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Credits

Thanks to Frank Barrella, son of S/Sgt Frank L. Barrella, mechanic on the “Irish Lullaby”; and to S/Sgt Gilbert Godin, radarman, and his son Paul Godin.

The Airplane

The following pictures of the plane show the evolution of the paint scheme.


Photo courtesy of Gilbert and Paul Godin, all rights reserved.
This is the earliest picture of the aircraft.  The mission markers show 14 missions.  Part of the pirate insignia has been painted on the front.  And the engine cowlings have been painted red.  However, the name of the plane is still in the original lettering.  And the tail still has old markings and the tip of the tail has not been painted red.  The “War Bird” appears on the front bomb day doors.


Photo courtesy of Gilbert and Paul Godin, all rights reserved.
This close-up shows Gil Godin next to the bird insignia painted on the bomb bay doors.  The phrase “APPLE A DAY” is an excerpt from the admonition that “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”.  However, in this case, “Apple” was slang for “Bomb”.  The mission markers were also little “War Birds”.


Photo courtesy of Gilbert and Paul Godin, all rights reserved.
In this picture taken sometime after the May 25 mission, the aircraft has been almost fully repainted.  Although the mission markings still show only 14 missions, circles have been painted to make room for 30 missions – which is what the crews needed to go home.


Photo courtesy of Frank Barrella, all rights reserved.
In this picture, the bottom of the plane has been painted black.  This was done to (hopefully) make the plane more invisible to searchlights on the low altitude night missions.

The Air Crew


Photo courtesy of Gilbert and Paul Godin, all rights reserved.
This photo of the crew was taken on May 25, just prior to one of the worst missions of the war for the 6BG.  The Pirate insignia has been recently applied.  The name has not been repainted on the plane and the black shading has not been applied to the streamer.  (The old name is still visible.)

The primary crew of “El Pajaro de la Guerra” was Crew #2410, including:

Cpt R. L. Litchfield (A/C)
1/Lt Philip A. Guay (Pilot)
1/Lt Matthew J. Hegerle (Navigator)
2/Lt William E. Howard (Bombardier)
M/Sgt Jack L. Walden (Engineer)
S/Sgt Ralph E. Ford (Radio)
S/Sgt Gilbert Godin (Radarman)
T/Sgt Charles L. Cox (CFC)
S/Sgt Robert S. Hall (R Gunner)
S/Sgt Richard M. Burgess (L Gunner)
S/Sgt Charles A. Staskevitch (T Gunner)


Photo courtesy of Gilbert and Paul Godin, all rights reserved.
This is a later picture of the crew.  By this time, several members of the original crew should have rotated to other aircraft or to home.

In Memoriam

Col. Robert Latta Litchfield, (USAF, Ret.), Corralitos, Calif., died July 14, 2001. Litchfield was a pilot with the 24th Squadron in World War II, and later served in Korea and Vietnam. Following a 30-year career with the United States Air Force, he retired in 1971 as a full Colonel. Litchfield flew and commanded crews of the B-17, B-24, B-29, B-47, B-50 and B-52. “Another great veteran pilot has folded his wings,” said Litchfield’s daughter Mary L. Litchfield. [6th Bomb Group Association Newsletter (July 2002), p. 5]

The Ground Crew

The crew chief for this airplane was M/Sgt Robert V. Grandstaff.

 

Last updated 08/29/2010