461st plaque

461st Bombardment Group (H)

461st Headquarters 764th Squadron 765th Squadron 766th Squadron 767th Squadron

Torretta Field

The ground echelon moved from Hammer Field to Camp Patrick Henry, Newport News, VA on 31 December, 1943 on three trains.  On 12 January, 1944 the ground echelon left Camp Patrick Henry for the port of embarkation and were loaded on four "liberty ships" (the "Arch Bishop Lamy", the "George S. Hanly", the "William Rawle" and the "John Jay").  Thirty-one days later the ships made it to Naples, Italy.  It was not until 23 February that all the ground personnel were in place at the Group's final destination.

On 13 January the air echelon started its move to Oudna, Tunisia, in North Africa.  Taking the southern route across the Atlantic from Brazil, this movement was completed on 8 February with the arrival of the main group of planes.  By 24 February the air echelon was in place at Torretta, Italy.

Italy was Italy!  The morning report showed 376 officers and 1620 enlisted men. The Group had fifty-one B-24H planes.  The facilities consisted of one large airdrome with over 100 "soft" hard stands, ample but unusable taxi strips and one gravel landing strip with a long stretch of mud holes on each end and a big hump in the middle.

Training continued under questionable conditions.  On 2 April 1944 the first combat mission was flown to the railroad marshalling yard at Bihac, Yugoslavia.

The 461st Bombardment Group was stationed in Italy for sixteen months.  Thirteen of these were spent flying almost daily combat missions against the enemy in ten Southern and Central European countries.

For the first three months the Group, under the command of Col. Frederic E. Glantzberg, maintained the highest average bomb score in the entire Fifteenth Air Force.

Torretta Field

Torretta Field - Late 1944

Flag Raising

Raising the flag at Torretta Field for the first time.


Torretta Field was located on the grounds of a large farm owned by the Baron Michele Zezza.  This photo is from the collection of Col. Phillip Hawes, and the caption on the back reads - "The old fellow is the baron".  Then we have the prince (Diego De Vera d’Aragona), princess (Livia) and their son (Ramiro), Fritz and I and Caroselli.  Lt. Caroselli was lost in action two days after this photo was taken.


The General's first visit.

(L-R: Maj. Scott; Lt. Col. Grogan; Lt. Col. Hawes; Maj. Gen. Nathan E. Twining; Col. William L. Lee)

13 April 1944

Panoramic photo of Torretta Field

Panoramic photo of Torretta Field

Control Tower

Phillip Hawes Collection

Tower and Emergency Vehicles

-- Torretta AAF --

Control Tower

Courtesy of Stan Staples

Control Tower.

Flight line buildings

Courtesy of Stan Staples

Flight line buildings.

Maintenance area

Courtesy of Stan Staples

Maintenance area.


John Underwood Collection

The "Cheek Twitcher" certificate was awarded to all aircrew who finished their allotted missions.
This one reads:

Know ye by these presents that 1st Lt. John L Underwood, having staggered back from 35 missions over Germany, Austria, France, Pianosa, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Roumania through no fault of his own, and due to the negligence of the Luftwaffe and the Flugzeugabwehrkanonen, and by the grace of the great Gods of Formation and return, Welfi & Big Fence is hereby ordained a member of the Mystic & Nervous Disorder of Cheek Twitching.

Conferred this 27th day of Feb. Nineteen hundred and forty-five, as witnessed by the hand of the Supreme Grand Twitcher.

Supreme Grand Twitcher

Brooks Lawhon


Col. Glantzberg congratulating Maj. Knapp, Capt. McQuillan and Lt. Darlander.

Goree, Dooley, Glantzberg, Hawes, Applegate and Knapp

Maj. Knapp, Maj. Applegate, Lt. Col. Hawes, Col. Glantzberg, Capt. Dooley, and Capt. Goree.

These were the squadron and group commanders.


Staff Navigators

(L-R: Lt. Coles; Lt. Dusenberry; Capt. Pruitt; Lt. DeWitt; Lt. Gombossy)


Staff Bombardiers

(L-R: Lt. Iconis; Lt. Faherty; Lt. Leffler; Lt. Murphy; Lt. Stiles)

Lead pilots

Flight Leader Pilots

(Front row L-R: Lt. Bean; Lt. Nixon; Lt. Veiluva; Lt. Wallace; Lt. Alkire

Middle row L-R: Lt. Strong; Lt. Stevens; Lt. Walters; Lt. Donovan; Lt. MacDougall

Back row L-R: Lt. Peterson; Lt.Mixson; Lt. Specht; Lt. Woodard; Lt. Bauman)

Intelligence Officers

Combat Intelligence Officers

Front row L-R: Maj. Lott; Lt. Clark; L. Spivack; Capt. Foster; Capt. MacFarlane;

Back row L-R: Lt. Hill; Lt. Haas; Lt. Oglesby; Lt. Platt; Lt. Dixon; Capt. Lund


The General signs short-snorters

(L-R: Brig. Gen Connell; Lt. Col. Grogan; Maj. Lott; Maj. Scott)

Staff Personnel

Courtesy of Pat Piggee

Major Lott – S-2, Col. Grogan – Group Executive, Col. Hawes – Group CO, Co. Lawhon – Deputy CO, Major Scott – S-1, Major Hudson – S-4, Torretta Field, Italy


Captain Harry Sheafe leading B-Flight at Presidential Citation award

Courtesy of Pat Piggee

Captain Harry Sheafe leading B-Flight at Presidential Citation award


Unit Citation Award Parade

Maj Donovan & 767th Passing in Review

767th Squadron passing in review with Maj. Donovan leading.

767th Review

Courtesy of Pat Piggee

767th Squadron passing in review led by Capt. Harry Sheafe with platoon leaders Robert Luebke, Ernest Henry, Robert Hess and Miles Amos.


Reading of First Unit Citation by Group Adjutant Maj. R. Foster Scott


"At ease" for the First Unit Citation

First DFCs

The First Distinguished Flying Crosses

L-R: Col. Glantzberg; Flight Leader, 1st Lt. Joseph N. Donovan; Group Bombardier, 1st Lt. George V. Leffler

Medal Presentation

Col. Glantzberg receiving a medal.


Lt. Maroney receiving an award from Col. Glantzberg.

Mess Kit Washer

Mess kit washer


Red Cross Girl Jo Ryan hands out donuts after a mission.

Donut line

Donut line


This photo is identified as bombsight maintenance and chemical warfare

with the only man identified being the one on the right as McDermit.

Col Lawhon

Col. Lawhon checking with Maj. Poole and Capt. Hess.

Col Rogers

Col. Rogers checking with Maj. Poole and Capt. Hess.  Robert W. White is on the left looking at a map.

Mud slide

Sliding in taxi strip ditches by numbers

March 1944


"Soft" hardstands

March 1944

Mud holes

Mud holes in the landing strip

March 1944

Sheafe, etc.

Sheafe, King and Douglas.

Waiting for truck

Waiting for truck to ship back to the States.

Allied military currency

Courtesy of Stan Staples

Allied Military Currency - approximately one cent.

Crew ID

Courtesy of Stan Staples

Sample military ID carried by air crew personnel.