Sgt. Joe Crossan Engineer/Gunner

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A Crossan Gunnery School Colorized

Joe Crossan in gunnery school

Joe Crossan in gunnery school

His hat and medals are among Joe’s most prized possessions.

IMG_20160619_085526 IMG_20160619_0937011

An intro from Joe Crossan; “I am now 91 yrs old. I landed at A59 on Jan, 1st 1945, and joined the 344th bomb group 494th bomb squadron. My first experience was that one of the groups was taking off on a mission and one of the planes lost an engine and crashed on the runway, caught fire and blew up. It was not too good a 1st experience. I flew 21 missions before war ended. At that point in the war we were not appointed to any one aircraft, but do remember, the Feudin Wagon as a 494th aircraft but don’t remember how many times I flew in her. I was the flight engineer and tailgunner. As such, I got to see everywhere we had been and the bombs hitting the ground.”

“I finally found Feudin Wagin on your Facebook page. I didn’t realize that it was assigned to the 495th, then I read your photo caption telling about it being sent to be repaired after flak damage and being reassigned to my squadron, the 494th, I flew several missions in her and I guess because of her nose art I became attached to her. As I told you, I came into the 344th on the 1st of Jan. 1945. I was with them until Nov, 1945. There are only 2 of our crew left alive at this point. William Poche, of New Orleans, La, is the other besides me. After the war, I finally found and wrote to all of them. My pilot was Donald O’keefe, who died of a massive heart attack on his way home to California, year unknown. My copilot was Jerome Simms, of Baltimore, Md., who died of Alzheimer’s in the 1990s.  Our bombardier was LLoyd Mellius, the oldest of our crew, who died of military disease, I learned this from his sister, what ever that was . I dont know what year.

I stopped in Wisconsin on a trip in 1953  to see Steven Millet, Our armorer/ gunner, who became a flight instructor and was killed sometime after I saw him. A student pilot flew into him and both went into high tension wires.  William Poche, our radio/gunner is now 94 yrs 0ld and became an optometrist in New Orleans and we still talk on the phone from time to time. Finally is myself now 91 on my last birthday, 4-3-2016  , I was engineer/tailgunner. Hope this will help a little, Joe.”

Joe Crossan's Induction Notice

Joe Crossan’s Induction Notice


Joe Crossan's Photo album Cover

Joe Crossan’s Photo album Cover


Basic Training

Basic Training: Far left is Joe Crossan at basic in Gulfport, Miss. Thether 4 were friends.


A Crossan Crew Shreveport

Our crew photo taken at Barksdale field  Shreveport, La. in 1944  Left to right 2nd LT. Donald Okeefe  2nd LT Jerome Simms  2nd LT Lloyd Mellious SGT Joseph Crossan   Sgt  William Poche  Sgt  Steven Millet  we were only corporals when this photo was taken.


At Gulfport Field

At Gulfport Field


Gunnery School Cards

Gunnery School Cards


Mechanics School

Mechanics School


Flight log while still in training

Flight log while still in training


A runway crash occurred soon after Joe's arrival at A59.

A runway crash occurred soon after Joe’s arrival at A59.

“I took this photo just after we landed at A59 on Jan. 1st, 1945.
The squadron was taking off on mission. One B-26 lost an engine on take off. It crashed on runway, caught fire, and finally blew up.”


Missions out of A59 Cormeilles En Vixon #1 - #2

Missions out of A59 Pontois, France #1 – #2


Missions 3 - 13 out of Pontois, France

Missions 3 – 13 out of Pontois, France


Missions 14 - 16 out of Pontois, France 17-21 out of Florenes, Belgium

Missions 14 – 16 out of Pontois, France 17-21 out of Florenes, Belgium


 Limburg Issalls Eger Ascherleben

Limburg Issalls Eger Ascherleben


Tubingen Ulm

Tubingen Ulm


Copilot? You've Ad It

This could be Crossan’s co-pilot, Lt. Simms but he is not sure. He is standing next to “You’ve Ad It”


Noseart Composite 344th BG

Noseart Composite 344th BG


Crossan Composite18 These pictures were taken during a trip to New Orleans from Lake Charles airbase. The top right is Joe in Fullerton Junction, England.

Crossan Cormeille-en-Vexin, France; its code was A59

Joe Crossan at Cormeille en Vexon. Top: Joe Crossan with bombs. Bottom: Joe with his tail guns.



Crossan21421 Top left is a bridge at Cormeille-en-Vixen (known as A59). Middle left is the mess hall. Bottom left was the river in Cormeille-en-Vixen. The remaining pictures are the squadron in flight.


Crossan31823 The five small photos on left show the remains of two planes that collided on landing after a milk run mission. All aboard were killed.

Crossan32624 AAchen city: We took a trip to the front line for us to see what it was like to be on the ground at the front and some of the men from the front lines went back to our base to see how it was at our base .

Crossan35925 AAchen city: We took a trip to the front line for us to see what it was like to be on the ground at the front and some of the men from the front lines went back to our base to see how it was at our base .




Crossan45129 Top right: Sgt. Joe Crossan Bottom right: Joe with friends.Taken at Cormenillie en vixen, France Also known as A59.

Crossan50230 Top left: Crossan and Eiffel Tower  Top right: Joe Crossan

Crossan51131  Second row second picture: Joe with copilot, Jerome Simms




“Carl, you asked about the 2 ME 262 pictures at top of this set of photos. I did take those photos at our airbase at Schliessheim, Germany. No, that’s not me in the photo with the black fellow, he was just many of the men heading home from Germany. That’s why we were on the troop train. We had enough points to come home and this train was headed for the troop ship in Le Harve, France. I’m the one eating k-rations and smiling in the middle of that set of photos, the one to the right of me was just a friend.  Joe.”



Crossan144237 Me 262 taken after VE day after the 344th moved to Schliesshiem, Germany

E Crossan Willie the wolf


A note from Joe Crossan; “Carl, this is my escape map. measures 28 by 28 inches. When folded up it is just 4 by 5 inches and is made of silk or rayon so it doesn’t make any noise if you were in hiding and need to open it. It fit nicely in my flying clothes. I carried it on all 21 of my missions and hoped I would never have to use it!”

D Crossan 4x5 folded escape map39

Crossan Map correct40

D Crossan escape map41

E Crossan flights after the war ended42

“On one of our last missions I did see a Me 262 jet. It came out of 5 o’clock high and came right down through our squadron. I swear to this day it was German ace, Adolph Galland, but nary a shot was fired at us or us at him.”

E Crossan Me262 after war43

E Crossan Me262 after war244

Final Flight- 
The 344th BG mourns the passing of Joe Crossan

From obituary- Joseph E. Crossan, 95, of Coatesville, passed away the morning Monday, July 27, 2020 at Harrison House in Coatesville. He was the son of the late Everett T. Crossan and Laura W. Crossan (nee Griffith). Joseph was also the loving husband of 71 years to Gretna Jeanne Crossan (nee Thompson). Joe proudly served in the US Air Force during WWII. Joe joined the Air Force after graduating from Coatesville High School in 1943.

He earned five medals from his service. Joe’s love of airplanes continued after the service as he built and flew model airplanes. Joe also enjoyed photography, writing daily in his journal, and spending time with his loved ones. Joe also loved animals and especially dogs. In addition to his wife, Gretna, Joseph is survived by his daughter Barbara Stanford (Michael); grandchildren (Beth Haines, Husband Gregory and Lisa Stanford); great grandchildren (Ryan and Kate Haines); sister, Clara Bicking as well as nieces and nephews.