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Greatest Generation Member Tribute & His 2 "Birds"!

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  • Greatest Generation Member Tribute & His 2 "Birds"!

    In 2010 Tom Tabor ~ Original Goldbird joined the Forum with his beautiful 1960 Gold Convertible Squarebird. He was active until 2012. In 2017 at the age of 89 this Member Of The Greatest Generation became, in the words of radio operators around the world, a "Silent Key", and passed away. He was a WW II B-24 Radio Operator and side Gunner, often attacking across Europe, and the Ploiesti, Rumania oil fields which supplied fuel to Hitler. Their raids helped shorten the war due to reducing the supply of oil products on which Hitler's forces relied upon.

    He possessed a passion for 2 "Birds" in his life, 1 a B-24 Liberator Bomber named "Ole Maude". He was assigned to the 15th Air Force, 55th Bomb Wing, 485th Bomb Group, 828th Squadron, at Venosa, Italy. She got he and his crew back safely from 40 Missions and 25 Sorties over Europe. (There are 3 Missions in each Sortie!) It was rare for a crew to be with the same aircraft that many Missions back then. Many crews went through any number of aircraft due to enemy fire damage or damage on landing back to base. You will see an old photograph of "Ole Maude" and other pix that Tom Tabor, Jr ~ Gold Bird, to us on the Forum, has provided me with.

    Being a gunner on a B-17, B-24 or B-25 was one of the most dangerous positions to man. Worst was probably that of a Ball Turret gunner underneath a B-17. Enemy fighter pilots concentrated on who was shooting back at them, knocking out the gunner positions, the pilot & co-pilot, and the fuel tanks. Tom flew 40 Missions and survived to talk about it, though he came within an inch of losing his life once when a shell went right by him and out the other side. Later they put a long rod through the holes, and had him take his seat back at his radio position on "Ole Maude". Apparently, he had just moved back ever so slightly right before the shell came through, or it would have gone right through him.

    Like many of our Greatest Generation, he did not do a lot of talking about his wartime duty with his family and friends according to Tom Jr. One of the stories he did tell Tom was one mission had them dropping bombs over Italy and one got stuck. His Dad took his parachute off, then climbed in the bomb bay door and kicked until it released. He always worried that it hit a house of someone who was just an innocent bystander.

    He remained in touch with some of his crew for many years until they were in their early 80's. Tom said his Dad was a great guy, very much to himself though. He has sent me pix of his Dad at 19 having joined the Air Corps, and later in full combat outfit from within his B-24.

    The other "Bird" in his life was the 1960 Beechwood Brown Squarebird Convertible he called "Goldbird". He dearly loved that "Bird" also. Tom Sr. bought his 1960 Gold Bird in October, 1960 and it has been in the family ever since. In 2007 Tom Jr. joined the Forum now with Gold Bird his responsibility in maintaining her and keeping her road worthy. He has been with us ever since.

    I can tell you this though, that due to changes in their lives, Gold Bird is now up for sale by Tom Jr. You will find it for sale in our For Sale/Parts Wanted Forum with pix and a description. This one family owned fantastic 1960 Gold Convertible Squarebird will be in need of a new home by someone who will give her the love and tender caring she received all her life.

    Here are pix of Tom Tabor, Sr., and what his B-24 would have looked like in color, with the Black Square on the tail, and the Yellow X below it. An indication that she was an aircraft belonging to the 485th Bomb Group of the 55th Bomb Wing, 15th Air Force. Each Air Force outfit had different tail images to identify which outfit they belonged to. The "K" tells you she was an aircraft of the 828th Bomber Squadron. If you would like to know more about the Missions the 485th Bomb Group and his Squadron participated in across Europe in 1944-1945 then click on, and then 485th Missions. I hope you enjoy the write up of one man's dedication to his Country and what he contributed too it...

    NOTE: In the course of talking with Tom, Jr., he sent me an article that his Dad had written, titled "This Is How It Was." This article was one of many that was included in a book by the same name. In the back of the copy of that book that his Dad had (which Tom has just sent me!) he found a letter that his Dad later wrote. It explains how the co-pilot of a B-24 next to his had exploded and he thought the co-pilot had been killed. Decades later, he found that he was still alive! They had an exciting phone call between them when they finally made contact all these years later.

    I had to downsize the copies of his article to get them to upload. However, if you right click on them and save them to whatever you are viewing the Forum with, you should be able to get a better copy to read. Thanks to Tom, Jr., for telling me about his Dad's military service. After his Dad returned to the States in 1945, he, like millions of others, were discharged from the Service, with the rank of Staff Sergeant. He went on to college under the GI Bill, met his wife to be and the rest is history!

    I just found the book "This Is How It Was" published by the 485th Bomb Group (H). It is a Limited Edition Book. $40 on one link, $65 on another like new! Written by Charles O. Morgan, Jr. Edited by Sammy Schneider. Written January 1, 1995 Hardcover... Sold out on the 485th Bomb Group website.. 328 pages. It is not cheap! Thanks to Tom, Jr. I am looking forward very much to reading it in a few more day!

    Amazon has it for $98.88!!!
    Last edited by YellowRose; March 23rd, 2022, 02:55 PM.

    Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
    The Terminator..... VTCI #11178
    Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or Call (Cell) 210-875-1411

  • #2
    Great back story to one of our country's heroes. Thanks for sharing this.


    • #3
      Ray, Many thanks for telling this story about my father, he loved his country , family and Gold Bird!
      sigpic1960 Gold Bird, original owner since new. tbirdregistry #3158


      • #4
        Ray nice tribute to Tom SR. We all thank him for his service.
        Dano Calgary,Alberta Canada
        Thunderbird Registry
        58HT #33317
        60 HT (Sold )


        • #5
          Tom, Sr used to take his Gold Bird to Florida when he was vacationing there. Here are some pix that Tom, Jr sent me! He always enjoyed driving it while there!

          Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
          The Terminator..... VTCI #11178
          Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or Call (Cell) 210-875-1411