Conflict Period:
World War II 1
Army 1
1922 1

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Personal Details

James N Gabbard 1
Level of Education: 2 years of high school 1
Marital Status: Single, without dependents 1
1922 1

World War II 1

Army 1
Enlistment Date:
31 Dec 1941 1
Army Branch:
Medical Administrative Corps - For Officers only 1
Army Serial Number:
17032341 1
Enlistment Term:
Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law 1
Source of Army Personnel:
Civil Life 1
Unskilled occupations in manufacture of automobiles, n.e.c. 1
Race or Ethnicity:
White 1
Source Information:
Box Number: 0242 1
Film Reel Number: 2.99 1

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James "Nelson" Gabbard B-26 MTO Flight Engineer/Tail Gunner, WW II


T/Sgt James "Nelson" Gabbard, B-26 Flight Engineer/Tail Gunner
5 images

J. Nelson Gabbard enlisted in the AAC 31 Dec.1941, he was single still and entered into training as a flight engineer and Tail-Gunner.  He served on the Medium Bomber, the B-26 Marauder, his regular Ship, The LONESOME POLECAT, and in the Mediterranean Theatre, Africa, Sardinia and Corsica, flying only a very few Missions in the B-25 Mitchell.

319thBG,438thBS, James "Nelson" Gabbard B-26's, MTO 319th BG, 438thBS, James "Nelson" Gabbard, His CREW, Ship "Lonesome Pole-Cat" (His 'regular Crew and SHIP)
L) Standing, Grant Webster, Top-Turret, Age 38 ! ,THE ! Art Riegel, 1st Pilot, Aircraft Commander, Wes Coburn, Co-Pilot, Jim "Nelson" Gabbard, Flight Engineer/Tail-Gunner,
L) Kneeling, Harry Engle, Ground Crew Chief, Battle No. # 41
John Pish, Radio/Waist Gunner, and unknown Aircraft mechanic.
Tunis/Tunisia, Wheat Field, Missions Sicily, Italy (Until Nov. '43)

His original flight records are from the 438th Bombardment Squadron, 319th Bombardment group (M) AAF APO #650 U.S. Army dated 4 July 1944. James Nelson Gabbard was a tail gunner/flight engineer. There is also a copy of the 319th bomb group wartime KIA from June 26,1942-August 15, 1945.That list is a double sided paper and has a many squadrons from the Hdqrs to the 440th. There are some original photos and some photo copies of pictures. A few of the pictures have the names of the men and some don’t.  Mr. Gabbard has discussed the materials and people. His mind is sharp even though he is in his 80's !  This written by his Church Friends,  / From Nelson's Life-Friend, Ken McKenzie and his son, Kendall. Kendall is 18 ('09) and a great and interested and devoted "Pal" to Nelson. (In his 80's)


57th Bomb Wing Researcher, Barbi Ennis Connolly

James "Nelson" Gabbard 310thBG B-26 TailGunner WWII MTO


Nelson was married to his sweet Bonnie, (recently passed) he now resides in a Home in Calif. has a great Church Family and it is my priviledge to know this great man and tell his Story !  With Love and Blessings, Barbi  xo xo

Barbi, The MacKenzie family are a gifted family and have successfully home schooled their children. I knew Donna and Ken before their wedding. Donna's father and I were fellow Elders in the church for many years. They are a blessing to the earth.

Ken may have commented that my career involved research with NASA at Ames Research Center located at Moffett Field, Mountain View CA. Research included Aeronautical and space, enough of this so back to history!

The B-26 required a crew of six, Pilot, CO-Pilot,Bombadier, Flight Engineer, Radio Operator and top turret Gunner. Crew members had graduated from their specialty schools.

We came to Barksdale Field in Shreveport LA. to study our specialies as they related to the B-26 Marauder, known as the "Widow Maker" or "The Flying Prostitute, no visible means of support! The wing loading was so heavy it took off and landed fast and pilots often encountered stress until they mastered the right technique.

I would like to continue the story of the adventurous story of taking new aircraft from Florida through Brazil to Liberia Africa and to Tunis in Tunisia..

Good night. Nelson

the BOOK - "319th In Action" History Book (available)


(please see order information at the very bottom) 20 Sept. 2012

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. *************** SOLD OUT********  :(  Sorry.

Barbi Ennis Connolly, 319th BG Historian in the 57th Bomb Wing

James Nelson Gabbard (1922-2013)


26 June, 2013... James Nelson Gabbard went to be with his Lord and his loving wife Bonnie......

    His proud and loving daughter said that he "FLEW to be with Mom at 6 pm..... That he went quickly and peacefully."

   Nelson was an AMAZING man, he was a special friend to me.   We shared so many topics other than the War-Story.   Nelson's strong 'Faith, Hope and Love' was an Inspiration to myself and (I have no doubt) many others as well.  He is already missed by his family and friends but we are rest assured that he is safely in Heaven and without any restraints. 

  It is truly an Honor to have placed his own personal "war story" (while all experienced the same war... all experienced it differently) and he guided me through the not-so-obvious and sad-beyond-imagination situations of war. . . . to an understanding of the complexity of committment, friendship and sacrifice.  Nelson was one of the Greatest Generation. . . . and one of the greatest.    With love and respect, God Bless our brave men.  Barbi

319th Bomb Group Historian, Barbi Ennis Connolly




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