Lansing Crew - Assigned 753rd Squadron - May 26, 1944
Transferred to 388th Bomb Group
|1Lt||John Y Lansing||0490566||Pilot||01-Jul-44||TRSF||Transferred to 560BS 388BG|
|2Lt||Donald H Crete||0761894||Co-pilot||01-Jul-44||TRSF||Transferred to 560BS 388BG|
|2Lt||James W Lacy||0701611||Bombardier||01-Jul-44||TRSF||Transferred to 560BS 388BG|
|1Lt||Joseph W Nelson||0701269||Navigator||28-Jan-45||CT||Completed operational tour|
|T/Sgt||Jack R Beaman||18194867||Radio Operator||01-Jul-44||TRSF||Transferred to 560BS 388BG|
|T/Sgt||William H Baird||13079154||Flight Engineer||01-Jul-44||TRSF||Transferred to 560BS 388BG|
|Sgt||Leonard E Saltiel||33594462||Armorer-Gunner||14-May-44||UNK||AZON Roster - Possible Trsf to 15AF|
|S/Sgt||John W Smith||18132921||Aerial Gunner||12-May-45||CT||Suspended fr flying|
|S/Sgt||Harold L Matthews||34671120||Aerial Gunner||20-Feb-45||CT||Trsf to 70CP - Completed Tour|
|Sgt||Ralph J Beauchamp||13053152||Aerial Gunner||14-May-44||UNK||AZON Roster|
John Lansing and crew were one of ten specially trained AZON crews who were assigned to the 458th in the spring of 1944. Originally intended for duty in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater, their orders were changed en route and they flew to England instead.
The four officers, flight engineer and radio operator that had trained together arrived in England in May 1944. The four gunners, not on board the AZON aircraft en route to the combat zone, continued on to the CBI, being replaced by four different gunners once the crew arrived in England.
Lansing's crew flew B-24 44-40264 Kiss Me Baby to the ETO.
Their tenure in the 458th was short. Two AZON crews, along with members of a third were transferred to the 388th Bombardment Group (H) at Knettishall in July 1944. While it is possible that they participated in the Aphrodite Project, the combat records and status of these crews with this group is unknown. Two gunners of Lansing's crew, Sgt Harold L. Matthews and Sgt John W. Smith remained with the 753rd Squadron, flew additional missions as part of Lt Patrick McCormick's crew (one of the ten AZON crews) successfully completing their combat tours in January and March 1945 respectively and were rotated back to the States.
Lt Joseph Nelson, Lansing's navigator, also remained with the 458th and had this to say about his service, "We did combat crew training at March Field, Riverside, CA. We were selected as an AZON crew and did practice missions at Pinecastle AB near Orlando, FL dropping live 1000 pound AZON bombs on marked ground targets. Operations personnel were virtually non-existent and we flight crews loaded our own bombs by hand winch. Our training followed with orders transferring us to CBI, but en route over the South Atlantic southern crossing, our orders were changed to report to the UK. Our gunners were put on a troop ship and we never saw them again. They apparently went to the CBI Theater. After several missions at bridge busting it was decided that the B-24 was too unstable a platform at high altitude to continue. Several crews were selected to transfer the AZON activity to B-17 bombers. At this point I chose to fly regular combat as a substitute navigator in the 753rd Squadron, flying at times with some of the crews who had originally been with the AZON group, in addition to lead crew duty as a pilotage navigator in nose turret with maps while manning the twin .50's. During my experience as a sub, I flew with some very green crews on their first or early missions in their tour. Since I was combat experienced, I guess psychologically I was being used as a stabilizing presence. Unfortunately, at least two of the crews I had flown with were lost due to combat or accident. I was very fortunate."
Taking Lt Nelson's place as navigator in the transfer was 2Lt Alfred E. Peterson, the navigator from Captain Maurice E. Speer's AZON crew.
The status of S/Sgt Leonard E. Saltiel, gunner,
and Sgt Ralph J. Beauchamp, gunner is unknown. It is possible that
S/Sgt Saltiel went on to fly missions with the 15th Air Force in the
Sgt Peter Correa was also assigned to this crew at some point during their time with the 458th as is evidenced by the photo of the crew next to an AZON ship named S.O.L. Sgt Correa was also with 453rd Bomb Group during part of his combat career. Whether he came from that group or was transferred to that group from the 458th is unknown.
Lansing's crew was credited with four combat sorties while with the 458th, all AZON missions.
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|31-May-44||5 BRIDGES||AZ01||1||44-40277||P||J4||1||MISS USED|
|04-Jun-44||2 TACTICAL TARGETS||AZ03||2||44-40277||P||J4||2||MISS USED|
|08-Jun-44||UNSPECIFIED TARGETS||AZ04||--||44-40264||K||J4||--||KISS ME BABY||ABANDONED - WEATHER|
|14-Jun-44||5 TARGETS||AZ06||3||44-40264||K||J4||1||KISS ME BABY|
|15-Jun-44||3 RAILWAY BRIDGES||AZ07||4||44-40264||K||J4||2||KISS ME BABY|
|22-Jun-44||Saumer/Tours, Bridges||AZ09||5||42-100341||A||J4||20||SATAN'S MATE||Maj HOLBROOK (AZON OBS)|
B-24JAZ-145-CO 44-40066 J4 V S.O.L.
If you can identify any of this crew, please contact me.
Sgt Peter Correa - Ball Turret Gunner
(Photo: Phil Correa)
B-24JAZ-155-CO 44-40264 J4 K Kiss Me Baby
(Photo: Anne Zimmer)
January 28, 1945
1Lt Joseph Nelson after his 35th and final mission as a substitute navigator with the McCormick crew
(Photo: Joe Nelson)