Picture courtesy of DH Shelton dhshelton@5thbomberbarons.com, please do not use without permission

Sky Tramp, Serial 42-73143

Rea Crew

Hello! I must tell you that I believe I can help solve the mystery of at least one crew member in this photo and perhaps others! My uncle, Gregory Lecakes, is the third person from the right in the front row...He was declared missing in action in, I believe, late 1945...I'll have to check with my Dad...I might be able to get additional names of the other crew members if that will help you. According to my Dad, my Uncle's plane was shot down in the south pacific in the Palau (forgive the spelling please!) islands over Koror town. My Dad has an enormous scrapbook detailing all of this crew's activities...some of which were quite formidable...I think Dad once said, "10 zeroes on a single flight." Do you have any information whatsoever on this crew/aircraft/final flight? It would mean so much to my Dad...And can we be of any assistance to you in providing you any additional crew information we can piece together from the news? Finally, are there any other websites or links you recommend I research? I thank you so much for your time. Sincerely, Kris Lecakes-Haley chaley@home.com

Top Row, L to R: 2nd Lt. Grant M. Rea, 2nd Lt. Judd C. Sempel, 2nd Lt. Henry M. Blanchard III, 2nd Lt. William H. Moe Jr.,
Bottom Row, L to R: Sgt. Van O. Hedrick, Sgt. Albert A. Augustus, Sgt. Earl R. Curry, S/Sgt. Gregory LeCakes, T/Sgt. Ernest. R. Pennington, Sgt. Streeper Sgt.

Curry replaced Sgt. Kenneth M. Johnston, the gunner killed on the Truk mission. Sgt. Streeper was not a member of the crew, but had flown several missions in Sky Tramp. He was a member of the 23rd squadron and was asked by Rea to fall in with the group for this photo. I believe he is the same Floyd Streeper currently an active member of our 5th Bomb Group Association. -From Bill Blair, 72nd BS Association President

Video capture by Jeff Johnson from Oscar Fitzhenry, 394th BS of Sky Tramp on the strip at Munda, January 1944, please do not use without permission


I owe you a debt of gratitude for the part you played in establishing the 72nd BS web page. You see, my cousin, Bill Moe, was copilot of a well known 72nd B-24, the Sky Tramp, when it barely made it back from a very difficult mission over Truk. That mission was well publicized in the Chicago Times and elsewhere. Unfortunately, Bill and crew were shot down and lost over Palau later on. Few details were available to Bill's family until I happened onto the 72nd web page. As a result, we are now in touch with men who knew him and who can perhaps provide more personal details. For the past 57 years the Moe family has been longing for information about Bill and his final mission. Now, thanks to you, the web page, and the 72nd BS members, some of our hopes are to be realized. I, too, was pilot of a heavy bomber and flew B-17s over Europe during WW2. I empathize with all of this. Thank you so very much for your contributions to this valuable web page. It has meant the opening of a flood of priceless information for us.

Walter S. Moe Colonel, USAF Retired 

72nd - Sky Tramp

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