The Oregon Air Guard and Victory over Japan

Eleven of Oregon's original Air Guardsmen had a relatively pleasant wartime reunion on the island of Biak, off the northwest coast of New Guinea in the Netherlands East Indies in late September or October of 1944. It was the first gathering between them since leaving Oregon's 123rd Observation Squadron for other air force assignments earlier in the war, as the Army Air Forces reassigned many 123d members to help build up other new air units. Representing five different outfits of the Fifth Air Force, they are (back row, from left), Sgt. Fred H. Hill (17th Reconnaissance Squadron (17RS)), Sgt.Onan S. Beasley, 1st Lt. John P. O'Keefe (a Military Police unit), M/Sgt. Joe H. Weber, S/Sgt. Anthony J. Flabetich, S/Sgt. John L. Donis (110th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron); (seated, from left) Sgt. Robert W. Casey (17RS), S/Sgt. Robert F. Wall (17RS), S/Sgt. John H. Sopjes (17RS), T/Sgt. Walter M. Barker (17RS) and Pvt. Jack L. Barton. The units the other men belonged to are unknown; there were several units based on Biak in this period, including the 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 345th Bomb Group (Medium) and the 475th Fighter Group. (142FW Archives)

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