The Coleman Crew Picture
Please help identify the crew members. Submit information, feedback, and pictures to: pat@missingaircrew.com

The Coleman Crew Top row (left to right)
Gerald D. Coleman, John E., Jr. Jurica, Martin B. Unger, and James F. Lind.

The bottom row is unknown at this time! Please help by reviewing the pictures we have located below and let me know if you can help connect the faces from the individual pictures with the crew picture. Email your thoughts to: pat@missingaircrew.com
Click to Enlarge the Coleman Crew Picture

Pat's Note: I started my search for information about my uncle while in college back in the 80's. Over the years I have searched through countless books looking for a picture of the Coleman crew or the Coleman Crew's B-24J (AAF Serial #44-40598).

In 2004 I received five 307th Bomb Group (HV) Association Reunion Books (1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000) from Mrs. Cena Marsh. While searching through the 1996 Reunion Book, No. 11, I was thunderstruck to find a picture of the Coleman crew. I grabbed the book and ran to a wall in my house that has a picture of my uncle with his family (my mother is a little girl in the picture). The picture was likely taken right before John R. McCullough joined the service in 1942 or early 1943. Unfortunately, I did not recognize John in the crew picture right away. I have shown the picture to numerous family members and no one is sure if John is in the picture. This has caused me to wonder if John was a member of the original crew or perhaps a replacement crew member.

Since November 2004 when I launched this web site I have been able to identify all crew members in the back row of the picture, however, I still can't identify the all crew members in the front row. I need your help! Please see the information below regarding the original Coleman crew members. All the information I have gathered thus far shows that the individual crew went through training in 1943 separately, were put together as a crew between November 1943 and February 1944, and shipped out to the Pacific theater in late February 1944. I have located seven mission reports involving the Coleman crew starting on 23 April 1944 and ended with the 25 June 1944 shoot down. View Coleman Crew mission reports.

Please help identify the individual crew members

Please see the information and links below. Feel free to submit additional information, feedback, and pictures to: pat@missingaircrew.com

Crew Member
Click to view info page
Position Rank Picture Comments Picture
Click to Enlarge
Back Row (Officers)
Gerald D. Coleman Pilot 2nd Lt The crew picture identifies Gerald Coleman by name. In addition, I located this image on the cover of the "307th Bomb Group (HV) Association" Reunion book No. 12. The reunion was in Hampton, VA from October 7-11, 1998.

Click to Enlarge
John E., Jr. Jurica Co-Pilot 2nd Lt I have been in contact with the Jurica family. They have identified John Jurica in the crew picture in the back row, second from the left.

Click to Enlarge
Martin B. Unger Navigator 2nd Lt Martin Unger is the crew member in the back row, third from the left. It's easy to identify Martin Unger in the group picture based on his individual picture. I wish all the crew members were this easy to identify!

Click to Enlarge
James F. Lind Bombardier 2nd Lt I was assuming James Lind was the final officer in the back row on the right based on the identification of the other officers in the back row, however, after I received a picture of James from his family on 08 April 05 I don't see him as the officer on the far right.

Click to Enlarge
Front Row
Robert P. Wagoner Engineer T/Sgt na No picture located thus far.
James R., Jr. Lykens Ass't Engineer S/Sgt I'm having trouble picking James Lykens out of the group picture.

Click to Enlarge
James R. Hurd Radio Operator T/Sgt John Hurd is likely on the bottom row, and the third person from the left.
Click to Enlarge
John R. McCullough Ass't Radio Operator T/Sgt John R. McCullough was not a member of the original Coleman Crew when it trained in the US. The crew picture was taken of the original crew members in late 1943 while they were still in the US training.
 
Romeo Tetreault Gunner T/Sgt Romeo Tetreault was not a member of the original Coleman Crew when it trained in the US. The crew picture was taken of the original crew members in late 1943 while they were still in the US training.  
Bill J. Williams
(or Bill Williams, Jr.)
Armorer Gunner T/Sgt No picture located thus far. Bill J. Williams was not a member of the original Coleman Crew when it trained in the US. The crew picture was taken of the original crew members in late 1943 while they were still in the US training.  

Original Coleman Crew and Coleman Crew members that was Lost on 25 June 1944

I located a document dataed 29 January 1944 that lists the origianl Coleman Crew members who departed the states (Hamiton Field) to their assignment with the 307th Bomb Group at Carney Fieldm Guadalcanal as replacement crews. The original crew include the following men who were not with the Coleman crew when they were shot down on 25 June 1944:

Orginal Coleman Crew Members:

  1. Sgt. Gilbert C. Romero
  2. Sgt. Fred R. Santarcangelo
  3. Sgt. Lawrence Rein
The following crew members including my uncle must have been replacement crew members for the men above. At this time I have no idea when the men below replaced the men above, however, the crew picture was taken in the US before the crew departed for their assignment therefore, the pictures includes the men above and not the three men listed below:

Replacement Coleman Crew Members:

  1. T/Sgt. John R. McCullough
  2. T/Sgt. Romeo Tetreault
  3. T/Sgt. Bill J. Williams

Crew Picture Information from www.armyairforces.com forum:

Pat's Note: I received the following information from Phil Marchese via a question I asked on the http://www.armyairforces.com forum:

About the plane in the crew picture: The style of markings are common to OTU/RTU HBs in 1943. Also it was very common for crews to photographed before departing US. Plane is a stateside B-24-J in 42-73200s CO ; 42-64200s CF with last three as shown on nose. Photo in/after Fall 1943.
 

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Excerpt from "A Missing Plane" by Susan Sheehan:

Pat's Note: The following excerpt from "A Missing Plane" follows the same timeline as the Colman crew and provides information about the crew picture process as well as the departure to the Pacific theater.

On December 17, 1943, the Biggs crews went by troop train to Topeka, which Hy Webster was to remember as "the land of ice and snow," saying, "We never saw the ground the whole time we were there." They were given a briefing about their forthcoming voyage to Europe, but when they were issued sheepskin-lined pants, jackets, and boots - standard issue for high-altitude flying in Europe - some of them joked that they were actually bound for Greenland, which the United States had occupied in April 1941, to help protect American and British shipping from German submarines. The wives shivered in their spring and fall coats and wished they had been issued winter clothes to wear in Topeka's cold.

Allred and his crew had their photographs taken in their Artic gear in front of any early-model B-24 named Lil' De Icer, which had been chosen as an artistic backdrop because of a scantily clad lady painted on its fuselage. Rank had its privileges: the officer's names were capitalized on orders; the four officers stood in front of Lil' De Icer while the six enlisted men crouched in front of them in deep snow. As the year was ending, the men were called out one night and told they wouldn't be going to Europe after all - they would be going to the Pacific. The men didn't fly in Topeka - it was the first month since Allred got his wings that he hadn't collected his $75-a-month flight pay - and they had little to do there except sit around the Officer's Club and play cards. Some took unofficial leaves at New Year's. The Allreds returned to Des Moines, borrowed Mollie and Henry's car, and drove it back to Topeka.

Early in January 1944 the pilots learned they would be getting brand-new B-24s, and on January 7 they were told to report to a specific office to sign the papers for their B-24Js and engines. "There were about 35 to 40 of us in line," David Becker wrote in his letter-memoir to his son. "About the third or fourth man got up to the desk and we heard him say, 'I don't sign unless I see what I sign for.' We all had to wait until they took him over to the flight line so that he could make sure 'his' plane was really there, and so that he could count the engines. The brass was not amused, but the other pilots thought it was funny."

In the eyes of most beholders, the B-17 was a beautiful plane but the B-24, with its boxcar-shaped fuselage, was homely. Officially designated the Liberator, it was more generally known as "the flying boxcar." Allred's boxcar was an olive-drab B-24J, with the serial number 42-100210. The plane had all four engines, but the gas tanks were leaking fuel, and on January 8 it went into the depot for repair. Three days later, the men tested 210. (Planes were commonly referred to by the last three digits of their serial numbers.) Allred flew the plane to Des Moines and took it low over Abraham Lincoln High School and some of the city's other substantial buildings. Forty years later, Jim Pitts remembered hearing him say that from the day he had become a pilot it had been his ambition to buzz his hometown. Pitts also remembered Harvey's displeasure. "Watch those smokestacks, Bob, watch those smokestacks," he had cautioned.

Within a few days of signing for their new planes, the crews got orders to proceed to Fairfield-Suisun Army Air Forces Base, in Fairfield, California. A few planes left Topeka each morning. No. 210 departed on January 13. The men got up at five o'clock. Juanita and Bob said their goodbyes at the rented room in Topeka where they had been staying, but some of the wives went to the airfield to watch the flyaway. Doris recalls that the plane dipped its wings after takeoff, and that it was a pretty sight in the early-morning sun. The planes all stopped in Tucson to have extra gas tanks added in the forward bomb bay. A day or two before they left Topeka, the crews had been issued, and required to wear, side arms - .45 caliber Colt semiautomatics. In Tucson, Pitts removed the protective Cosmoline thick grease) that the factory had put on the pistol. He and two other enlisted men stayed at the plane on the thirteenth and fourteenth to keep objects stored on it from being stolen. On the second night, he, James, and Campbell felt bored and amused themselves by riding around the hangar on some three-wheel scooters parked there. Allred often heard about his enlisted men's escapades but rarely chewed them out, perhaps because of his own youthful larking, and they were fond of him.

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