Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sgt John James Kristan

Dad was the top turret gunner on B-24 42-78127. Thanks to David Korkuc, he lived for 55 years after the plane went down July 5, 1944. He considered each day after the crash to be a bonus day.

He would have been 89 today. We miss you, Dad.

A picture we dug up this summer in Mom's photo closet. We only have a few pictures of Dad as a young man. This one, with only two stripes, was new to all of us kids.

I wouldn't have been sure that picture was Dad if this clipping weren't taped to the photo holder.

This postwar picture of Dad and Mom (Dad doing his best Marlon Brando impression in the camera booth) is my favorite picture of them together.

Friday, August 6, 2010

2nd Lt. Richard "Dick" Duer

Dick Duer was the bombardier on B-24 42-78127 with my Dad on thier final mission, and he died in the wreck at Argentella beach in Corsica on June 5, 1944. His Nephew, Rich Tebo, has been kind enough to share some information he has collected, including this picture.

Lt. Duer was a Wisconsin native. He was honored by having a gym named after him in Marinette, Wisconsin.

Rich links to a touching online memorial for Lt. Duer that shows he was remembered long after that horrible day. Rich also sent some additional great information on the flight and crew that I will post soon.

I received an nice e-mail today from Jane Cook, a granddaughter of Lt. Duer, that reminds us of the cost of a wreck that probably was almost unnoticed in the carnage of the time:

My uncle died many years before I was born, it was a terrible blow to my grandparents. Rich has sent me video clips of the B-24 crew reunion and what the interior of the plane. I always thought Dick never had a chance to escape, it was interesting to read the newspaper clipping about the guy thrown from the plane who was able to rescue four crew members before the plane sank. I am so happy for you that your dad was one of those crew members.

Jane, thank you for writing. I'm delighted that you found your visit here worthwhile.