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John  M.  McCaslin

 

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JOHN M. McCASLIN, JR.
World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

2 May 1987

Dear Will:

I have been out of the country for a few weeks and have only recently read your book on the 44th.

The nature of your purpose and the extent of your efforts are truly remarkable. I hope everyone concerned is duly appreciative of what you have done.

Yours truly,

John M. McCaslin, Jr.




JOHN M. McCASLIN, JR.
World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

125 E. Sharon Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45256

March 8, 1987

Dear Mr. Lundy:

As to the "ball turret" episode, I do not recall any such incident while flying with Bill Duffy. There was, however, a somewhat similar incident when Bill landed a badly damaged plane with a flat tire and a wounded tail gunner. We had come home "on the deck" from, I believe, Frankfort, and the date was January 29, 1944.

If you should ever require further details, I'm sure Bill would be glad to provide them.

Looking forward to seeing your book.

Yours very truly,

John M. McCaslin, Jr.



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JOHN M. McCASLIN

World War II
Memories and Biography

(Taken from a letter to Will Lundy)

125 E. Sharon Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45246
513-771-9394

January 26, 1987

Dear Will:

I have your letter of January 20th concerning Stockton R. Bartol. He was a fine young man and I am glad to do what I can to honor his memory.

He was killed on April 8, 1944 over Hanover, Germany when some flak came through the windshield and hit him in the head. Our plane, though considerably riddled, did not suffer any extensive functional damage, and I had no undue difficulty in flying it back to England.

You already have considerable knowledge of that mission, and I'm not sure to what extent I should go into details. I will, however, set forth a number of observations and points of information for what they are worth.

1. My impression is that on that day, the 506th (lead Armstrong) was leading the 44th and the 44th was leading the 2nd Air Division. Stockton and I were flying on Col. John Gibson's left wing, and the deputy commander, Lt. Col. Robert Lehnhausen, was on Col. Gibson's right wing.

2. Shortly before reaching the target area, we were raked pretty severely with head-on attacks by ME109s. We took a hit in the leading edge of the left wing between the two engines which, unaccountably, seemed to do no serious damage.

3. Hanover, I believe, was our secondary target. I think this was the reason for the unusually long bomb run (straight and level for about four minutes); and hence the god-awful flak. I don't recall how many planes we lost, but I do know it was one of our bad days.

4. Because we were on the colonel's left wing, I had to fly cross-cockpit when in formation. Stockton, in the right seat, could more easily keep us in tight and hence flew during the bomb run. He was at the controls when he was hit. Despite my proximity to him, I wasn't even scratched, nor was anybody else on the crew. This happened almost exactly on "bombs away." Col. Gibson then took evasive action, but I did not stay with him due to the commotion in my plane. It was several minutes before I located the colonel and found a place in the formation.

5. The plane we were flying was "Galavantin' Gal" V-509 (42-75092), and a bottle "Old Crow" (41-24283) was painted on the other side of the nose.

6. My crew had not been together very long. We were, including myself, former members of other crews. The navigator was Al Williams and the bombardier was Bob Gutnecht. I think some of the gunners came from Bill Duffy's crew (as did I), but I'm not sure of it. Possibly, they included Dick Hershey, John Stewart and Bill Drumel.

7. Stockton had flown quite a number of missions with another pilot. Shortly before he was killed, I had checked him out in the left seat and he was in line to get a crew of his own.

8. Stockton entered the Army Air Force after completing his freshman year at Princeton University. He came from a well-to-do Philadelphia family who graciously entertained me after the war.

9. You perhaps heard the story from Bill Duffy that Stockton's father, for more than 20 years after the war, came annually to his son's grave in the American Military Cemetery in Cambridge.

Possibly you were aware that another person is, or was not long ago working on the history of the 44th. He is Captain Klaus and is stationed with the 44th in South Dakota. I have supplied him with considerable information and photos about "Galavantin' Gal."

The fact that you have spent a lot of time doing research on a military organization leads me to put a question to you concerning my younger brother, Lt. Robert B. McCaslin, who, as a B-24 bombardier, was shot down over Ploesti on June 6, 1944. He was with the 464th Bomb Group of the 15th Air Force. His entire crew, except for him, became prisoners of war. We do not know what happened to him. Previous inquiries were not helpful. If you know of any person, agency or organization that looks into matters such as these, I would appreciate being advised of same.

If you think I can be of any further help in your project, please let me know.

Yours very truly,

John M. McCaslin, Jr.
(deceased 1991)
 
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