B-24L Liberator "Hell Hen" Returns to Bradley Field

The crew of a Consolidated B-24L Liberator of the 8th Air Force, 2nd Wing, 389th Bombardment Group, 565th Bombardment Squadron elated at their return to the United States, just after landing at Bradley Field, Windsor Locks, Connecticut on May 22, 1945. Top Row: Tail Gunner Staff Sergeant Joseph C. Carl (January 15, 1926 - October 3, 1998), Altoona, Pennsylvania; Flight Engineer Technical Sergeant Charles Eads Leach (October 20, 1924 - April 17, 2006), Maroa, Illinois; Pilot Captain Elmer V. Schindler (November 21, 1923 - September 22, 2009), Cleveland, Ohio; Navigator Lieutenant Edward G. Fronko (February 2, 1924 - February 15, 1986), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Middle Row: Bombardier Lieutenant Orville F. Burda (April 1, 1918 - July 13, 2004), Dickinson, North Dakota; Co-Pilot Lieutenant John H. Cooley (1916 - ????), Chicago, Illinois. Bottom Row: Waist Gunner Staff Sergeant Louis Singer, Brooklyn, New York; Nose Gunner Staff Sergeant Henry F. Spears (May 12, 1924 - April 26, 2000), Harmony, Oklahoma; Radio Operator Technical Sergeant Charles F. Smith, St. Louisville, Ohio; Gunner Staff Sergeant Paul J. Bordewich (December 9, 1917 - June 10, 2008), Long Beach, California. Captain Schindler and his crew flew twenty-eight missions in Europe before returning home. the pane was christened "Hell Hen" by the Associate Press; none of the crew knew of that name until this image appeared in newspapers around the country. A total of sixty-five bombers, B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators carrying 275 officers and 800 enlisted men (including former prisoners of war), landed between 1142 and 2033 Hours on May 22. They flew from bases in England and France to Iceland and Labrador before landing at Bradley. Starting that day, some 3,500 aircraft and over 40,000 men returned to the United States by air by August 30, 1945, to Bradley, the designated field for returning aircraft from the 8th and 15th Air Forces. After a thirty-day furlough, they were scheduled to be trained in Boeing B-29 Superfortress operations, but for many the end of the Pacific War cancelled their transition to that bomber and they were discharged. Most of the planes returned to Bradley were flown to scrapping yards around the country and recycled.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
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Archival Identifier: 
NARA NWDNS-208-AA-1H(12)
Date Photographed: 
Tuesday, May 22, 1945
Windsor Locks
United States