Sunday, May 16, 2010

Rongstad Crew Gets a Memorial

Official Army crash photos taken after the crash.
Crash site, Green Farm, Redlingfield, Suffolk. Many artifacts from this aircraft have been recovered from the site. (Photo by Rob Morris, June 2008)

Old barn across the lane from Green Farm. (Photo by Rob Morris, June 2008)

The farmhouse built on the spot of the detroyed original Green Farm. (Photo by Rob Morris)

Green Farm Accident Report, 95th Bomb Group Archives.

Crash report.

Lt. Rongstad's obituary in the Daily Interlake, Kalispell, Montana.

Green Farm burns after the B-17 crashed next to it.

B-17 tire.

Memorial (Photo by Richard Flagg)

Photo by Richard Flagg.

Three 95th vets pay homage to the downed crew. (Photo by Richard Flagg)

Photo by Richard Flagg.

Photo by Richard Flagg.

Veterans and family members and friends at the Dedication Ceremony. (Photo by Richard Flagg)

Earl Jostwick at the memorial. (Richard Flagg photo)

The Rongstad crew perished in a fiery crash after taking off from Horham on November 19, 1943. The pilot, fellow Montanan Kenneth Rongstad of Kalispell, banked his B-17 sharply after takeoff, the aircraft stalled, and it plunged to the ground, narrowly missing the Green Farm farmhouse, setting the farm house and another across the lane on fire. The men who possibly survived the initial crash were killed when the ordnance went off.

The photos of the memorial ceremony were taken by a friend of mine, professional photographer Richard Flagg, at Open Day yesterday, May 15, at Horham, Suffolk, England.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Recent Writing on WWII in the Pacific

Bataan Death March survivor Ed L.
Ralph L., Bataan Death March and POW in Japan.

The USS Indianapolis.

Hap Halloran, top center, with B-29 crew.

The little girl at right watched the Pearl Harbor attack from Pearl City, only a few hundred yards from Ford Island.

Pete Benavage is my old Western Civ teacher from high school. He was a sergeant on Iwo Jima. This photo is captured from a Japanese TV documentary about Iwo Jima.
Bill Morrison, Iwo Jima Marine.

Bill Lynne, Navy Corpsman with 1st Marines.

Bob Crowton's Navy Cross, awarded for heroism at Okinawa.
Bob Crowton's wife Marge admires his Navy Cross.
Kay Morris, B-24 copilot, flew many long over-water missions against Japan.
Bill Lynne, Navy Corpsman, Pacific.
Bill Harten, USS West Virginia, Pearl Harbor survivor.
Joe Lajzer, Bataan Death March survivor and survivor of four years in a Japanese prison camp.

I have been working hard on Untold Valor: Pacific and have some fine stories. The book will be arranged chronologically by battles/campaigns and each chapter will feature two to three men or women who were there. Chapters so far include:
Pearl Harbor: Interviews, Pearl Harbor survivor from USS West Virginia; lady who was a 6-year old whose dad was stationed at Pearl and who watched the attack from Pearl City.

Wake Island: Interview: a civilian construction worker who was captured and spent the war as a POW.
Bataan Death March: interviews with three Bataan Death March survivors who also survived hellish POW camps and Hell Ship trips.
Pilots: interviews with two pilots who flew long over-water missions to Japan.

Navy Corpsmen: Interviews with three Navy corpsmen who served with the First Marine Division on Saipan and Okinawa.

Okinawa: interviews with Marines and Navy Corpsmen who were there, including a Marine Lt. who won the Navy Cross there.
Iwo Jima: Interviews with three Marines who were there.
USS Indianapolis: Interviews with three men who survived the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, sunk by a Japanese sub in 1945. The survivors spent days in shark-infested waters before rescue, and most died waiting for rescue. Also interviewed Hunter Scott, who as a young man called attention to the fact that Captain McVay was wrongly accused of negligence.

B-29 POW: Interview with a man who was shot down and was a POW in Tokyo during the March 10, 1945 firebombings.
Possible one or two more chapters, but it depends on if I can find the men to interview. I would like to interview a carrier pilot and a Seabee.