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856th Bomb Squadron Staff and Ground Echelon
These are the men of the 856th Bomb Squadron who weren't assigned to a combat crew. There were some men who had changes in assignment that did have them serving with an air crew, as well as with the staff. Our objective is to supply as much information as we can about what these men did. We will put here all the information pertaining to the squadron as it is collected.
The 856th suffered more casualties than the other squadrons, but not by much. They did lose more key personnel than the others, therefore following the appointed positions within the 856th can be rather difficult.
The dates in 1944 during which different officers commanded the 856th Bomb Squadron...
1 Jan - 20 Jun Major John F Losee
Interned in Sweden
20 Jun - 27 Jun Capt Wallace Hurley
Acting CO
27 Jun - 8 Jul Major Thomas Schepis
8 Jul - 23 Jul Capt Wallace Hurley
Acting CO, Hospitalized
23 Jul - 28 Jul Capt Henry G Gendreizig
Acting CO
28 Jul - 11 Aug Major Edward E Turner
Transferred to Cheddington
Each time there was a change in commanding officer it had a domino effect on the officers in the chain of command. These guys were moving up and down like a yo-yo. There were other changes due to losses below the commanding officer level which had the same affect. Needless to say, several of the officers wore many different hats during their 89 days at North Pickenham.
Perhaps no one wore as many hats as Armando Velarde. Of the 70 original crews, he was the only pilot who came to England at the rank of Flight Officer. By August, he was a Captain serving as Assistant Operations Officer. At one point he was acting Operations Officer and only one more mishap away from assuming command. His story is both a testament to his fine character and to the severe losses inflicted upon his squadron.
One of the primary functions of each squadron was to keep their planes flying. Each squadron's ground echelon was huge. It took a lot men to maintain and repair those planes. The German guns were very good at keeping the ground crews busy.
The links on this page listing the Officers and Enlisted Men that served in the 856th might have errors and are incomplete. We have not found any list made by the Army Air Force, the 492nd or by the 856th. We compiled these lists by collecting bits and pieces from the official records, special orders and from written accounts by the veterans themselves. By default, we've added to the staff listings all of the names we found that couldn't be identified as having been assigned to a particular crew. We are in the process of trying to assemble an accurate list of everyone in the 856th and just what it was that they did. Our lists are a work in progress and will be corrected as new information comes in from our visitors.
856th BS Links
856th BS Official Reports
June Summary
July Summary
August Summary
Dossier File
Database of
856th BS Personnel
856th BS - Officers
Listings of all the known officers
that served with the 856th BS staff
856th BS - Enlisted Men
Listings of all the known enlisted men
that served with the 856th BS staff
Other 856th BS links will be added soon
492ndBombGroup.com — an Arnett Institute project
Page last modified Monday, October 21, 2013.