The Official 444th Bombardment Group Association

MAY 2010


PLEASE NOTE: This online edition of the 444th newsletter is TEXT ONLY. It does not include any photos, cartoons, and other content that is included in our member's email edition. If you would like to receive the complete newsletters via email, please join the 444th BG Association by clicking HERE .

Online Edition Newsletter (c)2010 444th BG Assoc.

Newsletter Editor: Dave Howe 



I sincerely hope that everyone is doing well. The Association is still quite active and still growing. We've added many new members over the last 6 months so please help me welcome them as part of our extended 444th family. If you can help them find the information they seek that's even better! Don't wait until tomorrow, trust me - It may be too late by then... Speaking of, we have lost some wonderful 444th BG Veterans over the last 6 months. These great men will be honored individually later in this Newsletter. However, I must say that as usual, they were some of the greatest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Godspeed, Gentlemen, Godspeed.


I am very busy these days working to update the 444th BG website. If you have sent photos or information to be posted, please be patient. I am working to incorporate it all in our new, completely updated and interactive website. I'm also still working to get the 444th BG Museum items permanently placed, any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!


The 444th Documentary DVD is SOLD OUT; I'm now in the process of having it reproduced professionally (cheaper, higher quality, sales price will drop). Some people still have unfilled orders, I will send their copies when we have more DVDs or they can email me for a full refund at anytime. New DVDs available in approx. 8 weeks.


I am very sorry that I have been so lousy about 444th emails as of late, please forgive me. I have just been preoccupied with "life" these days, but you have my word I will do better in the coming months & years. My commitment & enthusiasm has not waned in any way with regard to the MIGHTY 444th!!!


"Ding Hao" (very best)


Bill Howe

Founder / Webmaster





I have been trying to locate Dudkundi (or whatever it is called today). My father was stationed there in WWII and I have an opportunity to travel to India in the near future and would like to find it. Could you point me in the right direction?

Thank you in advance.

Very Respectfully, 

David P. Biros, PhD (Lt Col, USAF, Retired)

Assistant Professor of Management Science and Information Systems

Spears School of Business Oklahoma State University

(405) 744-7156 david.biros@okstate.edu





My name is Dr. Terry M. Mays.  I'm associate professor at The Citadel in Charleston, SC.  I'm currently gathering material for a book on the B-29 operations flown from the CBI.  The 444th BG website has some personal photos that I would like to utilize in this future book. Do you have means to request permission or do you have the right to grant permission for utilization of the personal photos at your website? -- with proper citation to the family member, of course.

The 40th BG granted me permission to utilize any photo on their website with the provision that I naturally provide credit to each individual listed on the website who originally provided a copy of a photo and that I donate a copy of the book to the 58th BW archives.

 COL John Misterly might remember me.  I contacted him a couple years ago when originally examining the possibility of putting together a book on the B-29 operations out of the CBI Theater.  I have a copy of his personal memoirs.

 As an introduction to myself, I'm primarily an international relations specialist by "education", but as an old Air Force brat, I love to write about WWII aviation.  I've written many articles for Aviation History magazine and WWII magazine.  My most recent book is "Night Hawks and Black Widows: 13th Air Force Night Fighters in the South and Southwest Pacific 1943-1945".  A link to see this book is below:


 Thanks for taking the time to assist me with this.






My name is Seth Paridon.  I am head of the Research Department at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans. It is my distinct pleasure to have the job of conducting interviews with WWII veterans for inclusion in our current and future exhibits.  I am currently looking for any and all B-29 crewmen who might want to be interviewed by us.  The whole interview session is relatively simple. I or one of my staff would come to the veteran’s home and conduct the interview on camera. The interview sessions are not question and answer sessions, but more of a relaxed conversation atmosphere. The sessions usually last anywhere from an hour to two hours; rarely more than that.  

The interviews that we gather through this endeavor will be permanently stored in our museum archives for future use by writers, documentarians, scholars, students, and the general public.  More importantly, a good deal of the interviews are likely to be displayed in our current and future exhibits that deal with the Air War in the Pacific and CBI Theater.  Any help that you and your organization could give me would be greatly appreciated.  I can be contacted via email or the phone number listed below should you or any veterans have any questions about the program. 

Thanks in advance.   

Seth Paridon, Manager of Research Services

The National World War II Museum

945 Magazine St.

New Orleans, LA 70130

(504)527-6012 ext. 312





(Thanks for this good info Jim! ED.)


I thought that at one time there was a list of all the guys who served in the 444th on the website but now I can't find it.

In the files I received from Jack's widow, there is a complete listing of all who were counted in the 678th as of 3 August, 1945.  This file was sent to Jack by a Merle Kemple.  Mr. Kemple also sent some photos of himself and some of the guys in his crew which were taken in China.  This list has "Restricted" and "Headquarters" on the letterhead.  It is 8 pages of servicemen listed by rank and is signed by James C. Selser Jr, Colonel, Air Corps Commanding. The listing gives the names and two different serial numbers (?) and, as I said, is listed by rank.

Would you folks be interested in having this list if you do not already have one?


Jim Hess

Bartlesville, OK




I am the granddaughter of one of the members of the 444th. I have some information on my grandfather, Clinton R. Dudley, that you are missing and was wondering if you have any additional information that I may not have.

Thank you very much!


Claire Bruining (Dudley)





My name is Jacob Steiner and my great uncle, Eugene Thiel, was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 676th bomb squadron of the 444th bomb group during World War II. His plane went down over the Himalayas on September 2, 1944. His name is mentioned several times in the Spellmann letters as he was the flight engineer on Lt. Spellmann's plane when it crashed.

I'm attempting more extensive research as part of a history course. Would you be able to provide me any more information about my great uncle?

Do you happen to know the name of the plane he was on?

Could I be provided with contact information of the Spellmann's in order to request copies of the original journal entries?

Thanks for your time and help.


Jacob Steiner





Welcome to our new members, thanks for your support.

And thanks for the info on


Jamie Vergenz, WI

My Grandfather was assigned to this until during WWII.


Bill Van Luchene, AL

I am an Aviation fan, and son of WWII vet. (And a good friend...Hi Bill! ED.)


Carey D. Tremaine, WA

Son of Capt. Elliott S Tremaine, deceased.


Fran Jackson, MO

My father served in the 20th Air Force, 444 Bomb Group 58th Bomb Wing 677 Squadron.

This is the first time I've truly looked carefully at the site and I'm thrilled. My Dad was so special and he was proud of his service. So are all of us. He died in 1995. He was the Radioman of his crew and he maintained his interest as a hobby throughout his entire life.


Alex M. Felser, NJ

I am a Veteran. (Thank you for your service, Sir! ED.)



Sewall P Bronstein, FL

I was a maintenance officer in the 444th group in India and China in 1944.

Does the Ass. have a list of living members of the 444th how could I contact those whom I knew? (Thank you for your service, Sir! ED.)


Owen Ashurst, WA

My uncle, 1st Lt Owen P Walls, was a B-29 pilot in the 678th Bomb Squad. His crew is featured in the article supplied by Betty Gracie about "Pete Sabo." I provided some of the photographs that are used on the site.

Is it possible to contact other members thru this site? Like to contact vet's who may have known my uncle under these circumstances. Many thanks in advance to for your efforts!





Our recent Fallen Heroes:


Alfonse A. Stevens

Our dad was ground engineer in the 444th. He passed away on May 5, 2010. The funeral was May 11. I have seen his "year book" of the 444th. We just need to find it. I wish we had known about this website so dad could have seen it. He lived in Raleigh from 1954 until present. A B-29 came to Raleigh Durham Airport in the early 80's and dad got to see it. I saw it fly overhead, it was so loud!!

I saw dad's name on the register. Do you know which squadron he was assigned to?

From Bob & Ricky Stevens, NC

bsuscwmse@aol.com   rickystevens@earthlink.net


Guido E. Ransleben Jr.

My father passed away this weekend. He was a contributor to your site and spoke about his service time often.

I just wanted you to know.

Winnie Schubert




“LAST FLIGHTS” is the only part of this Editor’s job that is unpleasant, or at least sad. 444th BG Association Prez Bill (my Son) and I lost our B-29er (my Dad) years ago, still miss him dearly, still feel the hurt when one of his comrades goes to join him. We would like to honor our fallen heroes with these thoughts:


The soldier stood and faced God,

Which must always come to pass.

He hoped his shoes were shining,

Just as brightly as his brass.


'Step forward now, you soldier,

How shall I deal with you ?

Have you always turned the other cheek ?

To My Church have you been true?'


The soldier squared his shoulders and said,

'No, Lord, I guess I ain't.

Because those of us who carry guns,

Can't always be a saint.


I've had to work most Sundays,

And at times my talk was tough.

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.


But, I never took a penny,

That wasn't mine to keep...

Though I worked a lot of overtime,

When the bills got just too steep.


And I never passed a cry for help,

Though at times I shook with fear.

And sometimes, God, forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.


I know I don't deserve a place,

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around,

Except to calm their fears.


If you've a place for me here, Lord,

It needn't be so grand.

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand.


There was a silence all around the throne,

Where the saints had often trod.

As the soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.


'Step forward now, you soldier,

You've borne your burdens well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell.'

(Author Unknown)


And a gentle reminder...to those of us fortunate to still have a B-29er in our lives, please do not delay your visits, phone calls, thoughts and prayers for these brave Americans, our “National Treasures”. Some day it will be too late, and they deserve all the love, respect and gratitude we can muster before that day comes!






It won’t belong until FIFI is flying again! Good work CAF, and all who are a part of this noble effort.


From: Chris Trobridge
Sent: Tuesday, June 01, 2010 8:47 AM
Subject: "FIFI" runs all four engines


The past week Dave Miller, Rick Garvis and the volunteers in Midland have been busy.  Starting on Thursday Dave and Rick started running the engines in preparation for the Memorial Day activities at HQ.  I have attached a picture taken by Kristine Pilgrim from the engine run on Sunday, and then a link for a YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiWMOSaW24M of the run on Monday.  There will be more information in the next issue of "The FLYER"

Christopher S. Trobridge
Commemorative Air Force
B-29 / B-24 Squadron
Public Information Officer

Honoring American Military Aviation through
flight, exhibition and remembrance