Searching for my Fathers Unit

Discussion in '17th BG' started by Douglas Grether, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. Douglas Grether

    Douglas Grether New Member

    My Dad was a radio/gunner on a B-26. I believe he was with the 17th BG, 95th Squadron. He would have served from the time the unit went to Africa until mid 1944. I know he flew on around 60 missions. He was awarded the Air Medal 3 times. He always talked about this unit as he got older. Attended a reunion in Florida just a few years before he passed away in 1989. My brother told me he was on a B-26 called "Ain't She a Beaut". That aircraft was in the 319th BG, 440th BS. I found a photo of the crew of that plane and he wasn't in the photo. That leads me to believe he was in the 95th. He would have been older than most of the crew, since he joined late. He would have been around 26 at the time his unit activated. If anyone remembers him, I would like to know if this was his unit and if they remember the aircraft number.

    Thank you,
    Douglas Grether
     
  2. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    Doug,
    Please tell us his full name. Do you have any information regarding his crew mates particularly his pilot, any specific missions, where his base was located, etc?
    To get your feet wet try snooping around this web site: http://www.b26.com/
    Each name is a hot link to further information and usually some photos as well.
    Where did you find the photo of the crew of the aircraft you mentioned? How did you determine that it was with the 319th BG?
     
  3. Douglas Grether

    Douglas Grether New Member

    His full name is Daniel Edward Grether. His pilot as far as I know was either a major or colonel George McKay. He was always talking about General Doolittle and proud of that unit. He had the leather patch of the 95th, the Kicking Jackass. When he retired to Florida he made a drawing with the 95th painted on one side and the 17th on the other. I'm just guessing that was his unit. He talked about leaving Morrison Field in Florida and flying the southern route to Africa, eventually ending up in Tunisia.
     
  4. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    Well the 17th Bomb Group was the outfit that Doolittle took on the famous Tokyo Raid in April 1942. With the connections to the 17th BG that you've mentioned I'm trying to figure out how the 319th BG creeped in to the conversation. Regarding the aircraft name there were frequently several aircraft with the same or similar name in various different BGs. And crews flew various different aircraft during their tour of duty. 60 missions was not unusual for a B-26 outfit and I'd wager that your father flew on at least a dozen different aircraft during his tour. Unfortunately there is not a whole heck of a lot on the internet regarding the 17th BG. Will dig a little more for you in the morning, working on an iPad at the moment and tough to access files from here.
    Go to the media tab in the top left part of this page. The very last album on the last page contains 45 photos of the 17th BG. Click on the thumbnails to open full size. These were from fall of 1944 through April 1945 so later than your father's time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
  5. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

  6. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member

  7. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    Doug,
    The University of Akron has a very large archive of material on the 17th BG (and other B-26 units as well). This link is to the collection of Sortie newsletters. These are in PDF form and can be downloaded or read on site. The newsletters include a wealth of personal 'war stories' including names, places, aircraft, mission data, etc. You may or may not find any mention of your father but you will get a flavor of what life was like for these guys.
    http://cdm15960.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/search/collection/p15960coll3/searchterm/B-26 Marauder Archives, 17th Bombardment Group Reunion Association!Newsletter/field/all!all/mode/exact!any/conn/and!and/display/200/order/date/ad/asc

    This link it to the main page of the 17th BG collection. A lot of information can be found at the hot link to the "finding aid". The hot link for 'photographs' only takes you back to the Sortie list. From the finding aid it appears that they have a large photo collection but I could not find a way to access it on line. A trip to Akron would probably be needed to see the photos and also the extensive correspondence files. A phone call for more information might be worth the effort. Found my neighbor listed in the correspondence section.
    http://ead.ohiolink.edu/xtf-ead/view?docId=ead/OhAkUAS0070.xml&query=&brand=default

    Finally, this link will take you to the list of other B-26 related archives held by the University.
    http://www.uakron.edu/libraries/archives/collections/categories/?cat=worldWarIi

    Have you considered ordering a copy of your father's Personnel File? It will not give you any information about the missions he flew or his crew information but it does include information about his training, any promotions or awards he received, and his Discharge information.
     
  8. Douglas Grether

    Douglas Grether New Member

     
  9. Douglas Grether

    Douglas Grether New Member

    I received his DD214 from the Air Force last year, along with all of the medals that he earned. It gives his dates of service and time in the ETO but not the unit he was assigned to. Thank you for the information about possibly serving on different aircraft. That helps answer one of my questions. Thank you for the links, I will check them out.
     
  10. Douglas Grether

    Douglas Grether New Member

    I just found my Dads name listed in the Akron University Archives under the 17th Bomb Group. I want to thank everyone for your help. Now I can do more research and possibly put some history together for my kids and grandkids. Thank you.
     
  11. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    Happy to help. George McKay is listed there too. If you come across any crew lists or mission reports remember that stuff is usually filed under the name of the pilot. Somewhere I have a list of missions that includes part of the time your father was there. Will post it as soon as able. Check out those Sortie newsletters, they contain a lot of info. Let us know if we can do anything else as you go forward with your research.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
  12. j.peters140

    j.peters140 Active Member

    If I am not mistaken...the 17th BG furnished personnel for other units.

    Jim :)
     
  13. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    Doug,
    As I scan through the rest of the Finding List I am amazed at the amount of material they have collected. If you live anywhere near Akron it certainly would be worth a visit. If you are at a distance you might consider contacting them directly to ask if they offer any research and copying services or if they could provide you with names of reputable researchers who service their facility. They show this email address: archives@uakron.edu
    Some years back I hired a researcher to copy files from the National Archives in DC for another Bomb Group. Wasn't cheap but the results were well worth the cost.

    There are other sources of information that you can access, all depends on how much time and money you are willing to devote to this project. Let us know if you want to dig deeper.

    Attached PDF of 17th BG mission list covering the period from December 30, 1942 through January 29, 1944. I have another list from October '44 through April '45 but based on your initial post your father would have been gone by then.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. Mutley

    Mutley Member

    Just found this post.
    I can also confirm that Daniel E. Grether served in the 95th BS, 17th BG. He appears on an Order Paper, dated 21st August 1943, from the HQ 17th BG, APO #520.
    I would like to help you further if you can get in touch with me either via the AAF.com web forum or via the B-26 MHS.

    Mutley, AKA Brian Gibbons. B-26 Marauder Historian and B-26 MHS director
     

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