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Crews of the Bottoms Up

Original Crew

This photo is of the original Bottoms Up crew that left from Alamogordo, New Mexico, November 19, 1943.
The photograph was taken by the craft named "Frisco Belle" due to "Bottoms Up" having maintaince work done at the time.

Standing left to right
Sgt.Samuel Belgio - Assistant Engineer
2nd Lt. Maynard I Wayne - Navigator
2nd Lt. Edgar J Hall - Co Pilot
2nd Lt. John B. Kantner - Bombardier
2nd Lt. Joseph P. Gallagher - Pilot
Sgt. Raymond F. Welty - Engineer

Kneeling left to right
Sgt. Thomas R. Lindeland - Armorer
Sgt. Stephen Malarik - Radio Operator
Sgt. Charles H Burritt - Assistant Armorer
S/Sgt. Lester J Witherspoon - Mechanic
Sgt. Thomas J. Isgrigg

Crew of the Bottoms Up

Left to Right:
Charles Burritt - tail gunner
Thomas Lindeland - ball turret gunner
Raymond Welty, top turret gunner
Walter Kacicek - waist gunner (Replacement)(also our aircraft and squadron Artist etc.)
Joseph Hoover - nose turret gunner (Replacement)

Picture courtesy of Thomas Lindeland

Robert Alexander Crew - 721st Squadron

Standing, left to right: Walter Lucia - Tail gunner; Joe Ferrante - Nose gunner; Al Romer - Engineer; Paul Fromm - Armor gunner; (first name forgotten) Bartlett - Ball turret gunner; George Jackson - Radio man.

Kneeling, left to right: Kenneth Dale Fullmer - Co-Pilot; Robert (Bob) Alexander - Pilot; William (Bill) Leavitt - Bombardier; Paul Suey - Navigator.

Recollections of a co-pilot:: "This crew was assembled at Hunter Field in Savannah, GA in the spring of 1944 for the purpose of serving as a lead crew in Italy. The officers (except for me) were some of the most experienced airmen available in the States - all having served as instructors in their various fields prior to this assignment. On the other hand, I was a new Flight Officer fresh out of multi-engine school. I felt a bit out of place with this group.

We flew a new B-24 to Italy by way of South America and landed in Manduria in May of 1944. Our introduction to the war came soon after, as did our role of flying in the lead position. Quite a few of these missions were flown in the plane shown above, the Bottoms Up. Later that year our pilot, Major Alexander, was promoted and moved to another command. I was designated a pilot and assigned my own crew. As I recall, the rest of the original group were split up and transferred individually into other crews."

More on the Bottoms Up: "After completing my missions I chose to stay in Manduria for several extra months. One of my assignments involved test flying repaired and overhauled B-24's. I clearly recall flying and checking out the Bottoms Up one day after some work had been performed on her. The next day she went out on a mission, flew into a cloud bank and never came out. We never knew what happened - she just disappeared - it was the craziest thing." - Ken (Dale) Fullmer

Note: Some eleven months after arriving, several promotions, 35 missions and one DFC later, Capt Fullmer returned to the States and was released from active duty shortly thereafter.

Photo and recollections provided by K. D. Fullmer - Submitted by Don Barnes
Crew of the Bottoms Up

Top row:
Robert E. Walde, Ollie J. Agee, Charles H. Andrews, Everett S. Frank, Ron Argust
Bottom row:
Joseph E. Hornyak, Melvin J. Coffey, Leland M. DeHart

Link To Other Crew Picture

Last Crew of the Bottoms Up

Last Crew of the Bottoms Up

Rear L. to R.
Navigator - 2nd Lt. Harold H. Hubka
Co-Pilot - F/O Wesley S. Kozenka
Pilot - 2nd Lt. Robert F. Harris
Bombardier - Frederick C Reinke

Other Members
Engineer - Sgt. Frank A. Davis, Radio Operator - Cpl. Henry J. Dumont, Armorer - Cpl. Thomas J. Domanack.
Waist Gunner - Pvt. Tony Sacalo, Nose Gunner - Cpl. Richard E. Schaffer, Tail Gunner - Cpl. George P. Quinn.

Bottoms Up was lost on her 105th mission. The target on March 16, 1945 was Wiener-Neustadt marshalling yards. This aircraft was the last of the original air echelon that left Alamorgordo, New Mexico in the winter of 1943. She was grounded and reconditioned after her 100th mission by the 721 squadron. The aircraft had over 1060 operational hours.

Not aboard for the last mission, 2nd Lt. Frederick C Reinke- Bombardier, from Cincinnati, Ohio (Standing Back Row Right) was sick on this day. He was the only member of this crew to survive the war.

Information and picture provided by Fred C. Reinke, 721st Squadron

Link to MACR 13062

Bottoms Up

Picture courtesy of Brendan Wood

Bottoms Up

Information on the back of this picture:
Front Row:
Dumont ROG, Shaffer ENG, Winn CT, Secalo MU, Domanack ARG
Back Row:
Davis AEG, Reinke Bomb, Bob PILOT, Hubka NAV, Caldwell PILOT

Picture courtesy of Tim Theberge

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