449th Bomb Squadron Commanders June 1943 to 1945
All of the squadron commanders were B-24 bomber pilots; some flew as crew pilots, became squadron operations officers, and then moved into Squadron C.O. positions. The first four squadron C.O.’s were part of the original cadre from May ‘43 through the training phases; first at Davis-Monthan AAFB, then at Alamogordo, NM, and finally at Bruning AAF, NE, the “jumping off base” from which the Group departed in November ’43 with new B-24H model B-24’s. With the exception of the first 719th Squadron C.O. (Captain David Councill) who was killed enroute overseas, all became Lead Crew command pilots, leading mission after mission with the Headquarters staff command pilots. Fourteen men served as Squadron C.O.’s during the war. In addition to the first 719th C.O., the Group lost the original C.O. of the 718th Squadron (William Nosker) when his plane crashed on takeoff when flying with the 376th Bomb Group.
Here are the former squadron commanders
John A. Silverstein (changed his name after the war to John (Jack) Steele) was C.O. from June ‘43 to July ’44. He was followed by Charles E. Harton from July ‘44 to November ’44. Harton had served as the acting C.O. for the 719th squadron while Swan was in the hospital recovering from wounds during May ‘44 to July ‘44. Lloyd M. Bentsen (who became a U.S. Senator from Texas, U. S. Treasurer after the war, and U.S. Vice Presidential Candidate) was the C.O. from November ‘44 until February ’45. Robert Johnson took over from mid-‘45 to V.E. Day in May ’45.
Edward J. Sass, Jr. was the original C.O. from June ‘43 to December ’44. Shelby McArthur became C.O. in December ‘44 and remained so until February ‘45. From February ‘45 to May ’45, Wilbur Parker was the C.O.
William Nosker was the original C.O. from July ‘43 until April ‘44 when he was transferred to the 47th Wing Headquarters as Assistant Operations Officer. Nosker was killed when the 376th Bomb Group B-24 that he was aboard crashed on takeoff on 15 August ‘44. Rexford Tompkins, the original Operations Officer for the 718th, became the C.O. in April ‘44 and remained so until September ’44. Charles Jordan finished out the war as the 718th C. O. from September ‘44 through May ’45.
David 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.