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SQUADRON HISTORY

720TH BOMB SQ 450TH BOMB GP (H)

MANDURIA, ITALY




The 720th Bomb Sq. left Alamogordo, New Mexico on 26 November 1943. After four days on the train we arrived at Camp Patrick Henry, Newport News, Virginia on 29 November1943. This was our POE Station. After our processing, which included the issuing of clothing and being paid, was finished, we left on 3 December 1943. We traveled part way by train and part way by ferry to our boat, the USS Henry Baldwin. While aboard the ferry we were served hot coffee by women of the Red Cross. We left for the open sea on 4 December 1943. During our uneventful trip across the Atlantic, a short skit "Arm Pit Review of 1943"; was put on by members of the squadron, 450th Bomb Group personnel and 449th Bomb Group personnel, and the Navy and Merchant Marine of the ship’s crew. Another of these skits was put on during a Christmas Party held on Christmas afternoon. Each member of the squadron and the two groups were given a carton of cigarettes from Special Services and a bag of various articles from the Red Cross. The only complaint that can really be made of the whole trip was the poor food we were served, outside of the canned rations and the Christmas Dinner.

On 26 December 1943 we anchored at Augusta, Sicily, where we spent the night. We left for Bari, Italy, the following morning. We arrived at Bari on 29 December 1943 and went to the Fifteenth Air Force reception center while waiting for transportation to our permanent base. Our new base is between Oria and Manduria. We left the center on 2 January 1944 by truck convey and arrived at our base in the afternoon of the same day. Pup tents have been our common home although some of our personnel have moved into barracks while the others are getting large tents which make living more comfortable.

On 19 December 1943 one of our planes crashed in the Atlas mountains in North Africa, while enroute to this base. All were killed except for Sgt. Soloman E. Lubin, the tail gunner, who received a broken jaw and was hospitalized in Tunis. Following is a list of the members who were killed:

Lt Nicholas P. Kordich - Pilot
Lt William H. Cooper - Co-Pilot
Lt William A. Jones - Navigator
Lt Norvin C. Grieve - Bombardier
S/Sgt James A. Baker - Engineer
S/Sgt Raymond R. Morrison - Radio Operator
Sgt Eugene C. Flolo - Armorer
Sgt David W. Bartley - Assistant Engineer
Sgt William D. Batho - Passenger
Sgt Willis W. Gletcher Jr. - Gunner
T/Sgt John R. Nenne - Passenger
S/Sgt Harry W. Scott - Passenger

The rest of our crews arrived safely and have completed various missions which will be enumerated in following chapters of this history.

Walter T. Malcolm
2nd Lt. Air Corps
Squadron Historian


A very special thanks to Jim Ciborski, son of John C. Ciborski, 720th Squadron, for supplying this information




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