Seeking Information

This section is provided as a forum for individuals that are seeking information pertaining to individuals, places or events that took place in Alaska and the Aleutians.  11th Air Force. Com cannot undertake individual searches.  We will provide assistance as time permits.  Submit your request via the Email box at the bottom of the page.

Sgt. Horace Towell

Date: Posted: 30 May 01
Contact: Marilyn Wilson

My brother, Sgt. Horace Towell, was in the 77th Bomb Sq. on Attu. I am trying to locate anyone who may have known him. As his letters were censored, the few I have are not very informative. Horace lost his life on a Liberty Ship, the John P. Gains. He was evidently coming home for Christmas 1943, he was on this ship and it was in a storm and broke up.. From what we know several were ordered to man the life boats and stay near. 
He was on one of these boats. It is our understanding that his boat capsized up against a rescue ship. My father did get a letter from Sgt. Arthur McCaffrey telling him what he knew--he had been on part of the ship that did not sink. It is a very moving letter, unbelievable. We have a copy of this letter, but no address for Sgt. McCaffery. 
Through the years I have always wondered what my brother had done during his time in the Aleutians. If there was anyone who may have known him. Is there a history of the 77th Bomb Sq.? I guess I am just looking for something. I was very young when this happened. I am now 71 years old and I have an older sister who is 77 and lives in Houston, TX. 
I have also been interested in genealogy and have a great deal to pass on to my children and this seems to be a very sad and empty area. Well, I didn't mean to go on and on. I would appreciate any information you may have for me. 
Thank you ever so much. 


Marilyn Wilson 


Johnny Norman

Date: Posted: 29 May 01
Contact: Glenda Washburn Christian

I am hoping to find information on my grandfather Johnny Norman, whom I was told was a bomber pilot? in the Aleutians during WWII. I was given 1944 as the year he died in the Aleutians. This is all the information I have. If any one knew him it would be a wonderful start to missing piece of my past.

My mother was born shortly after he died and my grandmother remarried. Grandmas name was Eileen Ruth (Rezner) Norman. If you could help, even if it's which squadron or group he was with would help immensely.

Thanks sincerely, Glenda Washburn Christian


Robert Lewis Ruddick

Date: Posted: 29 May 01
Contact: Lewis M. Ruddick

My father, Lt. Robert L. Ruddick, was stationed in Alaska at both Adak and Attu during WWII with the 11th Air Force. He was assigned to a service unit and was responsible for aircraft repair.

Seeking any information from those who may have served with him.

77th Bombardment Squadron - Nose Art

Date: Posted: 17 May 01
Contact: TSgt Donald Fenton

Looking for B-25 Nose Art, 77th Bomb Squadron.  Specifically aircraft number 129681.  I am trying to find out the history or name of it, if it was ever named.   Thank You, Donald Fenton

[Note:  The Nose Art of this aircraft is in the  77 Bomb Squadron section of this site.]

John Albert Kennedy

Date: Posted: 8 May 01
Contact: Cheryl McClay

My father was in the Aleutian Islands during World War II.  He served as an airplane mechanic.  His name was John Albert Kennedy.  He was from Rutherford County, North Carolina.  I would appreciate any information about him and would like to talk with anyone who might have served with him.   Thank You, Cheryl McClay

B-17B - Serial Number 38-215, CWTD#1>

Date: Posted: 7 May 01
Contact: Tom Carter

I am trying to obtain information regarding B-17B, serial number 38-215, attached to the Cold Weather Testing Detachment (CWTD), Ladd Field, Alaska, in 1941 and 1942. It was designated CWTD aircraft # 1, and was deployed to Umnak Field just prior to the Japanese air strikes on Dutch Harbor on 3-4 June 1942. 

This aircraft flew bomb strikes against the Japanese fleet, and was involved in the air battle above Umnak Pass on 4 June, where it was credited with a confirmed downing of a "Val" dive bomber. During this period, it was attached to Navy Patrol Wing 4 for operational missions. Upon transfer to the 36th BS, this aircraft served in the Aleutian Campaign until 18 July 1942, when it crashed while returning from a weather recon to Kiska.  All the crew perished.

I believe that this is the only B-17B that saw combat in WWII.
Following is the crew from the CWTD:

Captain Jack S. Marks - Pilot
Captain Richard C. Ragle - Co-Pilot
1st Lt Harold E. Mitts - Navigator
M/Sgt Carol V. Hunter - Bombardier
T/Sgt Walter Gilbert - Crew Chief
T/Sgt Wilson Ogan - Engineer/Gunner
T/Sgt Bruno Grossi - Radioman
S/Sgt Orlin F. Floris - Mechanic/Gunner
S/Sgt Kenneth E. Nelson - Gunner
S/Sgt William T. Sexton - Mechanic/Gunner

Captain Marks and 1st Lt Mitts were killed on 17 July 1942, while flying a B-17E, which was shot down by "Rufes" over Kiska. B-17B, s/n 38-215, crashed while being piloted by Captain Marvin E. Walseth. S/Sgt Nelson (who was credited with downing the "Val" on 4 June) was also killed in the crash.

I am the son-in-law of Captain Richard C. Ragle, the co-pilot, who was in the Navy Hospital at the time the plane crashed. He later became the Search & Rescue Officer of the 10th Rescue Detachment at Ladd.

I would like to hear from any veterans with knowledge of this plane or


Tom Carter

Private August Paul Petrovich

Date: Posted: 5 May 01
Contact: Nancy Sanborn

Aleutian Islands War. Looking for vets who served in the Army Air Corps (Ground Support) at Dutch Harbor. My father was a private and I don't know much else. Have pictures of him in bombed and turned over truck which I believe was after the Japanese attack. Name: August Paul Petrovich, but called "Pat". Was raised in San Francisco. Probably quit school and lied to join Army just before or during war. Believe he trained in Texas. Hope to find more as to unit, etc. when unpacked from house renovation going on three years. Don't know much as he was killed flying for United Airlines in 1951 when I was a baby. My mother remarried and then died young before telling me much. I have some medals and a "yearbook", but as I said, those are packed away. Also have an interesting pencil drawing of him heading for the mess saying, "I wonder what Cookie's got for us today?" or something similar. I'm hoping to meet someone who knew my father and could share anything about him or the experience of serving in the Aleutians. I know that's a long shot, so anyone close to that situation, or direction as to where I can read stories of the experience would be helpful. I never got to know him, did you? Thanks for keeping us free. 

Note:  Dutch Harbor was bombed by the Japanese on the 3rd and 4th of June 1942.  Air Corps personnel were assigned to Fort Mears. [Webmaster]


 2nd Lt. Glen B. Martin
Date: Posted: 8 Jan 01
Contact: Glenn Whitener

My uncle, Glen Martin, died June 11, 1943 in the Aleutians off Adak.  I have an article and a poem written by 2nd Lt. John T. Larson.  He tells a story of a major attack on Kiska.  They had departed Amchitka.  He mentioned names of some P-38 pilots.  One name was Martin.  I think this is my uncle; the story goes along with what I have heard. He went down off Adak in bad weather, no fuel and washed on shore 13 days later. Other names mentioned were Friedman and Duffy.  I would like to talk with any of these men or others who may have known my uncle.

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