The Crew


Black Thursday

Stalag 17B

The March

Jake Martinez's logbook

World War II Memorial

In Memorial Of

Paul's Sentimental Journey

The Mighty 8th

Keep the Show on the Road
Paul Spodar

This web site is dedicated to my father Paul Spodar and his fellow crew members of the United States Army Air Corps of the 384th Bomb Group who fought in WWII on the European front. 

Paul Spodar was born in Cleveland Ohio. He was inducted into the United States Army Air Corps on October 24, 1942. He did his basic training in Atlantic City N.J., Gunnery school in Ft. Myers Florida and Armament school at Lowery Field Colorado. After several other camps, Staff Sergeant Paul Spodar and his fellow crewmates were transferred to Grafton Underwood England where they joined the 384th Bomb Group, 547th Squadron. They flew five missions before being shot down on October 14, 1943 (Black Thursday) on the bombing raid of the ball bearing plants in Schweinfurt Germany. All were captured except one in Alcace Lorraine. They spent the remainder of the war in Stalag 17B. They were liberated by American troops in May 1945.

It wasn’t until about a decade ago that my Dad was willing to talk about the war. During my childhood my Dad kept in contact with most of the crew, others took until his twilight years to find. But during those early visits with his former crewmembers we (the family) were never privy to the reminiscing. In the 1990’s I used to help my Dad drive up from Florida (my Mom flew). During those hours we had together I brought along a little tape recorder and I finally asked him all the questions I longed to have answered. The following stories were taken from these taped conversations. Take a sentimental journey as you read about these brave men. Thanks to them and all the others that we still live in the Land of the Free. God Bless them all…

The following pictures are from my father’s Service Album. The Autographs of My Friends page has some of his crew. Jules T. Beck – “Don’t forget to keep the guns in shape or I’ll have to send an SOB!”  James J. La Croix – “Lots of the Best” Peter Sewiawski – “Keep’m Firing” Stanley Reuben  - “ Lots of Luck you, Need Ample ------” ( You can find out what the ample was by reading the story of Black Thursday)  

Putting up this website has been a labor of love and a journey. While doing research about my father’s planes that he flew on I have met many wonderful people. Those who are listed on these pages helped me understand what my father went though during the war.

It was also my wish that by putting up this site I might help someone else find out about a loved one who served in WWII. In the past 5 years that this site has been up and running I have been contacted by relatives of my father’s crew. Some were cousins and some were sons. Their relatives are forever eagles in flight and can no longer tell their story. This site will help tell it for them so that their families may understand.

Sharon   October 2006

I would like to Thank all the wonderful people who have helped me fill in the holes of my research. Tony Plowright in England… Thanks for helping this Yank! You have been an invaluable source of information.  Thanks to Ken McPherson 8th AFHS historian who also gave me a helping hand.  A Thank you to Neal Dillon who wrote “A Dying Breed, Courage of the Mighty Eighth Air Force" who helped me figure out everyone’s position in the aircraft. And to all the others who have reached out across the web to help me THANK YOU! This web site would not be here without you!

Another wonderful site to start one’s search of the 8th Army Air Corps is Fred Preller’s Mighty 8th Cross Reference Page.


This site was created By Fred in honor of his father and Uncle who served in the 384th and 95th respectively.  It’s a site that encourages people to visit British airfields, cemeteries, museums and memorials of the 8th. The site illustrates the structure of the 8th Air Force Combat elements during WWII. It presents photos and information on most combat units of the 8th Air Force to encourage people to remember the contributions of the people of the Mighty 8th.

November 2011 -  I have taken off the link to Steve’s site as it is no longer active however,  A Big Thanks goes out to Fred Preller for taking over The Mighty Eighth Message board. It is now called The NEW Mighty Eighth Message Board. It is a forum for exchanging information about personnel, aircraft, and units of the Eight Air Force during WWII. Also along with the active message board Fred has archived the postings from Steve’s site they are a read only no postings can be made but they are still informative. To view this site, go to: http://m8mb.preller.us/index.php  

Thanks Fred for a great research site!

A nother site that I personally used in the research of my father's military history was the National Archives in Washington D.C. their online services can point you in the right direction plus they have links to other sites that may help you in your research. On their website you can obtain military records, photographs and data on microfiche film ( you will need a microfiche reader or go to your local library many still have them. The library can print out a hard copy of the film.) Go to:  http://www.archives.gov/    Click on: Start Your Research.

Sharon 2010

A nice way to honor the military service of a loved one is through the WWII Memorial in Washington DC. Even if you don’t have a lot of information their name will be forever linked to the memorial. To honor a veteran go to: www.WWIImemorial.com Then click on WWII Registry from there you can either search the registry or you can register an honoree.

If you would like to read more about Peter’s escape and other stories of the men who flew the B17’s a good book is “The Bomber Boys True Stories of B17 Airmen”. This book was written by Travis L. Ayres. Mr. Ayres interviewed my father along with the remaining crewmembers for his book relating to Peter Seniawsky’s escape from Germany . It is with much appreciation to Travis Ayres that two crewmembers (Paul & Peter) were finally reunited after more than 60 years. For more information go to www.thebomberboys.com  

I have a remarkable story to tell about one woman’s search. The page will be dedicated to Jake Martinez ball turret gunner of Dad’s crew. If anyone has information about Jake's family please contact me.

Sharon 2005


A VERY special THANKS goes to my godson Derek. 

Who without his help this website would not be up and running.


This website was created by Sharon Spodar. All stories, photos and artwork are copyright © by Sharon Spodar and other contributors. It is strictly prohibited by law the unauthorized use of any images, text or photographs from this website without the consent of the webmaster.

If you have any questions, suggestions or to report broken links. Please feel free to contact the webmaster...Sharon @  SharTrek@hotmail.com                      

This page was last updated on Jan/19/2020