Crew # 555

Crew # 555
Crew # 555 - planes flown: DAMIFINO , DIXIE, LET ER RIP, TIMES A WASTIN

1st. LT. J. William Smith

1st. LT. J. William Smith

Friday, November 4, 2011

Walk back in time

"Witchcraft" one of the last flying B-24's visited Billings MT. last 4th. of July.
Brother Gary was able to take the time to go up to check it out with Dad.

Dad ran into another B-24 veteran of the Pacific Theater.

2nd. Lt. J. William Smith next to "Witchcraft".

Dad in 1944 with "Dixie"

The Honor list of volunteers who have kept the plane going.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Company H, 26th. Illinois Infantry / Company I, 5th. Illinois Cavalry

I am currently in Arkansas and had the opportunity to retrace some of my Great Grandfathers steps from the Civil War.

I have possession of documents showing his enlistment dates and also a document showing the date he was wounded during the Battle of Farmington.

This weekend we drove over to Corinth, Mississippi where William Frame Smith spent his last days with the 26th. Illinois Infantry before becoming a casualty.

I was able to find information at the Corinth Civil War Interprative Center which showed the areas and dates where the different Civil War engagements took place.

We then proceeded to drive to these areas East of Corinth.

Recruit William Frame Smith

SERVICE.--Operations against New Madrid and Island No. 10, February 28-April 8, 1862. Actions at New Madrid March 3, 4 and 6. Union City March 31. Action and capture at Tiptonville April 8. Expedition to Fort Pillow, Tenn., April 13-17. Moved to Hamburg Landing, Tenn., April 17-23. Advance on and siege of Corinth, Miss., April 29-May 30. Reconnaissance toward Corinth May 8. Action at Farmington May 9, the Regiment losing five killed and thirty wounded. May 28th. engaged the enemy one mile from Corinth, the Regiment losing four killed and twenty five wounded.

The document below tells of his "1/4 disability due to a gunshot wound to the hand, preventing him from firing a musket" The date shows he was wounded the May 28th. at the Battle of Farmington, but the Battle of Farmington actually occured on the 8th. - 9th. of May.

So this discrepancy will remain a mystery.

My Great Grandfather, William Frame Smith
William Frame Smith Re-enlisted in 1864 with the 5th. Illinois Cavalry as a Cpl. and remained with that unit until nearly the end of the war in 1865.

The "You are Here" location shows where the action took place on the 8th. - 9th. of May, 1862. This is where these photos were taken.

Some of the brestworks are still visible in the woods at the site. They now appears as small depressions in the earth.

This massive old Oak tree stands at this site. Probably there in 1862.

The National Cemetary at Corinth. Over 4000 unknown Civil War soldiers buried here.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

466th. Bomb Group, 785th. Squadron, Crew # 503 -"Jamaica?" - B-24 H-10-DT #41-28746 - Ball Turret Gunner, George W. Corrar

Credit: - "Attlebridge Arsenal" - Chris Brassfield & Earl Wassom - 

I recently had a comment by the son of Ball Turret Gunner George W. Corrar. I thought I'd post a few details of his time with the 466th. on the ill fated "Jamaica?"

"Jamaica?" was lost on September 25th. 1944 during a fuel hauling mission. The plane was piloted by 2nd. Lt. Joseph F. W. Diamni of Donora PA. according to Missing Air Crew Report #9575. All 6 crewmen were listed as KIA. The fuel hauling missions were performed without guns / gunners so that is why there was only a 6 man crew.

Crew #503 flew with the 466th. BG earlier in 1944 so they were definitely in the thick of things. This period of the daylight bombardment of Germany had a high attrition rate due to a lack of long range fighter escorts.

The "Jamaica?" name was a play on words....= "Did you make her?"

George W. Corrar, Ball Turret Gunner , Standing 3rd. from left.

The Booth Crew saw action with different Bomb Groups.

Booth Crew Missions with the 466th. Bomb Group

"Jamaica? had some of the best nose art in the 466th. BG. Evidently the Germans thought so too. Pate Given, Radio Operator recalled this story:

"In 1975 I worked for National Waterlift in Kalamazoo MI. There was a German Pilot who came to the U.S. after the war. He and I talked about some things that happened during the war. He asked if I had a photo of my plane, so I brought it in and showed it to him. He said, "I had you in my gunsight! However, I looked too long at the painting and forgot to shoot!""

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Clarence Seaborn Jones - USS Reno CL-96

A Brief Tribute to Another WW2 Veteran....

"Pinky" as he was known, and his family, were our neighbors as I was growing up. By chance they had three boys as did our family. We always joked about the "Smiths, trying to keep up with the Jones's."
Pinky recently passed away at the not-so-old age of 86 years.

The Jones family was like my 2nd. family while growing up. Pinky always referred to me as "Big Al" as Allen is my middle name. They would take me up to Little Horn Canyon where they had a cabin. I rode up with the boys in the back of Pinkys flatbed work truck numerous times. One time we went up in their big Oldsmobile and Pinky wasn't very happy when the muffler was torn off on the very rough road.

They had an old "Tote Goat" motorcycle that son Lyle hauled us around the trails. I remember three of us on the thing once. Pinkys wife, Marilyn , one year baked me "Birthday Cupcakes" with candles as I celebrated a birthday one year at the cabin. A lot of great memories up there on the Little Horn Rivers' source.

Pinky joined the Navy in 1942 and at 18 years of age was stationed on the USS Reno, CL-96, an Atlanta (or Oakland) Class Light Cruiser.

Clarence "Pinky" Seaborn Jones , Nov. 8, 1924 - Jan. 4, 2011

I have no doubt that Pinky was aboard the USS Reno when many of these photos were taken. I remember him telling of a Japanese Plane hitting their ship at one point.
If memory serves me Pinky was a Gunner and manned the big "Pom-Pom" guns.

When we were kids we would sneak into the closet and marvel at Pinky's razor sharp Samuri Sword which he brought home from the Pacific.

We are losing the heritage of our WW2 veterans on a daily basis. It is important to try to record their sacrifices for future generations. So many pass with no recognition of their service.

Some History of the USS Reno. 19 year old Pinky's "home" so many years ago.
(Click on images to enlarge)

Loss of USS Princeton (CVL-23), 24 October 1944Princeton suffers another tremendous explosion, soon after she was hit by a Japanese bomb while operating off the Philippines on 24 October 1944.Photographed at about 1003 hrs. from USS South Dakota (BB-57), with USS Reno (CL-96) passing by closer to the camera.

USS Reno (CL-96) comes alongside the burning USS Princeton (CVL-23) to assist in fighting fires, 24 October 1944.Princeton had been hit by Japanese air attack earlier in the day.

USS Reno (CL-96) stands off the starboard quarter of USS Princeton (CVL-23), while fighting fires on board the bombed carrier, 24 October 1944.Note Reno's forward 5"/38 twin gun mounts in the foreground, with local fire control sights on top.

Battle of Leyte Gulf, October 1944USS Princeton (CVL-23) afire at about 1004 hours on 24 October 1944, soon after she was hit by a Japanese bomb during operations off the Philippines.This view shows smoke rising from the ship's second large explosion, as USS Reno (CL-96) steams by in the foreground.Photographed from USS South Dakota (BB-57).

USS Princeton (CVL-23) blows up after being torpedoed by USS Reno (CL-96) on 24 October 1944.Princeton had been fatally damaged by Japanese air attack earlier in the day, and was scuttled by torpedoing to permit U.S. forces to clear the area

Record of Japanese Imperial Navy Submarine #I-41

3 November 1944:Off San Bernardino Strait, Philippines. At midnight, the I-41's lookouts sight what they take to be an aircraft carrier. LtCdr Kondo sets up and fires a salvo of Type 95 torpedoes. One hits the light cruiser USS RENO (CL-96) in the port side. The RENO takes on a 16-degree list, but is later pumped out and towed by the tug USS ZUNI (ATF-95) 700 miles to Ulithi for temporary repairs.

Fate of submarine # I-41:

18 November 1944:East of Samar. During an ASW patrol in the Philippine Sea, Task Group 30-7's USS ANZIO (CVE-57) is alerted to the presence of a Japanese submarine in her operating area by an "Ultra" signals-intelligence message. The ANZIO's aircraft conduct an ASW sweep. One of the aircraft reports a radar contact on a submarine on the surface. After a 14-hour hunt, Cdr R. Cullinan's LAWRENCE C. TAYLOR (DE-415), in a coordinated depth charge attack with her sister-ship the USS MELVIN R. NAWMAN (DE-416) and two planes from the ANZIO, sink the I-41 at 12-44N, 130-42E.
2 December 1944: I-41 Presumed lost with all hands off the Philippines.

USS Reno under salvage after she was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-41 off the Philippines on 3 November 1944.Photographed on 5 November, with USS Zuni (ATF-95) alongside.Note burned paintwork on and around her after five-inch gun mounts, oil streaming off to port, and boats nearby.Reno's starboard torpedo tubes, mounted on the main deck alongside the after superstructure, have been pushed over the side to lighten the ship.

History of the USS Reno:

Reno II(CL-96: dp. 8,600 (f.); 1. 541'0"; b. 53'2"; dr. 26'6"; s. 31 k. cpl. 688; a. 12 5", 16 40mm., 16 20mm., 8 21" tt., 2 dct.; cl. Atlanta)

The second Reno (CL-96) was laid down by Bethlehem Steel Co., San Francisco, Calif., 1 August 1941; launched 23 December 1942; sponsored by Mrs. August C. Frohlich; and commissioned 28 December 1943, Capt. Ralph C. Alexander in command.Following shakedown off San Diego, Reno departed San Francisco, 14 April 1944, to join the 5th Fleet. As an active unit in Viee Adm. Mare A. Mitseher's Task Foree 58, she first eame in contact with the enemy by supporting air strikes against Mareus Island on 19-20 May. Three days later she supported strikes on Wake Island.During the months of June and July, Reno joined the fast carriers in surprise attacks against Saipan, 11 June, Pagan Island, 12-13 June, and against the Voleano and Bonin Islands—Iwo Jima, Haha Jima, and Chiehi Jima—on 15-16 June. Three days later she asisted in repelling a large-scale Japanese carrier force attempt to defeat the Allied invasion of Saipan in the Battle of the Philippine Sea.From 20 June to 8 July Reno joined in the operations covering the capture of Saipan, then covered landings on Guam from 17-24 July and 2 days later took part in the strikes against the Palau Islands from the 26th to the 29th. Swinging north again, a final strike was made on the Bonin Islands 4-5 August and on 7 September the task group returned to the Palaus.Continuing west, Reno participated in raids against Mindanao and adjacent Philippine Islands 9-13 September, supported the Palatl Invasion 15-20 September, and on the 21st and 22d supported strikes against Manila and vicinity. Striking Nansei Shoto on 8 October, Reno, with TF 38 eame nearer to the home islands of Japan than any other major unit of the U.S. Fleet had been.

During the 3-day strike on Formosa 12-14 October, Reno shot down six enemy planes. At the height of the battle, one torpedo plane crashed and exploded on the Reno's main deek aft. Though Turret Six was partially ineapaeitated by the explosion, the turret captain sueeeeded in maintaining his fire against the attacking planes and ships.

On 24 October, 4 days after the initial Leyte invasion while supporting air strikes against the Luzon area, TF 38 was subjected to a large-scale air attack bv land planes from Clark Field. The light carrier Princeton was struck and forced to withdraw from the task group. Reno, assigned to help fight her fires and rescue personnel, came alongside five times but could not remain because of the intense heat and smoke. While Reno evacuated wounded men and tried to bring thefires under control, the listing flight deek of Prineeton erushed one of Reno's 40mm. mounts. Efforts to save the carrier continued; but, after Princeton's torpedo warhead stowage area exploded, Reno was ordered to sink her.

On 25 October, having rejoined the task force, Reno proceeded north to engage the northern Japanese task force closing for the Battle of Cape Engano—the last engagement in the Battle for Leyte Gulf.On the night of 3 November, well off San Bernardino Strait, Reno was torvedoed in the port side by Japanese submarine I-41. Towed 1,500 miles to Ulithi for temporary repairs, she then steamed under her own power to Charleston where she entered the Navy Yard 22 March for repairs. Emerging 7 months later, she steamed to Texas, then back to Charleston for the addition of bunk spaces. She reported for "Magic Carpet" duty and made two runs to Le Havre France, and back with Army troops.In early 1946 Reno steamed for Port Angeles, Wash., where she decommissioned, 4 November 1946 and entered the Pacific Reserve Fleet, berthed at Bremerton. Reclassified CLAA96, 18 March 1949, she remained at Bremerton until her name was struck from the Navy list 1 March 1959 and her hulk was sold, 22 March 1962, to Coal Export Co., New York.Reno earned three battle stars for World War II service.