B-17 Bomber Flying Fortress – The Queen Of The Skies Memphis Belle Crew

Memphis Belle crew // Wikipedia Commons [Public Domain]

The crew of the “Memphis Belle” after their 25th and last mission (L-R): Harold P. Loch; Cecil H. Scott; Robert Hanson; James Verinis; Robert K. Morgan; Charles B. Leighton; John P. Quinlan; Casimer A “Tony” Nastal; Vincent Evans; Clarence E. “Bill” Winchell //  Wikipedia Commons [Public Domain]


Pilot – Col. Robert K. Morgan
Then Capt. Morgan was 24 years of age when in command of the Memphis Belle. After reaching the rank of Lt. Col., he led the very first B-29 formation over Tokyo.
Died – May 15th 2004

Copilot – Lt. Col. James A. Verinis
From Woodbrigde, CT. Verinis als piloted his own B-17 named “The Connecticut Yankee”. Jim was the crew member who purchased the crew’s mascot: A Scottish-Terrier named “Stuka”
Died – March 3rd 2003

Navigator – Charles B. Leighton
From Flint Michigan, he retired as a teacher and conselor. He saved the Belle and more B-17’s after identifying false German radio beacons designed to lure unwary B-17s into harms way.
Died – 1991

Bombardier – Vince Evans
Hollywood writer for Bogart, freind of Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Stewart, June Allyson. Restaurant operator, race car driver. Completed 2dn tour of duty aboard B-29 with Morgan in the Pacific. Died in 1980’s by an aircraft crash.

The First Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Leviticus “Levy” Dillon
Transferred to 306th BG after flying raids 1,2,3 & 5 aboard the Belle. On mission 3, he was shot in the leg and bandaged by Fred Astaire’s sister. He never reported the injury.
Died – 1998

The Second Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Eugene Adkins
From Johnson City, TN. He flew on the 4th and on missions 6-10. Suffered severe frostbite on #10. Retired rank of Major. Gunnery Specialist on B-17’s, B-29’S, B-36’s, and B-50’s.
Died – 1995

The Third Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Harold P. Loch
From Green Bay, WI. His first raid aboard the Belle was 14 Feb. 1943 to Hamm, Germany. A former building contractor and records regristar today he is active in real estate.
Died – 2004

Radio Operator – Robert Hanson
Became a regular member of the crew during training at Walla Walla, WA in 1941. Retired from the fodd distribution. Lives today in Mesa, AZ. Still has bullet-ridden log book.
Died Oct. 1th 2005

Ball Turret Gunner – Cecil Scott
From Arapahoe, NC. “From down there I could see everything”. He fired at a great many German fighters and achieved one “Damaged” credit. Retired from Ford Motors Company after 30 years.
Died – 1979

Right Waist Gunner – E. Scott Miller
From Kingwood, WV. He was called “The Lost Crewman”, because he dropped out of sight after the war. He flew 15 missions aboard the Belle but missed the “tour” because he hadn’t flown 25 yet.
Died – 1995

Right Waist Gunner – Casmer A “Tony” Nastal
From Apache Junction, AZ. Nastal flew one mission on the Belle. He had 24 raids on other forts. After the “tour”, Tony decided to go back to Europe and completed sixty missions.
Died – Aug. 10th 2002

Left Waist Gunner – Clarence E. “Bill” Winchell
Was his guns that downed the 8th and final German fighter from the Belle. And his diaries that provided most of the accurate accounts of the missions. Retired as a chemical engineer.
Died – 1994

Tail Gunner – John P. Quinlan
After the “tour”, he tried in vain to fly with Morgan in the Pacific. Was assigned to CBI theatre and downed 3 Zeros before his B-29 was shot down. He bagged 2 German fighters from the Belle’s tail.
Died – 2000

Crew Chief  – Joe Giambrone
He kept the Belle Flying through six month of combat. Replaced 9 engines, both wings, two tails, both main landing gear, and more! From Hulneville, PA. He retired as Construction Co. Office Manager.
Died – 1992

The Memphis Belle – Miss Margaret Polk
The subject of the affections of Capt. Robert K. Morgan. It was Margaret for which Army 41-24485 was named “The Memphis Belle”. She helped in fund raising for the Association until her death.
Died – 1990

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