Sunday, December 30, 2007

Purple Heart

On my trip to Miami, my mother showed me one of the medals Bill Perkins received.

His Purple Heart was in a box of memorabilia that his brother kept.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Do You Recognize These Men?

I found only a few more photos of the 354th Fighter Group in a box of stuff from Ed and Bill Perkins. This may be a photo of men from the 356th Squadron. Neither man is Bill Perkins.

Perhaps someone knows who the pilot is. And who the other man is (maybe an armorer or a ground crew member.)

Here is the photo...

Close up of same photo...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas

I am heading to Miami to see my family for Christmas. It's been over 2 years since I have been back to Miami. I am looking forward to the trip.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas 1944

As Christmas approaches, I thought I would post some images from Christmas time during WWII.

From Chuck Tighe's collection is this "chapel bulletin" from Christmas in France, 1944.

This is a Christmas card that was made during the war. It is from Pete Wilson's collection.

One of the guys from the 356th Fighter Squadron was able to take Pete's photo and add it to this Christmas card that he would have been able to mail back home.

I believe many of the men were able to send cards like this one home to their families!

If anyone remembers who was involved in making these cards, please let me know in an email.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

A Phone Interview with W. J. Laughridge

Over the last few weeks I was contacted by email from a son and a son-in-law of one of the men who was in the 354th Fighter Group.

Willie J. Laughridge was in the 356th Fighter Squadron. I had the pleasure of interviewing him by phone today. He told me some great stories about his time in WWII. He is still married to his post war bride!

Some of the men may remember him having a very big mustache back in the war. His nickname was "Lt. Moe Stache", which was painted near the cockpit on his plane.

His plane's name was "Pug Ugly Jim" (seen here in this photo).

As a joke some of the men painted "Georgia Air - lines" on the hangar in the background!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Historic Footage: 354th Fighter Wing Reactivated

I just found this very interesting film footage about the reactivation of the 354th Fighter Wing on It is dated November 18, 1956. Take a look at this. It features some footage of the 354th Fighter Group in WWII!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Joseph A. Kronek - Crew Chief

We had the pleasure of meeting Joseph A. Kronek and his daughter at the 2007 Reunion. He was a crew chief in the 354th Fighter Group.

(Joseph is in the middle just above the sign.)

All of the pilots we interviewed made a point of telling us how important the ground crews were for them. The pilots' lives depended on the expertise of the flight crews and especially the crew chiefs.

Joseph gave us a great interview and he let us use scans of his incredible World War II Service Record Scrapbook for our documentary. His daughter Linda sent me a cd with over 100 images from the war! All of them are great! Many feature Joseph with his crew, working on planes, traveling on a ship, standing next the train that will start their return trip to the states and many other images.

Of all the photos, this one is my favorite. He is on the left and is sharing a drink with a friend, relaxing and taking "time off from the war" (if that was possible).

Thursday, November 15, 2007

2026th Fire and Rescue Unit

The 2026th Fire and Rescue Unit was an important part of the 354th Fighter Group. This unit joined them in October of 1943 while the group was stationed at Boxted Air Base near Colchester, England.

James Blevins was one of the men who served in this Fire and Rescue Unit. His son, John Blevins, sent me an email a few months ago and I met him briefly at the reunion in Columbus. He took the time to scan several photos of the unit for me.

(James Blevins, James Flinchum, James P. Love, Ansel Burchfield and Richard Jones in France 1944.)

James Blevins was recommended for a Soldier's Medal for his actions during a fire on July 23, 1944. According to one of the documents given to me by John, a fire occurred in the Army Class III dump near Longeuville, France at 2230 hours. At the same time, an air raid by enemy aircraft was in progress.

Blevins and others from the 2026th combatted the flames and extinguished the fire in a "manner worthy of the highest commendations."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Best Birthday Gift

(With Thanksgiving coming up, I thought this would be an important posting.)

At the 2007 Reunion, I met Mark Radojits, who is the son of Tony Radojits, a pilot in the 354th Fighter Group. I had first heard of Tony from Ed Regis. Ed told us that Tony Radojits was also a former POW in Germany's Luft III.

From Mark, I have been able to learn a lot more about Tony and Luft III.

For a while, Tony was listed as MIA and his mother did not know if he was alive. She later received a telegram telling her that Tony was alive and a prisoner of war. It was very good news!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Photoshop Helps Fix Lost Color

One of the programs I am using for this project is Photoshop CS2. Besides resizing and eliminating blemishes(scratches, water spots, etc.), Photoshop can help fix color that has faded.

This photo of James Hughes at A2 (provided by James' daughter) had turned yellow. But this can be easily fixed.

Here is the BEFORE version of the original photo:

This is the AFTER photo:

Pretty amazing results!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

355th Squadron Tech. Supply

This is a photo of Earl E. Sheets, Felix Militello and Patrick Reilly of the 355th Tech Supply in Nuremberg, Germany in 1945.

I met Earl E. Sheets' daughter Peggy at the 2007 354th Fighter Group Reunion. We had exchanged some emails over the last few months about her father. This is one of the photos she gave me.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

New Photos From Norm Davis Arrive!

I just received about twenty photos from Norm Davis and his wife Miriam. They are great and will help illustrate his portion of the film. I met Norm, his wife and family at the 2007 Reunion in Columbus.

Here are two of my favorites:

Norm and Miriam in Washington, D.C. in June of 1944.

Norm "gets directions from some local French boys" in this staged photo shot for a magazine.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

From the Archives: Bob Halferty Gets Married

I had a very nice talk with Bob Halferty a few days ago. He was a pilot in the 356th Fighter Squadron. His armorer was Pete Wilson.

Bob told me about his time with the 354th Fighter Group. He got married while overseas. As luck would have it, I found this paragraph about it in my 354th Fighter Group papers.

Click on this image and to get a larger view of this document.

Click Here to go to our 354th Archive section in our Facebook account to see this and some other documents.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Our Meeting in Early 2007 with Chuck Tighe

In January we spent an afternoon with Chuck Tighe. He showed us many photos and intriguing memorabilia from his personal collection. Among them were items from his official "Escape Kit" He still has his silk map, miniature hack saw and photos of himself that could be used in the creation of fake IDs .

Friday, November 2, 2007

Ken Dahlberg and Young Fan

I just received a great photo of Ken Dahlberg and a young fan taken during The Gathering of Mustangs and Legends Air Show. It was held a few weeks ago in Columbus, Ohio.

The boy's father found our website/blog and sent it to me. It is great! The next generation meets a legendary fighter pilot.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

D-Day Radio Broadcasts is a great website that has many great audio and video/film clips.

On the previous website I began posting radio broadcasts on June 6, 1944 - D-DAY!

Here is a link I recently found that has the complete 24 hours posted on the website.

Click on the link and then listen to them by clicking on each mp3.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Welcome to Our New 354th Documentary Blog

We have moved most of our information and photos to this blog.

For now on, all new information will be posted here instead of the original website.

We recently had a total of over 2000 separate hits since I started keeping track of how many visits we have had to that website. My renewal for that site is due in a few months and I am getting close to my posting limit, so I have started this blog.

What is great is that now a lot more people surfing will see our site. I can post unlimited video on and many photos in photo albums on I think this will make it easier to view this blog and it should load more easier for visitors to the site.

There are links in some posts that will take you to these other sites for photos and videos.

The left hand side of the blog page has a section called ONLINE RESOURCES. There are some links to other websites that will be of interest to visitors of this site. The first two on the list are the main pages of my and websites.

I want to thank my friend Stella who taught me a lot about how to set this blog up. I really learned a lot! Her blog is wellaboveaverage/ . Take a look at her posts about her life in Los Angeles.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My Newest Plans For Blogging...

I am fairly new to this world of blogging. My friend Stella ( gave me a crash course about how to set up and manage blogs. That was very helpful! As you all know, I have the website For the next few days I will be transferring the website into this blog; this one ( will be easier to use and I will be able to add more media to it.

Because my WW2 project has become much more than I expected, I think the end product will now be a 2 hour documentary about the entire group called "The Heroes of the 354th Fighter Group" and a companion piece called "Angel From Hell - The Bill Perkins Story."

(You should note that the new blog is - without the word "the" before "movie".)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Here are some photos from our trip to Columbus, Ohio for this year's 354th Fighter Group Reunion. It will not be the last. The men and their families have decided to hold another one next year in San Francisco.

This will take you to a photo album on the website.

Yesterday and Today Photos

Take a look at more photos in our "Yesterday & Today" photo gallery.

Angel's Slide Near Portage Point Lake

On our trip to Onekama, Michigan, we found the sand dune that Bill Perkins played on as a kid. It is called "Angel's Slide" because from the lake, it looks like an angel.

It is a very steep dune. I videotaped me walking up and then coming down. I did not run because it is extremely difficult to hold a camera and keeping your balance on "Angel's Slide." I am glad I made it up and down the dune. But I will never do it again. It took the breath out of me!

I just found this video on youtube where someone is running down the dune.

Check it out.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

This Blog Under Construction...

Please bear with me while I am reconstructing my original website into this blog!!!


Jon Teboe

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Photo Album of Our Latest Interviews

Click here to see "Photos of the men we have interviewed."

This will take you to a photo album on the website.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Preview Trailer of "Heroes" is on youtube

This is a sampling of what "The Heroes of the 354th Fighter Group" will be like. This is the sample reel I completed a few months and gave to the men on DVD. I will be updating this when I get back from my last trip for this film. Not exactly a complete trailer, this reel gives the viewers a chance to see some of the men we have met and some of the stories we will be featuring. We have interviewed a few men who are not in this version of the sample reel. I hope to update this with all the men when I get back from my trip to Ohio. (This presentation is © by Jon Teboe, except for the images that belong to the people who lent them for us to use. Those images are © their owners.)

I am going to be able to spend a day or two in Grand Rapids after the 354th Reunion and The Mustang Legends Air Show. My plans are to drive to Grand Rapids on Saturday night and spend Sunday and Monday getting shots of places where Bill lived and hung out. Although we were just there, we did not really get enough video footage.

I just spoke to someone at East Grand Rapids High School and they located the 1938 yearbook. This is the year Bill graduated. I will go and take some digital photos for use in the film. Bill's last name in high school was WOLF. His last name later changed to PERKINS. Bill is in many photos in the 1937 yearbook that I saw at the public library a few weeks ago. I am also going to spend more time at the public library doing more research.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Updating This Blog...

I am attending the final reunion of the 354th Fighter Group in Columbus, Ohio next week. When I get back I will be updating this blog with all the postings from my original website.

Until then, please log onto to see all of our videos and photos from the past year.

My goal is to get everything transferred to this blog by the end of November. And then this will be the main place on the web to get update about our projects.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Flak Sequence

A sequence from our documentary that is about the dangers of German flak. Col. Arthur Owen and 1st Lt. Chuck Tighe remember their experience with flak during World War 2. Passages from Bill Perkins' 1944 war diary are featured.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

"Ensign Babs" Clip on Youtube

Take a look at a sequence from our film, "The Heroes of the 354th Fighter Group."

This is a story about the plane named "Ensign Babs."


Saturday, September 1, 2007

Friday, August 31, 2007

Yesterday and Today Photos

Buth's Ice Cream Shop was located on the far left side of this building during the time Bill went to East Grand Rapids High School. One of his classmates was Tom Ford, brother of President Gerald Ford. They played together on the school football team.

Building where Buth's Ice Cream Shop was.

2007 View

During the 1930's Bill spent his summers at his grandfather's cottage at Portage Lake near Onekama, MI.

1935 Cottage Porch

2007 View

1935 Path to Lake Michigan from Cottage

2007 view

1935 Cottage at Portage Lake in Michigan

2007 View

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Back From Michigan

We got back from our trip to Michigan last night. It was exhausting but great fun! We met with Brooks Applegate, II and his family. Brooks is mentioned in Bill's diary and there is a nice photo of him. He was one of Bill's cousins. We had a lot of fun going to places that Bill went to during his life. Brook's wife, Doddin, was very helpful. She located and arranged a meeting with two other women who are mentioned in the diary. It is so exciting to see these people I have been reading about for the last two years.

I am seated with the Applegates (Brooks and his wife and one of his sons and his children.) We did so much on our trip. Check back for more information and photos about our trip!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Some Women Who Knew Bill Perkins

I just got an email from Brooks Applegate's wife Doddin. She has found two women who were mentioned in Bill's diary. They are sisters that are living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Bill was dating one of the sisters. And the other sister married Bob "Bogey" Chamberlain, Bill's best friend in high school. I can't wait to meet them and find out more about Bill and his life in Michigan.

Our cameraman is now going to join me on this trip. It is obvious there is going to be a lot more happening than I originally planned. I could sure use his help. We will now be flying in to Chicago on August 23(my birthday) and then driving to Grand Rapids. We are meeting with my Aunt Ila and her husband Fred on the 24th. That night will be a drive up to Portage Lake. We will meet some of Bill's relatives on the 25th. We will stay two nights at Portage Point Inn to shoot the lake. We drive back to Grand Rapids on Sunday night and will shoot some places that Bill went to during the rest of our trip.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Other Places I Hope to Find and Videotape in Michigan

My mother, Clarice Franklin, has just sent me about two dozen scans of photos she found in one of the albums of Gordon(aka Ed) Perkins, here second husband. There many great ones from the summers Bill and Ed spent at the cottage near Portage Lake. I hope to find these places when I get to Michigan and take photos to see how much has changed.

Bill, George and Jack Bernard at Portage Lake

Back porch of the Perkin's cottage

Jack Bernard and Bill on Portage Lake

Friday, August 10, 2007

Donation to a Memorial Football Field

This is letter to Bill's grandmother, Mary, sent after his death. This refers to some kind of memorial that includes Bill's name. I hope we can find this in Grand Rapids. It must be somewhere near the East Grand Rapids High School.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Plans for the Michigan Trip

I am planning my trip to Michigan. Bill Perkins went to East Grand Rapids High School. I think he graduated in 1938. The Grand Rapids Main Public Library has a local historical department and I hope to do some research. They tell me they have a few yearbooks from this high school in the 1930's. I hope to find some more photos of Bill in those yearbooks.

These are a few of the places Bill spent his time in the 1930s. Many bands played at the Pantlind Hotel and Bill loved Big Band music. The home where Bill lived had to be sold after the death of his grandfather, Judge Willis B. Perkins. Buth's Ice Cream Shop was one of Bill's favorite hangouts during his high school years. I have a scrapbook that he kept during high school. He tells of dates he's gone on, achievements in sports, big bands he travels to see, dances he attends. It seems like a much simpler time. I hope we can find these places when I get to Michigan.

The Pantlind Hotel



Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Michigan Trip to Research Bill Perkins

I just arranged my flight and rental car for my trip to Michigan. Unfortunately, our team will not be able to join me on this trip. I am planning on meeting with Brooks Applegate, II and his son Brooks, III. Brooks, III has been helpful in arranging our meeting.

We have plans to meet him up at a cottage near a lake called Portage Lake. George Bernard, one of the men we interviewed in Portland last year, spent his summers as a kid near this lake and knew Bill Perkins. He is now a priest in Portland. He mentioned a few stories about Bill.

One of the stories involves a local landmark called "Angel's Slide". It is some kind of sand dune where the kids would run down. It is very steep and you could lose your balance easily. I hope I can find it.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Nathan Glick - Artist

Life in the Transport Hold, Nathan <span class=Glick" style="" border="0" height="298" width="378">

Life in the Transport Hold, Nathan Glick

I recently found this image of an Ink and Watercolor Drawing by Nathan Glick. He spoke to us about this piece of artwork during our interview in Portland. If anyone has any more artwork by Nathan Glick, I would be very interested in seeing some of his other work.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

July 4, 2007

Today would have been Bill's 87th birthday. He was born on July 4, 1920. I have the last birthday card his grandmother sent to him during the war. Unfortunately it was returned to her because by the time it reached up to his fighter group, he had already been killed. July 4, 1944 would have been his 24th birthday.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Completion Date of Documentary Pushed Back

We have realized we are going to have to push back the estimated date of completion for our documentary. After much thought, it seems that the final version will not be completed until Summer 2008. There is much work to be done in the editing stage because we have so much great material. We have over 30 hours of interviews and I want to be able to find the best pieces to put together and do the best job possible.
The good news is that I will be attending the final 354th Fighter Group Reunion in Ohio. We will be able to interview the men who we have not interviewed yet. (We have had to cancel the remainder of the trips we were going to take this summer to interview some of the men at their homes. We are hoping to interview these men at the reunion instead. It is much more cost effective this way.) Also by pushing back our deadline, we will be able to apply for more finishing grants.

We are planning to update this website with video files of more complete sections of the film as they are finished being edited.