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LEON B. SPENCER RESEARCH TEAM
UNDER THE NATIONAL WWII GLIDER PILOTS ASSOCIATION
whose purpose is to provide and preserve Glider Pilot and Troop Carrier information in order to perpetuate the memory of those men,
their service to country, and to keep alive the information of the relatively unknown glider program of WWII.
Major Leon B SPENCER 1924 - 2016
WWII Glider and Troop Carrier Historian
Research Team Lead/Advisor
On December 28th 2017 the Association’s Research Team lost their beloved leader. Leon B. Spencer,
the National WW II Glider Pilots Association’s historian, was instrumental in developing the research team. He guided and
advised the team. He was a valuable asset to the team’s ability to verify details he knew by experience and or years of study.
He studied all aspects of the glider program and troop carrier history; training, combat, towing, snatching, construction of
the CG–4A glider, and the history of each troop carrier group. He wrote many articles on his areas of study and also wrote
many biographical papers on numerous troop carrier veterans and friends.
January of 2017 in memory of Leon we have named our team the Leon B. Spencer Research Team.
Starting in the Army Air Corps Leon graduated from Advanced
Glider Training at Dalhart, Texas (Class 43–4) in February 1943 as a Flight Officer. Twenty four years later Leon retired from the Air Force.
Leon is an expert in communication systems and was responsible for modernization of the communications systems in Air Force One.
Through both his first hand experience of being a glider pilot during WWII, as well as conducting research since then, Leon has
become a top historian in the area of WWII Troop Carrier and combat glider history.
In 2007 Leon received the Bickett Ellington Memorial Award
for outstanding service in the interest of the National World War II Glider Pilots Association, Inc.
Leon's many published works include:
26th Mobile Reclamation and Repair Squadron: A Concise History, 2002
Night Glider Retrieval in Burma, 2014. Co Author, Charles Day
They Flew into Battle on Silent Wings, 2010
WWII U.S. Army Air Force Glider Aerial Retrieval System, 2007
Development and Use of the Waco CG-4A Cargo Glider Decleration Parachute, 2003
Glider Tow Ropes: World War II Military Gliders, 2003
The Wizards of Crookham Common, 1999
We stand on his shoulders.
Leon B Spencer Research Team Members
Hans den BROK
International Director NWWIIGPA
WWII Glider and Troop Carrier Research.
For years Hans has been researching WWII Troop Carrier history with an emphasis on the Market and Varsity Operations.
He is a leading authority on C-47 and Troop Carrier missions in those operations.
In 2008 he wrote, Wings of Freedom;
Troop Carrier C-47 losses in Market Garden and the role of the underground movement. In 2014 he published his latest
book, Battle of Burp Gun Corner which is available through the Silent Wings museum.
In 2012 Hans was awarded the S. Tipton Randolph Memorial Award for
outstanding service in the interest of the
National World War II Glider Pilots Association, Inc.
Hans has reached out to help veterans and descendants research their WWII history and he is highly respected by his
colleagues and co-researchers.
In 2015 he was instrumental in getting a memorial placed at Hammenkiln honoring the Glider Pilots in the Varsity Operation. Hans also maintains a website with rich content about Troop Carrier missions, people, and stories, located at
Currently he is co-authoring with Adam Berry the book A Breathtaking Spectical and is writing small booklets that cover aboiut each mission on for
Troop Carrier Group.
National Secretary, Executive Council NWWIIGPA
WWII Glider and Troop Carrier Historian.
is the foremost expert in the science of WWII gliders, having extensive knowledge in both the manufacturing process as well as
practical use of the cargo (combat) gliders.
As a young boy living in Wilmington, Ohio, Charles watched gliders and tugs from Clinton County Army Air
Field which was the home of the Glider Branch Engineering Test and Experiment Base from 1942 to November 1945.
In 1997, Charles”s interest in the WWII glider test base was piqued by the Director of the Clinton County, Ohio Historical
Society. This renewed interest resulted in the writing of the book titled
Silent Ones, WWII Invasion Glider Test & Experiment, published in 2001, and the
continued research of the various USAAF gliders.
Charles has also written various articles including:
The XCG-17 Glider
VOO DOO was My Name
The Gibson Girls
The Fighting Falcons
CG-4A Glider Communications Systems
In 2009 Charles received the Bickett Ellington Memorial Award for outstanding service in the interest of the National World War
II Glider Pilots Association, Inc.
WWII Glider and Troop Carrier and Airborne Infantry Research.
For over 10 years Christian has been researching WWII Troop Carrier and Gilder Infantry history in the area of all major Operations in the ETO.
He was instrumental in getting a monument, Voormalige Amerikaanse Begraafplaats Son, where the temporary cemetery at Son was located,
Christian has researched the location of the 101st burial site and the locations of
glide pilots and C-47 crew members as well German soldiers. Monument Contact
WWII Glider and Troop Carrier: specializing in 439th Troop Carrier Group.
Chuck’s father, Captain Henry C Hobbs, was the Glider Officer for the 93rd Troop Carrier Squadron of the 439th Troop Carrier Group.
Henry flew Normandy ( Mission Hackensack) , Holland ( Operation Market Garden) and Wesel Germany ( Operation Varsity).
Chuck has spent the last several years researching his father's service record and has made two presentations at the annual Association’s
Chuck’s primary study is in the history of the 439th and its role in Normandy, Southern France, Holland,
Bastogne and Varsity. He is particularly interested in interacting with family members of 439th personnel to help each other learn more about the
service careers of our family members.
Bruce has studied the Varsity operation exstensively from the perspective of the 17th Airborne, particularly Landing Zone S. He has contibuted
greatly to the research of the glider missions. He has researched countless maps at the National Archives and stitching together the maps and anylizing them have
lead to new discoveries of combat historical locations.
Bruce is an accomplished photographer and uses these skills to photograph the aerial negatives,
textual files and film to get high quaility copies of technical media.
Bruce is also an editor for many of the NWWIIGPA publications.
Deputy Wing 1 Commander (Western U.S.) NWWIIGPA
WWII Cartography Analysis and Research
17th Airborne Research
Patricia is the web developer for the veteran’s website http:www.ww2gp.org under the guidance of Lt. Col. George Theis. She also created the online database
for the bio-files and updates the individual records based on the team's research.
Her area of study in the Troop Carrier Genre has been Bastogne, Redball, and Varsity.
National Wing Commander
In 2012 she discovered that veteran Bob Swenson had not recieved an overdue Bronze Star Medal for his participation in the Varsity Operation and arranged
with Joint Base Lewis McChord for a formal presentation.
In 2013 Patricia was awarded the S. Tipton Randolph Memorial Award for outstanding service in the interest of the National World War II Glider Pilots
As a thank you to the City of Ris Orangis and For the 70th Anniversary for the Varsity Operation she presented to the city the book she wrote,
Les Château de L’Aerodrome A-48; Foyers de Pilotes Amêricains Durant la Seconde Guerre Mondiale". This book was her research on the chateaus
used by the pilots of the 438th while they were stationed at air field A-48 (Bretigny, Fr).
She is also a contributor to the WWII Quarterly
An American College Goes to War
published in Winter 2013.
flight instructor Donald Ehr (left) discussing CG-4A Cockpit contol panel with Gary Striplin, 2012.
Gary has spent several years studying the 439th Troop Carrier Groups
involved in Operation Repulse (Battle of the Bulge) and Operation Varsity (Invasion of Germany).
His Father-in law is Chuck Berry who flew a glider into Bastogne on Dec. 27th 1945 and flew a glider into LZ-S Northwest of Wesel on March 24, 1945.
Gary has given several presentations on these two glider combat missions. Gary applies his keen analytical ability to
aerial photo interpretation and map reading.
a member of the National WWII Glider Pilots Association
WWII Cartography Analysis and Research
Supporting researchers include:
Ann Collins Adair (National Archives Contact), MD; Tom Martin, (expertise in 61st TC Group, 14th, 15th, 53rd, and 59th TC Squadrons), TX; Marc D. Sandall (spectialty 315th), CA; and Lt. Co. George Theis (flew glider in Op Varsity, 91st Sqd.), TX.