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Capt Art Riegel, 319thBG, 438thBS C.O. (Died 15 June,'44)
1944 | Sardinia
Art was born to Lawrence and Anna, had an older sister, Margaret, brother Lawrence, then ART, then Robert and Richard. He was born in Missouri in 1919.
As a 57th Bomb Wing Researcher, it is difficult to know what to say, at times, such tragic losses are unimaginable. Capt Art was one very well-loved man, he had completed his 72 Missions and waiting for the time to go Home ! One of his regular CREW was ill that awful day and is a sweet Veteran names James "Nelson" Gabbard.
Nelson was Art's Tail-Gunner/Engineer and flew all of his Missions with Art and in the Lonesome Polecat ! Nov. 2009, I still write Nelson where he lives in a Home in Calif. He has a large Church Family, his beautiful wife Bonnie only "Going ahead" to Heaven a short while ago. Nelson has shared all of these pictures with us at the 57th BW. Nelson's War things/photo's/documents were sent and shared by his special friends, Ken and his son Kendall MacKenzie. True Friendship, having recorded all of this for the "Real" Rest-of-the-Story /HISTORY.
Barbi Ennis Connolly PRINCESSBARBI_B25@ms.com NEXT TEXT is from a B-26 Researcher.....
319thBG, 438thBS, Capt Art Riegel, acting C.O. when he and his Crew died 15 June, 1944 /Gabbard Photo
Thanks for the updated B-26 info.
Regarding the death of Capt. Arthur N Riegel on 15th June 1944, I have a bit more info on the aircraft and this unfortunate accident.
The aircraft had been transferred over from the 320th BG.
It crashed on 15th June 1944, whilst flown by Capt. Arthur N "Art" Riegel, the acting 438th BS CO. The aircraft had been performing a "Buzz job" on the bathing beach just beyond Cagliari harbour. Coming in over the water, he pulled up too late, the wing hitting the top of a concrete telephone pole. The aircraft tumbled to the ground crashing a few hundred yards inland and exploded, killing the pilot and five crew men aboard. Capt. Riegel had flown 72 combat missions and was due to return home in a few weeks time.
Once again Barbi, many thanks.
Regards & best wishes
Paul Clouting in England (Researcher and Historian (8-9-09)
***** as a note of interest, the practice of "Buzzing" the swimmers in the Mediterranean was not only common, but lots of fun.... all Groups and Squads did that, a routinely safe and relaxing activity that continues to this day. The B-26 Researchers sent me recent films of this "Buzzing" and I must tell you, from the ground, wow, it was a thrill ! One I am pretty sure I could have dug my own foxhole to hide in from.... but the people in the films (some on high mountains/hills, too) seemed to absolutely love it ! Since recording Art's Story, I have spoked to many MTO Pilots that did that, as well. This is the only tragedy of this kind I have come across. . . a sad tragic loss.
Barbi Ennis Connolly, 57th BW Researcher.
Capt Art Riegel, Died June,'44 B-26 Pilot/72 Combat Missions (NARA)
1944 | Sardinia
ARMY SERIAL NUMBER 17064150 NAME; RIEGEL ARTHUR N RESIDENCE: STATE; MISSOURI; RESIDENCE: COUNTY; ST LOUIS; PLACE OF ENLISTMENT; ST LOUIS MISSOURI; DATE OF ENLISTMENT; 24 Feb. 1942; Private BRANCH: ALPHA DESIGNATION; Air Corps BRANCH: CODE Air Corps ### SOURCE OF ARMY PERSONNEL; Civil Life; NATIVITY; MISSOURI; YEAR OF BIRTH 1919; RACE AND CITIZENSHIP; White, citizen EDUCATION; 4 years of high school.
September, 2012... the strangeness of this life cannot be measured, in finding the 319th Vets as the 57th Bomb Wing/319th Bomb Group's Historian.... I found Lt Joe Connaughton who was a Commissioned Bombardier flying Combat out of Sardinia at the very same time. Joe remembered that day very well, he and a friend/officer wer sitting on the porch of the Officer's Club having tea and it was just about High-NOON. Joe saw Art coming in to BUZZ the swimmers and that he pulled up too late, not seeing the concrete pillar. Because of the high-noon, there was NO shadow and it was the same color as the sand. Joe said that Art saw it at the last second but did not have time to pull up enough, just tipped the wing which spun the ship and it exploded. The whole thing flew right over the 2 officers on the porch of the Club and landed behind them in the field.
This was indeed a tragic and sad event, a day to be remembered for LOSS and sorrow. Great men and the ship gone. God Bless our Brave Men. Barbi Ennis Connolly PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com 319th and 321st Bomb Group Historian and 57th Bomb Wing Historiacl Researcher.
The BOOK "319th In Action" (available-2012)
2012 | Alabama
(New BOOK order information at the very bottom)The "319th in Action" Courage under some of the most unusual and unpredictable circumstances.....Courage under fire, Courage at it's best.
The *319th in Action* is a book about a diverse group of men and medium bombers that flew in 3 WWII Theatres and broke all records for accuracy. Stories of great but absolutely ordinary men who went all out to gain and then maintain their record of excellence. The early naming of the B-26 Marauder as the the "Widow Maker" was a misconception based on a few early problems. The 319th Bomb Group turned out to be a group of men and medium bombers that were a "Go Get 'em - Mission-Accomplished Group". Gun-ship bombers and dedicated men who believed they could do it and they DID! The 319th was versatile as well as they transitioned through three medium bombers; the B-26 Marauders, B-25 Mitchells and the A-26 Invader.
This is the complete war diary along with truthful and accurate accounts of war; battles won, lost and won again. Heart breaking losses that will bring tears of honor and pride to your eyes - and personal accounts of hope, loneliness, success and failure and of the bravery required by ALL and for the good of all. There are breathtaking accounts of leadership, teamwork and throw in some amazing deeds accomplished completely on TRUST. True accounts of our WWII "every day Heroes". . . called that because there were so many that heroic men and events actually happened "every day". In addition to the war-diary, are official documents along with truthful and honest notes and letters home, as well as stories of fierce determination. It is stunning to see our "fly-boys" not only manage but triumph through situations truly unimaginable.
Action, Adventure and Courage. . . History has proven that the 319th Bomb Group was both determined and successful. Written and assembled by a veteran, assisted by his wife/Historian .... A GREAT read! This 3rd printing has ALL of the original book and with additional narrative (that includes a diary written by a 'lost' crew, an appendix, The Brief History of the 319th BG Reunion Association, and a second appendix that includes the complete list of our men KIA). These additions were also provided by the Veterans and one of the original Authors and Historian, Esther Oyster Queneau. ******** A limited number of copies are available from Joseph Connaughton, 6404 Chadwell Rd. Huntsville, Al 35802 for $25.00 per copy plus $5.00 shipping charge. *************************
Barbi Ennis Connolly, 319th and 321st BG Historian in the 57th Bomb Wing. PRINCESSBARBI_B25@msn.com