Caleb Penniman
Flew with Capt. Townsend Rogers' crew Sept '44 - Aug. '45. 72nd Squadron. We flew overseas from Hamilton Field (San Francisco) on 22 September 1944. Short stay in Nadzab, then assigned to the Bomber Barons. We flew a number of missions with them, and, shortly after Brunei Bay, we were reassigned to the 868th (Snoopers) and, still stationed on Morotai, finished our missions, arriving back in the US in August 1945. I have been told that we logged 412 combat hours. Sounds excessive, but the Snooper strikes were marathons.

Bill T. Meyer
Navigator with the 72nd. Flew 44 missions.  Now living in Tucson, Arizona.

Hubert F. "Woody" Woodside
I served with the 72nd from November 1944 til the end of the war. Flew a total of 46 missions with Lanse Pitts' crew. I was the radio operator. You guys are doing a fine job. Glad to hear that the history of the 5th BG is now out. I did the initial research on the book starting in 1985!

Patrick J. Corcoran
I am writing regarding my father, Patrick J. Corcoran, who served as a 1st Lt., flight line engineering officer , for the 72nd Bomb Squadron, 5th Bomb Group. He joined the squadron on Morotai, in early 1945, moved with them to Samar and Geewan (sp), and served until the end of the war. Does anyone remember him? He continued in the Air Force Reserve after the war, and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. He is still alive and has many stories of his wartime service to share.

If you would like me to add your name to the contact list, please send an e-mail to with a brief description of dates of service and any other information that you would like included.

D. H. Shelton [Link to crew picture]
"Upon arriving at Espiritu Santo, we were assigned to the 72nd BS of the 5th BG. Most of the unit was on Guadalcanal, but new crews went through some training here before flying a combat mission. Our first combat mission was December 25, 1943 to Rabaul. However, bad weather caused the mission to be aborted in flight. By this time, we were staged into Munda for fueling, etc.  My first completed mission was to Rabaul on December 30. On a mission to Truk on June 7, 1944, I was assigned to fly as a trainer pilot for a new crew's first combat mission. I protested, wanting to fly with my crew, but my protest was rejected. My crew above was lost on that mission, everyone except the Navigator, Stuart Felton".

Thomas J. Classen
B-17 pilot 72nd BS, Capt. I joined the squadron at Bellows Field just a few weeks after Pearl. Don Ridings was the CO. About a month later we were attached to the 11th BG and sent to Espiritu Santo where we joined the group. We operated from both Santo's and Guadalcanal during this period. I flew 49 missions, shot down on the last one on 9 Feb 1943. It took me 66 days to get back to Santo and I found most of the outfit had been relieved and had already departed for the States via a scenic ocean voyage. I was sent back on an LB-30 with a civilian crew and beat them home. I never saw any of my squadron mates again and if any of you happen to read this I would like to hear from you.

72nd BS Contacts

5th BG "Bomber Barons":
307th BG "The Long Rangers":
868th BS "Snoopers":