Sloan Crew – Assigned 753rd Squadron – February 18, 1945

Standing: William Sloan – P, Peter Moran – CP, Robert Cross – N, Hank [Last Name Unknown] – B
Kneeling: John Wright – E, Phillip Ricciardi – RO, Richard Long – TTG, Howard Swanson – BTG, Berlyn Bowman-  NTG, Nicholas Chiavari – TG

(Photo: Paul Cross & Nick Chiavari)

Flying at the End of Hostilities

 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
2Lt William E Sloan 0830997 Pilot 14-Jun-45 FEH Ferry Liberator to U.S.
2Lt Peter J Moran 02062266 Co-pilot 14-Jun-45 FEH Ferry Liberator to U.S.
2Lt Robert E Cross 02073071 Navigator 14-Jun-45 FEH Ferry Liberator to U.S.
Sgt Phillip A Ricciardi 35068746 Radio Operator 14-Jun-45 FEH Ferry Liberator to U.S.
S/Sgt John A Wright 14075970 Flight Engineer 14-Jun-45 FEH Ferry Liberator to U.S.
Sgt  Berlyn C Bowman 13146605 Nose Turret Gunner 14-Jun-45 FEH Ferry Liberator to U.S.
Sgt Nicholas J Chiavari 13200579  Tail Turret Gunner 14-Jun-45 FEH Ferry Liberator to U.S.
Sgt Richard A Long 35678141 Top Turret Gunner 14-Jun-45 FEH Ferry Liberator to U.S.
Sgt Howard E Swanson  313785665 Ball Gunner/2E  14-Jun-45 FEH Ferry Liberator to U.S. 

Lt William E. Sloan and his crew arrived at Horsham St Faith with a little over 60 days to go in the air war over Europe.  [According to Nick Chiavari, son of gunner Nicholas Chiavari, “Many years ago I spoke to Phillip Ricciardi who was the radio man.  He filled in some details for me.  As I recall he stated that they arrived in England in January of ’45, delivering a new B-24 (and a case of booze!!). I don’t know if they took that ship to the 458th.  He indicated that the bombardier in the photo did not remain with the crew although he did fly over with them.  I also got the impression that the ball gunner may not have remained with the crew.”]

The crew flew their first combat mission on March 10th to the marshaling yards near Arnsberg, Germany.  Four more sorties would follow in March and the crew would fly seven missions the following month, including the April 9th mission to Lechfeld; the April 14th raid on the German defenses at Pointe de Grave; and the first Eight Air Force mission to utilize napalm on the 15th to the coastal area of Royan, France.  The crew flew their last mission on April 16th to Landshut, Germany.

The Eighth Air Force flew its last mission on April 25, 1945.  While the air war was finished, the ground forces were still fighting in Germany, and training continued for the combat crews.  On May 6th, William Sloan was assigned as Instructor Pilot with 1Lt Donald A. Montgomery on a local night flight.  According to the Accident Report, “On 6 May 1945, during night flying and practice landings, Pilot was making third landing when left gear collapsed damaging aircraft beyond repair…. Aircraft had a crew of five and 1,800 gals. of gasoline….  Failure was caused by undue shear load on landing gear during this or previous landing.”

Two days later, on May 8th, the Germans surrendered, bringing the war in Europe to a close. The 458th began the laborious process of moving back to the States for retraining on B-29s for duty in the Pacific Theater.  Sloan and crew were assigned Liberator B-24J-1-FO 42-50740 named Our Burma to ferry back to the States.  According to co-pilot, Peter Moran, the crew left on June 14, 1945, and flew back via the Azores.  Most of the group’s personnel were either on leave or in transit to the new training base in California when the Japanese surrendered.


Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
10-Mar-45 ARNSBURG 201 1 42-110163 M J4 69 TIME'S A WASTIN  
12-Mar-45 FRIEDBURG 202 MSHL -- -- -- --   MARSHALING CHIEF 
19-Mar-45 LEIPHEIM 207 2 42-51196 Q J3 50 THE GYPSY QUEEN  
22-Mar-45 KITZINGEN 210 3 42-110163 M J4 74 TIME'S A WASTIN  
30-Mar-45 WILHELMSHAVEN  215 4 44-10602 E J4 40 TEN GUN DOTTIE  
31-Mar-45 BRUNSWICK 216 5 44-40285 H J4 76 TABLE STUFF
05-Apr-45 PLAUEN 218 6 44-40287 J J4 59 BACHELOR'S BEDLAM  
07-Apr-45  KRUMMEL 220 7 44-40287 J J4 61 BACHELOR'S BEDLAM  
09-Apr-45 LECHFELD 222 8 42-50912 D J4 35 THE TRAVLIN' BAG  
10-Apr-45 RECHLIN/LARZ 223 9 42-110141 U J4 55 BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN   
14-Apr-45 POINTE DE GRAVE 225 10 44-40285 H J4 84 TABLE STUFF  
15-Apr-45 ROYAN AREA 226 11 44-40273 T J4 53 HOWLING BANSHEE  
16-Apr-45 LANDSHUT 227 12 44-40285 H J4 85 TABLE STUFF
06-May-45 Night Practice Msn -- -- 42-95216 K J4 -- BECKY Sloan-CP, Landing Acc

May 6, 1945

Instructor Pilot’s Statement on Accident in Airplane 42-95216
“We had previously shot two landings, the first one normal and the second a little hard but not enough to damage the landing gear.  On the third landing the approach was normal and very good.  Landing attitude was normal and the nose wheel was definitely not off the ground when the ship hit.  Ship did hit quite hard.

“The left gear did not seem to shear completely off on impact as we had fairly good control until it collapsed and the wing struck the runway, throwing ship to the left.

“To all appearances, I would say that we hit the runway about 70-80 feet from the end and in a wing-level attitude.”

2nd Lt., AC  Instructor Pilot

Full Accident Report

June 1945

The Sloan Crew getting ready to depart for the States in Our Burma

B-24J-1-FO 42-50740 J3  Our Burma

(Artwork courtesy: Mark Styling)