JOHN STAVA
COMBAT PHOTOGRAPHER/GUNNER
5TH AIR FORCE

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visits since 28 April 2001

 

John Stava, served with the 5th AIr Force from May 1943 until June 1945, as a combat photographer/gunner. Initially he ran the Photo Lab at 5th AF HQ (Port Moresby, Nadzab), as well as flying select combat missions with various Bomber Groups (22nd, 38th, 345th, 3rd, etc.). In Nov 19'44 he transferred to the 17th Recon. Records show that he continued to be "freelanced" out to various bomber groups and shot many photos on those missions, some have been published, some not.

Robert Stava, his great nephew, now has about 300 photos that John Stava brought/sent back from the SWPA. Robert is planning publish them in a book.

 

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Taken by John Stava

Richard Ira Bong's aircraft "Marge" P-38J-15-LO Lockheed Lightning, #42-103993

 

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Taken by John Stava

Major Bong in the Philippines with Kenney and MacArthur. Probably taken
on 12 Dec 1944 when Bong was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour

The guys at 5th AF Photo lab did the blow-ups of Marge for Bong's P38 - he would drop in every month or so to get a replacement copy since they kept wearing off (or were lost in the occasional crash he had). Robert Stava donated copies of both these photographs to the Richard Bong Heritage Center in 2000 after contacting Marge Bong Drucker. She said she had never seen the two photographs before.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Robert Stava, great nephew of John Stava, for his assistance with this home page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information ?

 

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 Peter Dunn 2003

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This page first produced 28 April 2001

This page last updated 04 June 2004