Thomas J. Simms, Sr., July 24, 1923 – January 4, 2021
T. J. Simms (432nd Squadron)
Thomas Simms has bailed out for the last time, 77 years after being shot down in New Guinea. What a full life he had, especially compared to his fellow 475th members who never returned from the war. 2 wives, 3 children , 6 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. He had the “biggest grin” in High School and a sense of humor that never quit. He will be missed.
T. J. Simms (432nd Squadron) was shot down on September 20, 1943 while returning from a mission to Wewak. He bailed out at about 600 ft, breaking his back parachuting into the jungle near Tsili-Tsili. It took 5 days to get hospital treatment. He had 2 victories during his previous 14 combat missions.
Tom was with the 432nd Squadron and we were fortunate that he was able to attend the 2014 reunion in Chino.
Download Memorial Card (PDF).
Dale E. Burgess, October 26, 1922 – October 31, 2020
Once Pearl Harbor was attacked he enlisted in the Army Corps and always felt he was “just doing his job.” He graduated from pilot training and was commissioned 2nd Lt. on October 1, 1943. He flew a P-38 in the 432nd Squadron of the famed 475th fighter group from 1943-1945 in the Southwest Pacific Ocean. He had 131 combat missions and flew 452 combat hours. Click to read more..
Dale O. Thisted
Dale Thisted, Dave Berby, Walt Barbo (behind Dale) and Tony Paplia (between Dale and Dave) – click to enlarge
I guess some of us knew it was coming, but even the best planning never prepares you for the loss of a loved one, and we all loved Dale Thisted who left us early this week. Dale will never be forgotten by the 475th and its members, he was instrumental in the formation and continuation of the 475th and has certainly left his footprint behind for us to follow. As you all know we have launched a new project in an effort to find and identify second and third generation family members and Dale was involved and influential in our effort. Dale also had a terrific sense of humor and if you want to see that humor, click here to see Dale and PJ signing By New Guinea Waterfall at the last reunion.
Some men are known for their successes, other for their heart, but few are known for their ability to accomplish great feats and their willingness to go out of their way on behalf of other people. Dale was just that man and he will be sorely missed by his family, his friends and everyone associated with the 475th Historical Foundation. Chris Madison and Brad Ball
Dale Owen Thisted, May 10, 1924 – August 8, 2020
Dale Owen Thisted passed away peacefully on August 7, 2020 in Oceanside, CA at the age of 96. Dale was a humble man of faith; active in the Lutheran Church, serving in leadership positions throughout the church community, including membership on boards, call committees, and service groups. He was always there, usually in the background, quietly giving support and guidance, and always willing to step up to help if needed. He taught everyone he met whether it was how to fly, to ski, or to become a better person. His example of fairness, integrity, and love will be greatly missed. Next to Barbara, his beloved wife of 71 years, flying was his passion. Flying brought them together and became a unifying principle in the family. A flight instructor for some 60 years, he proudly taught all four children to fly. He served in World War II as a P-38 pilot with the 475th Fighter Group in the Pacific theater. Some of his best memories and biggest laughs were shared when he attended the 475th reunions, several of which he and Barbara hosted. During those reunions, they could always be seen walking hand in hand. Although his life was not always easy, Dale always chose to focus on the good and happy times. He loved flying airplanes (especially the P-38, whose virtues he would extol to anyone who would listen), skiing (into his 90s), singing (especially with friends), playing bridge, reading, working jigsaw puzzles, and being outdoors and active. Dale dearly loved his entire family; his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were his pride and joy. Dale is survived by his brother Paul Thisted of Evergreen, CO; children Ronald (Linda) of Chicago, IL, Blair (Kathy) of Bellingham, WA, Dana Grossman (Ira) of San Marcos, CA and Thomas O’Farrell (Cynthia) of Summerville, SC; grandchildren Walker Thisted (Gregory Hughes), Jennifer Blomquist (Scott), Matthew Grossman, Aliza Grossman, and Fran O’Farrell (Olivia); and great grandchildren Nicholas and Caitlin Blomquist. Dale was preceded in death by his wife Barbara, sister LaJune Barth, and daughter Sarah O’Farrell. Barbara and Dale, reunited, are flying off into the wild blue yonder once again. We love you. A memorial service will be held in Spokane once travel and gatherings become safe again. Memorial donations can be made to the 475th Fighter Group Historical Foundation, c/o Blair Thisted, 2422 Ontario St., Bellingham, WA 98229.
David W. Berby, July 18, 1926 – November 24th 2018
A Proud World War II veteran and serving in the South Pacific with the 5th Air Force 475th fighter group (Satan’s Angels) David passed away peacefully surrounded by the love of his family, on November 24th 2018 in Crest Hill, Illinois. David was born in Racine July 18, 1926 the first son William G. and Leone B. Berby. David graduated from Horlick High School, and enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1943. He is a Proud World War II veteran and serving in the South Pacific with the 5th Air Force 475th fighter group (Satan’s Angels). He was honorably discharged in 1947. David attended the University of Wisconsin Engineering School from 1947-1951. – See more at: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/journaltimes/obituary.aspx?n=david-w-berby&pid=190938050 Click on the following photos of Dave for more detail:
Ralph “Lito” Gutierrez, April 22, 1923 – March 25, 2016
A member of the 432nd Clover Squadron, First Lieutenant Gutierrez was a P38 fighter pilot in the Pacific Theater during WWII. Ralph passed quietly in his sleep early in the morning on Good Friday. He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Helen Gutierrez; sister Genevieve Duran; three children, Ralph Gutierrez, Diana Gutierrez, and Mark Gutierrez and wife Laura; three grandchildren, David Gutierrez and wife Tara, Kathryn Gutierrez, and Holle Gutierrez; two great-grandchildren, Theodore and Phoebe Gutierrez; and numerous nieces and nephews. Born in Barelas, he grew up to enlist in the Army Air Corp as a P38 fighter pilot in the Pacific Theater during WWII. Returning to Albuquerque, he married Helen Lorraine Leavitt on Feb 6, 1946. They had three children and Ralph embarked on a lifelong career establishing his own wholesale grocery businesses, New Mexico Sales Co., United Grocers Assn. and finally, Ralph’s Road Sales. He established lifelong friendships from his days in business through his final years at St. John’s Rehabilitation. In lieu of flowers, Ralph would have appreciated donations to the 475th Historical Foundation at www.475th.org . – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/abqjournal/obituary.aspx?pid=179470417#sthash.5LCBz8aa.dpuf
Louis L. Longman
After remaining missing for 70 years, Clinton native 1st Lt. Longman to return home Saturday, April 12, 2014 to final resting place at Rock Island Arsenal National Cemetery CLINTON — Louis L. Longman, a 26-year old Clinton, Iowa native serving with the 433rd Fighter Squadron, 475th Fighter Group, 5th Air Force, U.S. Army Air Corps, was last seen April 16, 1944 as his unit returned from a B-25 bomber escort mission over Hollandia, New Guinea. – See more at: http://www.clintonherald.com/obituaries/x1445032113/Louis-L-Longman#sthash.M7xutbxq.dpuf Governor Orders Flags to Half-Staff for WWII Vet Read more: http://qctimes.com/news/local/obituaries/lt-louis-l-longman/article_432cc50c-2a57-51bd-98c8-ee9f157ae89f.html
Lawrence Kohn, March 28, 2014
70 years in the making: WWII soldier to be honored Imagine three boys, orphaned in the midst of the Great Depression, moving from Minnesota to an adjacent state to live with extended family. How hard it would be to lose both parents and, then, have to move away and take up a new life in a strange town. Yet, such was the case for Louis Longman and his two brothers, who came to Clinton in the 1930s to live at 2804 Garfield with their maternal grandfather, John Cleary, and an aunt, Lorette Cleary. Details concerning the boys’ arrival and early life elude us. Read More (PDF)
Marvin Rose, Aug. 23, 1920—March 26, 2014
Marvin Odell Rose, 93, of Crossville, passed away March 26, 2014. Funeral services were held March 29 at First United Methodist Church in Crossville, with Bro. Jerry Mayo and Bro. John Perdue officiating. Interment with military honors followed at Green Acres Memory Gardens. Visitation was held prior to the service, with services by the American Legion, as well as the Cumberland Shrine Club. He was born Aug. 23, 1920, in White County. A well-known, long-time resident of Crossville, Mr. Rose received his early education in the Cumberland County school system, graduating from Cumberland County High School in 1940. His college education at Tennessee Technological University was interrupted by World War II and, as a member of the class of 1944, was later made a member of the Golden Eagles there. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and, after basic training, he was selected to attend and graduated from the Army Air Force Technical Training School in electrical engineering at Chanute field, IL. He was then sent to the mountains in Utah for overseas training and was sent to the South Pacific with General MacArthur’s forces where he served in the 475th Fighter Group, 5th Air Force, starting in Australia and spending several months in New Guinea, New Britian, Biak and the Shoutan Islands, landing with General MacArthur’s forces in October 1944 to recaputre the Philippine Islands. Read More (PDF)
First Lieutenant Ferdinand Hanson, 1916-2003
Ferdinand Carl Hanson Jr. was born to FC Hanson Sr. and Hope Rose on Sept 23, 1916 in East Los Angeles, CA. The father’s side of the family hails from Maine and his mother’s side from old Mexico. He was an only child and enjoyed the pursuits of childhood with his house painting father of hunting and fishing. Having an uncle that was killed in WW I at the battle of St Mihiel he joined the ROTC in High School and rose up through the ranks and and by his senior year he was the cadet Sergeant Major and joined the 160th California National guard upon graduation from Garfield HS in 1934. He distinguished himself in ROTC and the National Guard by winning several rifle and pistol competitions. With the depression a career was hard to find and he worked on the Southern Pacific Railroad, CCC and several other jobs. He loved to race cars and, with his friends from school, he built a flathead open cockpit and open wheel racer that he bragged that he got up to 130MPH at Muroc Dry lake (where Edwards AFB is today). After Dec 7th 1941 his 160th National Guard unit was activated into the 40th division regular army. He cross trained into Allison engine mechanic school and was sent to Lincoln Nebraska. He soon was a crew chief and SSGT and noticed a blond and gorgeous blue eyed Swedish ancestry secretary from ND at a USO dance and soon they were courting and they went across the stateline and were wed in Marysville, KS in 1942. Answering a call for more pilots (if you could pass the mental and physical evaluations) he was admitted to cadet training and graduated from Williams Field, class 43 F, on 22 June 43 and was named 2nd lieutenant. Along with Advanced training school mates Fogerty and Fostakowski, they were assigned to the 475th Fighter Group Satan’s Angels, 432nd Clover Squadron Dobodura in New Guinea. His first flights were at the end of Sep 43 and participated in the reduction raids against Rabaul the Japanese Pearl Harbor. Losing his 2 class mates within the first 2 months he persisted with 123 missions and sent home with 1 probable and several near misses from Dobodura to Biak and missed the Philippine deployment. His favorite pilots were PJ Dahl, Joe Forster, Stu Lawhead and John Loisel. He flew with all the greats, including Bong, McGuire, MacDonald, Roberts and Lindbergh. His crew chief was Phil Ranalli w/ whom he carried on a correspondence for years after the war since he had been a crew chief himself. His last flight was on Oct 2, 44 w/ a P 38L. A camera buff he took over 300 pictures which were made into a DVD for the 432nd. Arriving back in the states he became a discharge officer at Williams AFB and he discharged himself in March 45 as 1LT. He stayed in the Reserves until 1955. He joined the LAPD and worked for them as Patrol officer, Accident investigation and even since he was a pilot was in charge of Accidents and low flying aircraft until the FAA came in 1950. He was able to use the LAPD Piper Cub to help investigate. He built 5 houses that he owned and collected income. The year before he retired in 1966 he won the LAPD pistol championship achieving a score of 396/400. Active in his church he became a Bible scholar and was elected Elder several times. He continued working becoming a locksmith, and worked for a defense contractor repairing the black boxes on the top of the line fighter jets of the day. He finally retired in 1982. He lost Eva his wife of 48 years in 1990.He passed away on Dec 29 ,2003 after long illnesses. His legacy of 3 daughters and 1 son and several grandchildren and great grandchildren. His was the Greatest Generation! His son submitted a memoir to the Library of Congress which was accepted in his name.
Arthur Erickson, 2014, 431st Sqd.
John A Cohn, March 17, 2014, 431st Sqd.
Richard A. Walkup (92)
from Pioneer, Ohio passed away January 3, 2014 at 6:30 AM. Mr. Walkup was a member of the 431st and worked as a crew chief for Tom Oxford.
Allen Wilson, December 20, 2013, 432nd Sqd.
Arthur Goodwin, November 5, 2013, 432nd Sqd
Roy Roper, August 30, 2013. 431st Sqd.
Art McLean, July 2013, 432nd Sqd.
Don Weimer, July 2013, 433rd Sqd.
Francis “Bud” Lampert, May 18, 2013, 431st Sqd.
Joe Forster, April 18, 2013
Norman R. Dunlap, March 22, 2013. 475th Sqd.
Jim Shelton, January 9, 2013
Norman Willey, November 6, 2012
Jerry Gettler, September 23, 2012
Charlie Campbell, June 5, 2012
Jack “Fox” Olson, April, 2012
Amador Amescua, February 17, 2013, age 92. 433rd Sqd.
Allen (Red) Wilson, December 20, 2012
Warren J. Cortner, December 17, 2012
Coy Wiley, May 16, 2012
Robert Herman & Stanley Swertinski, January 2012
Tom “Ox” Oxford, December, 2011
Kermit O. Dakken, August, 2011