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Questions about two Sergeants

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 5:56 pm
by Steve Birdsall
I'm finding it difficult to establish the facts about two 433rd Troop Carrier Group airmen.


T/Sgt Robert R. McCulloch from Michigan, ASN 6913150, was in the 67th Troop Carrier Squadron and is the man kneeling on the right in the photo above. His name is listed in the Honour Roll in Back Load, the 433rd's Australian-printed unit history, but there are no further details. Elsewhere there's a report that he died December 23, 1944, but I've been unable to find any information about the circumstances of his loss.

The other airman is T/Sgt Donald N. Stanford* from the same squadron, who may or may not be the man standing second from the right as you look at the photo. His ASN is given as 17018336 in one official report, but that number seems to belong to someone named Nielsen. He’s 67th Squadron according to Back Load but they have him as "Sanford" in the text and he is not listed in the 67th roster in the back of the book.

Any help will be warmly welcomed.

* Note later correction regarding Donald N. Sanford (not Stanford).

Re: Questions about two Sergeants

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:48 pm
by RSwank
On the NARA AAD archives there is a Donald N Sanford with serial number 17018346. He was from MN. ... 24,6094588

Re: Questions about two Sergeants

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:11 pm
by RSwank
Also on the NARA AAD there is an enlistment record for Robert R McCullough from St Clair County, MI. His serial number was
06913150. ... rid=266865

Re: Questions about two Sergeants

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:15 pm
by RSwank
Here is the grave of McCullough in St Clair County. ... i=29103942

Re: Questions about two Sergeants

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:57 pm
by Steve Birdsall
Thanks Rolland. As you probably know, these fellows were two of the 14-man crew aboard 41-24353 Cap'n & The Kids on the 2 March 1944 Momote mission. The names and serial numbers I had were drawn from a 69th Troop Carrier Squadron report dated 13 April 1944.

The full crew was a real mix:

Pilot: Major Abe J. Beck, 433rd TCG Operations Officer
Co-Pilot: Flight Officer Ralph O. Deardorff, 69th TCS, 433rd TCG
Navigator: 2/Lt Kenneth B. Stormyr, 69th TCS, 433rd TCG
Right Nose Gunner: S/Sgt Donald W. Burd 320th BS, 90th BG
Left Nose Gunner: T/Sgt Robert R. McCullough 67th TCS, 433rd TCG
Top Turret Gunner: Pvt Brian J. Marcorelle
Radio: T/Sgt Robert C. Midgley, 69th TCS, 433rd TCG
Asst Radio: Sgt Joseph M. Hanvey, 69th TCS, 433rd TCG
Radio Gunner: S/Sgt William S. Mathis
Engineer: T/Sgt Donald N. Sanford, 67th TCS, 433rd TCG
Drop Crew: T/Sgt Peter Ver Berkmoes, Jr 321st BS, 90th BG
Right Waist Gunner: S/Sgt Paul W. Martin 320th BS, 90th BG
Left Waist Gunner: T/Sgt Alfred G. Crossen 321st BS, 90th BG
Tail Gunner: S/Sgt Walter W. Graves 320th BS, 90th BG

Marcorelle and Mathis had been with the 63rd Squadron of the 43rd Bomb Group back in July 1943 but I'm not sure of their exact assignments in March 1944. Marcorelle later flew on General Robert Eichelberger's crew in 41-24353 when it became Miss Em'.

Thanks again - that was a real help!

Re: Questions about two Sergeants

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:45 am
by RSwank
Steve. one last thing on Mc Cullough, he is listed as DNB on the archives.

Re: Questions about two Sergeants

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:18 pm
by RSwank
Steve, there is "reasonable" chance that this is the correct Donald N Sanford. He was originally from MN, was born in 1919 and served in the South Pacific. He was in the service for 4 years and 8 months. I don't know how far you go in your research, but there are some children listed.

His wife:

Re: Questions about two Sergeants

Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:18 pm
by Steve Birdsall
Thanks again Rolland, that’s just what I was hoping to find!

Re: Questions about two Sergeants

Posted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:24 pm
by Steve Birdsall

This is Robert Midgley, the radio operator on Cap'n & The Kids on 2 March 1944. His son Bob Midgley kindly provided the photo.

Re: Questions about two Sergeants

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:46 pm
by Steve Birdsall
I've just heard from Dean C. Sanford who confirms that his late father, Donald Sanford, is the man standing third from the left in the crew photo.

Re: Questions about two Sergeants

Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:51 pm
by b24copilotniece
In the photo posted above that is credited to John Beck, the man standing 2nd from the left is 1st Lt Ralph Orie Deardorff, Jr.

He was the alternate pilot who flew the Miss Em and also a personal pilot to General Eichelberger. This information was told by him to his daughter, India Jane, prior to his death.

He was my uncle's roommate in basic flight school. He received his pilot's wings and commission as a Flight Officer 29 April 1943 at Turner Field, Albany, Georgia, along with my uncle. He was later commissioned as a Lieutenant. I found photos of him in my uncle's personal photo album and flight school yearbook, Class 43-D. I was touched to find out that sometime later, he had gone through his personal papers and made note of my uncle's death that had occurred post flight school during combat training 1943.

Post-war, he continued to perform his duties as a military pilot in heroic fashion. He was flying 1951, when a sister plane flown by one of his pals experienced a disastrous situation when it had to ditch in the Atlantic. He circled the scene making contact for emergency assistance and remained until rescue had arrived. A manuscript is in progress regarding this event.

His memorial page with additional photos is here on findagrave- ... 334&df=all&

Hope this helps those researching the crew of the Miss Em. His family was excited to find this photo and they actually pointed me to it here.
Thank you to all here in this thread for sharing these photos and the information!