Friends of DeRidder Army Air Base
Beauregard Regional Airport (KDRI)
1220 1st Ave,  DeRidder, Louisiana 70634
337 463 8250                                                    
409th Bombardment 
409th Bombardment Group at DeRidder Army Air Base
This photo of the 642nd Bomb Squadron, 409th Bomb Group, 9th Air Force was taken at DeRidder with the tower and hangar in the rear of the photo. This hangar is now the main terminal of the Beauregard Regional Airport (KDRI).
The airplane is an A-20.
Left to right: 1st row: James Heyward, Glen Gerring, Lewis Stocking, Thomas Sammons, William Daner, William Coppeak, Jay Adelblue, William Holmes, George Hicks, William Cook  2nd row: Richard Bills, William Ryan,  Ed Clements, Michael Walek, Donald Closson, William Hayden, John Moon, Rex Winn, Eugene DeChene, Charles Hunton, Kaye Morrison, Lewis Pratt, William Guajardo   3rd row: Joe May, Robert Nason, Henry Wickman, Gerald Autin, Charles Gustafson, Michael McEvilly, Robert Downing, John Moore, Walter Conner, Earl Wheeler, Robert Gordon, Emanuel Peters, Charles Greer, Bernard Kononik
As told by James Heyward.....We were assigned to the European Theatre, starting out at Saffron-Walden in England. After D-Day and after the Allied Forces progressed past Paris, we moved to an airbase just south of Paris and then, later to Laon.  Our missions were in support of ground troops in that we attacked rail marshalling yards, bridges, V-1 bomb sites, etc behind enemy lines---anything to harass the enemy and keep them from reinforcing their front lines with personnel and supplies.  In the latter part of World War II our group was equipped with the more advanced A-26 light bomber.
We operated at medium altitudes of around 14,000 feet with some low level ventures against marshalling yards.
In the Battle of the Bulge, our group sent six planes for a low level attack on the German tanks----our first and only attempt to strafe tanks---and we lost five our the six.  In the above photo, RIchard Bills and his bombardier-navigator Michael McEvilly were among those five lost in this operation.


409th ; 642nd at DAAB