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Looking for information about Edward Riccio Jr

Discussion in 'Heavy & Very Heavy Bombers' started by BCNN, Oct 7, 2017.

  1. BCNN

    BCNN New Member

    I've got the chance to recently acquire a pilot navigation leather briefcase and a Pilot Information File (sold separetly by the same seller) in the USA. After receiving them, I've discovered the items were identified to "Edward Riccio Jr" (with his address). I've done a quick search on the net (thanks Google !), and I've found that :
    - Born 11/29/1919, passed away 11/23/2016
    - Enlisted sept 1940
    - He was a Pearl Harbor survivor
    - Later in the War, during a mission above the Fiji Islands, as he was a top turret gunner in a B-17 named "Calamity Jane", the plane was hitten by the Japaneses. As the pilot and co-pilot were killed, he succeed to land the aircraft. After that, he went to pilot school in Australia and became a B17 pilot.
    Unfortunately, I didn't succeed to find the date of this event ? Furthermore, I didn't find the unit of Edward Riccio Jr ?
    After the war, he was very active in the veteran's association (Pearl Harbor Survivor...)
    Do you have further informations about this american hero ?






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  2. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Likely some information you have already recovered.

    Findagrave Edward J Riccio, Jr https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=181061954 cadet pilot photo and caption added by me.

    Obituary http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/hartfordcourant/obituary.aspx?pid=182798035

    Army Air Forces service account and likely source of some of your images (including account of Guadalcanal crash landing) http://www.goldenkielbasa.org/honoredveterans/2014honoree.html

    NARA original enlistment record 9 August 1940 ASN: 11010262 https://aad.archives.gov/aad/record...&tf=F&q=11010262&bc=sl&rpp=10&pg=1&rid=366392

    408_Riccio_VFW - Copy.jpg
    Riccio, second from right, participating in a Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day VFW Event in Bristol.

    Regarding a B-17 named “Calamity Jane” according to Dave Osborne's Fort Log there were at least 6 Fort who sported this name. Only 1 from this record was assigned to the PTO but the description of fate (which is mixed) does not fit this Guadalcanal crash landing scenario but here it is anyway:
    41-2440 Del Salt Lake SAD 21/1/41; Ass 40RS/19BG Hickam 26/12/41; tran (42BS) 38BS/11BG; then 43BG, 394BS/5BG; RetUS Lambert, MO. 7/3/44; Chanute 1/2/45; Recl Comp 15/7/46. CALAMITY JANE. (?Ditched off Duma Pt 24/9/42, out of gas. Crew rescued then executed. Wreck still there in 60ft down?)

    Same mixed story for this B-17 from Joe Baugher http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1941_1.html
    B-17E-41-2440: (42nd BS) ditched off Duma Point Sept 24, 1942 due to fuel exhaustion. Crew captured and executed. Wreck is still located there 60 feet underwater in failrly good condition. Also listed as reclamation completed Jul 15, 1946. and being named Calamity Jane.

    As such this may not be the B-17 "Calamity Jane" crash landed at Guadalcanal by Edward J Riccio, Jr.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
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  3. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
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  4. BCNN

    BCNN New Member

    Thanks for your help !
    The Pearl Harbor Gram are very interesting.
    One enigma has been solved !
  5. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    The 4th Recon Squadron was renamed the 394th BS early in 1942 (April?). Assuming Riccio stayed in the squadron, Calamity Jane may have been a 394th BS plane. I would guess the time frame would be late 1942 or early 1943.

    Now there was a Calamity Jane ( B-17 E) in the 394th in that time frame according to Pacific Wrecks:


    but there is no mention of this specific incident on the link and the plane eventually returned to the US.

    The description of the nose art from the link:
    "During this point in her service, this B-17 had the nose art "Calamity Jane" with a nude woman with her hands behind her head and a flower in her hair. At some point later, possibly when it returned to the United States, the woman's nipples were painted out."

    There does seem to be some nose art in the photo of the wreck but it is mostly destroyed.
    Seems hard to believe they would have rebuilt the plane in the crash photo. The plane in the photo does seem to be an E model because of the framing in the nose. (Maybe the experts can comment).

    There are three B-17 E planes discussed on the Pacific Wrecks website the went to the 394th. One named "Calamity Jane", the second called "Crock of Crap" and the 3rd unnamed plane. I wonder if there was a name change or name "reuse" at some point.

    Certainly the photo showing the text and drawing of "Calamity Jane" here:
    does not seem to be the same as that in post #1. In fact it looks to me like "Calamity" is missing the "i" in post #1.

    Here she is before they painted on the sweater.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
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  6. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    Concur, no it does not! These images are all port side art. The damage photo is starboard side art (what is left of it), not yet confirmed as the same B-17. Please see post #2 related to the "mixed" history of B-17E-41-2440

    Beyond all that, it would be extremely difficult to believe that this pictured B-17 (if it is 41-2440) with its nose blown off and crash landed on Guadalcanal (if that account is correct) could be repaired and returned to airworthy status of any kind. However this is the SWPA where "They Fought With What They Had" https://media.defense.gov/2010/Oct/01/2001329751/-1/-1/0/AFD-101001-051.pdf

    So I guess almost anything is possible...

    It would be highly likely that the port and starboard art work and name font would be the same on one Fort. These are obviously two different B-17s serving in the PTO named "Calamity Jane", only one of which has been identified by serial number. The pictured damaged Fort of Edward J Riccio, Jr remains unidentified by serial number.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
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  7. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    BCNN, just a comment on your first post. The 4th Recon became the 394th BS in April 42, still based in Hawaii and assuming Riccio then stayed in the the 394th we can make some guesses.

    In November/December 42 the 5th BG moved to the South Pacific but the squadrons were based at different locations. The 394th was based at Nadi Field on Fiji. From time to time they moved things around and in January 1943 the 394th B-17s operated briefly from Guadalcanal before returning to Fiji.

    The 394th also operated briefly from Palikulo Bay Airfield, Espiritu Santo (New Hebrides) and back to Henderson Field, Guadalcanal again in April/June 43.

    At some point in 1943 the squadron was fully converted to B-24s. So "WHEN" the B-17 incident could have occurred would probably have been between November 42 and mid 1943 (date uncertain). "WHERE" could have been Guadalcanal, or Fiji, or even, I suppose, Espiritu Santo.
  8. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    There is an Ed Riccio, Jr veteran video here. It is unfortunate he never mentions the unit he was serving with during this Guadalcanal adventure and crash landing; surly would have answered many questions.

    According to his obituary http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/hartfordcourant/obituary.aspx?pid=182798035 he was a Distinguished Flying Cross recipient, however checking here http://www.dfcsociety.net/the-medal/ no record was found. The hope here was that this citation would name his unit at the time of this Guadalcanal incident. He was also a member of the American Legion and it seems the VFW, unclear what post but perhaps he could be tracked via contact with these organizations.

    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
  9. RSwank

    RSwank Well-Known Member

    There is a story in the book "Fortress Against the Sun" on page 312 which tells how "Calamity Jane" 41-2440 got its name.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=SlHUI_wWgGAC&pg=PA312&dq="fortress+against+the+sun"++calamity+jane&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjN-rr77eHWAhUm_IMKHZFmAGAQ6AEIJjAA#v=onepage&q="fortress against the sun" calamity jane&f=false

    What is interesting is that this happened near the end of November, 1942 soon after the 394th BS arrived on Fiji.

    So... lots of questions. Were there two Calamity Jane's in the 394th? Was Riccio really in the 394th? Is it possible that we are comparing two nose art versions of the same plane? Perhaps Calamity Jane 41-2440 that was rebuilt from two planes on Fiji was then crashed again on Guadalcanal. It then became a matter of pride to rebuild it again and this 2nd time she got the fancy nose art.
  10. 25Kingman49

    25Kingman49 Well-Known Member

    For what it is worth, according to this, data provided by his son (I think, or maybe himself?); Edward J Riccio, Jr., did serve in the 394th Squadron, 5th Bomb Group at Hickam Field, Pearl Harbor and the Fiji Islands. Some documents would still be nice for confirmation, as squadrons and personnel were shuffled around in these early months in the SWPA.


    Concur... lots of questions. Unfortunately the whole crash landing of this Calamity Jane "variant" at Guadalcanal with the nose blown off is not dated, so who knows when this happened and if it plays into the story of the creation of Calamity Jane as depicted in "Fortress Against the Sun". Lots of missing facts and data.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017

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