Skip to main content
Edit entry 

Edward Tappan

Military

Born and raised in North Carolina, Ed Tappan and his family moved to Arizona in 1931. Ed attended the Evans School for Boys in Tucson and competed on the school’s early rodeo teams. He studied later at the University of Arizona, enlisting in September 1942, initially in the Cavalry as he was a gifted horseman. Transferred to the Air Forces, he followed pilot training and was sent overseas at the beginning of 1944. He was assigned to the 801st Bomb Group/36th Bomber Squadron and flew Carpetbagger missions.
2nd Lt Edward Tappan was Co-Pilot of B-24D '"Star Spangled Hell", 42-72873. Took off from Harrington at 23:13hrs on 4 July 1944 on a secret Carpetbagger mission of weapons and supplies delivery to the French Underground in the Loir-et-Cher area, France. Missing Air Crew Report - MACR 6990. After successful drop, shot down by ME110 over Orléans, France. A/c caught fire and crashed at 00:10hrs, 5 July, near Champgirault at Trancrainville (Eure and Loire). Edward Tappan was stuck in the top escape hatch after bail out order and was blown clear when a/c exploded. 7 members of the 8-man crew were killed in the explosion and they are commemorated on a plaque on a wall at the entrance to the Trancrainville cemetery. Ed Tappan was the only survivor of the 8-member crew and was helped by many French citizens in his evasion of capture in the Loir-et-Cher and Eure-et-Loir French Departments. Having reached a secret camp in the Foret de Fréteval, South of Châteaudun, France, he was liberated by US troops on 13 September 1944, together with 151 other Allied military evaders who had been sheltered in the woods. Ed Tappan would fly again, in a C-47 transport plane, with his brother Lt. Colonel Arthur E. Tappan, a pilot in the 62nd Troop Carrier Squadron, who managed to allow him on board as an observer on a few ferrying and supply missions over Europe. Ed flew back to the United States in late fall 1944 and after a short furlough, he taught Chinese students to fly the B-25 at Douglas Army Airfield in Arizona.
Honorably discharged the following year, he started raising and training quarter horses as well as managing a boat business in Tucson, Arizona. He raised four sons with his wife Margaret. Sadly, Margaret passed away in 1991 and couldn’t accompany Ed when he visited France in the summer of 1994 to reconnect with French people or their descendants who had helped him escape 50 years before.
See Ed Tappan’s evasion story at http://www.evasioncomete.org/ftappaned.html

Service

People

  • John Broten

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Pilot | 492nd Bomb Group (Heavy)
    John Broten attended the Culver Military Academy, Chicago, Illinois before entering Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey in September 1939 where he studied for one year. He entered the Service in February 1942 and trained as a pilot in the U.S...

  • Jessie Ellis

    Military | Sergeant | Radio Operator/Gunner | 801st Bomb Group
    Jessie Ellis enlisted in the Air Corps in February 1943 and followed training in Aerial Gunnery before being sent overseas. He served as a Left Waist Gunner in the 801st Bomb Group/ 36th Bomb Squadron in England. Killed in the loss of B-24D '"Star...

  • Alfred Emert

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Bombardier | 801st Bomb Group
    Alfred Emert enlisted in the Air Corps in July 1942. Sent overseas in 1944, he served as a Bombardier in the 801st Bomb Group/ 36th Bomb Squadron in England. Killed in the loss of B-24D '"Star Spangled Hell", #42-72873. Took off from Harrington at 23...

  • William Freidkas

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Radio Operator | 801st Bomb Group
    William Freidkas enlisted in the Air Corps in March 1943. After his training as a Radio Operator, he was sent overseas and served in that function in the 801st Bomb Group/ 36th Bomb Squadron in England. Killed in the loss of B-24D '"Star Spangled Hell"...

  • Roy Gehue

    Military | Second Lieutenant | Navigator | 801st Bomb Group
    Roy Gehue was living in Bear River, Canada, in 1935. He moved later to Sarasota, Florida. He enlisted in the Air Corps in January 1941 and was a Navigator in the 801st Bomb Group/ 36th Bomb Squadron in England. Killed in the loss of B-24D '"Star...

  • Michael Pranzetelli

    Military | Sergeant | Tail Gunner | 801st Bomb Group
    Michael Pranzetelli enlisted in the Air Corps in April 1943 and followed training in Aerial Gunnery before being sent overseas. He served as a Tail Gunner in the 801st Bomb Group/ 36th Bomb Squadron in England. Killed in the loss of B-24D '"Star...

  • Harry Sparks

    Military | Staff Sergeant | Engineer/Top Turret Gunner | 801st Bomb Group
    Harry Sparks enlisted in March 1943. After training in Aerial Gunnery, he was sent overseas and served as an Engineer/ Top Turret Gunner in the 801st Bomb Group/ 36th Bomb Squadron in England. Killed in the loss of B-24D '"Star Spangled Hell", #42...

Show more

Units served with

  • 801st Bomb Group

    801st Bomb Group

    Group
    The 801st Bomb Group was established as part of the Eighth Air Force in late March 1944 to carry out 'Carpetbagger' missions. These were night missions over France and other parts of occupied Europes to support resistance forces by dropping in agents,...

  • 36th Bomb Squadron

Aircraft

Missions

  • 452

    4 July 1944

Associated Place

  • Harrington

    Military site : airfield
    Harrington was built by the 826th and 852nd Engineer Battalions of the US Army in 1943. Completed in 1944, it was the furthest Eighth Air Force combat airfield from the east coast.The Eighth's Special Operations Group was based at the airfield, first...

Events

Event Location Date
Born North Carolina, United States 9 August 1921
Lived in Tucson, Arizona, United States 1942
Enlisted Phoenix, Arizona, United States 15 September 1942
Evaded (EVD) Bellande, Villebout, France 5 July 1944 – 13 August 1944

Tappan landed in parachute near Neuvy-en-Beauce (Eure-et-Loir), France. Helped by French patriots, he managed to evade capture and reached a secret camp in the Fréteval Forest near Bellande, in the frame of Mission “Marathon” organized by the Belgian COMETE evasion network. Liberated by US troops. Escape & Evasion Report E&E 1016.

Died Sonoita, Arizona, United States 10 October 1996

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
11 March 2016 11:59:55 general ira snapsorter Changes to biography
Sources

Merged with duplicate entry to include details fom:
- Combat Chronology, USAAF SN Website;
- the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia

Date Contributor Update
19 November 2015 10:30:00 ED-BB Changes to firstname, service number, biography, events, person associations, unit associations, place associations, aircraft associations, mission associations and media associations
Sources

First name is Edward not Eward
MACR 6990
NARA WWII Enlistment records
www.801492.org
Research for Edward Tappan’s page at http://www.evasioncomete.org/ftappaned.html

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:09:31 AAM AAM ingest
Sources

801st BG Roster, http://www.801492.org/MainMenu.htm">http://www.801492.org/MainMenu.htm>; Losses of 8th AF, vol.4 / Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia

Share