ERS Air Sea Rescue
1st & 7th Emergency Rescue Squadron


     The 1st Emergency Rescue Squadron was activated 1 December 1943, in compliance with General H. H. Arnold’s order that such a unit be organized and sent to the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations with the least possible delay. The responsibility of organizing and training such a group was delegated to Lieutenant Colonel Ernest S. Hensley. (then Major) The training program was devised by members of the newly formed squadron as no similar unit had been trained by the Army Air Force. The entire training and processing of the 1st Emergency Rescue Squadron was accomplished at Boca Raton Field, Florida.

     On 18 February 1944 the Squadron, consisting of three (3) operational Flights and Headquarters Flight, departed Boca Raton Field, Florida for Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia, arriving there on the 19th February 1944. After final check of personnel and equipment the Squadron comprised of 46 Officers and 159 enlisted men departed Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia and boarded the S. S. William B. Mitchell on 1 March 1944. Without convoy the S. S. William B. Mitchell left Hampton Roads, Virginia on 3 March 1944 and made crossing to Casablanca without mishap, arriving on 12 March 1944. Disembarking the Squadron was transported by truck to Camp Don B. Passage, on the outskirts of Casablanca, French Morocco.

     The Squadron remained at Camp Don B. Passage until 23 March 1944. The ground crews were transported by rail from Casablanca to Bizerte, arriving at the Sidi Ahmed Air Base on 29 March 1944.  The flight crews however were transported by rail as far as Port Lyautey, where five (5) OA-10 (PBY-5A) type aircraft were obtained on the 25th March 1944. On the 1st April 1944 the OA-10’s were flown to Ajaccio, Corsica which was to be our Headquarters. The ground crews remained at Sidi Ahmed, Bizerte, until 7 April 1944 when they were transported by LST to Ajaccio, Corsica, arriving there on 8 Apri1 1944. 

On 10 April 1944 Flight “C” conducted its first operational mission.  Flight “A” was transferred to Grottaglie, Italy and Flight “B” to Foggia Main, Italy, in order to cover the Adriatic Sea for survivors of ditched Bombers returning from raids in the Balkans.  The ground crews of both flights boarded an LST at Porto Vecchio, Corsica on 5 May 1944.  Arriving at Naples they were transported by truck to Foggia Main, Italy, where Flight “A”’s ground personnel continued on to Grottaglie, Italy.

On 6 May 1944 the flight crews of both Flights flew four Catalinas (OA-10) to their respective stations.  On 20 May l944 Flight “A”, operating from Grottaglie, Italy conducted its first operational mission and on 24 May 1944 Flight “B”, at Foggia Main was operational.

            The rescues accomplished by the Squadron are all mentioned on the attached schedule and therefore are not outlined in this summary.

On 7 August 1944 the flying personnel of Flight “A” were transferred from Grottaglie, Italy to Aspretto Base, Ajaccio, Corsica to aid in rescue work for the coming invasion of Southern France.  At present a11 personnel of Flight “A” are in the process of being transferred to Ajaccio, Corisca.  Flight “B” is still stationed at Foggia Main, Italy participating in the air/sea rescue in the, Adriatic Sea.

            The Squadron has fourteen (14) aircraft assigned, of which eleven are OA-1O’s, 2 L-5’s and one B-25C.  The three later being used for transportation between flights.  Two of the OA-10’s are not suitable for operational purposes and are therefore not being used. Three OA-10’s are not equipped with landing gear. These were assigned to flight “C”, at Ajaccio, Corsica, where a seaplane base is available.


Lt Colonel, Air Corps
Commanding, 1st ERS.



  NAME                                               GRADE            FLT            ASN
*PARDUE, LITTLETON J                      LT COL          H             021300
 CRAIG, PAUL E                                       CAPT           B           0493698
 DWYER, PHILLIP H                                CAPT           H           0473639
*GRAY, MERRICK A                               CAPT           A           0428762
*MATTISON, POBERT E                         CAPT           A           0504064
*REGNIER, WALDO                                CAPT           H           0322152
*RUCKMAN, THOMAS M                      CAPT           B           0424164
*SMITH, NELLINS C                               CAPT           C           0475537
*WALTON, WALLACE G                        CAPT          C           0417725
*WELLS, ROBERT M                               CAPT          H           0377057
*BILSLAND, LEONARD M                    1ST LT          A           0739710
*BLEIER, EDWARD W                            1ST LT         C            0739712
 BUCHHOLZ RUDOLPH D                     1ST LT          C           0567500
*CLEVELAND, ALLEN B                       1ST LT          A           0789456
*CUMMINS, CHARLES O                     1ST LT          C            0662027
*EISMAN, CHARLES F JR                     1ST LT          B            0739747
 HART, JP (IO)                                         1ST LT          H           0863447
*HAYNIE, OTHO J                                  1ST LT          B           0725869
*JARMAN, THEREL C                            1ST LT          C           0739794
*MILBURN, WALTER B JR                    1ST LT          B           0739828
*MORK, JOHN H                                    1ST LT          B           0739983
 OGLE, JACK D                                       1ST LT          H           0560181
 ORELLA, VICTOR P JR                         1ST LT          C           0447828                               
 PIERCE, WILMONT W                          1ST LT          A           0211674
 STONE, RALPH L                                   1ST LT         A            0358431
 SEARFOSS, WALTER W                       1ST LT         H            0570163
 STANSIFER, JAMES B JR                     1ST LT          B            0570368
*TURNBULL, JOHN F                            1ST LT          A           0421411
*WALKER, JAMES F                              1ST LT         A            0739874
*WELLING, WILLIAM B JR                   1ST LT         C            0439779
*BARKMAN, ROBERT L                      2ND LT          C           0809303
*BURNS, ONA W                                  2ND LT          A           0811005
*BUSBY, MURREL NMN                      2ND LT          B           0750334
*COLNON, REDMOND W                    2ND LT          B           0798755
*JACKSON, BEN R                               2ND LT          A           0739792
*LAUGER, ROBERT F                           2ND LT          A           0810900
*LONSDALE, JOHN L                           2ND LT          C           0744074
*LYLE, VERNON J                                2ND LT          A           0670146
*MELVIN, ROBERT T JR                      2ND LT          A           0682215
*MILLARD, CHARLES D                      2ND LT          B           0810919
*MURRAY, THOMAS F                        2ND LT          C           0808226
*NONNENMACHER, WALTER           2ND LT          C           0811427
*WITT, JAMES H                                   2ND LT          B           0676196
*MURPHY, JOSEPH D                               F/O            B            T-31216
 LOEFFLER, MANUEL J                      1ST SGT          H          18047402
*KUTZ, PAUL H                                      M SGT          B          15071555
*ASBURY, PAUL H                                 M SGT          A           6634030
*WELLING, FRANK J                             M SGT          C           6834505
 BEBITCH, SAMUEL E                             T SGT          A         13028293
*BIRARD. LOUIS NMN                           T SGT          B         33160137
*COX, ALLEN B                                       T SGT          B         38194913
*DILLARD, JACK D                                 T SGT          C         18098459
*GILL, SAMUEL A                                   T SGT          A         36261819
*MEHRMAN, JOHN M JR                       T SGT          A         33183770
 MOORE, HOWIE NMN                          T SGT          H         15041610
 SCHULTZ, GORDON R                          T SGT          C         16009643
*SCHOENBERGER, CHARLES               T SGT          C         13021426
*WHITE, GAITHER E                               T SGT          B         32470969
*WIGHTMAN, CULVER A                      T SGT          H         31145674
*TRINCA, FRANK J                                T SGT           C         12023994
*WILSON, PEARSON M JR                    T SGT          A         16084107
 BARNARD, RALPH W                            S SGT          H         11116328
 BOURQUE, WILLIE J                              S SGT          H         38186418
*BROWN, DAN C                                    S SGT          H         39683082
 COOLEY, WAYNE C                              S SGT          C         19065297
*CROW, BRUCE W                                  S SGT          C         16024253
*DENT, MARVIN NMN                           S SGT          A         34307507
 DERIDDER, GEORGE C                          S SGT          C         32290113
 FAGG, MARSHALL F JR                        S SGT           B         36230197
 FAY, JOHN J                                           S SGT           H         11021722
*GIZA, STANLEY F                                 S SGT           B         36602581
*GANON, WILLIAM F                            S SGT           A         20200522
 HUMPHREYS, ROBERT R                     S SGT           H         39170393
 KIESCHNICK, GUS H                            S SGT           B         18104340
 LANDRUM, RUSSELL T                         S SGT          C         14063447
*LEONARD, LAURENCE T                     S SGT          A         36334090
*MARTINCIC, CARL M                           S SGT          A         33394439
*PAULO, EDWARD S                              S SGT           B         35287896
*PETTLE, KENNETH E                            S SGT           B         18052261
*RUSSO, ANTHONY J                             S SGT          C         32183629
*SACKIS, JOHN J                                     S SGT          A         36305087
 SOLSTAD, ROBERT W                           S SGT          C         32187060
*TESSA, JOSEPH F                                  S SGT           H           6981506
*WARGO, JOHN JR                                 S SGT           C         32453702
 WEBSTER, DONALD B                          S SGT           A         17025211
*WSZOLEK, JOSEPH E                           S SGT           A         32360805
 BALDWIN, CECIL NMN                           SGT           A         34339085
 BEASON, ARTHUR M                                SGT          B         34709039
*BOLLES, GERALD R                                 SGT          A         12161969
 BRADLEY, PAUL R                                    SGT           B         17091535
 BROOKS, JESS L                                       SGT           B         18194533
 BROWN, WALTER W                                SGT          A         38426786
 CAVALLO, ERNEST F JR                          SGT          C         12209228
*CONNELL, ROLLAND D                         SGT           H         36297021
 CYR, LOUIS A                                            SGT           B         31282360
 DECESARI, JOSEPH P                               SGT           C         36279892
*DILL, CHARLES A                                    SGT           C         36432756
*FRISINGER, JACK NMN                         SGT           C         32341607
 FRY, RAYMOND H                                   SGT           C         39270638
 GENTILE, RALPH J                                    SGT           A         32164796
 GODWIN, DONALD H                              SGT           B         14027926
 GORRELL, CHARLES H                            SGT           B         33284604
 GREENE, IRVING NMN                            SGT           A         31143517
 HEILMAN, RICHARD R                             SGT          H         33238652
*HENDRIX, LOUIS L                                  SGT           B         37224826
*HOLZER, LOREN R                                  SGT           C         17108894
 HUGHES, PAT J                                         SGT           B         17127705
 HUTCHINSON, H CRAIG                         SGT           B         32731504
 JONES, DOYLE D                                      SGT           A         18109042
 KANSA, JOSEPH                                       SGT           B         35607158
*KIDD, JACK R                                           SGT          A         36590214
*KEIZER, WILLIAM NMN                         SGT          C         32393421
 KITTRELL, ARTHUR R                              SGT          C         18033084
*LASATER, PAUL A                                   SGT           B         17122437
*LAURENT, ROBERT J                              SGT           A         35550955
 LEACH, CARL E                                        SGT           A         36476387
*MCDONALD, WILLIAM E                      SGT            C         31164801
 MCDONOUGH, HENRY NMN                SGT            B         31135521
 MCMULLEN, HOWEY B                          SGT           C         14174638
 MICCILE, JOSEPH F    SGT           H         11068823                             
 MUIR, CLIFFORD J                                   SGT           H         17154347
 MURPHY, WILLIAM F                              SGT           C         34625193
 NAVES, CARROLL E                                SGT           H         31157582
*O’BRIEN, JOHN J                                     SGT           B         31179479
*POSTERLI, GENO G                                 SGT           B         33434785
*RAIFORD, MCCOMB B JR                      SGT           C         34625477
 RAPP, WILLIAM D                                    SGT           B         32556680
*RHODES, ELMER C                                 SGT            B         33212383
 SCHOTT, JOHN F                                      SGT           B         35510353
*SMITH, DAVID L                                      SGT           A         35473317
 TSCHARMER, WILLIAM W                     SGT           A         39528633
*TURNER, WILBUR S                                SGT           A         33124577
*UTLEY, BILLY H                                      SGT            B         13106332
 VOSHELL, JACK G                                   SGT           A          37236689
*WHITTMORE, CLAUDE T                       SGT           C          35789243
 WORT, ALLEN J                                       SGT            B         36437795
 BABCOCK, NORMAN K                        SGT            A         15340066
*BEDNAROWICZ, FRANCIS B               CPL            A         36292182
*BOLS, HAROLD A                                  CPL             B         35625492
*BOSWELL, ROBERT D                           CPL             C         34763225
*BUTLER, WILLIAM E                             CPL             A         35551549
 CAPLONAS, GEORGE J                          CPL             A         33460235
 CASE, EARL C                                          CPL            H         32285931
 COOKSEY, CHARLES W                        CPL            H         35550429
 COSTELLO, EDWARD C                         CPL            C         33405983
 CURRIER, CECIL D                                  CPL            C         31267731
 DENTON, JOHN C                               CPL            C         18187907     
 DIEL, EDGAR A                                        CPL            H         37605545
 EDWARDS, JAMES A                              CPL            A         35397475
*HAAPANEN, ALLEN T                         CPL            C         11106314     
 HARRIS, CHARLES F                               CPL            C         34708993
 ISDELL, ALLEN E                                     CPL            C         34355090
 KISER, MORT NMN                                 CPL            B         35638296
 LENN, EDWIN R                                       CPL            B         34670276
 MELANCON, ELRICK L                          CPL            C         38486334
 MELCHER, JERRY A                                CPL            H         35577043
 MESSIER, JOSEPH C C E                         CPL           H         11113837
 MUNOZ, ELI E                                          CPL            C         39554546
 NIEMIEC, EDWARD C                             CPL            A         36649580
 RICHARDSON, CHARLES W                  CPL            A         34502752
 RISEDORF, KENNETH E                         CPL            C         12134018
 RUSSELL, JOHN A                                   CPL             B         18127294
 SCHNEIDER, JOHN F                              CPL             B         32771949
 SKWARCHA, FRANK J                           CPL            H         13087661
*STAHL, HAROLD A                                 CPL            A         12149133
 STOVALL, THOMAS N                            CPL            A         18134465
 VALARIO, DANIEL A                               CPL            A         33279901
 VILLARREAL, SALVADOR NMN           CPL            B         38217609
 WEHRDIN, GEORGE H                             CPL            B         32762311
*WILDHACK, DONALD F                        CPL            C         32079530
*WORTZ, GORDON H                               CPL            B         16070376
 BRUNER, WILLIAM K                              PFC           A         35482059
 CAMPBELL, RICHARD J                          PFC           C         32364048
 CURRIE, WYNN D                                    PFC            B         34426186
 DIERCKS, LANCEL F                               PFC           C         18192272
 EBERLIN, OLIN D                                     PFC           C         33052137
 EDWARDS, DAVID W                              PFC            A         36589599
 FOSTER, JAMES M                                   PFC            B         38209726
 HAIDEN, RICHARD J                                PFC           A         37557299
 LAKEY, HERBERT R                                 PFC           A         31143750
 NARBER, ROBERT D                                PFC           C         37427545
 DAUGHERTY, FRED E                              PVT           H         17159578
 FESTINESS, PASQUALE NMN                PVT           C         32382643
TEIXEIRA, ANTONIO A                            PVT            A         31092431


The OA-10 type aircraft (U.S. Navy PBY-5A) used by the First Emergency Rescue Squadron was designed as a naval patrol bomber and has long been used by the U. S. Navy for this purpose.  The airplane is amphibious and was designed to operate from land or from harbors, lakes or protected bays.  Not being built to withstand the stress and poundings of landings and take-offs in open-seas, the policy heretofore has been to limit the open-sea landings to extreme emergencies.  Three (3) successful open-sea landings were considered the maximum number before the airplane required depot overhaul.

The First Emergency Rescue Squadron was equipped with OA-10 airplanes only because no aircraft built to withstand open-sea landings was available.  Nine (9) aircraft assigned the 1st Emergency Rescue Squadron have accomplished over sixty (60) successful open-sea landings in stormy seas.  Although the airplanes have suffered repeated damage no aircraft have been lost and all aircraft have been kept operational without major overhaul.  Pilots have had to advise their own methods of accomplishing safe open-sea landings and take-offs, and have had only their own experiences to guide them.

Then principal hazards in each open-sea landing and take-off are the possibilities of being thrown off the water by a swell, and without flying speed, crashing into another swell, thereby collapsing the forward-section of the hull or splitting the hull, causing the aircraft to sink immediately.  This is also frequently tears the engines from their mounts, and ruptures gas tanks and lines, causing explosion or fire.  Another hazard ever present is “hanging” a wing float in a swell, thereby causing a waterloop which may result in collapsing the after-station section of the aircraft and immediate sinking.

Aircraft of the 1st emergency Rescue Squadron have been continuously subject to the hazards of enemy attack.  More than ninety per cent (90%) of the missions have been flown within range of enemy fighters; rescues involving the saving of thirty (30) men have been made within fifteen (15) miles of enemy held territory.  Men have been rescued from enemy coastlines.  Lone OA-10 airplanes, unescorted by fighters, have made numerous prolonged searches in sight of enemy installations.  OA-10 aircraft have many times been fired on by enemy anti-aircraft and coastal guns.  Two (2) landings and rescues have been accomplished while the aircraft were under fire.  The OA-10 aircraft are not equipped with self-sealing fuel tanks and defensive armament consists of two (2) .50 caliber waist guns and two (2) .30 caliber nose guns.  The aircraft is slow (cruising speed 110 knots) and maneuvers poorly – which makes evasive action difficult and comparatively ineffective.

OA-10 Aircraft have searched at night as well as day and have been called out in weather which has grounded all other aircraft.

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ERS Air Sea Rescue