Photos and History of the 381st Bombardment Squadron
From B-25J Pilot Lt. William F. Bierds


Mad Bill Bierds in his main plane 'Form I-A' #43-27543.
"Mad" Bill Bierds in B-25J A/C #43-27543 "Form I-A" (from a Newsletter of the Kansas City Ghost Squadron (CAF).

Bill Bierds' plane 'Form I-A' #43-27543.
"Form I-A" A/C #43-27543, 381st Bombardment Squadron. Bill Bierds and his tail gunner Fred Hitzemann both recognized Sgt. B. M. Hollon, armorer, sitting in the bombardier's compartment. Bill Bierds said the nose art on his plane was painted by a mechanic named Moe Spradling, the previous crew chief of "Form IA." According to Bierds, "Tech/Sgt. William Peters and "Grease Ball" Cliff Newberry along with "Moe," did the necessary work and always had our aircraft on the line. S/Sgt. Hollon was on duty to service the 50 caliber machine guns and during the night he would have our bombs loaded as our armorer. In time our 381st Bomb Squadron's newly developed patch was added to the fuselage at the bombardier's compartment. Fred Carr made a red thumb print for each mission he flew as the toggladier. The radio gunner, Sid Blyer, decorated his waist window noting his hometown of "Chelsea" (Mass.) as the "junk yard." The top turret gunner, Tom Frawley, honored his wife Janice. The co-pilot who later replaced Bierd's had "Moe" paint him a gorgeous brunette named "Dear Arabella" and "Willy Miller (Ass't. Driver)" at his window (see picture below). The tail gunner, Fred Hitzemann, was proud of being "Hossier." Later we had another toggladier, Ronald Powderly who declared he was our "Button Pusher."

Bill Bierds' plane 'Form I-A' #43-27543.

Bill Bierds' plane 'Form I-A' #43-27543.
This photo of "Form I-A" also shows armorer B. M. Hollon, this time sitting in the pilot's seat.
Here's another photo of "Form I-A."

Bill Bierds' plane 'Form I-A' #43-27543 taken around June 1944 before Bill was assigned to her.
The plane in the rear is #43-27543 around June of 1944 before Bill Bierds arrived at Ghisonaccia, Corsica and was assigned this aircraft in the 381st Bombardment Squadron of the 310th Bombardment Group.

More Pictures of Lt. William F. Bierds

01 02 03 04 05 06

Training at Greenville, South Carolina

01 02 03 04 05 06

The Ground Crew for "Form I-A" #43-27543

01 02 03 04 05 06

The Flight Crew for "Form I-A" #43-27543

01 02 03 04 05 06

Pictures from around Ghisonaccia, Corsica

01 02 03 04 05 06 07

Missions, etc.

01 02 03 04 05 06


Photos 01 and 02 above show one of the 57th Bomb Wing's favorite targets- the railroad bridge at Ala, Italy on the Brenner line.


Go back to 381st Bomb Squadron Index.

Go back to 310th Bombardment Group Squadron Index.