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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.


bong05.jpg (39799 bytes)
Taken by John Stava

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


bong06.jpg (40611 bytes)
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.



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?


"Australia @ War" Research Products

I need your help


 Peter Dunn 2015


Please e-mail me
any information or photographs

"Australia @ War"
8GB USB Memory Stick

This page first produced 28 April 2001

This page last updated 02 September 2018