Personal Stories

Launching the 57th FG from the Carrier Ranger

Combat Echelon:

This echelon the personnel of “Special Order Number 168” boarded the Aircraft Carrier Ranger on July 1, 1942 and was on its way the same day. A stop was made at Port of Prince, Trinidad, before crossing the South Atlantic to Gold Coast, Africa on the west coast of Africa. When 100 mile off shore, the 72 planes took off with no failures and headed for Accra in flights of 18. Weight was a factor on take-off, so great care was taken to assure that there was no excess weight and that all carried the same weight. Group material was divided equally among the planes. To provide an extra margin of confidence to those who followed, Major Mears, Commanding Officer and first off, carried extra poundage.

The Africa crossing followed the already established aerial supply route across Africa.

Leaving the Ranger:

On July 19, 1942, 72 P-40Fs flew off of the Aircraft Carrier Ranger led by CO Frank Mears, with Archie Knight being the last man off. All reached Africa 100 miles away, losing not one to the sea, all as a result of careful planning and training. Some of the last instructions were from W.D. Anderson, Air Officer of the Ranger comprising; (1) Instructions for Saturday, July 18, 1942, (2) Instructions for Sunday, July 19, 1942.

Larry Margolian submitted this photo of the 72 pilots of the 57th being briefed by Major Frank Mears, just prior to take-of from the Aircraft Carrier Ranger as a Memorial to his Father, and asked it be framed and hung in the NEAM Museum. We agree this is where it belongs. I don’t know how many photos like this exist, but it is a rare one. Listed here are 70 of the pilots shown on this photo:

Capt. Harry French HQ 2nd Lt. William Ottaway 64
Capt. Archie Knight HQ 2nd Lt. Robert Metcalf 65
Capt. Claremont Wheeler HQ 2nd Lt. Richard Paulsen 66
Capt. Arthur Salisbury 65 2nd Lt. Harry Stanford 65
Capt. Charles Fairlamb 66 2nd Lt. Walter Reed 65
1st Lt. Richard Ryan 66 2nd Lt. Leo Margolian 65
1st Lt. Claude Bilby 64 2nd Lt. Frank Hertzberg 64
1st Lt. Robert Barnum 64 2nd Lt. Richard Kimball 65
1st Lt. Gordon Thomas 65 2nd Lt. Harold Rideout 65
1st Lt. Thomas Clark 65 2nd Lt. Edwin Weaver 65
1st Lt. Roy Whittaker 65 2nd Lt. Ralph Baker 66
1st Lt. Marshall Sneed 65 2nd Lt. John Teichrow 66
1st Lt. William O’Neil 65 2nd Lt. Dale Denison 66
1st Lt. Gilbert Wymond 65 2nd Lt. Robert Overcash 64
1st lt. George Long 66 2nd Lt. Thomas Tilley 66
1st Lt. W. Jeeter Yates 66 2nd Lt. William Williams 66
1st Lt. Raymond Llewellyn 66 2nd Lt. Thomas Williams 66
1st Lt. Horace Lancaster 65 2nd Lt. James Gardner, Jr. 66
1st Lt. James Curl 66 2nd Lt. Mac McMerrill 64
1st Lt. Tracy Smith 64 2nd Lt. George Mobbs 64
1st Lt. Delvert Mitchell 65 2nd Lt. Lyman Middleditch, Jr. 64
2nd Lt. William Barnes 64 2nd Lt. Gordon Ryerson 64
2nd Lt. William Beck 64 2nd Lt. Robert Beals 64
2nd Lt. Arnold Jaqua 65 2nd Lt. Gerald Brandon 64
2nd Lt. James Morris 65 2nd Lt. Edward Ellington 65
2nd Lt. Allie Claxton 66 2nd Lt. Robert Nichols 65
2nd Lt. William Campbell 66 2nd Lt. Lewis Bowen 66
2nd Lt. Thomas Boulware 66 2nd Lt. Joe Bell 66
2nd Lt. John Stefanik 66 2nd Lt. Robert Adams 66
2nd Lt. Robert Gibson 66 2nd Lt. Harry Hayden 66
2nd Lt. Alan Smith 66 2nd Lt. William Mount 64
2nd Lt. Nicholas Harvey 64 2nd Lt. Robert Hoke 66
2nd Lt. Jack Wilson 64 2nd Lt. William Taylor 66
2nd Lt. Albert Zipser 66 2nd Lt. Earnest Hartman 64
    2nd Lt. John Gilbertson 66

Note from Daryl Benson, 66th Enlisted

Daryl Benson pic

Daryl Benson pic