Personal Mission Histories - 445BG

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Personal Mission Histories

Contents of a Personal Mission History
The books are spiral bound 8.5” x 11” with front and back covers in full color, protected by clear vinyl covers. The interior is laser printed on high quality 28 pound bright white paper. Every book consists of many of the following items:
 • All specifics of the  280 missions flown to by the 445th
    Bomb Group (Heavy) to include:
 • Group mission number
 • Date of missions
 • Location
 • Target type
 • Results of bombing
 • Number of aircraft at take-off, over target, flying time
 • Number of aircraft lost
 • Headquarters mission summaries from the 8th Air Force
 • Group battle honors received
 • Explanation of terminology , rank and terms
 • Definition of crew positions
 • Notes of interest
 • Missing Air Crew Reports (MACR) if applicable.
 • Plus other information
 • Cut-away diagram  of B-24 showing crew positions
 • Squadron air formation
 • Map of Tibenham
 • Your personal photos and stories you would like to be included in the book.
 • Family photos, both pre and post-war
 • Military documents, flight records, personal accounts
Mission Details:
Specific information of individuals 445th mission activity while stationed at Tibenham, England; USAAF Station 124
 • Individual’s mission numbers
 • Date of mission
 • Group mission number
 • Formation position
 • Aircraft Type
 • Tail Number
 • Aircraft name
 • Target type (i.e. Industrial sight, railroad yards)
 • Target city and country
 • Number of aircraft sent and lost on a mission
 • All crew members names, ranks and positions in the plane
 • Photos of airplanes flown during mission (if I have them in our library)
 • Actual crew load list obtained from the National Archives in College Park, MD.
 • Map and aerial photos of Tibenham
 • Ground crew and expiation of duties
 • General history and photos of the base, chief staff
 • Aircraft nose art (if we have the photo in our personal
 • Strike photos (Actual locations as seen today using
    Google Earth and available recon photos taken during
   bomb damage assessment (BDA) flights)
  • Google Earth images in full color extra cost due to printing charges

Personal Mission History requests are available for the air crew members only of the 445th Bomb Group.  The format for these histories have gone through many changes since they were originally started by Major Richard F. 'Dick' Gelvin of Mesa, AZ. Dick was a member of the 445th, flying his first mission with the 700th Bomb Squadron as a navigator on June 6th, 1944 - D-Day!  He went on to become a lead crew navigator and eventually flew his required 30 missions and then rotated back to the United Stated.

In 1998, Dick along with Ed Zobac (Ed's father was a waist gunner in the 700th Bomb Squadron) went to College Park, MD where they spent a week making copies of some 4,400+ pages of crew load lists and some mission reports. They got almost all of the load lists for the 280 missions flown by the 445th. They were ably assisted by Kitty Strickland Shore whose husband was killed on March 24, 1945 during the Operation Varsity supply drop.

Upon returning to Mesa, AZ, Dick made a copy of the records and sent them to Ed. Dick then began the painful process of entering the names into Lotus 1- 2- 3 spreadsheets for each of the four squadrons. Due to a limitation in the software of that time, he had to create 2 separate files for each squadron - one covering 1943/1944 and the other 1945. He decided the best way to track the information was by the pilots assigned to each squadron. This was a critical decision and an actually very smart one.  Every mission would have a '1st pilot' who would sit in the left seat and was known as the aircraft commander. Each 1st pilot might have many different crewmen flying in the other crew positions of a B- 24, but there would always be only one 1st pilot.

Dick devised a code for the ranks of each of the crew members positions in a given plane on a given mission. Rows beneath each pilot's name contained the names of the other crew members. Columns became fields for position, if they were on the overseas movement orders, and finally each mission had it's own column. The software had a limit of 256 columns - that being the reason the 280 missions flown had to be broken into 2 separate files.

Once he had all of the information entered, he could search for a name and look at which columns had a rank-code. A non-blank field meant the crewman flew that day. Not bad for a guy in his 70's! He put together a format that, using a word processor program, allowed him to put together a 3-ring binder with the date of a mission, airplane position based on the formatrion sheet copied from the archives, aircraft tail number, and crew listing. He also included a cut-away drawing of a B-24 showing each of the crew positions in the aircraft. A table of information about the missions flown, target, number of aorcraft that took-off, number of aircraft over the target, and the number of aircraft lost completed a history. The link below will take you to the original format of a personal mission history as designed by Dick Gelvin and in fact is his own mission history - 30 missions as a lead crew navigator that is 14 pages long.

Dick continued to produce these mission histories for former crew members and their families right up until his death in 2005. When he passed away, his title of 445th Unit Historian passed to the webmaster, Michael Simpson, son of the 445th Group Bombardier (1st Lt Leland S. Simpson) when the 445th flew over to England. Mike has continued the process of creating these mission histories, but has significantly increased the amount of information available. When Dick created a history for a 35 mission tour, it contained about 15 pages of material. The same mission history produced by Mike would now cover more than 180 pages.

A significantly detailed mission history is now available that will rival most history books. A 35 mission history will now contain excerpts from the Tactical Mission Reports (if available) for each mission flown. If a plane with the individual whose history is being done was lost, the associated Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) is also included. Some of these MACRs also contain captured German KU reports can run up to 50 pages. If an individual went down on his 35th (last) mission, the mission history could go upwards of 320+ pages!

As each of these mission histories were intended to be a family heirloom, personal details from the veteran and/or his family are also included; family photos, military records, diary entries if they kept one, anything that would detail that person's life.  This material, provided by the veteran or his family, enhances the story the mission history is trying to convey and thus adds to the overall significance of the history. This material cost is included in the base fee for the history.

Here's a copy of a personal mission history completed in April, 2015.  Even since then another evolution in the mission format has taken place. Whenever possible RAF Recon images are now being added to the Google Earth images showing both a current day view and a wartime view.

The form below is to be used for anyone who is requesting a Personal Mission History of a 445th air crew member only - no ground personnel.  Please provide as much information about the veteran as possible to insure that the history is complete and accurate.  The fields marked with an '
*' indicate mandatory data input.  A full street address or P. O. Box is needed to determine shipping costs for the completed history.

The cost for a single personal mission history is currently set at $200.00 plus shipping and insurance.  If you would like the Google Earth images in full color, there is an added fee - $1.00 per mission flown otherwise they will be in greyscale.  Please check the box either accepting the cost for color images or not. Additional copies may be purchased at a reduced rate depending on the number of pages and the number of copies requested.  If you need to have a copy shipped to a different location, please include the address(es) for each separate copy. There will be an additional charge for shipping to multiple addresses (actual shipping charge to the destination).

 Yes, please compile the history
 No Thank you
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