'I have enclosed a photo of the [36th Fighter Group's] 53rd Fighter Squadron personnel as constituted in March - April of 1944 at Ashford Kent. On the back is a list of those in the picture, left to right, front row to top row. The Flight Surgeon Captain Kaufman, Ground Officers Major Thomas and Lieutenant Hurley are listed.'
'As we became operational I noted those were KIA or MIA. Major Deabler seated next to me, who was our CO, was shot down on his second mission. I was more fortunate. I flew 90 missions and survived a parachute jump and returned to the States at the end of March 1945 as one of the three remaining from the original group (Hodge and Haugen). At the time I was Operations Officer.'
Front row, left to right: E Obie, Al Garner, Cooper, "Sunshine" Robinson and Whitiner
Second row, left to right: H. Glaser, Resse, Hunt, William E Peto, Richard T Deabler (KIA), Jim Hodge, Joe Stiles, La Roque (KIA), Bob Burns and Gulick Robinson (KIA).
Third row, left to right: Thomas (Ground Executive Officer), Moody, McConaghy, Jack Crow, Padgett (KIA), Mulholund (KIA), Haugeu, Harvey Holloman, Smoke, Woodside (KIA) and Doc Kaufman (Flight Surgeon).
Top row, left to right: Slater, Hurley (Ground Adjutant), Baldy Blazer, John Lightwine (POW), Joseph W Wavra (KIA), Dewey (KIA) and Meehan (KIA)
The family of William Dewey have identified him as fourth in from the left in the top row. It is therefore possible that the airman second from the right is 'Baldy' Blazer. William E Peto Collection
Correspondence with William Dewey's nephew, Lee Gardner Dewey: 'I had dinner with two of my siblings last night and had an email from a third -- we are all in agreement. We have many pictures of Bill Dewey and one of my brothers looks very much like him.'
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Information provided by William Peto, Veteran of 36th Fighter Group.