About Restless Wings...

Welcome to RestlessWings, a historical research website dedicated to the men and women in the United States Army Air Force during World War II. It is here that you may climb aboard and journey back sixty years in time to spend a few passing moments with the memories of those members of the Army Air Force. You will hear their tales, read about their missions, and experince detailed air combat reports.

 

A Forward by Christopher C. Corwin, site founder.

 

Hello and welcome to Restless Wings!

In July of 2003, I never would have imagined that I would be at the helm of a website such as ‘Restless Wings’. It seems quite a long time ago that I began the ‘Bottoms Up Research Project’, a B-24 that disappeared in World War II with my great uncle, Lt. Wesley S. Kozenka aboard. The project, which is still on going, led me to the creation of this website. How did I arrive here? What is my purpose here? Well, that is an interesting tale in itself…

Dateline: June 1986

As a young boy growing up, I always remembered my grandfather talking about his brother Wesley who never came home from World War II. He never came home to his rural farm house because he was ‘killed in action’, a pilot shot down over some far away country. The family never spoke much about Wesley, as most of my family never knew him and those that did remained silent, possibly the denial of his loss was a cross much easier to bear than the simple truth reality presented in March of ’45.

My family never learned of the details surrounding Wesley’s death; his duty stations, what types of planes he flew, or where he was buried. His tangible memories were tucked away in a far corner of a dusty farm house attic. A home that would no longer await his arrival, hear his laughter or share in his joy. Wesley became lost, a second time, to history.

My grandfather died in July of 1986. My conversations with him about his brother would be no more. What little detail was left was now out of my reach, gone forever. Only Wesley’s pilot wings remained and a training photo of him sitting in a PT-17 Stearman, artifacts from his past that I treasured deeply.

Dateline: July 2003

I can still remember clearly that moment in July 2003 when I heard that whisper on a late summer breeze, telling me to search for his memory. I do not know why it came at the time it did (59 years after his B-24 was reported missing), nor do I understand the intensity that propels it, but it has guided me on this journey that I have embarked on and remains with me to this day. The great philosophers said that man has an instinctive desire for knowledge but this is so much greater, a ‘calling’ I now believe. A calling to do what, I have yet to discover. My only comfort is that I believe that I will one day know why I was asked to reclaim his memory and that of his crew and the Bottoms Up.

To date, I have made many wonderful discoveries into Wesley’s past. I have learned things about him that I never dreamed of and that I thought were lost to history forever. I have had the pleasure of speaking with dozens of veterans in numerous states, all who have provided background to Wesley’s service in the Army Air Force. Through my research, I have come to appreciate the sacrifices made by those who have served in the United States Army Air Force, and the families that they left behind. For my journey has been one filled with many wonders and surprises, never knowing what the dawning of a new day will bring to me.

Purpose of Restless Wings Website:

I founded ‘Restless Wings’ as a gathering place for veterans, family members, and those interested in learning about the men and women of the Army Air Corp and the Army Air Force. It is my sincere hope that we can jointly establish a ‘virtual museum’ at ‘Restless Wings’ filled with first hand accounts, photos, memoirs and other aids to history. Our forums will serve as the pipeline for family members to communication with veterans, pose research questions, share knowledge, and locate family members who served. It was only through my own personal research did I come to the realization that many of these veterans are making their final flights home and much information and history is being lost. I believe, that the next generation has a duty to preserve as much history of theirs as we possibly can so that we may hand it down to those who come after us for years to come.

For those veterans who are still with us, I ask you to contribute your histories, your tales and your photos of time served in the Army Air Force. Your detailed experiences will help family members and researchers understand through first hand accounts just what it was like to be in the Army Air Corp and the sacrifices made so long ago. For those who desire to learn, the hangar door is open, climb in the nearest aircraft and fly back into history with us.

Many airmen were lost in aerial combat. Their bodies can never be recovered, brought home, or given a marker to indicate their final resting place. However, their memories can still be reclaimed and preserved. These ‘restless wings’ can finally come home in our minds, our hearts, and in our families. Let us remember and honor them both here and in this free world they created for generations to come.


C.C. Corwin, May 4, 2004

*Christopher C. Corwin resides in Locust Valley, New York with his wife, daughter Madison and son James Wesley. He is a practicing attorney but would rather spend time flying on a vintage B-24 or studying his massive miniature toy soldier collection. Last count, he had over 3000 lead soldiers in his barracks.