15th AAF, 456th BG, 745th BS, 304th Wing, Crew #13


These photos are presented through the courtesy of Mr. Rob Niess.  If you have any comments regarding this great set of photos please send him a note at:

My father, T/Sgt. Joseph J. Niess, and his crew were stationed in Stornara,                                                             Italy between April

and August of 1944.  He was radio op/waist gunner and completed 50 missions.  His crew flew the original "Phoney Express" overseas in April 1944.  He came up with the name for the plane, and painted the nose art on both aircraft, as well as his jacket which I still have.

The first "Phoney Express", shown here, was damaged by  flak after several missions (he was not on that one) and was scrapped for parts.  The "Phoney Express II" (s/n 44-51365) survived the remainder of his missions.

Crew of "Phoney Express"
Standing:  Lt. Paul Marler, Lt. James T. Cleary, Lt. Robert A. Millette, Lt. Arthur B. Crow
Kneeling:  Sgt. George E. Liddle, Sgt. Joseph J. Niess, Sgt. Joseph Foti, Harold G. Wright,
Thomas J. Raleigh, Frank C. Pufont

Nose Art painted by Sgt. Joe Niess
Sgt. Joe Niess with his art work
Sgt. Joe Niess at his waist gun position
"Phoney ExpressII"  
One of the first planes in the 456th that was not painted the typical Olive Drab.

Copy of Sgt. Joseph J. Niess' combat record including missions flown and targets in 1944

Sgt. Niess applying the finishing touches to art work on door of his tent.



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