Connell's Special - Sgt. James J. Riley

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kabernathy
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Joined: 17 Aug 2022 2307

Connell's Special - Sgt. James J. Riley

Post by kabernathy » 17 Aug 2022 2318

Would love to find out more about my great-uncle James J. Riley. I recently acquired the attached photo of him (on the right) and figured I would share.
Fam108.jpg

Bob Tupa
Posts: 31
Joined: 14 Nov 2019 2103

Re: Connell's Special - Sgt. James J. Riley

Post by Bob Tupa » 05 Nov 2022 1853

Seems like your uncle was part of the Art Rogers crew when he commanded the 90th and who was the reason for the name Jolly Rogers.
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BBWallyHigginbothamLeftJimRileyRT.jpg
Rogers_Document.jpg

Bob Tupa
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Re: Connell's Special - Sgt. James J. Riley

Post by Bob Tupa » 05 Nov 2022 1929

BBJimRiley.jpg
Jim Riley

Bob Tupa
Posts: 31
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Re: Connell's Special - Sgt. James J. Riley

Post by Bob Tupa » 05 Nov 2022 2134

From Col Rogers' memoirs.

One of my waist gunners, Sgt. Riley, had been a staff car driver in the City of Brisbane
before he convinced me he came over to fight the Japs and not to drive Colonels around. When I
asked him where he came from he replied, “Out of a coon hollow in Tennessee.” He told me he
had hunted and shot guns all of his life and had volunteered, giving up a job driving Greyhound
busses, to come over and fight Japs and instead had ended up driving a five passenger staff car
for a bunch of Colonels. He thought this was quite an injustice and knowing that I was second in
command, at that time, of a combat outfit he insisted that I give him a chance to personally kill a
few Japs before coming home. It was impossible for me to turn him down he was so sincere and
36
after contacting two headquarters I had him transferred away from his soft living into the jungles of
New Guinea. There was never a time that I regretted making the effort to get this transfer
approved.

kabernathy
Posts: 2
Joined: 17 Aug 2022 2307

Re: Connell's Special - Sgt. James J. Riley

Post by kabernathy » 08 Nov 2022 0846

Thank you for sharing, Bob! Where might I find a copy of Col. Rogers memoirs?

Bob Tupa
Posts: 31
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Re: Connell's Special - Sgt. James J. Riley

Post by Bob Tupa » 08 Nov 2022 1113

Crew credit for enemy planes shot down.
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credit15.jpg

Bob Tupa
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Re: Connell's Special - Sgt. James J. Riley

Post by Bob Tupa » 08 Nov 2022 1114

Page one of the crew credit order
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credit1.jpg

Bob Tupa
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Re: Connell's Special - Sgt. James J. Riley

Post by Bob Tupa » 08 Nov 2022 1115

Crew credit last page
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credit81.jpg

Bob Tupa
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Re: Connell's Special - Sgt. James J. Riley

Post by Bob Tupa » 08 Nov 2022 1125

The significance of Connell's Special is that it is the first B24 with a nose turret in combat.
In 1942 Art Rogers noted the problems with the glass house socket guns in the nose of the B24 and was working on putting a turret in the nose while station at Willow Run just prior to deployment to Hawaii.
In The Wartime Journals of Charles A Lindberg he talks about facilitating a meeting between Major Rogers and Mr. Ford that started the process where 24s were manufactured with nose turrets.
Connell's Special had a nose turret installed in theater in Australia so your uncle was part of this.
Attachments
BBNoseTurret.JPG

Bob Tupa
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Re: Connell's Special - Sgt. James J. Riley

Post by Bob Tupa » 08 Nov 2022 1139

Second historical note for Connell's Special

Rogers in his memoirs says that he felt the olive paint was of no value. The crackled paint and the weight of the painted was detrimental to the performance so he had the paint removed from his plane and was able to demonstrate an increase in performance which resulted in the B24 being manufactured without the olive paint. They were originally hesitant to deploy the plane in combat because it would standout and might get more attention from the Japanese.

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