Joined: 2013/05/27 21:05:12
    • Status: offline
    Re: Seeking any information on a B-24 crew of the 425th BS 2013/05/29 17:25:11 (permalink)
    0
    Jack:
     Here is what I have been able to connect with other photos in the collection;
    standing from left to right:
            Bob Moeller (RO), Bink (engineer), Mike, Tony (ball turret), Olie, Bob S. (tailgunner)
    kneeling second from left is pilot George Ignasiak ( Iggy ), next to the right, Hank (co-pilot), Bill (navigator)
      The other officer I have not made a definite placement, but other individual photos show a Steve and a George.
     
    I think the crew was assembled in the states and arrived together in China early May, 1944. Not sure how important it would have been to try to keep a crew operating together with 2 months experience. Do you think
    it was more common to put together individuals for missions or to try to keep complete crews intact?
     
    Bill

    Attached Image(s)

    tonystro
    Wing Member
    • Total Posts : 665
    • Reward points : 10328
    • Joined: 2005/04/25 23:56:55
    • Status: offline
    Re: Seeking any information on a B-24 crew of the 425th BS 2013/05/30 07:06:12 (permalink)
    0
    For whatever it might be worth -- in the photo of personnel posed beside Esky Special; based on uniforms the men on left of each row are probably Crew Chiefs or other support personnel.  The rest of the men appear to match the enlisted men in the back row of the "Ignasiak" crew photo.

    Tony Strotman, MSgt (ret.), USAF
    Son of T/Sgt Francis E. Strotman, Engineer-Gunner,
    491st Bm Sq / 341st Bm Gp (M), Yangkai, China
    "USAAF in CBI Tribute" http://www.usaaf-in-cbi.com
    Bill Moeller / son of Robert J. Moeller 425th BS
    Cadet
    • Total Posts : 4
    • Reward points : 28
    • Joined: 2013/05/27 21:05:12
    • Status: offline
    Re: Seeking any information on a B-24 crew of the 425th BS 2013/05/30 09:12:24 (permalink)
    0
    Hello,
    I did just come across this on a search for Thurman Binkley. Sorry to have missed an opportunity to talk with him.
     
     




     
     Mr. Thurman Gee Binkley Sr.May 21, 1923 - March 12, 2012

    Obituary


    Thurman G. Binkley Sr., 88, passed away March 12, 2012 at Springwood Care Center of Forsyth. He was born May 21, 1923 in Yadkin County to the late George D. Binkley Sr. and Mattie Hennings Binkley. Mr. Binkley was preceded in death by his wife of sixty eight years, Mary Hege Binkley. Mr. Binkley attended John W. Hanes High School and Wake Forest School of Business. He was employed by Hanes Hosiery in 1945. He retired in 1988 from the Sara Lee Corporation after 43 years of service. He was the Superintendent of the Finishing Department.
    He is survived by 4 sons, Thurman Jr. (Bookie) of High Point, Rodney and wife Susan of Clemmons, Robert (Rob) and wife Kathy of Cornelius, Daniel and wife Joan of Winston-Salem; one daughter, Martha and husband Matthew Martin of Greensboro; nine grandchildren and six great grandchildren; and one brother, James (Jim) Binkley of Dobson. In addition to his parents and wife, Thurman was preceded in death by one sister, Dixie Horton and 3 brothers, Thomas Binkley, Eldon Binkley, and George Binkley Jr. all of Winston-Salem.
    Mr. Binkley served in the Army/AirCorp in World War II from 1943 to 1945. He was a member of the Flying Tigers in the 14th Airforce. He was a trained aircraft engineer and Gunner on a B24. He flew 52 combat missions in China. Mr. Binkley received the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, China Service Medal, and Bronze Star. After his military service he became a licensed pilot and enjoyed flying his own plane.
    He loved sports and excelled at baseball when he was young. He played semi-pro ball, and on the Hanes Hosiery teams of the forties and fifties. After he retired he began playing golf and received trophies for making four holes in one. Later in his retirement he enjoyed gardening and raising boar goats.
    He and his wife Mary were members of Fair Oaks Chapel for over 40 years.
    The funeral service will be held Thursday, March 15 at 7 pm at Vogler & Sons Funeral Home, 2951 Reynolda Road with pastor's Thomas Shelton and Andy Hylton officiating. Visitation with family and friends will be immediately following the service. A private family graveside service will be held Friday morning at Forsyth Memorial Park. Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of the donor's choice.
    The family would like to recognize the staff of unit 4 at Springwood Care Center and the rehabilitation/restorative staff for the excellent end of life care they provided for Mr. Binkley.
    Online condolences to www.frankvoglerandsons.com
    tonystro
    Wing Member
    • Total Posts : 665
    • Reward points : 10328
    • Joined: 2005/04/25 23:56:55
    • Status: offline
    Re: Seeking any information on a B-24 crew of the 425th BS 2013/05/30 16:12:11 (permalink)
    0
    Thanks for posting the obit!

    Tony Strotman, MSgt (ret.), USAF
    Son of T/Sgt Francis E. Strotman, Engineer-Gunner,
    491st Bm Sq / 341st Bm Gp (M), Yangkai, China
    "USAAF in CBI Tribute" http://www.usaaf-in-cbi.com
    GARY IGNASIAK
    Cadet
    • Total Posts : 1
    • Reward points : 10
    • Joined: 2013/08/06 08:48:31
    • Status: offline
    Re: Seeking any information on a B-24 crew of the 425th BS 2013/08/06 08:58:50 (permalink)
    0
    Bill hi my name is Gary Ignasiak. my wife came across this forum this morn. I am the son of George Ignasiak. I have just gone thru the war records and such, we have that my father saved. We have flight log books, photos and a lot more. call me at 248-431-0384. As there is too much information here to try and list via this site. I know we can give you a lot of the information you are seeking. Look forward to hearing from you. Gary
    Jump to:
    © 2014 APG vNext Commercial Version 5.0