Ragland (Rhodes) has a book of dads that says "389th". Inside it says
"389th Bombardment Group". In the back it lists:
Lt. John C. Forsyth
2282 Delaware Dr.
Cleveland Heights, Colorado
John was born in Cleveland, OH but has not been back there for 45 years (03).
Dad later visited John while he was living in Shaker (Cleveland), OH. I don't know the exact time of that visit. According to my Mother, it must have been shortly before their first baby was born (December 9, 1946). She was not able to go with Dad because she was so far along with the pregnancy.
John flew in the reserves for about 5 or 6 years and ferried planes out of Detroit for several years. Then his eyes went bad and he had to quit.
John's last assignment was with Bell Aircraft Co out of Niagara Falls, NY while he was ferrying aircraft. He went there to close that field down.
He and Norma had two kids. They divorced after being married for 23 years.
John remarried and lost his wife to cancer after they had been married for 28 years. Doris had come over to their house to pray for her. They got talking on the phone 2 or 3 months after she died. He said the nights were lonely and took Doris out for lunch one day. He says, "You got to watch those telephone calls". They ended up getting married. He said he married her because, "I like older women".
John has one sister who lives in Cleveland. She fell and broke her arm just prior to her 91st birthday in 2003.
Doris had a stroke towards the end of 2004. She was staying with her daughter in Jan or 2005. John and the family were facing the decision at that time as to what to do for her care. John told me that for the first time in his life he couldn't think stright. Those decisions are tough to make.
Co-Pilot George Burroughs was 18 years older than his brother, Clem. So in some ways he was more like a father to Clem than a brother. Their parents were quite old when Clem was growing up and never had more than the basic necessities of life. George bought Clem's first car for him so he could provide transportation for his parents, as they didn't own a car by the time Clem was old enough to drive. George may have also helped him with some college expenses. He helped him in many ways. The whole family looked up to George.
When George was in college he did anything he could to help pay his way, including doing ironing for other guys in his dorm. He was a very quiet, deep, and highly intelligent person.
George and Bobbye were married Dec. 2, 1944 right after George got back from Sweden. They were married in El Paso, TX. Where she had started collage. She had quit collage at the time and was working there. They, like everyone else, went to Miami, FL for R&R. On their way to FL, they stopped in Montgomery, AL to see Robert Meads. Robert teased George about his silk underwear that he wore while in Sweden. That started what was to become a long traveling trip for them together.
Their first assignment was in Altus, OK. They were only there for two months. From there, they were sent to Waco, TX and then to CA. George was then released from the service. He had finished his degree while in the service.
George kept on flying. He had gone back to collage in Ft Collins, CO. It was while he was there that he was recalled. He was sent to Detroit, MI in 1953 during the Korean War as a procurement officer (what is a pilot doing in that position?). He had been in the reserves up to this time. He had flown B-24 and then C-124's. He reentered as a Capt. There were seven of them called back and all were pilots they hardly knew what the word procurement meant. He immediately got back into flying.
Detroit was a brief stay and on the Middletown, Pa. where he flew on weekends and office-worked during the week. That too was a brief assignment. Oddly enough, during this time, George flew back to Mendonhall and Lekenheath where he had flown into during WWII.
Then off to San Marcos, Texas and Helicopter training for 3 months. The next assignment was Korea for one year, 1953-1954. By this time he had enough service time in that he decided to stay in. They had two children, one a baby 3 months old and one 23 months old when he went to Korea.
Upon returning, he went to Maxwell, AFB for training and on to Topeka, Kansas and Washburn University, where he taught ROTC from 1954 to 1958. While doing all of this, he also commuted to KU and got his Masters Degree.
The next assignment was to Dover AFB, Delaware where they lived from 1958 to 1965, While there he flew C-47's, C-124's, and C-133's.
Then on to Naha AFB, Okinawa (Ryuku Islands) in 1965-1967. George was there six months before his wife, three kids and a dog arrived. He tried to tell them that he had not been checked out in C-130's. The primary place to be checked out was Smyrna, TN but he was sent to Okinawa anyway. While there he flew C-130's to Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos for 2 1/2 years. He was eventually sent back to Smyrna to go to helicopter school.
At the time George was in Okinawa, Bobbye was left in DE with the three children, a house and five different shipments of stuff to take care of. To add to all this, she also had a bleeding ulcer. George had come back to TN for a short time to get more training before going back to Okinawa by way of CA. George, Bobbye and the children all wanted to go back to Okinawa together from CA. They were not sure that was going to be possible but they did everything they could and talked to everyone they could think of in hopes that this would happen. In any case, Bobbye would have to get to CA from DE. She told a Sgt. In DE her plans if she had any problems when she got to the base in CA. She said, " If they don't let us go back together I'm going to tie one kid in front of every wheel that I can find, tie the dog to the tail wheel and then I'm going to lay down in front of the plane." The Sgt. swore that he was going to be watching TV the day they got to CA because he knew that if she did it, there would be big TV coverage of the story.
When she got to the base in CA and identified herself as Bobbye Burroughs, the man at the gate let her right in. He said, "I don't want to hear that name ever again." It seems that between her and George together, they had been bombarding them with everything they could think of and the Burroughs name was well known. They were able to make the trip as a family.
Word has it that George was the religious one on the plane during WWII. That faith stayed with him throughout his life. He was very quiet in his own life and about his religion. When he went off to Vietnam flying C-130's and Okinawa. Every so many months or weeks, he would go down and spend 3-6 wks at Cameron Bay or some base down there. Every time George came home Bobbye would find the church bulletin in his pocket from where he had gone to church. Bobbye says that she was always the one that had to have everything proven. George on the other hand would say, "You just need to have faith". She would say, "How can I have faith if somebody doesn't show me something"? She says, "It was always so reassuring to be with George because he didn't question anything about religion".
He returned to USA, assignment Indian Springs, Nev. (They lived in Las Vegas) There he was to fly helicopters again plus the fixed wing aircraft, U-2's and 6's. Most of the guys who came in there were strictly helicopter pilots. The base commander had asked George if he would help cross train the members.
On November 13, 1967 George and his commanding officer, Col. Jerry Connors were in a little fixed wing U-6 dropping smoke flares for the Nellis jets to practice with. Connors had been a forward air controller and had done this in Vietnam. The U-6 has an overhead engine and an overhead gas tank. For some unknown reason, that day they crashed into one of the mountains. They hit the upper part of a mountain while evaluating the jets procedures and then fell down on a cliff. The cabin and everything else burned. Only the tail was intact. It took the rescue crew all day to get up there and get the bodies down. The actual cause of the crash was never determined. The death certificate listed the cause of accident to "diversional tactics".
George would have retired the following September with 27 years (for pay purposes) of duty. He had hopes of going back into teaching which he really liked doing. He was 47 years old at the time. He was the same age as Harold Rhodes at the time of his death.
They had a real good marriage and Bobbye is sure that they would still be married today if he were still alive. She really feels that way.
Bobbye says that she married a really nice person the second time. It was really amazing she had almost 23 years with each of them. The last one died of cancer. Both died suddenly. She took AC to the hospital on Monday afternoon and he died on Wednesday afternoon. He had prostate cancer but actually died of acute maloginious leukemia. They thought he had a virus over the weekend because he couldn't keep anything down. When he went into the hospital they found that his white cell count was 207,000 and it went up to 303,000 by Wed.
When Bobbye was in high school, the superintendant insisted that she take Home Economics for the fourth straight year because that was what she would need in life, etc. She says, "Well, I had cooked those blamed goldenrod eggs (ugh!) for the last time and I stood my grounds and instead of home economics, I took Aeronautics! The only girl in the class!
Many years later I ran into that superintendant and told him that I had married into the air force and had been into planes all that time and that the course in aeronautics really helped me. (And never, never did I ever fix goldenrod eggs again)"
George and his wife Bobbye have a son Douglas, who teaches in England at Feltswell AFB. They also have two daughters, both of which live in the Oklahoma City area. Bobbye remarried and her second husband died in 1998.
Doug called his Mom and said that the base his Dad flew out of was real close to where they live in England. So the next time she went to England they went to the base. She tells that they had taken the old control tower and made it into a museum. While she was there everyone's name came back to her except one as she was looking through a book at the museum. The names were not there, she just remembered who the guys were that had flown with George during WWII. She says that she had a good feeling about what they were doing restoring things at the base.
When she got back her daughter contacted a man in CA who has been putting out a paper on the 389th , 8th AF. She wrote to him and said that they were trying to locate the members of the crew of Naughty Norma. She immediately started getting phone calls, letters and notes from all over the country. She soon discovered that George and his crew were not shot down in the Naughty Norma. William Moller wrote a letter and put it in that same publication asking if anyone knew of anybody that was in Naughty Norma when it crashed. Bobbye contacted him and that is when she found out that they had been in another plane altogether that day. She also learned that Naughty Norma did crash when Moller was in it and they were made prisoners of war after that.
Bobbye says that John still sounds just like he did when he was young. Kellis told her that John has "found religion". To which she replied, "Good Lord now that's a change".
Joe Mulqueeny was the one she couldn't think of when she was looking through that book. She found that he was in Del. She said that they were stationed in Del. for 7 years and that at one time Brenard and Kay Prueher had them come up to their place in NJ. Joe came up at that time too and they had a little reunion. George was still in the service at that time but none of the others were.
Bobbye did not know Jack Hayden because he was the bombardier that filled in that last day. She has talked to him once or twice on the phone. The first time she called he was in the hospital. She sent cards a time or two but has not had much of a connection with him.
Brenard Prueher was from Janesville, WI. He had enlisted in the infantry. It didn't take him long to realize he was not cut out to carry a machine-gun and dig holes. He said that he had hauled a machine-gun over half of TX. before the war started. They sent him from Little Rock to CA. He was at Hamilton Field. He said he was stationed on the top of a hill with a machine-gun and was supposed to use it to keep the Japs from shooting down our planes. He was freezing to death 12 hours a day. He knew he was not an infantryman.
It was about that time that a notice was posted that said you didn't need three years of collage in order to get into the Air Core as an officer. However, it was required that you pass a test. During his off duty hours, he and another guy took the test and passed it with no problem. He was called into the office in Jan of 42 and found that he was being transferred to the Air Core. Everything just fell into place. He lost track of what happened to the other guy but remembers that he was from Chicago.
Everyone wanted to be number one and be a pilot. So, he went into pilot training but washed out after about 40-50 hours while still in basic training. Then he went to bombardier school in Santa Anna. He wound up in Albuquerque, NM and became a bombardier. He got his wings and second lieutenant bars and he was happy. If you couldn't be a pilot, everyone wanted to be a bombardier. After all, they are the ones that drop the bombs and win the war. No body wanted to be a copilot or navigator. He was all set.
Then they took 10-15% of the bombardiers and sent them to navigation school. They were taken right out of bombardier status. They were sent to a place in TX to navigation school, which he says was the hardest school he ever went to in all his life. They were flying night and day learning navigation. From there he was put on a crew with Forsyth and the rest of the boys. Four or five more months and they are on the way to England. It was a tough time to be going to England.
Brenard Prueher was from Janesville, WI so he went back there. He arrived home September 1, 1944 after 3 months as an instructor in navigation. He was married October 24th. His job then was to check out navigators that were all ready to go overseas. He had to ride with them on a 1000-mile mission. He said he would sleep underneath the desk using a parachute as a pillow. He would tell them to wake him up as soon as they got a shot and a fix and he would check them and verify that they were actually where they thought they were.
Then he went into CNT, Celestial Navigation Training. They had 4 silos that were nice air-conditioned buildings. In them, you could see the stars. The whole sky would move above your head like a museum. They could set the stars up to simulate a flight from Tokyo to Ring Dang Due. He would just set around and do nothing while some kid flew a 2 or 3 hour mission and then check his work. He said it was a terrible and boring job. He had 22 books which contained all of the stars.
The only way they could get a room was for Kay to get a job at the base. She was so mad because she was trained to be a good secretary. Here if all she had to type was one line on a piece of paper, she had to through the carbon paper away. It couldn't be used again. It was very wasteful. Then if someone came in the boss would say, "Look busy". She really didn't have anything to do all day.
He wound up in B-29's. The last 2 or 3 months he was in Mt. Home, Idaho. They brought in B-29's and he was on a crew. All of the crew had all been in combat, mostly England. They thought in a week or two they would be sent to Sapan, where they bombed Japan from. But that's when they dropped the "big one" and he was sent home. He loved the B-29. It had all the advanced equipment. He said he had everything but a secretary. It flew 30,000 + feet.
He left Janesville in 1952 when the company he was working as a traveling salesman at the time they sent him to New York. He covered everything East of the Mississippi. He later went to NJ and from there to Norwich, CT in 1970. They have one daughter, Sharon who is married to a New Hampshire Dr. They also have a son, Jim who lives with them. Jim has his dad's Lucky Bastard in his lock box. Miller was the base commander who signed his Lucky Bastard award. They also have two grandchildren.
Brenard says he had it better than his brothers. He had 4 brothers in the service. Two of his brothers were killed.
The first brother lost was in the Baton death march in the Philippines. He was in a tank company from Janesville. They got to Baton just before the war started. The next day after the war started they were getting shot at. McArthur was there as the boss. Pres. Roosevelt decided he wanted McArthur out so he gave orders for him to leave his troops in Manila to go Australia. From that time on the called him "Dugout Doug" He was not liked by a lot of people in the army during 42 and 43. They had to march 80 miles with no food, water or anything. Japanese killed them. He died May 1, 42.
Another brother went in the air core because he couldn't stand it. He was a tool and die maker in Burlington, IA. At the time he was 19 or 20 and married to a real pretty girl. As he walked out in the street you can imagine what everybody was saying. All of the other young men his age were soldiers except him. It didn't matter that his other three brothers were already soldiers. So he joined up as a fighter boy. It killed their mother. He got a few hours of flying time in the AF when all of a sudden their dad died in Jan 44. He was the only one of the boys in the US at the time and went home for the funeral. Went he went back after the funeral, they cut him of from being a pilot to infantry. Here he was in training to be an officer and then this.
When Prueher came back to the states in September, he went to FL as many of the men did. From there he went back to his home in Janesville to get married. On his way back to Janesville in Oct, he stopped to see his brother who was stationed at Ft. Rucker, AL. In December, this brother was sent to England. This was at the time of Battle of the Bulge. On the way, they hit a troop ship and he drowned in the English Channel on Christmas eve, 1944. So this brother died having never seen the battlefield. This was the second brother Prueher lost.
Having lost two brothers in the war, Prueher wrote to the Attorney General of the United States. There was a ruling that if there were two brothers in the service, no others can or should be in. At this time, his third brother, Robert was stationed in Okinawa. Before Brenard could get the process completed that would bring Robert home, he was shot up real bad. All of those who out ranked Robert had been killed. That put him in command. He also got shot. The shell went in from the front and came out his back. When it came out, it really did a lot of damage. They preformed surgery on him in the field. He was later flown back to IA. Robert received the metal of honor. Robert has written his very interesting story.
Years later Brenard was able to locate Sawyer in Buffalo, NY. Mulqueeny came to visit him in Norwich, CT and Burroughs came to see him in Dover, DL.
On their 40th anniversary, they went to Italy, Germany, France, and Belgium. Then they went with a group from MI to Holland on 50th. They didn't get to Berlin but did get to Munich.
In August of 2002, Bernard had a stroke. He came home with a walker and strict orders not to take a step without it. He did and fell in their kitchen breaking his hip. He was 88 at the time. On December 11th they moved out of their house into assisted living housing in Hanover, NH close to their daughter. Their son took care of selling the house in January 2003. He said he was very unhappy but had to tolerate it. He said there is nothing much to do but set and look out at all of the snow. He said, "I am out of business".
Joe Mulqueeny's first wife died of a cerebral hemorrhage and he remarried five years later. His second wife became a paraplegic and died November 12, 2002. . In 1945 he got into an apprenticeship as a tool and die maker in Philadelphia, PA. He worked in that trade for 37 years and retired at 55.
I had on my calendar that March 20 was Joe Mulqueeny’s birthday so thought I would give him a call at his son’s house. His daughter-in-law answered. I was off one day, his birthday would have been the 19th but Joe passed away Feb. 3, 2005. He was at his daughter’s house at the time. He had been suffering some with arthritis and had a bit of a cold. His daughter went down stairs to get him some milk and a snack (Little Debbie or something like that) when she came back up he was gone. She is a nurse but called the paramedics anyway. So Joe really hadn’t been doing bad at all and certainly went fast. There were a lot of people at the viewing in PA. Then he was taken back to Delaware and buried with his wife (second wife) in the national cemetery there. Of the five crew members that were still around when I finally found out who they were, Joe is the only one that I did not meet in person. I had tried a couple of times and we actually fairly close to where he lived in Delaware once but he was not home at the time. He had gone to stay with his son in PA for a while. He was a real hero and I know he will be missed. The rest of us owe our freedom to Joe and those who served with him.
Charles Rodney Kellis
C. Rodney and Martha Jane Kellis
Because Rod Kellis was only on his 21st mission when they were shot down, he thought he would have to continue until he had his 30 in. He later found out that they were classified as POW's and could not participate in that theater again. The war was soon ended and he was able to go home. He now lives with his wife Martha Jane of 55 years (2001) in Hillsboro, OH where he has lived all the time. He was a surveyor for the state highway department. Dad had stopped in to see him when Dad was on his way to the Korean War in 1951 or 1952. That was the last time they saw each other. Sometime around 1998 Charles' daughter was going to Morgantown, WV. Charles asked her to try to find Dad. She made some phone calls but didn't find anyone that knew Dad.
Apparently every time flak would hit the under side of the plane, splinters would come up and hit Kellis in the butt. They would then have to pick out little splinters but all in all considered themselves very fortunate.
Charles has been instrumental in the raising of funds and the erection of a monument to three of his classmates (Hillsboro High School 1940) who were all airmen and killed over Europe in W.W.II. The monument was set July 12, 2001 in memory of; 2nd Lt. John W. Bowen Jr. July 14, 1922 Killed in action April 14, 1944 Bombardier 15th AAF B-24, Flight Officer George D. Collins Nov. 11, 1922 Killed in action July 10, 1943 Pilot 12th AAF B-25, 2nd Lt. Spencer L. Shaw Sept. 8, 1921 Killed in action Feb. 20, 1945 8th AAF B-17.
Charles helping Harsha Monument Co.
The man in
the green shirt is Charles' son in law and the Mayor of Hillsboro.
The young man standing by him is Charles' grandson, Jostin Harsha.
Martha Jane Fling Kellis - Frank Burns
Charles Rodney Kellis - Bonnie Burns
On December 27, 2002, Sheldon and Vicky were able to meet Charles and Martha.
Jack Hayden had the opportunity to go for another two years in the Army and become a pilot but he didn't. He has about 30 solo flights. He has been married to Dolores for 55 years (as of May 2001). He retired in 1980. At the age of 77 he fell out of a tree while trimming it so he could cut it down. He had a broken pelvis and was beat up pretty bad. They have two sons and one daughter. They have 7 grand children and one great grand child.
Jack folded his wings December 21, 2005.
On December 26, 2002, Sheldon and Vicky Rhodes had to privilege of visiting with Jack and Dolores.
Here are a couple of pictures of Jack during his WWII days.
I have not been able to find out anything at all about Robert. Some of the other crewmembers heard that he was in a mental institution in AL. At this time we do not know if there is any truth to that. He was from Montgomery, AL.