Top Row:  Pilot- Julian L. Caldwell, Co-Pilot- John T. Boswell, Bombardier- Joseph E. Shields, Navigator- Albert E. Marple.
Bottom Row:  Ball Gunner – John M. Tremarne, Tail Gunner- James W. Saylor, Radio Operator- Albert Ganim, Nose Gunner- Francis “Hank” Riefer, Top Turet- Arthur T. Spatlin, Engineer Manuel Saurez.

  • CALDWELL, Julian L, Pilot – DED 9 Dec 44 THE BUZZER
  • BOSWELL, John T, Co-Pilot – DED 9 Dec 44 THE BUZZER
  • MARPLE, Albert E, Navigator – DED 9 Dec 44 THE BUZZER
  • SHIELDS, Joseph E. Jr, Bombardier
  • RIEFER, Francis A
  • SPRATLIN, Arthur T
  • GANIM, Albert, R/O – DED 9 Dec 44 THE BUZZER
  • SUAREZ, Manuel, DED 9 Dec 44 THE BUZZER
  • TREHARNE, John M
  • SAYLOR, James W
  • SKINAS, John C

“ The Remaining Five”
Front row- S/SGT. John Tremarne, S/Sgt. Jim Saylor
Rear- S/Sgt. Francis “Hank” Riefer, 1st. Lt. Joe Shields, S/Sgt. Tom Spratlin



Saylor, Riefer, Treharne

Arthur T. Spratlin

Francis “Hank” Riefer

719th Squadron

719logoDavid Councill was the original C.O. from July ‘43 to 8 December ’43 when he and his crew were lost during the movement overseas. Most of the 719th officer and NCO staff were among the 14 men lost aboard Councill’s aircraft. This placed the 719th in dire straits in January ’44. Arthur B. Swan took over as C.O. and began sorting things out in January ’44. He served as the C. O. until he received a serious combat wound on 23 April ‘44. Charles E. Harton from the 717th Squadron was selected to be the acting commander until Art Swan could reassume the position. When Swan was promoted to higher echelon, Harton continued as the acting C.O. until July ‘44. Harold R. Loughran, a lead crew pilot from the 717th became the 719th C.O. in July ‘44 and remained through September ’44. In September ‘44, William Allen became the C.O. and remained so until May ‘45.


A replacement ship arriving 4 February ‘44 from Chatham AAF, Savannah, GA. Crew Chief was Sgt. Bart Peluso. Adopted by Norm Rogers crew. Peluso named her after seeing his ship fly a “buzz job” over the runway on a test flight! The “Buzzer” got in at least 77 sorties and had flown 41 consecutive missions without a turn back. In the Fall of ‘44 the ship was retired from combat and converted to perform administrative support flights. She was de-armed by removal of all turrets and guns. The open fuselage areas were covered with sheet metal and seating for passengers was installed. In December ‘44 she was lost on a ferry flight to Naples with Caldwell’s minimum crew aboard plus 11 passengers, most of whom were 50-mission men being ferried to Naples for a boat ride home. Many search flights were made but failed to locate the lost aircraft. A 1970 rumor of her going down in the seabay area of Naples proved false. The aircraft had actually been found in the April/May time frame in 1945 in a mountain crevasse southeast of Naples after a local Italian report to the Allied authorities in Naples. All aboard had been recovered by units of the Graves Registration Teams. This ended the long and mysterious searching for the crew and those aboard. Former ball gunner Ben Yedlin of Rogers’ 719th crew followed up with a complete personal investigation meeting the Italian residents and contacting the families of the men lost on the flight to put the story to rest. MACR 10576.

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