99th Bomb Group Historical Society - Thunder From The South
99th BG Information

Announcing Friends of the 99th

The purpose of the Friends of the 99th is to support our efforts to further develop, preserve and share the history of the 99th BG with our membership and a wider audience. Under the umbrella of the 99th Bombardment Group Historical Society (a tax-exempt not-for-profit 501 (c)(19) Veterans organization), we are pleased to announce the formation of the Friends of the 99th to enable our members and other parties to more easily make financial and material donations to the 99th BGHS. The Friends of the 99th will provide an acknowledgment of your donation, for tax purposes and as a permanent record of your contribution. Click here to learn how to make your tax-deductible donation.

99th Bomb Group Historical Society NARA File & Film Records

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) II
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
http://archives.gov

The following is a summary listing of film records available at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) II, in College Park, MD that include some reference or relation to the 99th Bomb Group. Most of these were located under the research subject heading for the Army Air Forces (AAF), 99th Bombardment Group (99BG). At the time that this research began in late 2008, these records were located on the 4th floor in Room 400 under Record Group 18.

This information was summarized from the Index Cards which included more fields. A copy of one of the better quality Index Cards is available on this site for reference. A Table has been created to capture the key information off of each of these AAF 99BG Index Cards, and for expediency some of the fields are left blank to be completed at a later date. No claim is made that these are all of the 99th BG film records, only those that were located during research over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday period back in 2008.

If you are interested in this project or if you plan to visit the NARA II facility yourself please contact Gary Staffo or the NARA Website for information concerning the rules and requirements to obtain a NARA identification that allows records access. The 99th BGHS is exploring the possibility of having a copy of each of these 99th BG film records made and indexed on DVD if we can get significant contributions through our "Friends of the 99th BGHS" campaign. This list is a starting point to help us seek out competitive business proposals from several professional firms to determine the cost for this project.

I would appreciate if each of you who do visit the NARA II please share with us your research findings for publication for our 99th BGHS members and for our historical research. Please contact Gary Staffo by email at 99BombGroupHS@gmail.com if you have any questions or would like to discuss the project or volunteer to help us with the work.

99BGHS NARA II Film List
99BGHS NARA II Film Record Example
99BGHS NARA II File List

99th BGHS Supply Store

If you are looking for items to proudly recognize the 99th Bomb Group, or a gift for a 99th BG Veteran, check out the items in the 99th BGHS Supply Store. We have pins, hats, patches, bumper stickers, and may create t-shirts if we have enough interest to support an order. Learn More »

Book Reviews

THE DIAMONDBACKS : THE HISTORY OF THE 99th BOMB GROUP (H)
by the 99th Bomb Group Historical Society

War stories, mission lists, and biographies. Loaded with photographs.

Turner Publishing
412 Broadway - P.O. Box 3101
Paducah, Kentucky 42002-3101
Telephone (502) 443-0121

ISBN 978-1563112676 | Publisher: Turner | Copyright 1998
Available on Amazon.com
BEYOND FIGHTER ESCORT
by James F. Bruno

A diary of the 99th BG, as told by a member who flew combat missions with it during 1943. Also contains information about other 99th BG members throughout the war.

ISBN 978-0964803213 | Publisher: James F Bruno; 1st US - 1st Printing edition | Copyright 1995
Available on Amazon.com
THE B-17 - THE FLYING FORTS
by Martin Caidin

Copyright 1968, 2001
Originally Published as Flying Forts
ibooks, New York 595 pages paperback

If you have not read a lot about the Boeing B-17, commonly known as the "Flying Fortress," this is a good introductory book for you to read. The book is organized in four major Sections with multiple individual stories included under each section. For those who have read a lot of books on the B-17, you will find a lot of the material to be familiar, especially if you have read several of the limited number of seventeen Sources/References he uses repeatedly throughout the book. The author does make this an entertaining and factual book by including personal stories from interviews he conducted with B-17 crew members, and information from citations for various acts of gallantry and courage performed by individuals, including Medal of Honor recipients. The book includes a significant amount of information on the development of the B-17, the rationale and fight for its survival prior to WWII, and it does cover its use in all of the combat theaters of operation, including its combat baptism in fire in the Pacific and early use by the British of the early B-17D and E versions. This includes a good summary for those new to the B-17 of the various model changes from the prototype Model 299 through the B-17G.

As with most books concerning the B-17 in WWII, the author is focused primarily on the 8th Air Force operations out of England. However, for members of the 99th Bomb Group Historical Society the author does recognize and include the Air War fought in the Mediterranean Theater (Chapter 18 Torch, and Chapter 19 The Deadly Bombers). More importantly he does provide a 6 page description of the combat actions on July 5th, 1943 over Gerbini, Italy for the 99th BG's, and WWII's only Aerial Gunner Ace (9 Confirmed victories) Staff Sergeant Benjamin F. Warmer, resulting in his award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

We welcome your feedback and comments on our reviews, and you may send us your 99th BGHS or B-17 related book or other reviews for consideration for publication in the Newsletter.

Reviewed by Gary T. Staffo, 99th BGHS 2nd Vice President

ISBN 978-0743434706 | Publisher: Books | Copyright 2001
Available on Amazon.com
AIRCRAFT DOWN - EVADING CAPTURE IN WWII EUROPE
by Philip D. Caine

This book is an excellent collection of eight stories about evasion and survival by airmen in WWII. Chapter 7, "I Was So Close" is of special interest as it tells the story Sonny Fassoulis, a member of the 99th BG 348th BS, John Caraberis crew of the B-17 number 4230396 that was shot down on September 2, 1943 over Italy.

Brassey's
22841 Quicksilver Drive
Dulles, VA 20166

ISBN 978-1574882346 | Publisher: Potomac Books | Copyright 2000
Available on Amazon.com
Collateral Damage – A Journey in Dealing with Combat-related PTSD
by George M. Coen

This book is written by the son of a 99th BG 416 BS Veteran Navigator whose father flew 50 combat missions out of North Africa. George is also a combat veteran and in this personal story he tells us about his personal experience with combat related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during and after the Vietnam War, but more importantly the effect of his father's WWII undiagnosed PTSD (and his own) on his life and that of his family. This is a story about finding peace for one's soul in the midst of a battle with PTSD. Although the WWII Veterans may have been the "Greatest Generation," as George's story highlights to us, they also were one of the largest undiagnosed and untreated group of PTSD patients who came back home and struggled to deal with this while marrying and raising a family.

Anyone whose family included combat Veterans will benefit from reading this book which provides an understanding in personal terms of the challenge of PTSD and how it effects individuals and families.

The author provides enough technical information to understand the human, social and psychological factors that make this such a complicated issue. For those who would like to read a book giving more specific cases of WWII PTSD and how the PTSD effected Veterans behavior with their children, it is suggested you read "Our Fathers' War: – Growing Up in the Shadow of the Greatest Generation" by Tom Mathews. In writing this powerful book, Mathews traces the kinetic effect of the war on the men who fought it, their sons, and their grandsons, Mathews has uncovered nine other dramatic and telling father-son tales of veterans in some ways missing in action and how internal war wounds shaped their lives as fathers.

We welcome your feedback and comments on our reviews, and you may send us your 99th BGHS or B-17 related book or other reviews for consideration for publication on our Website.

Reviewed by Gary T. Staffo, 99th BGHS 2nd Vice President

George M. Coen
Email: coengm@gmail.com

ISBN 978-0-578-44642-4 | Publisher: George M. Coen | Copyright 2019
Available on Amazon.com
STARDUST FALLING
by Ret. Capt. Wes Coss

A story of a young man's love of flying that takes him in to combat with the 99th BG 347th BS flying a B-17 in bombing raids routinely until January 27, 1944. On this day the 20 year old pilot has his aircraft shot down and faces the harsh reality of war attempting to evade capture behind enemy lines. A tribute to those in War and especially those of the underground who risked everything to save downed air crew men.

Email: stardustfallingbook@yahoo.com

ISBN 978-0977924301 | Publisher: Wesley G. Coss | Copyright 2012
Available on Amazon.com
BROTHER BOB'S WAR
by Ralph W. Ekwall

A memoir in tribute to a 99th BG 346th BS B-17 Ball Turret Gunner with combat action taken directly from his War Diary. The book provides some background on his family history and home life. Additional background information is included about various topics of interest to all WWII Veterans and others who want to know more details about the airwar and the men who fought in the skies. Available in softcover or hardcover.

Willard's Books
P.O. Box 45804
Omaha, NE 69145-0804

ISBN 978-1933556253 | Publisher: Ralph W. Ekwall | Copyright 2006
Available on Amazon.com
WE CAME TO FIGHT A WAR: THE STORY OF A B-17 RADIO GUNNER AND HIS PILOT
As remembered by Alvin E. Kotler and told to Jack Flynn

The story of a 99th BG 346th BS Radio Gunner with the Lt. William Flynn Crew coming together and flying combat missions in 1944 and 45, with the 15th Air Force out of Tortorella, Italy, and the tragedy of a wartime injustice.

A heartfelt story told from the perspective of a crew member who had flown with his pilot in combat and knew first hand of his personal courage, bravery, and devotion to duty. His detailed description of how this respect for his pilot was earned, and his witness to the tragedy which unfolds provides a moving story of the unfortunate circumstances that resulted in this pilot's unfortunate personal and professional misfortune. The softcover book is illustrated with black and white photos, copies of documents, and other information.

ISBN 978-1475197907 | CreateSpace Independent Publishing | Copyright 2008
Available on Amazon.com
ADVENTURES UNDER FIRE - WORLD WAR II MEMOIRS AND 50-MISSION DIARY ABOARD THE B-17 FLYING FORTRESS 1942 to 1945
by Albert C. Henke

This book covers the 50 missions Henke flew as a tail gunner with the 99th Bomb Group, 416th Bomb Squadron, out of bases in North Africa and Italy to bomb German targets in the Mediterranean Theatre of operations, and also his Army Air Force training and family history. It is built around his Diary which he kept hidden throughout the War as at the time this was a forbidden practice under war time security. In this hidden Diary he recorded each mission within hours of his return, while the emotions and reality of the War were still felt throughout his body and in his mind. The book goes beyond the Diary and includes V-mail letters written home, information obtained after the War, and is illustrated with copies of his actual Diary entries as well as photos taken during and after the War.

Leathers Publishing
4500 College Blvd.
Overland Park, KS 66211
913-498-2625
1-888-888-7696

ISBN 978-1585974184 | Leathers Publishing | Copyright 2007
Available on Amazon.com
I WANTED WINGS - A TAIL GUNNER'S STORY
by Gary R. Hill

This is the story of Harlan R. Hill, 99BG 416BS, as told to his son Gary and documented through over 300 family letters, photos and extensive research focusing on his WWII military life and his missions with the 99th BG flying out of Foggia, Italy and culminating in his Dad's 27th and last mission on July 24, 1944 in the B-17G number 42107016 resulting in evasion and capture and a POW camp until the end of the War. The book recognizes the risks and sacrifices made by partisans behind enemy lines caring for and attempting to get airmen safely back to friendly territory.

It is also very much a family story telling about the Hill family, relatives and friends and reminds us of how each and all of our nation were impacted by WWII.

For every 99th BGHS Member who wanted to know about the details of everyday military life in the 99th BG during WWII at Foggia this is another excellent book you must read. It is also an outstanding book for those who have always wanted to write the story of their Dad's life, especially his WWII days with the 99th BG for it provides a format and Appendix and Bibliography to help you get organized and started on the adventure. Please contact the 99th BGHS if you would like additional information and assistance with your 99th BG family history project.

We welcome your feedback and comments on our reviews, and you may send us your 99th BGHS or B-17 related book or other reviews for consideration for publication on our Website.

Reviewed by Gary T. Staffo, 99th BGHS 2nd Vice President

AuthorHouse Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403
Telephone (800) 839-8640

ISBN 978-1-4389-3255-2 | Publisher: AuthorHouse | Copyright 2009
Available on Amazon.com
The Second Most Powerful Man In the World - The Life of Admiral William D. Leahy, Roosevelt's Chief of Staff
by Phillips Payson O'Brien

This is a must read book for anyone who wants to know the facts behind why the Mediterranean Campaign was conducted, the overall strategy for this region, how it was supported, and most importantly how the decisions were made that effected the 395 combat missions that the 99th Bomb Group flew during WWII.

I have read numerous books on WWII leaders and I recently completed reading the most informative and fascinating biography that has changed many of my thoughts and opinions about the WWII key figures. The bios I have read have included notables such as Churchill, Roosevelt, Marshall, Arnold, Doolittle, MacArthur, Eleanor Roosevelt, etc.

The book I read is "The Second Most Powerful Man In the World" the life of Admiral William D. Leahy, Roosevelt's Chief of Staff.

Reading this book gives you a whole new view on the role that others (often given way too much credit) played in shaping and effecting the strategy and course of WWII. Leahy it turns out became Roosevelt’s main man, even replacing Harry Hopkins (another person whose biography I am adding to my reading list) and more importantly, became the architect of the overall WWII strategy and successfully used his relationship with Roosevelt to ensure that this course was taken and implemented overcoming the resistance of Churchill and all of the other members of the WWII Joint Chiefs of Staff, including very strong personalities in themselves such as Admiral King, Marshall, etc.

Reading this book challenges your entire perspective of these famous WWII personalities and the how and why WWII strategies were taken. It is especially helpful in understanding the big picture background for the establishment of the Mediterranean Campaign in WWII and thus the importance of how the decisions were made for the air war and the 395 combat missions for the 99th Bomb Group.

Amazing how such a powerful man grew into this position and the rare qualities of leadership and management he possessed to accomplish this without any personal ego or expectations for recognition.

A remarkable man who deserves this recognition and additional studies to be used as a model for those who seek to serve a higher cause for the benefit of others.

Check it out, Copyright 2019 by Phillips Payson O’Brien, when you get a chance.

Reviewed by Gary T. Staffo, 99th BGHS 2nd Vice President

ISBN 978-03995848006 | Publisher: Dutton | Copyright 2019
Available on Amazon.com
AIR FORCE SPOKEN HERE – General Ira Eaker and the Command of the Air
by James Parton

This is an outstanding book that everyone interested in the 99th BG must read to understand why and how the 99th BG was created, the War Plan rationale for the Mediterranean Air Campaign, and an understanding of General Ira Eaker and the other WWII Commanders who determined the path forward during WWII and the role of the Army Air Force in the road to victory. The book is written by James Parton who served on General Eaker’s staff in England from May 1942 and became his aide and confidant throughout the war and then his friend and associate in many matters during subsequent years. The book was written in coordination and cooperation with the Air Force Historical Foundation and the Office of Air Force History, and General Eaker and his wife, which provides a very thorough historical and personal perspective that adds to the knowledge and enjoyment of reading this book.

Follow the challenges faced by the Army Air Force as they learned by experience through combat missions and losses how to build and effectively use new air combat and bombing strategies to defeat the Luftwaffe and address the balance of tactical versus strategic mission planning and support. Learn about the background behind the hard decisions made for daylight bombing, flying missions beyond fighter escort, setting target priorities, and many other critical WWII actions.

We welcome your feedback and comments on our reviews, and you may send us your 99th BGHS or B-17 related book or other reviews for consideration for publication on our Website.

Reviewed by Gary T. Staffo, 99th BGHS 2nd Vice President

Adler & Adler Publishers, Inc.
4550 Montgomery Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814
ISBN 0-917561-15-5 | Publisher: Adler & Adler Publishers, Inc | Copyright 1986
Available on Amazon.com
FOR YOU DER VAR IS OFER
by George F. Perry
An autobiography of a 99th BG B-17 pilot. Tells of flight training, air combat, and life as a prisoner of war in a German POW camp.
"OVER THERE" A SOLDIER'S LETTERS HOME FROM WORLD WAR II
by Cathy Schultz (Rosenberger)

In this labor of love, the daughter of William (Steve) J. Schultz (99BG 347BS) shares the WWII letters written by her Dad, Steve, and by other friends and family. She has meticulously typed out each letter to provide the story of one 99th Bomb Group airmen and his family and friends. This book is a record of his feelings and observations as he went in the Army Air Force and overseas to fly 50 combat missions. The book is illustrated with photos of artifacts and related period materials such as newspaper articles, his mission diary, and even a feature color comic like wartime morale story of one of his harrowing missions titled "Saved By A Shoestring." This is an especially important source of information and interest for all 99th Bomb Group Historical Society (BGHS) members as it covers many of the early 99BG missions flown out of North Africa between June 23, 1943 until December 06, 1943 (for which the official mission records are lost), and continues out of Foggia Italy until his final 50th mission on December 20, 1943.

We welcome your feedback and comments on our reviews, and you may send us your 99th BGHS or B-17 related book or other reviews for consideration for publication on our Website.

Reviewed by Gary T. Staffo, 99th BGHS 2nd Vice President

Cathy Schultz (Rosenberger)
6738 Carlinda Avenue
Columbia, MD 21046
Email: cathy9551@verizon.net
Phone: 301-346-5109
TOMLIN'S CREW
by J.W. Smallwood

A diary by a 99th Bomb Group, 346th Bomb Squad Bombardier of his training, combat missions and experience as a POW during World War II.

ISBN 978-0897451543 | Sunflower University Press | Copyright 1992
Available on Amazon.com
FROM FOGGIA TO FREEDOM - FIRST-HAND ACCOUNTS OF THE AIRMEN OF THE 15TH AIR FORCE DURING WORLD WAR II
by Brandon Soale

This book covers the events leading to the creation of the 15th Air Force, the establishment of bases at Foggia, Italy and stories of the men who flew missions from there during WWII. I believe this will be of interest to all 99th BGHS members as the subject areas include the background on the development of the15th AF, the B-17, how the 99th BG got to Italy at Tortorella, and the description of the related airfields and organizations at Foggia. Although the stories are not from men in the 99th BG, the author has used information obtained in interviews with 99th BG Veterans and additional sources are well referenced throughout the book which does include an index. Many of the 99th BG Veterans shared similar experiences during AAF training and flying missions from Foggia. The soft cover book is illustrated with black and white photos, copies of documents, diagrams, a few sidebars, excerpts from Diaries and letters written home, and other information. ISBN 978-0-578-08663-7

CrabApple Books
P.O. Box 12
Camden, OH 45311

ISBN 978-0578086637 | CrabApple Books | Copyright 2012
Available on Amazon.com
FORTRESS FIGHTERS
by William F. Somers

An autobiography of a B-17 Engineer/Gunner with a collection of stories of men of the 15th Air Force who flew the heavies from North Africa and Italy to smash the formidable German underbelly during World War Two.

ISBN 978-0970579911 | Copyright 2000
Available on Amazon.com

B-17 Information

B-17 Crew Positions