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February 2023
Ocean Reef Vintage Weekend with Jim & Jane Slattery
Last month we told you about how three of the Museum's planes -- the Lockheed P-38F Lightning 'White 33' and the two Grumman F7F Tigercats -- flew to Florida to participate in an annual show of vintage planes, cars and yachts. The Tigercats departed Colorado Springs November 12 and the P-38 left November 17. All three returned December 8.

They were there to participate in the December 1-4 Ocean Reef Vintage Weekend show at the exclusive Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida, to which they were invited by Museum benefactor and Chairman of the Board, Jim Slattery, who is a member of the club and has a residence there. Jim and his wife Jane graciously hosted the whole Museum volunteer team (President & CEO Bill Klaers, his wife Debi Klaers, their son (and pilot) Scott Klaers, pilot Rick Sharpe, pilot Ian Wayman, pilot Charles Hainline, and his wife Helen Hainline), and pilot Stu Dawson at their beautiful home during the 4-day event.
It is no understatement to say that without the generosity of Jim and his family the Museum would not be at the level it is today! Jim and his family have the interest, dedication and resources to restore to flying condition the historic aircraft that are the heart of the Museum.

Jim is especially proud of 'White 33', the only combat veteran P-38, with known kills, flying in the world today. “We started out with the idea of taking the only P-38, which 'White 33' is, with combat history surviving in the world today, take it from [where it was] back to better than new,” he said in 2017. “It’s an extraordinary airplane with its turbochargers intact. It’s probably the best example, an early one, much more complicated to restore than later models, but WestPac is amazing. It spent year after year with that airplane.”
Jim also was touched by Frank Royal, who flew 'White 33', and whom Jim met by chance. Frank “showed up one day [at WestPac] and I happened to be there. He was 100 at the time and he was in his original uniform, had not gained an ounce, which is quite a feat in itself. But he walked over to [White 33], looked at it and said, ‘I think that might be an airplane that was in my squadron.’”

Of course, in another coincidence, it was. Frank passed away in 2016, a month after 'White 33' returned to the air. Today, in yet another turn of events that could hardly have been predicted decades ago, 'White 33' took the award for Best Restoration at the Ocean Reef Vintage Weekend!

Be sure to stop by the museum to see Jim Slattery’s vision come true, where P-38 Lightning 'White 33' – and the Museum’s stable of other warbirds – flies for every member and visitor!

If you’d like to take a look, this five-minute video gives a nice recap of the Ocean Reef Vintage Weekend show. In addition to many automobiles, yachts and aircraft, you can see the Museum’s F7F’s from the 0:21 to 0:27 and 4:00 to 4:15 marks. Enjoy! 
Colonel William "Bill" Roche, B-17 Waist Gunner
and Friend of the Museum, has Passed Away at 98
Colonel William L. Roche, USAF-retired, passed away in Colorado Springs on Wednesday night, February 22, at age 98.

A B-17 waist gunner in World War II, he had a distinguished career of more than 32 years in the military. He worked in the intelligence field, was a faculty member at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and served in Air Attaché posts in the Soviet Union, the former Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. After retiring from the military in 1979, he worked for the Central Intelligence Agency until 1992 as an independent contractor.

Bill was well-known to the Museum, having attended many events here. He and several other veterans came to our most recent event, a February 18 presentation about flying "The Hump" from India to China in WWII. The presenter, Colorado author Fred Martin, said he was "just thrilled to have a waist gunner here." Bill also was a regular at a weekly Wednesday morning breakfast for veterans in Colorado Springs.

"I decided to try and be a pilot back in 1942 when I turned 18 and I volunteered to enlist in the [U.S. Army] Air Force in late '43 when the AF was losing a lot of planes," Bill said in a 2020 interview with the Museum's newsletter. "Every time they lost a Flying Fort or a Liberator they lost two pilots, but they lost five gunners and at that time the impetus was to replace the gunners. So out of our students...42 of us were designated to go to gunnery school. I ended up being shipped to Buckley Field, Colorado, right near Denver, way out in the country at that time."
He was assigned to the Eighth Air Force's 452nd Bomb Group and flew a number of combat missions in B-17s from Deopham Green, England. He was shot down twice.

"It is with a heavy heart and a great deal of sadness that my buddy Bill Roche, an amazing example of the Greatest Generation, passed away in his sleep last night," Colorado Springs resident veterans' advocate Mark Schaefer said Feb. 23 on his Facebook page. "Bill was a waist gunner on a B-17 during WWII and his plane was forced to land on two occasions. We met on an honor flight a number of years ago. We did so much together; baseball and football games, the aviation museum, the zoo, air shows, fly-ins, breakfast, lunch… and so much more. I’ll miss him forever. But I’m so thankful for the memories. RIP my friend."

To read more about Bill’s experience as a B-17 waist gunner, please see our June 2022 newsletter article, “March 18,1945 - The Biggest USAAF Berlin Mission of the War” in our newsletter archive at .

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
The Airfield
Stinson Vultee L-5B Sentinel, S/N 44-17141, 'Miss Stitch'
Welcome to our new newsletter column, The Airfield, where we'll highlight one museum aircraft each month. Come on over and join us at the airfield!

From WWII through the Korean Conflict, the L-5 saw multiple missions and was used by the U.S. Army Air Forces, U.S. Army Ground Forces, U.S. Marine Corps, and the British Royal Air Force. Built by the Consolidated – Vultee Corporation, Stinson Division in Nashville, Tennessee, and Wayne, Michigan, between 1942 and 1945, the U.S. Army Air Force ordered 3,890 L-5s for use in reconnaissance, front-line medical evacuation, delivering supplies, spotting enemy targets, personnel transport, rescue, and even as a light bomber.
Specifically designed for military service, the L-5 was much heavier and had much higher horsepower than the previous liaison aircraft (L-birds, or Grasshoppers, as they are sometimes called). The prototype, designated V-76 / O-62, was accepted by the military in December 1942; later in 1943 the designation was changed to L-5. The B-model was a redesign of the original 2-seat tandem version which incorporated a wider fuselage and a large side access door allowing for evacuation of one wounded soldier on a stretcher. All subsequent models of the L-5 had this ability. 729 of the B-model variant were produced, designated as the L-5B for the Army Air Forces and OY-1 for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.
Whether spotting artillery, delivering goods, or hauling people from place to place, the L-5 became a multi-role aircraft. 

The L-5 was also employed in a Forward Air Control role on “horsefly missions”. These missions typically saw an L-5 working with a P-47 Thunderbolt and other fighter bombers to get firepower on specific enemy targets by flying low, slow, and spotting where the enemy was located. This role would increase into the early stages of the Korean conflict before the L-5 series was eventually replaced by the Cessna L-19 Bird Dog, which carried on with this mission through the Vietnam War.
Our L-5B, USAAF serial number 44-17141, was accepted by the U.S. Army Air Forces on Christmas Day 1944, when it was delivered to Brownwood Army Air Field, Brownwood, Texas. It later went to the 1060th Overseas Replacement Center in Greensboro, North Carolina, but did not make it to the combat area before the end of hostilities. After the war it served with various Air Force units until being transferred to the Civil Air Patrol in 1956. In 1965 the aircraft was released from service to a college in Washington State and later sold as a project to a few civilian owners before being purchased by the current owner in 2005.
The ground-up restoration of 44-17141 took a bit over seven years to complete and successfully achieved its post-restoration flight on July 4, 2015. It is currently one of eight B-models flying in the world. The ship is based at the National Museum of World War II Aviation, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

But why 'Miss Stitch' ?

The Stinson L-5B is constructed of a steel tubular fuselage with wooden wings, doors and tail; this structure is covered with cotton sheeting. The sheeting would be sewn into an envelope or sock, pulled tight over the wings and fuselage, and then shrunk tight using water. A silver-dope would then be applied to protect the weave of the cotton from ultraviolet light and moisture, before a final coat of exterior color was applied over that.
The nose art 'Miss Stitch' depicts a worker at the Stinson Division plant in Wayne, Michigan, carefully sewing a cotton wing envelope, however she has accidently sewn the envelope to her hemline. This makes a fun play on words for a fabric-covered aircraft while still serving as a tribute to all the war workers that secured victory in World War II. The artwork was faithfully created in a traditional style by Jerri Bergen of Victory Girl Custom Nose Art, Upland, California.

Museum volunteer Bill Barclay says about the restoration of 'Miss Stitch', “It is important to recognize a couple folks; Bill Klaers and Alan Wojciak and the crew at WestPac; without having the space and availability of the shop provided by Bill, I doubt the little ship would have been able to be completed in the timeframe it was.” 
“The entire process was really humbling; all of these folks that I had admired since I was 12 or 13 years old, when I started around these airplanes, were there and in a big way; kind of a who’s-who in warbird circles honestly… Absolutely Amazing! Yep, it was a complete effort which took all my knowledge accumulated to date in this business and plenty of new things to learn and figure out along the way; it was very rewarding!”
“Finally, after about 7 years of work on weekends and evenings, she sat on the WestPac/Museum ramp ready to go. July 4, 2015, fellow Museum volunteer Ian Wayman performed the first post-restoration test flight with only minor adjustments required. She’s a great ship! I’m so pleased we are able to have her here on display at the National Museum of WWII Aviation to help tell the story of how a generation of folks saved the world, and hopefully to inspire another generation of kids to “Keep 'em Flying”!
L-5B Specifications
Contractor: Vultee Aircraft, Stinson Division
Power Plant: Lycoming O-435-1, 6-Cylinders, 185 hp
Weight: 1,564 lbs empty Maximum Takeoff Weight: 2050 lbs maximum
Length: 24 ft. 1 in. Height: 8 ft. 11 in. Wingspan: 34 ft.
Maximum Speed: 163 mph (200 mph dive speed)
Cruise Speed: 85 - 120 mph
Range: 360 Miles
Ceiling: 15,600ft
Armament: None (Usually!)

'Miss Stitch' is one of the 29 aircraft in the Museum’s collection. See them -- and more than 100 displays and exhibits -- when you visit the Museum!

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle, Bill Barclay, George White
WWII Airfields in England – The Parham Airfield Museum
By Gene Pfeffer

I was recently able to visit the former home of the 390th Bomb Group during WWII. The remains of the airfield, once known as U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) Station 153, is in an agricultural region in the east of England near the town of Framlingham. Simply called Framlingham by the men who flew from there, the former airfield has almost entirely been returned to agriculture. The museum is one of several on land formerly occupied by USAAF bomber and fighter groups.

What remains is the Parham Airfield Museum, named for the nearby village of Parham. It consists primarily of the control tower and a few other buildings, all dedicated to the men of the 390th Bomb Group who called the base home from 1943 through 1945. The museum also houses tributes to and artifacts of the members of the British Resistance Organization who were trained to perform covert operations to delay and disrupt an invasion of Britain by German forces, had it come.

Station 153 was constructed in 1942. It included three runways laid out in a letter “A” pattern, the longest of which measured 5,000 feet, as well as three miles of perimeter track. Facilities included a control tower, large hangars, and other buildings necessary to house the 3,000 personnel stationed there and to host a full complement of aircraft for an operational bomb group.

The 95th Bomb Group was the first to arrive at Framlingham, in April 1943, but only remained there for three months before moving to Horham.
The 390th Bomb Group arrived with its B-17 Flying Fortresses in July 1943 and stayed until July 1945. Its first mission was flown on August 12, 1943, when 20 aircraft were dispatched to Bonn, Germany. On August 17, the 390th took part in the historic Schweinfurt-Regensburg mission when the group attacked aircraft factories in Regensburg and then flew on to land in North Africa.

By April 1945, 742 airmen of the 390th had been killed and another 731 taken prisoner. The intensity of the group’s operations is shown by the fact that over the course of its time at Framlingham, 275 B-17s were assigned to the group and just 75 were left in flying condition at the war’s end in Europe.

The Parham Airfield Museum, occupying the former control tower, displays a wide range of memorabilia, including B-17 engines and instruments, clothing and flight jackets, memories and photos, and a panoramic view from the control tower.

If you are a WWII aviation enthusiast like me, you can take a trip back in time with a visit to Parham and the other small museums that dot the East Anglian countryside. You can almost hear the roar of the bombers and fighters as they embark on one of the great air battles of World War II.

To plan your trip to the Parham Airfield Museum, or to read more about what they do, visit their website at .

Gene Pfeffer is the Curator and Historian of the National Museum of World War II Aviation.
Our Volunteers Keep Us Going!
Volunteers are the beating heart of the National Museum of World War II Aviation, working both behind the scenes and out on the floor to bring you a historical experience that you’ll always remember!
In the photo below, volunteer Ed Hoden works on a P-38 Lightning drop tank at the WestPac Restorations facility on the campus of the Museum at the Colorado Springs Airport. Meet our many volunteers like Ed, and check out the P-38 (and our other 28 flying aircraft), when you visit!
Story and Photo Credit: Rich Tuttle
Volunteer Group Helped Pentagon Recover Remains
 of World War II Airmen Killed in Europe
An archaeologist told a museum audience how his teams recovered remains of American airmen killed in crashes during combat in Europe in World War II. E. Steve Cassells, Ph.D., described three projects, two in Germany and one in France where remains of men that had been missing since the war were recovered and returned to their families in the U.S.
Cassells, a retired professor at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyoming, addressed an audience of about 200 at the Museum's Kaija Raven Shook Aeronautical Pavilion on January 21.

One of the projects he worked on involved an A-26B Invader in 2016. The other two involved P-47D Thunderbolts, one in 2017 and the other in 2019.

"I'm a prehistoric archaeologist" with 50 years of experience, Cassells said. His work in helping to excavate a high-altitude prehistoric game drive along the Continental Divide in northern Colorado formed the basis for his dissertation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Cassells said he "knew nothing about airplanes."

But he, like many others, volunteered to help the Pentagon's Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) in the task of providing what it calls "the fullest possible accounting for our missing personnel from past conflicts to their families and the nation." That, it says, means searching for "missing personnel from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Gulf Wars, and other recent conflicts." This includes "coordination with hundreds of countries and municipalities around the world."

"Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war," DPAA says. Today, about 73,000 service members are “still unaccounted for from World War II." The total number of unaccounted-for U.S. Army Air Forces personnel in Europe and the Pacific in World War II is more than 20,000.
DPAA, formed in 2015 with the merger of several Pentagon offices, has its own staff, but a big backlog prompted it reach out to private organizations. Cassells works with History Flight, a non-profit company based in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It is one of a number of private operations that help recover those missing in action, or MIAs. "Some work just underwater, others [do] mostly air crashes in Europe," Cassells said. History Flight was founded in 2003 by Mark Noah, a commercial pilot and World War II history buff. Its focus is to "Bring them home. Never leave a fallen comrade behind." Cassells joined History Flight in 2016.

The A-26B Invader project involved a March 21, 1945, crash near the town of Reken in northwest Germany. The crew consisted of three men -- pilot 2nd Lieutenant Lynn Hadfield of Salt Lake City, Utah, and two gunners, Sergeant Vernon Hamilton of Monongahela, Pennsylvania, and Sergeant John Kalausich of Charleston, West Virginia.

They were members of the 642nd Bombardment Squadron, 409th Bombardment Group, 9th Air Force. Their plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire during a mission from Couvron, France, to Dulmen, Germany, according to DPAA. The A-26 "was seen rolling out of formation and slowly rolling onto its back. No parachutes were seen emerging from the crippled aircraft," says another account. DPAA says the men "were participating in the interdiction campaign to obstruct German troop movements in preparation for the Allied crossing of the Rhine River," which began two days later.

"This was the first plane recovery that I'd ever been on," Cassells said, adding that he was not in charge.

The team got the word to prepare for a trip to the crash site in August of 2016, but did not get the go-ahead until November, by which time it had already snowed. They worked until mid-December, Cassells said. "The ground would be frozen out there in the morning." The team would arise at 4 a.m., go out to the portion of the site they were working on, erect a small tent and turn on space heaters to thaw out the ground. "We were [working] freshly thawed, muddy silt. It wasn't pleasant" but "at least we could screen."

Screened objects included pieces of the armor in vests worn by the crew. They also included the co-mingled bones of the three men. "It took a couple of years for the DPAA to go through" the remains, Cassells said, which were then separated by DNA analysis. Remains recovered in Europe are sent to a DPAA facility in Omaha, while those recovered in the Pacific are sent to a similar facility in Honolulu.
The first of the two P-47D projects Cassells worked on, in 2017, concerned a crash on June 13, 1944, shortly after the June 6 Normandy landings and near the town of Briouze, France, not far from the invasion beaches. 1st Lieutenant Burleigh E. Curtis, 22, of Holliston, Massachusetts, a member of the 377th Fighter Squadron, 362nd Fighter Group, 9th Air Force, was flying one of several P-47s dive-bombing a target when it crashed. "A bomb was dropped by one of the other planes and he got caught by the explosion and was knocked out of the air," Cassells said. No parachute was seen.

Curtis' body was removed from the P-47 wreckage by local farmers, who buried it in a nearby hedgerow and notified the military. Eventually, someone from the U.S. recovered the body, but what became of it is not known; perhaps it was interred as an unknown at the Normandy beaches’ U.S. cemetery. "He might have gone in as an unknown because nobody knows where his body was buried." Cassells said. There was little trace of it at the crash site. However, as in any catastrophic crash, there were still portions of Curtis in the crash crater that History Flight were able to recover.

"Nothing very big" was found by Cassells' team. "What typically happened in World War Two when the Germans were around -- this [crash] was near the end [of the war] and they were having real problems with their own materiel, and so they were scavenging any metal they could get, so they'd come in and they'd churn these places. They’d get...whatever they could find," Cassels said.
Cassells' second P-47D project, in 2019, involved a Razorback P-47D (Curtis' was a bubbletop) flown by 1st Lieutenant Richard W. Horrigan of Chester, West Virginia. He was a pilot with the 22nd Fighter Squadron, 36th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force. "He was part of an armed reconnaissance mission to the Alt Lonnewitz Airfield on April 19, 1945”, according to DPAA. "He crashed while strafing enemy planes parked at the airfield, likely due to anti-aircraft fire. Horrigan's wingman witnessed the crash but because the airfield was behind enemy lines, Horrigan could not be recovered."

Cassells said the P-47s "strafed that airfield three times, and the third pass through was when his plane was hit." He said Horrigan was 24 years old. “His wife was pregnant at the time...she never remarried."

A local German aircraft historian took Cassells' team to the crash site. Using a magnetometer, they quickly saw an aircraft part -- which a German historian identified as from a German bomber. Cassells didn't remember what kind. P-47 parts were then discovered, and the team was able to recover the remains of Lieutenant Horrigan. "It took two years from the time we found him to positively identify him," Cassells said.

Scientists “from DPAA used dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial and material evidence," DPAA said. "Additionally, scientists from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), Y chromosome DNA (Y-STR), and autosomal DNA (auSTR) analysis."

You can read about the mission and work of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, including news, stories, resources, and how to volunteer on their website at .

Wheeling, West Virginia, television station WTRF ran an excellent 3-minute piece on Lieutenant Horrigan’s recovery, including interviewing his son Rich (who was born two months after Lieutenant Horrigan was killed), the DPAA work, and many photos. You can view that at: .

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
Take a Look Inside!
The photo below shows the cockpit of our Brewster F3A-1 Corsair fighter in detail. It was open for visitors and photographers to see following a special presentation in 2021 about the Corsair in World War II, allowing a once-in-a-lifetime experience to peek inside the world's only surviving F3A-1.

The Museum hosts many historical presentations, special events and fly days throughout the year; check our website and calendar at to see when the next event is scheduled!

Story and Photo Credit: Rich Tuttle
Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP)
In August 1943, two civil-military flying units -- the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron and the Army Air Forces Women's Flying Training Detachment -- were combined into the Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP.

During the 27 months of its existence, the WASP completed 12,650 aircraft movements covering millions of miles. In addition to ferrying aircraft, some pilots towed gunnery targets and served as flight instructors. They flew everything, including Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighters and Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers, freeing up hundreds of male pilots for overseas duty. Thirty-eight WASP pilots lost their lives, and one remains missing. 
WASP were treated as civilian contractors, but in 1977 they were finally given veteran status. On July 1, 2009, the WASP were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Barrack Obama and the United States Congress. On March 10, 2010, surviving members were presented the medal by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and members of congess in a ceremony at the Capitol.
Today, women have combat-flying roles in all branches of the U.S. military.

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
SBDs on Bougainville
The photo below shows Douglas SBD (Scout Bomber Douglas) dive bombers on the island of Bougainville preparing to attack the Japanese stronghold at Rabaul in late 1943. The photo is part of a Museum display called "Bougainville -- Seizing an Island for Airfields".
After the U.S. liberation of Guadalcanal in February 1943, the display says, "Allied forces advanced up the Solomon Island chain and in late 1943 commenced the Bougainville campaign. The main American target was the important Japanese base at Rabaul." But when it became clear that an invasion of Rabaul would be very costly, it was decided to bypass it and leave it to wither. The Bougainville campaign was thus reoriented to establish airfields within fighter range of Rabaul. The plan to isolate Rabaul worked and it became useless to the Japanese, but its complete neutralization took until the end of the war.
In addition to the display, don’t forget to visit our airworthy SBD Dauntless when you visit the Museum! 

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
Upcoming Events
Special Presentation -- Japan’s Underwater Aircraft Carriers

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Museum opens 10:00 a.m. Presentation 11:00 a.m.

Daring and audacious in design, the massive Japanese submarine aircraft carriers were
intended to conduct surprise attacks on American targets including the critical infrastructure of the Panama Canal and the U.S. mainland. They were the largest submarines built at the time and would carry Japan’s most advanced aircraft, the Aichi M6A Seiran.
Following the successful attack on Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, and other U.S. and British territories in 1941, the Japanese high command began searching for their next step against the United States. Within weeks, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet, formulated a strategy to target major United States cities. Yamamoto proposed a fleet of special, extremely large submarines carrying aircraft capable of attacking the U.S. mainland. By early 1945, the first squadron of these weapons was activated and poised to strike.
At 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 11, the National Museum of World War II Aviation will present “Japan’s Underwater Aircraft Carriers.” Museum docent Johnny Drury, a U.S. Air Force combat veteran, will discuss Japan’s building and deploying this unique weapon system designed to strike the important Allied targets.
10:00 a.m. - Doors Open
11:00 a.m. - Presentation
Standard admission prices are in effect. The purchase of advance on-line tickets is encouraged and may be purchased at .
Advance ticket prices are:
Adult $15
Child (4-12) $11
Senior and Military $13
WWII Veterans - Always Free
Museum Members - Included in membership; please call 719-637-7559 or stop by the front desk to make your reservations.
And of course, parking is always Free!
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Newsletter Staff

Gene Pfeffer
Historian & Curator
Rich Tuttle

Rich Tuttle
Docent, Newsletter Writer, Social Media Writer, Photographer

John Henry
Lead Volunteer for Communications

George White
Newsletter Editor, Social Media Writer, Photographer