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.