Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Spitfire Popular with Amazon Panel

The Supermarine Spitfire remains one of the top picks of aviation buffs, according to a discussion on Amazon. Not only is it ahead for best fighter of World War Two, but also in the hunt for most beautiful.

A great choice!

Join the debate at this web address on Amazon. They'd love to hear from some WWII flyboys.

Halloween Night

My lovely wife Geri, a youthful grandmother, and our grandson Eric James Davis.

Totally off-topic, but if a guy can't brag on his own blog, what's the use?

A cold night in Idaho, but lots of little goblins showing up at our door.

Happy Halloween.

Eric and me.

Friday, October 26, 2007 Debate---Best Plane of World War Two

As an aviation historian living in rural Idaho Falls, Idaho, I find I have nobody to talk aviation with (other than my friend Marshall, who flew B-29s in Korea), so I talk 'shop' online most of the time with like-minded folks. has had some excellent discussions on history of late, and I've been participating. It's a good way to touch base with other people who share my interests. I started a topic tonight on the best planes of World War Two. I know many of my blog readers have opinions on this, so click this link and jump right in!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Prayer Requests for Two Veterans

Two dear friends of mine, Dan Culler and Maurice Rockett, are undergoing surgery in the next week. Both survived hellish wounds in World War Two and both need the prayers of all blog readers in the upcoming days.
As a Christian, I firmly believe in the power of prayer. I am asking everyone who reads this who believes in the power of prayer to lift up a special request on behalf of these two men for the next week or so.

Dan Culler, prisoner of the Swiss at Wauwilermoos.

Maurice Rockett. Lost an eye over Europe as a B-17 Bombardier.

Thanks. And God bless you.

Photo Correction

Fellow WWII historian Marilyn Walton informs me that I have used the incorrect photo of the late Nolan Herndon's crew from the Dootlittle Raid. The correct photo is found here.
My apologies.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

An Amazing Paper B-17

This link is to a modelers' site and has some amazing photos of a paper-built B-17 that have to be seen to be believed. The site is in Polish, but the pics say it all.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Paper Modeler Honors Great Warbirds

John Morris built this P-47 Thunderbolt and the planes below from paper, using glue and a few other materials. Paper model-building is a fast-growing hobby in the United States.

The current generation of paper models are incredibly complex and realistic. One modeler, John Morris, who also happens to be my brother, has been building paper models for several years. These models can be downloaded off the internet or ordered as kits. They require incredible patience, precision cutting, and lots of time. In fact, I'm not sure I'd be able to do one, though John sent me one last week of a B-17 that I'm going to attempt. John has always been superior to me in building things with his hands. I think you'll agree his efforts are impressive.

Here are some photos sent by fellow aviation buff (and my brother and good friend) John Schupfer Morris of Euless Texas. For more information on paper modeling, contact me and I'll forward the information to my brother. The P-47 is entirely of paper (except the glue). All but the Me 109 were downloaded from the internet and printed on my brother's printer using thick-stock paper.

Here are the production credits for the models:

The P-47 is available here:

The PB4Y is available here:

The MiG-3 and the P-40 are available here:

John Morris writes:

"P-47 made ENTIRELY of paper, absolutely nothing else (except glue). Others have wire or toothpicks in landing gear struts.* All except Bf-109 downloaded from internet and printed on my printerbefore building. Bf-109 purchased preprinted in a booklet by Orlik Models.* MiG-3 has a clear canopy that I purchased."




Tribute to Vietnam Vets

My friend Jay is providing me with lots of great stuff for the blog today.
Jay, a Vietnam pilot, sent me this website, which is a visual and audio tribute to those who died in Vietnam and to the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Washington.

Jay writes: "Turn on your sound. These were the people I knew. Actually the couple of pilots that went down I knew are still MIA."

Just click this link to see the show. The music is by country great George Jones.

Thanks, Jay. May we never forget these young people. God bless them all.

Blog Reader Remembers Doolittle and USS Hornet Sinking

My friend in Colorado, Jay Buckley, had this to write after reading my post on the passing of Doolittle Raider Nolan Herndon. It just goes to show this is a small world, as Jay has a direct link to both the Doolittle Raid and the USS Hornet.
Jay writes:
"Thanks for the story about the Doolittle raid. It brings back some very fond memories and stories.

My uncle graduated in the rush class of 1942 on December 8, 1941 from the Naval Academy. He was assigned to the USS Hornet as gunner officer. He was aboard the Hornet when they took on the B-25's and sailed for the seas off Japan to launch the raid.

After the Hornet was sunk, he came home on leave. I was able to persuade the principal of the grade school to let him give a talk about the raid. Well, the idea caught on and all the schools had him give a talk. I had the honor of introducing my uncle Bob, Lt. Robert Thum as a survivor of the USS Hornet. Pretty heady stuff for a young second grader.

Gunners on board the Hornet fire at aircraft during battle. This scene would have been a familiar one to Jay's Uncle Bob.

An interesting story happened during the sinking of the Hornet. The day it was sunk, which was in the evening in Rock Springs, Wyoming, my Aunt had a feeling not all was right with her son. There was a large portrait hanging in their music room. She went in there and looked at the portrait of her son. In the background of the picture, the artist had painted a carrier with planes taking off. My aunt sat there through the night just looking at the portrait and praying. She later told us, a voice said, "Mom, I am alright, I will survive". Of course, there was a black out of the news and the sinking of the Hornet was not made public for several months. But she knew the Hornet had been sunk and her son did survive. The date this happened coincided with the date of the sinking of the Hornet.

The Hornet, already mortally wounded, is about to be hit by a damaged Japanese bomber, above left. The ship sank shortly after this. The ship was lost on October 7, 1942 during the Battle of Santa Cruz.

An Evening of Irish Music with SOLAS

Last night my wife Geri and I went to a concert by Solas, the acclaimed Irish band. It was an amazing show, especially for a place as out-of-the-way as Idaho Falls. Solas plays traditional Irish music but infuses their tunes with modern twists that have made them popular across genres. If you have never heard of Solas, you owe it to yourself to check them out. They have an excellent webpage at

The musicians made several references to the difficulty getting enough air at our high altitude and worked very hard to put on a rousing, hand-clapping, foot-stomping show.

Since its birth in 1996, Solas has been loudly proclaimed as the most popular, influential, and exciting Celtic band to ever emerge from the United States. Even before the release of its first Shanachie CD, the Boston Herald trumpeted the quartet as "the first truly great Irish band to arise from America and the Irish Echo ranked Solas among the "most exciting bands anywhere in the world."

Since then, the praise has only grown louder. The Philadelphia Inquirer said they make "mind-blowing Irish folk music, maybe the world's best". The New York Times praised their "unbridled vitality", the Washington Post dubbed them one of the "world's finest Celtic-folk ensembles" and the Austin American-Statesman called them "the standard by which contemporary Celtic groups are judged."

Solas is virtually unique in the new territory it has opened up for Celtic music. It has performed at all the major Celtic and folk festivals, including Philadelphia, Edmonton, the legendary National Folk Festival, and Milwaukee's Irish fest; but also at Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and the chamber music summer series at Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It has performed at Symphony Hall, Wolf Trap, the Ford Amphitheater, and Queens Hall in Edinburgh, Scotland. In New York City, where the band was based in its early years, it has played at the legendary Bottom Line folk club, but also at vaunted classical venues Town Hall and Symphony Space.
The Solas sound today is anchored by founders Seamus Egan, who plays flute, tenor banjo, mandolin, whistle, guitar and bodhran, and fiddler Winifred Horan. They are two of the most respected—and imitated—musicians anywhere in acoustic music. Mick McAuley from Kilkenny plays accordion and concertina; Eamon McElholm from Tyrone plays guitar and keyboards. Deirdre Scanlan is the band's latest vocal discovery, gorgeously filling the role carved out by founding vocalist Karan Casey.
(My note: A special treat last night was the appearance of original singer Karan Casey, who retired to be a mother a few years ago and made the trip to Idaho from Waterford, Ireland.)

Supplemental background information:

Solas has emerged as the most exciting band in traditional Irish music. The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine says, "Seamus Egan and Solas make mind-blowing Irish folk music, maybe the world's best," while the Los Angeles Times says, "Solas offers a compellingly original, strikingly contemporary view of traditional Celtic sounds." Although Solas can play undiluted traditional Irish music as well as anyone alive or departed, they are always varying the mix of fire tested tradition and contemporary sensibility with an ease and naturalness that is as astonishing as their overwhelming musicianship. As a result, they transcend musical genres into the realm of pure musical expression that only a relative handful of musicians attain. The internationally acclaimed supergroup has not only captured the hearts and ears of Irish music fans, but fans all around the globe with their blend of Celtic traditional, folk and country melodies, bluesy sometimes jazz-inspired improvisations and global rhythms. Solas has built a fanbase that includes the likes of Bela Fleck, Emmylou Harris and the much sought-after rap producer Timbaland who surprisingly sampled the band on his radio hit "All Yall." Waiting for an Echo, Solas' newest gem, promises to attract new fans and further endear old ones.

Seamus Egan is an instrumental wizard who has mastered everything from the flute to tenor banjo, mandolin, tin whistle, low whistle, guitars and bodhran. Born in Hatboro, PA. and raised for a time in Foxford, Co. Mayo, Ireland, he has been signed to Shanachie Entertainment since the age of 13! Fans may remember Sarah McLaughlan's Grammy-winning hit "I'll Remember You," penned by Seamus along with Sarah and Dave Merg. The master composer has also written music and played on soundtracks for the films Brothers McMullen and the Oscar winning movie Dead Man Walking, as well as the stage show Dancing on Dangerous Ground. Seamus recently added acting to his many list of talents. In the summer, he completed filming the independent film "American Wake."

Native New Yorker Winifred Horan is a graduate of Boston's prestigious New England Conservatory of Music. She has played in Cherish the Ladies and the Sharon Shannon Band and has recorded with everyone from Richard Shindell and Patty Larkin to Liz Carroll and Eileen Ivers. Incidentally, Winifred is a nine-time Irish stepdancing titlist, and an All-Ireland fiddle champion. Horan's recent solo outing, Just One Wish, was hailed as one of the best Celtic or roots albums of 2002 by the Boston Globe, Philadelphia City Paper, Irish Times and Irish Echo. Horan's technical virtuosity coupled with her yen for musical roaming is a key element to the fascinating sound of Solas.

Mick McAuley hails from Callan, Co. Kilkenny and has long been regarded as one of Ireland's finest button accordionists. Born into a well known musical family, Mick has been playing whistles and accordion from the time he was a child. By the time he was eleven, he had already appeared on national tv. As a teenager he toured extensively throughout Europe at various cultural festivals while turning his hand to the concertina. Mick, who also sings background vocals for Solas, has performed and/or recorded with Ron Kavana, Terry Woods as "the Bucks", The Alias Band, Niamh Parsons and the Loose Connections, Karan Casey, Susan McKeown, and Paul Brennan of Clannad. In September 2003, Mick will release his Shanachie debut as a leader, An Ocean's Breadth.

Just before joining Solas, Deirdre Scanlan released her solo debut, Speak Softly, which attracted widespread praise throughout Ireland. Deirdre possesses one of those ethereal voices that keeps listeners hanging on to her every word. A native of Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, she also appeared on a recording by Nenagh Singers Circle and played fiddle with the Paddy O'Brien Ormond Ceili Band in her home county.

Eamon McElholm is a multi-talented musician, who is also an accomplished singer/songwriter, also plays keyboard and sings background vocals for Solas. He has been touring with Solas since August 2002. Eamon was born and raised in County Tyrone in the North of Ireland. For the last several years he has been heavily involved with the well-known Irish band 'Stockton's Wing' as singer, songwriter and guitarist. A few years ago Eamon was awarded the Performing Rights Society/ John Lennon Songwriters Award, at the time he was a student in Manchester, England.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Doolittle Raider Nolan Herndon Passes Away

Crew No. 8 (Plane #40-2242, target Tokyo): 95th Bombardment Squadron, Capt. Edward J. York, pilot; Lt. Robert G. Emmens, copilot; Lt. Nolan A. Herndon, navigator/bombardier; SSgt. Theodore H. Laban, flight engineer; Sgt. David W. Pohl, gunner.

Source of Obituary: Boston Globe

Nolan Herndon, bomber in WWII Doolittle raid on Japan

Richard Goldstein
October 15, 2007

NEW YORK - Nolan Herndon, a navigator-bombardier in the storied Doolittle raid over Japan in World War II who spent more than a year interned in the Soviet Union after his plane made an emergency landing in Russia, died yesterday in Columbia, S.C.

Mr. Herndon, who lived in Edgefield, S.C., was 88.

The cause was pneumonia, said his son Nolan Jr.

On April 18, 1942, a group of 16 Army Air Forces B-25 bombers, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, took off from the carrier Hornet on a daylight bombing raid that carried the war to Japan for the first time.

The raid resulted in only light damage to military and industrial targets, but it buoyed morale on an American home front stunned by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor four months earlier, and Doolittle was awarded the Medal of Honor.

After completing their bombing runs, the planes were to land at airstrips in China that had not fallen to the Japanese. But they ran into a storm, forcing crash-landings and bailouts that killed three of the 80 crewmen. Eight others were captured by Japanese troops, with three of them later being executed and one who died of malnutrition while in captivity.

Mr. Herndon's plane, the eighth one off the Hornet, was the only bomber that never made it to China. It quickly ran low on fuel, evidently a result of carburetor adjustments during flight preparations in California. The plane bombed a factory and strafed an airfield, and then the pilot, Captain Edward York, headed toward Russia's Pacific port of Vladivostok as his only alternative to landing in Japan.

The bomber touched down at a small airport near Vladivostok, the crew hoping that it would receive gasoline and continue on to China. But the Soviet Union was not fighting Japan. As a neutral nation in the war between the United States and the Japanese, it interned the five crewmen.

While detained in European Russia, the crew members braved temperatures plunging to 50 degrees below zero, and they subsisted on cabbage, black bread, and tea.

"I can't blame the Russian people," Mr. Herndon told The State newspaper of Columbia, S.C., in 2002. "They were starving, too."

The airmen wrote a letter to Stalin, asking for their release, and while the note did not win their freedom, it did reach high-level Soviet authorities, who transferred them to a warm-weather area, a town about 15 miles north of the border with Iran, where they were assigned to work in a factory repairing trainer planes.

On May 26, 1943, the five airmen made their escape, paying a smuggler $250 to take them by truck to Iran. They found a British Consulate just across the border.

Mr. Herndon, a native of Greenville, Texas, raised cattle and ran a wholesale grocery business in South Carolina after the war.

In an interview with The State, in 2001, Mr. Herndon theorized that Captain York and his copilot, Lieutenant Robert Emmens, had received secret orders to fly to Vladivostok to test the willingness of Stalin's government to cooperate in the war against Japan. But Mr. Herndon had no direct evidence, and there has been no corroboration of his suspicions.

In addition to his son Nolan Jr., of West Columbia, S.C., Mr. Herndon leaves his wife, Julia; his son James, of Pawleys Island, S.C.; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

History of the Doolittle Raid

Eighty men in five-man crews piloted the 16 B-25 bombers that bombed Japan on April 18, 1942. None of the bombers was shot down but all sixteen were lost:

The crews of 11 bombers bailed out over China
One crew make a wheels-up crash landing in a rice paddy
Three bombers ditched in the waters off the China coast
One bomber landed in the Soviet Union where it was confiscated
Of the 80 men who flew with Lieutenant Colonel Doolittle:
3 were killed exiting their aircraft on the night of the raid8 were captured by the Japanese
3 POWs were executed by their captors on October 15, 19421 POW died of malnutrition and mistreatment while confined4 POWs were repatriated at the end of WWII after 40 months of captivity
Following the mission most of the raiders went on to fly other combat missions. Before the war ended:

10 raiders were killed in action in Europe, North Africa, and Indo-China 4 were shot down and interred as German prisoners of war

As of October 14, 2007 only twelve of the raiders are still living. They are:
William Bower
Thomas Griffin
David Jones
Charles Ozuk
Richard Cole
Robert Hite
Frank Kappeler
Edward Saylor
Jacob DeShazer
Edwin Horton
James Macia
David Thatcher

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Remembering St. Ottilien

E. Edward Herman, who along with Robert Hilliard is responsible for changing U.S. policy towards concentration camp survivors at the end of World War Two, passed away a few days ago, as previously reported on this blog. His funeral will be Monday in West Palm Beach, Florida. I heard today from Bob Hilliard, who said he'd seen Ed several weeks ago in West Palm Beach. These two men, who met in 1945, were bonded together by their wartime experience, and it is only fitting that they were together near the end. My heartfelt sympathies go out to Bob and to the Herman family.

I found the following story about a recent reunion of the survivors of St. Ottilien, their children, and grandchildren, held recently in West Palm Beach in 2006. Starting a number of years ago, Bob and Ed had arranged for reunions of survivors of the displaced persons camp and hospital. These survivors and their descendants love and honor the two men who came to their rescue in 1945. I have had the opportunity to talk with a number of them over the years. Many of these individuals went on to lead great lives after the war, becoming artists, writers, political leaders and doctors. But they all remember how their lives were changed by two young Air Corps enlisted men over sixty years ago.

The following was written by writer Helen Schwimmer, whose parents ended up at St. Ottilien and who was born there after the war.

"The Jews of St. Ottilien

Traditionally, this is the time of year for reunions, however there was nothing traditional about the gathering I attended in West Palm Beach, Florida recently. People who had never met, of different ages and backgrounds, reunited because they shared one common bond, St. Ottilien, a Benedictine Monastery nestled in the idyllic countryside of Upper Bavaria in Germany.

Named for a pious and charitable nun, known as the “saint of vision” because of her remarkable healing powers, the monastery had been converted to a Displaced Persons Camp after the war. It was here that I was born in 1947 when my parents, Polish Jews, were waiting to emigrate to America.

In 1997, I traveled back to Germany to confront my past and to make peace with it. And although I toured the grounds of the monastery and interviewed the monks, it was not until three years later that many of my questions, both personal and historical, would finally be answered by Dr. Robert L. Hilliard. Fate brought us together at a conference on Displaced Persons, sponsored by the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. During a panel discussion on the role of the military in the DP camp experience, I learned of his book “Surviving The Americans: The Continued Struggle of the Jews After Liberation” and the miraculous story of the role he played in the lives of the Jews of St. Ottilien.

The Power Of The Pen

In 1945, 19 year-old Robert Hilliard and 25 year-old Edward Herman, two GIs stationed on an army base in Germany after WW II, were so distressed by the conditions they observed at nearby St. Ottilien they started a massive letter writing campaign to the American people. Ultimately, the contents of the letter came to the attention of President Truman and played a key role in reversing US policy towards the Jews. An excerpt from their lengthy letter, which appears in Dr. Hilliard’s book and details the plight of the survivors, reads:

At the hospital of St. Ottilien there are today 750 people including a staff of doctors...attempting to preserve the life they find it hard to believe they still have. Four months ago this same hospital was being used to care for German soldiers. At the same time there were thousands of Jews roaming Germany, sick, tortured, wounded, without food, clothing or help of any kind. One particular group was led by Dr. Zalman Grinberg. For months he has tried to obtain aid for these people. The Germans refused him. The local governments refused him...For these people the Red Cross, UNRRA, the various Hebrew organizations were, although present, nonexistent. If they are to survive the coming winter they need shoes...they need sheets and blankets...medical supplies...the necessities of life and they are depending on you to get it for them. The intolerable situation of the Jews having to beg the Germans for food exists...We are writing to you for you are the only ones that can help...These surviving Jews of Europe want to live. The fact that five children have already been born at St. Ottilien is proof enough.”

Olga Salitan was one of those first babies to be born in St. Ottilien. I met her recently during the gathering organized and sponsored by E. Edward Herman, now a retired financier in Palm Beach and Robert Hilliard, presently a Professor of Mass Communication at Emerson College in Boston. By the time I was born in 1947, conditions at St. Ottilien had greatly improved due to the crusading efforts of these two remarkable men.

“Most of us have no family so when we get together with surviviors we consider them family. That’s what our meeting is all about...the living,” said Jean Einstein, Olga’s mother. This same sentiment was echoed by the participants who came from California, Ohio, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Chicago and New York to join those now residing in Florida. When I traveled to St. Ottilien three years earlier I had never met anyone connected with that DP camp. Now, suddenly, I was surrounded by an entirely new “family.” The reunion brought together eight St. Ottilien “babies” who were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet each other and Dr. Isaac Vidor, the obstetrician who delivered many of those born in the monastery. The group also consisted of former patients and orphans who brought along family members to share the experience.

My daughter Sara accompanied me to Florida and spent the next four days learning first-hand about the DP era as she listened to survivor’s stories, looked at the precious photograph albums we each brought along and participated in activities which included a special Yom Hashoah program at the Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach; a visit to Florida Atlantic University where we listened to a performance of their klezmer band and viewed the Jewish Library and exceptional work of the Jewish book bindery; a meeting with a member of the Jewish Claims Commission who focused on the status of current negotiations; and discussions about how to locate missing relatives with representatives of the American Red Cross Holocaust and War Victims Tracing and Information Center.

Connecting Past And Present

But it was the conversations with the other survivors, over meals and during the lengthy bus rides, that proved to be the most significant part of our reunion. As we got to know each other and caught up on the last 50 plus years, each of us made new connections and discovered old ones. Philip Sal, who met and married his wife Esther in St. Ottilien, had been the ambulance driver who brought patients from Munich to the hospital between 1945-50. More than likely he was the one who had transported my ailing mother from the Gabarze DP camp to the monastery where she gave birth to me. Yetta Marchuck, who came with her father, Max Goldsammler, was born the same year as I was. Today she lives in a house right next door to my uncle Moshe Berger, my mother’s only surviving family member.

Like a pebble thrown into the water that creates ripples far beyond what the eye can see, the two young GIs had poured out their hearts in a letter to the American people which continues to make waves fifty-five years later. As we gathered together on the last evening of our reunion, we presented Bob and Ed with a momento, a photo-poster of the St. Ottilien hospital expressing our gratitude and appreciation for their efforts, then and now and signed by the survivors, their children and their children’s children."

Though both Bob and Edward are Jewish, both were also adament to me when I was writing my book that it wasn't their motivation for saving the Displaced Persons. They would have done the same thing had these people been Christians, Buddhists, or atheists. They did it because they saw and injustice and wanted to make it right.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Evening Meditation

I just got off the phone from a very dear friend of mine. This man is like my brother, my father, and my grandfather all rolled into one. He shall remain nameless here, out of respect for his privacy.

My friend is quite an old man now. He flew many missions over Europe in World War Two. He is one of the bravest men I have ever known. I say this not only because of his war service, which was exemplary and for which he was awarded almost every honor possible. He is also brave because he has had to nurse his beloved wife through many years of her own illness, an illness that robbed her of her memory and led to her death. He is brave because he is now slowly losing his own wonderful, vivid, humorous memory at a rapid rate, and he knows he is.

We just had a long talk on the phone. We've talked literally hundreds of hours over the years. We've laughed together and cried together, my friend and I. We talked for over an hour, about many things. He told me jokes I've heard before, but it didn't matter. He forgot many of the things we've talked about a hundred times in the past, so we talked about them as if they were brand new. As we talked, I felt the crushing weight of mortality. I also felt the soaring beauty of the human spirit.

I told him I'm lighting a candle for him this evening. I also promised to call him tomorrow. We may talk of the same things again. It doesn't matter.

"He's not heavy, he's my brother."

He gives me more than I could ever give back.

Thanks, my dear old friend.

Another Hero Passes--Edward Herman---Rescued Concentration Camp Survivors

Ed Herman, left, and Robert Hilliard, Right, saved thousands of displaced persons in Germany at the end of World War Two. Ed passed away yesterday.

I just received the sad news that E. Edward Herman, who with Bob Hilliard helped change US policy towards concentration camp survivors in US-occupied Germany, has passed away.
Ed and Bob's story is told in my book "Untold Valor" as well as in Bob Hilliard's excellent book, 'Surviving the Americans', and in an acclaimed video entitled 'Miracle at St. Ottilien'.

Ed and Bob were Army Air Corps enlisted men in Germany. Bob had been wounded in the Battle of the Bulge and had been transferred into the Air Corps, where he held a job as a reporter for an air base newspaper. Bob was assigned to cover a concert staged by concentration camp survivors shortly after war's end. The concert was held at a former monastery named St. Ottilien, part of which had been converted into a hospital for the Holocaust survivors. At the concert, Bob noticed that most of the people at St. Ottilien still wore their striped concentration camp uniforms, and that nearly all were emaciated and sickly.

He noted that the freed concentration camp survivors, now called Displaced Persons, had no place to go, in most cases. Many were from Jewish ghettos that had been literally wiped off the face of the earth by Nazi pograms. These 'free' people now were kept in camps. Because of the danger of typhus and other communicable diseases, the American armed forces had strung barbed wire around many of the displaced persons camps to prevent the DPs from getting out and infecting the general population. Many DPs were still dying of malnutrition, disease, and neglect. Several had been shot while trying to sneak out of the camps to find food.

Bob returned to the American base and told his good friend, E. Edward Herman. Though he and Ed were privates, they decided they had to do something. And they did. By the time they were done, they had managed to get President Harry Truman to change US policy towards liberated concentration camp survivors. Truman sent a top deputy named Earl Harrison to Germany to investigate the situation firsthand. His report lambasted the treatment of the DPs. President Truman wrote to Eisenhower, saying, in part:

"As matters now stand, we appear to be treating the Jews as the Nazis treated them, except that we do not exterminate them. They are in concentration camps in large numbers under our military guard instead of S.S. troops. One is led to wonder if the German people, seeing this, are not supposing we are following, or at least condoning, Nazi policy."

Both Bob and Ed were threatened with courts-martial for bringing the plight of the DPs to light. They stood fast and did the right thing.

It has been my honor to know these two great Americans for a number of years. Both were of great help to me when I was researching their story. It is a story known to only a small segment of historians, but one which deserves a much wider audience. For this reason, only two weeks ago, I nominated Ed and Bob for induction into the Jewish-American Hall of Fame.

Ed was a wonderful friend and a great man. He lived many exciting events in his life, and was one of the original catalysts behind supplying the new state of Isreal with arms and other material after its creation.

The world is poorer today because he is not in it. However, thousands of Jews and other concentraton camp displaced persons lived because of his efforts and those of his friend Bob Hilliard.

Here is a list of books and a video about these two great men:

Surviving the Americans: The Continuing Struggle of the Jews after Liberation, by Robert Hilliard. Written by the man who was there and helped save the Displaced Persons, this is the best book on the subject. I note Amazon has used copies from under two dollars.

Displaced: Miracle at St. Ottilien, a Film by John Michalczyk, available at this site:

A review of this fine film:

Displaced: Miracle at St. Ottilien (2002; 47 minutes) is a documentary based on the true experiences of US Army privates Edward Herman and Robert Hilliard, who were stationed in Germany at the close of World War II. They discovered the horrendous treatment of displaced Jews in St. Ottilien, a camp run by the US military. In an effort to alleviate the suffering, the two GIs stole food from their own mess hall and smuggled it into the camp. Then the two soldiers started a letter writing campaign which caught the attention of President Harry Truman, who ordered an investigation which led to the end to the abuse. The film is based on a memoir written by Mr. Hilliard. The world premiere, attended by Mr. Hilliard and survivors of St. Ottilien, was held at the Katz Jewish Community Center in Cherry Hill, New Jersey in November 2002. A New England premiere was held at Boston College in February 2003 and was attended by Mr. Hilliard. It was recently featured at the Toronto and Boston Jewish Film Festivals.

Untold Valor, my own book, has an extensive chapter about Bob and Ed, and relies on first-person interviews with both, as well as with survivors of the death camps and their children.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Another Photo of Chuck Yeager

My friend Moofy from England, the angel of the Mighty Eighth Message Board, sent me a scan of a photo Chuck Yeager sent to her eleven years ago. It really captures the 'fighter jock' mentality of this tough air warrior. Thanks, Moofy.

Belgian War Hero Passes Away--Rescued 800 Allied Airmen

Andree de Jongh, above, saved over 800 downed Allied airmen in World War Two through the Belgian Comet Line. Thanks to Edouard Renière of Brussels, Belgium for sending the correct photo of today's hero.

My colleague and friend Marilyn Walton notified me today that Andrée ("Dédée") De Jongh, founder of the Belgian Comet Line, the escape organization that helped downed Allied airmen get back to England via France and Spain, has quietly passed away this Saturday morning in a Brussels hospital.

Hundreds of Allied airmen owe their lives to this brave woman. Today, I quote in full from an article about Ms. De Jongh from The Bulletin: The Newsweekly of the Capital of Europe, October 19, 2000 edition.

"In World War Two hundreds of Allied aircrew shot down over Belgium were saved by the heroism of a group of young volunteers - led by the 24 year old daughter of a Brussels schoolmaster. Andree de Jongh, known as Dedee tells Shirin Wheeler the story of the Comet Line

Under a full moon in the autumn of 1942, Sgt Bob Frost and the four other crew members of his Wellington bomber were on their way back from Essen in Germany. They had dropped a 1,800 kilo bomb on the Krupp arms factory, but had been hit by anti-aircraft fire. Over Belgium, the plane started to drop. At 16,000 feet, air­gunner Frost donned his parachute and bailed out. "I came through a cloud, it was cold and wet. I was actually livid. Only a week to go, two more missions before my tour of thirty was over. Then the ground came up and hit me." Frost landed in a field just outside the village of Kapellen in Flemish Brabant. He was 19 years old, and alone in Ger­man-occupied Belgium. But within six weeks, thanks to the efforts of an escape network known as the Comet Line, he was back home and on leave in London.Now, 58 years later, Frost is returning to Belgium to meet some of the men and women who risked their lives to rescue Allied airmen like him.

This weekend in Brussels and Namur, 20 former RAF air­crew will join their old friends from the Comet Line. They will hold a special Mass to remember those of their rescuers who were executed or died in German concentration camps and prisons. The Comet Line was one of the two rescue networks set up in Belgium to spirit away aircrew who'd been shot down, and soldiers left behind after Dunkirk. (The other was the Pat Line, run by "Pat O'Leary" - Medecin-Capitaine Albert ­Marie Guerisse - which saved 600 fliers before being betrayed to the Gestapo in early 1942.)

In the three years it oper­ated from 1941 to 1944, the Comet Line saved an estimated 800 Allied airmen and soldiers from capture. They were smuggled from Belgium through France and across the Pyrenees into neutral Spain and out via Gibraltar. It was funded by British military intel­ligence (MI9) in London. But it depended on the courage and help of people in the countryside and on the Resistance families in the cities who hid and fed the foreigners until they could be moved. In doing so, they risked arrest, torture and death. Helping fliers to evade capture was a capital offence, and hun­dreds paid with their lives.

When Frost came down in Kapellen, he had the fortune to come across the Vangilbergen family's farmhouse."I saw a house, and hoping an old lady would answer, I knocked at the door. My guardian angel was working overtime. Actually it was a strapping young fellow who spoke in Flemish. I answered in schoolboy German and he slammed the door in my face. Eventually, I managed to persuade him to let me in. The Vangilbergens were the first peo­ple Frost met in occupied Belgium - the first in a long line of citizens who risked everything to help a young stranger in trouble."That morning the family left me in the house and went off to the village fete. I remember watching the bicycle race from my window in the attic." They contacted members of the Comet Line. It wasn't hard because the escape line had agents all over Belgium looking for stranded Allied airmen. Frost was taken to Brussels where he stayed first with a stockbroker at the Brussels Bourse and then in Laeken with a with a widower running his own Resistance group from a house in Avenue des Pagodes.

Issued with a suit, shoes and false identity papers, he became Robert Simonis, a Belgian seaman who spoke a little German. "Simonis" lived in Bordeaux but had been in Brussels to visit his sick mother. That gave him an excuse to be travelling south. Via a network of around 1,000 people operating in Belgium and France, the Comet Line rolled into action as it would for hundreds of other soldiers and airmen.

Comet had been the brainchild of a 24 year old woman, Andree de Jongh. She is still living in Brussels in a small flat near the Place Meiser. Physically frail now, she's lost none of the passion that earned her the niclmame "Petit Cyclone".

Dedee (pictured with her father)helped rescue many Allied airmen

After the war, she was made a Countess by the King. In Britain she was awarded the George Cross. Her voice quivers with emotion when she recalls how, in May 1940, her schoolmaster father told her Belgium had surrendered to German occupation after just 18 days.They were in the family house in Avenue Emile Verhaeren. "I'd never seen my father cry before - never. He said listen Belgium isn't fighting anymore its given up. I was in despair and furious, enraged at the same time. I said to my father, 'you are wrong to cry. You'll see what we'll do to them. You'll see, they are going to lose this war. They've started it, but they'll lose it. Don't worry." But I really didn't have any idea how we would win. It soon became clear. De Jongh set up a chain of safe houses in Brussels and along the route to the Spanish border Then she travelled to Spain with a party of rescued fliers to find support for her project. The British, initially suspecting a Gestapo trap, soon realised the value of what the young woman (codenamed "Postman", but known to her London MI9 desk officer Airey Neave as Dedee) was offering to do for them.

In 1941 an intelligence officer from the British Embassy in Bilbao agreed to reim­burse her travel costs if she could bring back Allied airmen shot down over Belgium and northern France, escorting them over the Pyrenees . The Comet Line had been born. There was no shortage of volunteers from both friends and family (including de Jongh's parents, aunt and older sister). Frost remembers the first time he met de Jongh in a Brussels flat back in 1942."it was her eyes, they were absolutely burning and there was an air of supreme confidence about her." For the 19-year-old air gunner, she and her other women comrades in the Comet Line inspired adoration "I fell in love with them totally - absolutely.We had complete trust in them. By the same token, they put their trust in us." It was Dedee herself, accompanied by a Basque guide, who escorted Frost and four others to safety over the Pyrenees. She carried a rucksack filled with civilian clothes for the airmen.

It was an arduous eight hour trek in silence through the night. The airmen, who were known by members of the line as "the children", often found the journey hard. De Jongh laughs and recalls how sometimes she had to cajole them to carry on. "When one of the men sat down saying he wasift going any further, I'd try to make him feel ashamed. 1 understood they hadift moved for weeks or months hiding in houses in Brussels and Paris. It was difficult. But I was a lit­tle shocked they weren't trying harder. We couldift just leave them, either. They would have been found by the Germans and put the whole line in jeopardy. And you know, when you've told someone they can trust you, you say to yourself 'I have to get them across. I can't fail."Frost remembers the gruelling walk, stumbling in the dark and wondering how much longer they could go on. Dedee's stamina was clearly extraordinary. Before her arrest, she did the walk many times and personally led 118 men over the mountains, 80 of them Allied airmen.When they got into Spain, the men rested at a safe house but de iongh carried on and phoned her contact at the British Embassy to send the diplomatic car. She would hand over her precious charges on the road to Madrid."I have really awful memories of that. All those men, they were our children, it's true. We were so attached to them. In fact we still are. As soon as we spot­ted the car, there was no time to say goodbye. They ran. We had spent three days together - we couldn't even say goodbye. My heart would melt, but at the same time I was so happy."The members of the Comet Line paid a terrible price. Betrayals and infiltration led to hundreds of arrests and deaths. Dedee was caught when bad weather delayed crossing the Pyrenees in January 1943 and, under interrogation, one of the RAF fliers identified both his helpers and the Line's safe houses to the Gestapo. For months, it seemed that the Comet Line had been shattered. But it was re-established by Baron Jean Greindl (codenamed Nemo). For all the betray­als, the arrests and executions, there was always someone willing to take over.When Frost and his fellow airmen come over to Belgium at the weekend, they'll be visiting the Namur citadel where many people were executed by firing squads.

De Jongh says she always warned anyone volunteering for the Comet Line to expect to be shot or captured within six months. But that didn't put off 17-year­ old Andree Dumon. Codenamed Nadine, she began by delivering messages for the line and carrying copies of La Libre Belgique, which had been banned and gone under­ground. She graduated to smuggling the airmen to Paris or Valenciennes by train. It is extraordinary to imagine this teenager at the French border calmly dealing with German officers as they examined the airmen's forged papers. But she is remembered for her perfect "sang froid" and her permanent smile. A grandmother today, she has kept that smile. Dumon is still living in the family home in Uccle where, at the age of 20, she and her parents were arrested after an informant betrayed them to the Gestapo.

Both photos above, Andree Dumon.

"I can still hear my grandfather shouting 'German police!' I'll never forget it. We were all still in bed, it was seven in the morning. My father told me to try and escape, so I got onto the roof. Then I saw that the Germans had surrounded the house - their revolvers were pointed at me and I knew they would shoot. So I gave myself up," she says in a surprisingly youthful voice.

Both Dumon and de Jongh spent nearly three years in prisons and concentration camps. When Germany surrendered in 1945, they emerged from Mauthausen gravely ill and undernourished. But many of their comrades from the Comet Line did not survive the camps, Dumon's father among them. She was sent to Ravensbruck. "You go through those huge doors. I can only say it was like entering the gates of hell. It's hard to talk about," she says. "But they didn't break my spirit. I am glad to say I never waxed the SS guards'shoes for an extra bowl of soup, though I was certainly hungry."

Some might have wondered if all the suffering was worth it - but the British told them the Comet Line was making a huge difference. Not just because it was getting the pilots, radio operators and navigators home, but because men believed that if they were shot down, they would be rescued and would find friends in occupied Belgium. That was a huge boost to morale. Dumon is quite clear about what kept her going. "It was for freedom, against the occupier. We did everything we could against the occupier. I got one airman through who, after he got back, went on another mission and bombed two U boats, German submarines. He was decorated for that as well."

There is hardly a day that passes that Frost doesn't reflect on the sacrifices members of the Comet Line made for him and his fellow airmen. He knows things could have been very different if someone else had opened the door in the village of Kapellen. Instead, the Comet Line delivered the teenage airman back to his mother in Clerkenwell, not much more than a month after he'd been reported missing."I have nothing but the utmost respect for the people who worked in the Comet Line," he says. "They knew the price if they were caught. It was heroism beyond anything I can tell you. When we got' home we could go out, show off our air­force wings and lead a normal life. These people could not. They had to remain quiet, carrying on with things and hoping there wasn't going to be a knock on the door."After the war, Frost and Dumon ­became close friends. She is now the torchbearer for the memory of the Comet Line. She has also organised this weekend's reunion of airmen and Comet Line members in Brussels.

She thinks both sides still have a need to meet, perhaps' to express a mutual gratitude. "The air­men feel they can't thank us enough. We say if it wasn't for the English we might be German now."Next year, they'll celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Comet Line. "Our own children don't seem that interested," Andree Dumon says, "but then we didn't really speak about it to them. Maybe it was too painful. You know, my father died - I would so much have liked to have known him as an adult. Now I think we have to tell our story because younger people really should know - for the sake of those who died."

Brave women and men who in some cases gave all to save Allied Airmen.

God bless them all.

Another good website about the Comet Line:

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Chuck Yeager, Flying Legend

Brig. Gen. Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager was born in Myra, W.Va., on Feb. 13, 1923. He enlisted as a private in the Army Air Corps in September 1941 and, after serving briefly as an aircraft mechanic, entered enlisted pilot training in September 1942. He graduated as an enlisted flight officer from Luke Field, Ariz., in March 1943 and was assigned to the 363rd Fighter Squadron (357th Fighter Group) where he flew P-39s.

In November 1943, his unit was sent to England where he entered combat flying a P-51 Mustang . He downed a German aircraft before being shot down over occupied France during his eighth mission on March 5,1944. He evaded capture and managed to convince Gen. Dwight Eisenhower to permit him to return to combat with his squadron. He flew 56 more combat missions during which he shot down 11 more German aircraft (including five Me 109s during a single mission Oct. 12, 1944). He returned to the United States in February 1945 and was assigned to Perrin Field, Texas, as a basic flying instructor. Then, in July 1945, he was assigned as a maintenance officer to the Flight Test Division at Wright Field, Ohio, an assignment which was destined to lead to a major turning point in his career.

His remarkably superb flying skills quickly caught the attention of Col. Albert Boyd, chief of the division, and Col. Fred Ascani, his deputy. As Ascani recalled, Yeager flew an airplane "as though he was an integral part of it; his 'feel' for a new airplane was instinctive, intuitive and as natural as if he had already flown it for a hundred or more hours."In 1946, he graduated from the Flight Performance School (initial designation of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School) at Wright Field and, in 1947, Boyd selected him as project pilot for one of the most important series of flights in history. In late summer 1947, he was sent to Muroc Army Air Field (now Edwards Air Force Base) to fly the rocket-powered Bell X-1. After launch from a B-29, Oct. 14, 1947, he accelerated to a speed of Mach 1.06 at 42,000 feet and shattered the myth of the once-dreaded "sound barrier" forever. Spectacular though it was, Yeager's first supersonic flight represented just the beginning of a seven-year career at Edwards (1947-54) during which he would establish himself as one of the truly legendary figures among the world's fraternity of test pilots.

The late 1940s and '50s were an era when the limits of time and space were being dramatically expanded. A whole series of "X-" or experimental aircraft were designed to explore bold new concepts. Because of his consummate piloting skill, his coolness under pressure and ability to detect a problem, quickly analyze it and take appropriate action, Yeager was selected to probe some of the most challenging unknowns of flight in aircraft such as the X-1A, X-3, X-4, X-5 and XF-92A.He continued to explore the enigmas of high-speed flight, for example, as he piloted the rocket-powered X-1A to a record 1,650 mph (Mach 2.44) on Dec. 12, 1953. During this flight, he became the first pilot to encounter inertia coupling. The aircraft literally tumbled about all three axes as it plummeted for more than 40,000 feet before he was able to recover it to level flight. Even his legendary rival, Scott Crossfield, has since conceded that it was "probably fortunate" that Yeager was the pilot on that flight "so we had the airplane to fly another day."By latter-day standards, it is remarkable that, while engaged in a wide range of such highly experimental flight research programs, he was also involved in the evaluation of virtually all of the aircraft that were then being considered for the Air Force's operational inventory. Indeed, he averaged more than 100 flying hours per month from 1947-1954 and, at one point, actually flew 27 different types and models of aircraft within the span of a single month.

In October 1954, he was assigned to command the 417th Fighter Squadron, first in Germany and then in France. Returning to the United States in September 1957, he served as commander of the 1st Fighter Squadron at George Air Force Base, Calif.After graduating from the Air War College in June of 1961, he returned to Edwards where, in July 1962, he was selected to serve as commandant of the U.S. Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School (designation of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School from 1961 to 1972) where he was responsible for the training of U.S. military astronaut candidates.In July 1966, he assumed command of the 405th Fighter Wing at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. During this tour, he flew 127 combat missions over Vietnam.

After a 34-year military career, he retired on March 1, 1975. At the time of his retirement, he had flown more than 10,000 hours in more than 330 different types and models of aircraft. The magnitude of his achievements may be surmised from the fact that he has been the recipient of every major award in the field of flight from the Collier Trophy to the Harmon International Trophy and the Federation Aeronautique International Gold Medal as well as the highest honors that his own nation can accord, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a special peacetime Medal of Honor. Indeed, those achievements have earned him a place in that small pantheon of aviators which includes such names as Charles Lindburg and Jimmy Doolittle.

Recommended reading about Chuck Yeager:

Yeager: An Autobiography, by Chuck Yeager. I have a signed copy of this excellent book. Find a copy for yourself at

The Right Stuff, by Thomas Wolfe, about the early supersonic pioneers and astronauts. Find a copy at

Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1: Breaking the Sound Barrier (Hardcover) by Dominic A. Pisano et al. Get a copy here at

F-15 and Mustang in Formation

The picture says it all.

Flyboys and Their Mustangs Had the Right Stuff

This article is from the online edition of the Newark, New Jersey Advocate, and was written by John Morgan.

"They had names like Grim Reaper, Glamorous Gal, Shangri-la, and La Pistolera. Their gleaming, polished metal skin gave no clue they were well over a half-century-old. More than 10,000 P-51 Mustangs were built during WWII and, over the weekend of Sept. 27-30, central Ohio was the gathering place of more than 100 of the fewer than 200 Mustangs still flying today, and some of the rapidly decreasing numbers of men and women, the legends, that flew or worked on them.

When introduced in 1940, after being designed and built in less than 120 days, the British, desperate for fighters, took possession of 320 of them. The U.S. Army Air Corps was not impressed, however. Although the design promised many advanced features not seen in fighter aircraft before, the performance of the Allison engine was lacking at altitudes over 17,000 feet. The Air Corps decided to concentrate on the P-47 Thunderbolt and the P-38 Lightning instead.

The resourceful British soon began testing their Mustangs with the 12-cylinder Rolls Royce Merlin engine, the same engine that powered their Spitfires. The most famous fighter aircraft in history had been born. The Merlin-powered Mustangs soon would be escorting the American bombers to anywhere in the Nazi heartland and back. It was reported many Nazi generals knew the war was lost when they saw Mustangs in the sky over Berlin.

Many of these great planes have been rebuilt and overhauled many times over the years and look better than when they rolled off the assembly line some 60 years ago.

The legends that flew them have not been so lucky. You've seen pictures of many I'm sure. Leather flight jacket and cap, a cocky smile perhaps. At the age of 18 or 19 they were flying hundreds of miles into hostile territory, responsible for making sure those big bombers made it to their target and back. Bud Anderson, Bob Hoover, Tex Hill, the Tuskegee Airmen. Legends of the fighter pilot world. Heroes to me.

I had the great fortune to work as a volunteer at the Gathering of Mustangs and Legends. I was in awe of these great planes and the veterans I saw.

I'm an emotional guy, and one instance in particular really got to me. A golf cart drove up to one of the parked Mustangs near me. A man in his 60s got out and proceeded to assist a very feeble older man out of the cart. He had a VIP pass around his neck. He wore a ball cap emblazoned with "P-51." The weather was very warm, but he wore a cardigan sweater.

The younger man was asking some technical question or another about the Mustang as he helped him gather his cane and steady himself. I did not hear the older man respond. He walked a few steps and simply placed his time-worn hand on the wing of the Mustang, maybe his mind going back to the skies over Germany so many years ago. A lifetime to us, only yesterday to him.

Someday the legends will be a memory and only the Mustangs will remain -- expensive toys to their owners, important pieces of aviation history, symbols of the greatest conflict and the greatest generation. "

John Morgan and family live in rural Knox County. He is a 2nd Lt. in the Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, Land of Legends Composite Flight, in Newark.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

95th Bomb Group to Release New History

The famed 95th Bomb Group, the first American daylight bomb group over Berlin in World War Two, will be releasing a comprehensive history in 2009. The book will include a narrative history of the group based on new research and interviews, and will include a DVD/CD filled with pertinent data related to the group. The book will be written under the auspices of the 95th Bomb Group Association.

Much work has already been done by a group of highly dedicated volunteers of the group at the National Archives, where mission reports and other rare documents have been scanned by the hundreds. Research trips to the reunion and the Horham Open Day at the 95th old air base in Horham, England will be conducted in 2008. The official 95th BG Association website is found at:
The group also has a museum and presence in England at:
Some history of the group, gleaned from the 100th BG website:
95th Bomb Group
Activated 15th June 1942 at Barkesdale Field, Louisiana, the 95th BG did not commence operations until late August 1942 at Geiger Field, Washington. On 31st October, 1942, they moved, temporarily, to Ephrata, Washington, returning to Geiger Field on 24th November, 1942.Final training took place at Rapid City Air Force Base from 14th December, 1942 until 11th March, 1942.Taking the southern route, via Florida, Trinidad, Brazil, Dakar and Marrakesh, they arrived in the U.K. in early April 1943.The ground echelon arrived at Camp Kilmer on 21st April, 1943, sailing on the Queen Elizabeth 5th May 1943, and arrived at Greenock 11th May.The Group was stationed at Alconbury 15th April and then At Framlingham from 12th May to 15th June, 1943. The stay at Horham lasted until 19th June, 1945, when the aircraft departed, ariving at Bradley Field, Connecticut 21st and 26th June, 1945.The ground crews sailed from Greenock, again on the Queen Elizabeth, arriving in the U.S. 11th August, 1945.
During operations from Horham, the 95th completed a total of 321 missions (including 6 food drops totalling 456.5 tons). The total bomb tonnage was 19,769.2 tons, of which 211.1 tons consisted of supplies dropped to resistance groups in Europe. Aircraft losses consisted of 157 missing in action and 39 other operational losses. The last 8th Air Force lost on a mission was from the 95th BG, crashing into the sea 7th May 1945.During their distinguished service, the 95th was the first to bomb Berlin (4th March 1944) and received three unit citations:

Distinguished Unit Citation: Regensburg 17 Aug 43
Distinguished Unit Citation: Munster 10 Oct 43
Distinguished Unit Citation: Berlin 4 Mar 44

In the meantime, here is a list of good books about the 95th that I highly recommend.

B-17s Over Berlin: Personal Stories from the 95th Bomb Group (H), edited by Ian Hawkins and produced by the 95th BG, found at

Munster: Bloody Skies over Germany by Ian Hawkins, found at

My War: The True Experiences of an Army Air Force Pilot in World War Two, by John C. Walter (reviewed yesterday on this blog) can be found at:

Fletcher's Gang: A B-17 Crew in Europe in World War Two, by Eugene Fletcher, found at

Last Flight of the Lonesome Polecat II, by Michael I. Darter, found at

Tom's War: Flying with the U.S. Eighth Army Air Force in Europe, 1944, by James T. Hammond, found at

Combat Bombardier: Memoirs of Tour Combat Tours In the Skies Over Europe in World War Two, by Leonard Herman with Rob Morris. Found at
You probably can't afford this one (nor can I) but a great book is Contrails: The 95th Bombardment Group H United States Army Air Forces published in 1945.
Also currently unavailable and rare is Contrails II: A Pictorial History of the 95th Bomb Group (H), 8th United States Army Air Force, Horham, England, 1943-1945
Operational Record of the 95th Bomb Group (H) Volume II Supplement to Courage Honor Victory by Paul M. Andrews.
The above three were published by the 95th Bomb Group Association.

This book, which I wrote, contains many good stories about the 95th but is not focused ONLY on the 95th.