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359th Beasley Crew
William M. Beasley, Pilot
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WILLIAM M. BEASLEY CREW - 359th BS
(crew assigned 359BS: 30 Jan 1945 - photo: Feb 1945)

(Back L-R) S/Sgt Jack W. Terrill (R), 2Lt Richard E. Rich (CP),
S/Sgt Thomas E. Harrigfeld (WG), Sgt David W. Thomas (BTG), S/Sgt Jacob R. Gornto (E),
2Lt Harry A. Welsh (N), Sgt Henry J. (aka Rene H.) Gracida, Jr. (TG)

(Front (L-R) 1Lt William M. Beasley (P)
(2Lt George D.L. Mabary (B) was taking the photograph)

Ranks and Grades at time of last combat mission. S/Sgts Gornto (E) and Terrill (R) may have been
promoted to T/Sgt while they were still at Molesworth following completion of their combat missions.

Thirty two dispatched (31 credited) missions flown by 1Lt William M. Beasley:
Credited missions: 314 (14 Feb 1945), 315, 316, 319, 320, 321, 322, 324, 327, 328, 329, 331, 332, 335, 336, 337, 339, 340, 341, 343, 344, 345, 347, 350, 351, 352, 353, 354, 355, 357, 362 (17 April 1945).
Non-Credited Scouter mission on 11 April 1945 (358). For Mission dates, targets and Mission Reports, see Combat Missions.

Thirteen B-17Gs flown by 1Lt William M. Beasley on his 32 dispatched missions:

  • 42-38050 Thunderbird (359BS) BN-U - Missions 314, 336, 341
  • 42-107206 Old Black Magic (359BS) BN-R - Missions 325, 316, 350
  • 43-38608 Lucille (359BS) BN-E - Missions 319, 320
  • 43-38883 Lady Beth (359BS) BN-A - Mission 321
  • 43-38891 Blues in the Night (359BS) BN-H - Missions 322, 339
  • 44-6309 Duchess's Granddaughter (359BS) BN-T - Missions 327, 328, 331, 335, 340, 343
  • 44-8734 Hell's Cargo (359BS) BN-C - Mission 347
  • 43-38609 (No name) (359BS) BN-F - Missions 324, 355
  • 43-38878 (No name) (359BS) BN-D - Missions 337, 345
  • 4338645 (No name) (359BS) BN-B - Mission 344
  • 43-39682 (No name) (359BS) BN-K - Missions 351, 352, 353, 354, 362
  • 43-38462 Teddy's Rough Riders (358BS) VK-I - Mission 357
  • 43-37537 Queen of Hearts (359BS)(PFF) BN-Q - Mission 358

William M. Beasely          George D.L. Mabary            Rene H. Gracida

Crew Notes:
  • 1Lt William M. Beasley (P) - Thirty credited missions flown as First Pilot. Last mission (362) flown as CoPilot with regular CoPilot 2Lt Rich flying as First Pilot. Mission 314 flown with 2Lt Orin H. Schopplin as a combat Orientation CoPilot. Mission 358 (No credit) flown with LtCol Richard H. Cole as a Scouter B-17. Completed 31 credited missions on 17 April 1945 (Mission 362).
  • 2Lt Richard E. Rich (CP) - Flew on 25 credited missions with 1Lt Beasley (All Beasley missions except 314, 335, 336, 341, 343, 351 where substitute CoPilots were used). Flew on six missions with other Pilots (336, 341, 343, 351, 358, 364). Upgraded from CoPilot to Pilot on orders dated 15 April 1945 and Flew on two mission as First Pilot on 16 & 17 April 1945 (Mission 361 & 362). Completed 32 credited missions on 25 April 1945 (Mission 364) - The last 303rd BG(H) mission
  • 2Lt Harry A. Welch (N) - Flew on 30 credited missions with 1Lt Beasley (All Beasley missions except 362) where 2Lt George D.L. Mabary (B) flew as Navigator. Flew on three missions with three other Pilots (323, 330, 358). Completed 33 credited missions on 10 April 1945 (Mission 357).
  • 2Lt George D.L. Mabary (B/N) - Flew on ten credited missions with 1Lt Beasley (314, 315, 316, 319, 320, 321, 322, 324, 327, 328). Flew on 16 credited missions with 13 other Pilots: As Bombardier (329, 332, 337, 339, 340, 343); As Navigator (341, 344, 346, 348, 349, 350, 359, 360, 361, 362). Completed 26 credited missions on 17 April 1945 (Mission 352).
  • S/Sgt Jacob B. Gornto (E) - Flew on 30 credited missions with 1Lt Beasley (All Beasley missions except 328). No missions with other Pilots. Completed 30 credited missions on 17 April 1945 Mission 362).
  • S/Sgt James W. Terrill (R) - Flew on all of the 31 credited 1Lt Beasley missions and one mission with another Pilot (358). Completed 32 credited missions on 17 April 1945 (Mission 362).
  • Sgt David W. Thomas (BTG) - Flew on 30 credited missions with 1Lt Beasley (All Beasley missions except 324). No missions with other Pilots. Completed 30 credited missions on 17 April 1945 (Mission 352).
  • S/Sgt Thomas E. Harrigfeld (WG/BTG/TOG/TG) - Flew on 23 credited missions with 1Lt Beasley: As Waist Gunner (314, 315, 316, 319, 322, 324): As Togglier (335, 336, 337, 339, 341, 343, 344, 348, 347, 350, 351, 352, 353, 355, 357, 362); As Ball Turret Gunner (324). Flew on five missions with other pilots: As Waist Gunner (320, 327); As Tail Gunner (358); As Togglier (332, 354). Completed 28 credited missions on 17 April 1945 (Mission 362).
  • Sgt Henry J. Gracida, Jr. aka Rene H. Gracida (TG) - Flew on all of the 31 Lt Beasley credited missions. Flew on one mission (358) with 2Lt Emerson F. Heller (P) as a Flight Engineer. Completed 32 credited missions on 17 April 1945 (Mission 362). Became a Catholic Priest following WWII (Father Rene H. Gracida) and was elevated to Bishop in Corpus Christi, TX. Served as the 303rd BGA Catholic Chaplin since September 1995.

[photo from the 303rdBGA Archives]
[Researched by Harry D. Gobrecht, 303rdBGA Historian Emeritus]