A World War II Memior
A member of the 493rd Bomb Group, 860th Squadron
B17 Bomber Pilot
A collection of photos, papers, music, and fond memories of our Dad’s War Years WWII 1941-1945
By Gary W. Galbreath
Project begun 2000
Webmaster’s Note: I would like to thank My Dad William E. (Bill) Galbreath for providing me a copy of his diary, training books, scrapbook, and photographs, scanned and included in this document to tell his story and put this web page together.
This page will hopefully encourage others either who participated in WWII in the European Theater in the 493rd Bomb Group Squadrons 860, 861, 862, 863 for additional documents to share with me to include in this web page of history. These additional documents would include the B-17 Aircraft Numbers and squadron assignments, the Plane Names, any Nose art, other squadron patches and theater patches, names of crews and personel, and of course any personal stories by members of the 493rd Bomb Group or their relatives.
If you would like to contact us please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Early 8th Air Force Logo – 1943
493rd Bomb Group Logo
Debach, England 1943-1945
William E. Galbreath
Training 29 Palms, CA – 1943
William E. Galbreath
Marfa, Texas – 1944
William E. Galbreath
Picture taken in 2000
The informaton provided here is compiled from a scrapbook of pictures collected before Dad began training, during pre flight, basic, primary, and advanced pilot training. Class books in Flight training, numerous photos taken in and around the base at Debach, England, pictures taken during leaves to the surrounding towns and London area, and a diary kept from January 1, 1945 until he left Greenland on July 1, 1945 bringing the Airplane home to the USA in Maine.
This is the story of his war years, written more than a half century after the events described. This story is inspired by looking again at photos from those years, by reading the training books and other papers collected, from the stories of other WWII participants and collections and by my own long interest in WWII history. History should be preserved with repect for those that participated and for those that are interested. I met most of Dad’s crew over the years especially on visits to Denver or passing through. Of course they related stories of their flying and activities associated with the Aircraft, the Base, and the towns closeby. These fine Gentlemen warriors, heroes of what is now called the “Greatest Generation”. Dads crew was by Name Nelson – Armorer, Abbamonte – Radio, Alsrich – Ball Turret gunner, Rubio – Waist gunner, Makvianis – Engineer, Carradus – Tail Gunner, Morris – Co-Pilot, Worley – Navigator.
In 1941-1945 few considered writing their memoirs 50 years later. Few talked about or told their story to their children in the following years. They were aware, however, that they and the nation were caught up in some defining actions of the century. In those years they had their private war as young men adapting to the military life, striving to learn their specialities, and facing the hazards of flying and combat. The early ’30s & ’40s of my Dad’s life were told to me easily by my Grandparents and family friends and were happy times. These events and times of my Dad’s life are left out of this document because the intent is to relate the war years.
Memoirs are by their nature peculiarly personal. With the spin of time some events fade in memory of those involved, but others are as clear as yesterday’s. No doubt, in the propaganda-loaded 40’s mistaken beliefs common to many were common to them. But if they believed them, they were “true” at the time. All the following paragraphs should be flagged with a cautionary, “As related to me by those that participated and by the photos and documents collected.
– THE FINAL CHAPTER – IN MEMORIUM Our father William E. Galbreath passed away this past July 16, 2003 after a fall at home, sustaining a broken hip and following surgery he was overcome with pneumonia and respiratory complications. Not a fitting end for a hero of the Greatest Generation who was admired and respected for his contribution during WWII, he encouraged his following generations to aspire to contribute and participate in bettering ourselves and had so many things to live for in his final years.
Since we put up the web site in 2000, we have had many contacts from other interested viewers of the web site and I will keep it going for some time. We have had many responses to our Movies, Jokes and Pinups of the time pages and have recently added MORE Celebrities and Hollywood stars images. Our collections seem to be endless and cover many more years. We are in the process of going through some of the memoriabilia and pictures and articles collected and I am quite sure some will be attached to the page in the future.