456th Bomb Group History

 Stornara Airfield and Encampment

Located near Cerignola, Italy

 

 

Stornara Airfield, Home of the 456th Bomb Group: 744th, 745th, 746th and 747th Bomb Squadrons.

An approach view. Note the aircraft in line for takeoff, one on the runway. This shot obviously taken during a group form-up for a mission.


A direct bird's-eye view. 

See layout map below. Note separate aircraft of the squadrons are visible around the main runway.


A visit to Stornara in 2004. The following comes to us from Steve Soper & Susan Vandenberg (she is a daughter of Tunis VandenBerg). The link takes you offsite to a great series of photos from a visit to Stornara where the original 456th headquarters building is still standing. Also, they visit with Vito Campagna and his family. Vito worked for Col. Steed during the time the 456th was stationed in Sotrnara.

TUESDAY 2 MARCH 2004 – Today’s the big day, the primary reason Susan and I have come to Puglia. We head off for Stornara – a rather compact bustling little agricultural town just west of Cerignola, about two hours’ drive from where we are staying in Fasano which is midway between Bari and Brindisi. The day begins overcast. It rains off and on pretty much the entire day with breaks of very cold and windy temps.  

Ed Moore, a member of the bomber crew which Susan’s dad belonged to during the war, has given us a couple of contacts in Stornara prior to our leaving the US. By e-mail we had arranged to meet with Luisa Tampone and her grandfather Vito Campagna and they will show us the location where the 456th US Air Force Bomb Group was located in Stornara during the war. Susan’s dad was a navigator on a B-24, which was stationed in Stornara and Vito worked for the camp commander Col. Thomas Steed on the air base during the war.  

We arrive in Stornara in the midst of market day and cannot find the meeting place. Since we had the foresight to rent a cell phone we call Luisa and about five minutes later we are together and on our way to the airfield.

 There is little left of the old field since the vast majority of the land has been turned to agricultural uses and the buildings which had been used by the bomb group HQ are pretty much abandoned now – particularly the former HQ of the colonel commanding the base which had apparently been at one time the palazzo of local nobility and is pretty much in ruins. But Vito has brought his personal archives along – newspaper clippings, documents and letters that he has received from various members of the men who served here during the war, items which he cherishes a great deal. As a young many he worked for the Americans during the war and obviously it was a watershed in his life.

 We drive further on down into where the airfield used to be located and where Vito now has an absolutely wonderful garden: olive trees, apricot trees, fig trees, grapes, artichokes, tomatoes, just about everything one could want or hope to have in a garden. As we come to find out his family rarely if ever buys vegetables, and they put up their own sauces, limoncello, grappa, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes in oil, etc.

 From the old airfield it’s a short drive back to Vito’s house in Stornara where we meet one of his two daughters, Franca (Luisa’s aunt) and where we have coffee and continue to look over all the things Vito has held on to over the years in regards to the bomb groups which were stationed at one time or another in Stornara. His smile is infectious and his openness and warmth toward us as he laughs draws us immediately to him. The joy he seems to derive from being around other people, no matter if they are strangers or not, reminds me so much of my own father whose sole purpose in life is also designed to simply enjoy the company of others. daughter of Tunis VandenBerg.

Stornara Visit Photos   Be sure to use your browser's back button to return here - this link takes you to another website!


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Created 2/20/02 RJF
Last Edited 04/21/2004 RJF