Scrapbook: Loran Heeb Collection

The scrapbook of Loran Heeb

One of the items my grandmother gave to me after granddad Loran passed away was his scrapbook photo album. I would love to have been able to ask him about some of the vague photos and the story behind them. He had a few photos of three friends that were not members of the crew. Who were they? What was their story and where did they get assigned? Things like that.

I’ve tried to organize the photos into a bit of a timeline, but the sequence may be off a little. With the scrapbook, my grandmother also had a couple envelopes of photos Loran and his friends had taken at the base and in London, but had not been included in the physical scrapbook. I will probably add many of those separately, as they are a fascinating look at the antics and activities he was up to.

 

Training time

 

Gunnery School: Loran is back row, center. This was likely at Las Vegas Army Air Field.

 

Here is a small batch of photos that include three men that Loran must have palled around with early in training: Robert “Bob” Hickey, Ninzel “Ninzi” Skalrud and Dale Polasky. This may have been while Loran was still a Private, training near Las Vegas in 1943.

Robert “Bob” Hickey

Dale Polasky

Ninzel Skalrud

 

Ninzi and Bob

Ninzi, Dale and Bob

Dale , Loran , Nenzi and Bob.

Wording on wall says “CABINS TO RENT… By Day or Week… Lodging by Nite…”

 

Day pass for Loran to go to Las Vegas for a few hours on April 16, 1943…

… and another just a couple days later.

 

 

Amarillo, Texas

 

Loran wrapped up Airplane Mechanics training Nov. 15, 1943. Still as a Private First Class at this point.

 

Pyote, Texas

I believe the following shots were at Pyote, Texas. Loran is wearing Sgt stripes at this point. He has all the rank stripes in his scrapbook, except for Corporal (two stripes) so he may have jumped over that between Amarillo and Pyote.

 

Loran Heeb

 

Loran Heeb, Russell Hatchett, Albert Acuna and Jack Keller

 

Dahlgran in training. Loran’s writing on photo border suggests it may be Brown with his back turned.

Sign on building reads: “Combat Crew Detachment Supply”

 

Stevenson

Gordon Todd

 

From left: Ken Ramey, Loran Heeb, WJ Levitsky, Russell Hatchett, Albert Acuna and Jack Keller

And another shot after shuffling of characters.

 

Pyote, Texas, March 1944. Loran is now sporting S/Sgt stripes.

 

This looks to be one of the B-17F models used in training (no cheek window modifications), so this is likely Dahlgran in the co-pilot’s seat.

 

Formation flying at 10,000 feet. These Forts have large ID numbers on the tail indicating stateside training, and not at Rattlesden.

 

B-17 at a steep bank. It looks to be in the same batch as the photo above, so I am assuming this also was here and not at Rattlesden.

 

The fully-assembled Stevenson crew ready to leave Pyote and head for England

 

 

En route to Rattlesden

 

Loran’s 2-dollar bill Short Snorter, signed by the crew (though it looks like Loran wrote all the names) Stevenson, Dahlgran, Smith, Todd, Heeb, Ramey, Hatchett, Acuna and Keller.

 

ID card as he headed to Europe

 

Loran’s escape photo

 

 

Crewmates

AW Dahlgran, originally Co-Pilot, then Pilot

Dahlgran

Gordon Todd, Bombardier

Gordon Todd, Bombardier

CF Brown, Co-Pilot

Smith

 

Loran, Flight Engineer/Top Turret

Ken Ramey, Radio Operator

William Levitsky

William Levitsky

Russel Hatchett, Ball Turret Gunner

Jack Keller, Tail Gunner

 

 

The crew with a NMF plane, so may have been taken to mark when Dahlgran returned as Pilot for the crew.

 

Relaxing on base…

 

“No, granddad, tell us what you really think…”

 

There are a few other shots from this incident… and I think someone ended up eating a worm.

 

Hatchett

 

Dahlgran at Rattlesden

 

 

Not sure what Loran and Hatchett were up to

 

Killing time in the barracks, with accordion as accompaniment. Perhaps playing a round of Lilly Marlene (lyrics from Loran’s scrapbook)

 

 

On Leave to London

 

Hatchett, Acuna, Levitsky and Loran

 

Levitsky, Hatchett and Loran about to hit the town on a pass to London.

Levitsky, Loran and Acuna

Loran, Hatchett and Acuna… and that pesky middle finger again.

 

Acuna, (unidentified), Loran and Hatchett

 

Keller in London. By examining other photos taken at the same time, these are the steps at the base of the fountain in front of Buckingham Palace.

 

 

Finishing up

 

Handwritten listing his missions from a personal notepad. He also had a larger listing that fit better into the scrapbook itself.

 

Loran had a variety of foreign money in his scrapbook. I have no idea if there was special significance attached to them or if they were simply souvenirs.

 

 

Back in the States

 

Loran in Spokane, Wash, indicated as May 9, 1945. I believe this may be the hospital where he convalesced for several months.

 

Closer to home: Loran’s coach ticket from Carlsbad to Hobbs, N. Mex., in August 1945.

 

Loran had saved all the insignia from his uniforms, except there was nothing for Corporal (two stripes). I don’t have any photos of him wearing two stripes, as he was already a Sergeant in the photos taken at Pyote

 

Army Air Force patch

Private First Class

 

Sergeant 

Staff Sergeant

 

Tech Sergeant

Eighth Air Force patch

 

 

Years later

 

Loran’s name badge from attending the 50th Anniversary of the B-17 July 27, 1985 at Boeing Field in Seattle. There were a huge amount of veterans in attendance, and we had several tables representing the 447th BG. One treat was dining with his Bombardier Gordon Todd. There were so many others that I wish we had kept a record of everyone there.

There are several photos of our day at the 50th Anniversary and Dinner posted on the Events page.