Cadet William R. Staggs, USS Ranger, San Diego, 24th August 1937

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3 responses

  1. David Staggs

    Thank you so much for posting pictures of my Uncle Bill (Staggs). He will be 99 in November. I’m hoping to find some pictures of him taken for Life magazine by Horace Bristol around November 8-11, 1942 off the coast of North Africa when Bill flew from the USS Santee. If you have insight on accessing Life photos, please contact me. These are very touching and I appreciate your effort to find and post them.

    July 30, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    • I have a pic of your uncle bill from life magazine dated aug 25 1937. He was accepting a 100,000.00 check from life magazine for the old gold coast contest. My cell is 619-666-5228. It is a nice pic of him-he was 25 at the time. It is in a complete magazine in very good condition dated from 1937. Harpo marx is on the cover. My name is Doug

      April 29, 2012 at 5:31 pm

  2. Hello David,

    That is very cool to hear about your uncle. I am an American photojournalist and photo historian based in Japan. I have some information that can help you.

    First of all, Horace Bristol was not working for Life Magazine when he was on the USS Santee. Instead he was an officer, a lieutenant in the US Navy working under a special photographic unit which is now commonly referred to as the “Naval Aviation Photographic Unit”. You can easily find out more about this unit, just google their name. This photo unit was a small but elite group of photographers handpicked by the Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics. They had complete access to the Navy’s war effort and could come and go as they pleased. Amazing really.

    About the USS Santee, it was part of Operation Torch. This ship departed Norfolk on Oct 25, 1942 and sailed down the Eastern seaboard where it joined up with a massive convoy to cross the Atlantic. Operation Torch took place off the African coast in Nov 1942, the dates you mention above. If your uncle Bill most undoubtably flew missions in this operation. Sounds so interesting about him, could you ask him if he met or remembers Horace Bristol? If he does, I would really be interested in hearing what he has to say. One reason I think your uncle Bill met or knew Bristol was that while the pilots of the Santee were training in Norfolk for the mission, Bristol spent alot of time with them in Sept. 1942. He had such a good rapport with them that they easily invited him to join their mission. It was Bristol’s first major photo assignment for the Navy. I personally have original photos of the Santee taken by Bristol that I would be happy to share with you.

    To find more photos by Bristol and Operation Torch, a good place to start is the National Archives (www.archives.gov). They have the complete photo archives of the Naval Aviation Photographic Unit. They should be able to help you via correspondence, or if you are anywhere near the DC area you can make a visit. Also, I suggest you diligently search the web via google for the information provided above.

    Horace Bristol passed away in 1997. To know more about him, go to: http://www.horacebristol.com.

    Please let me know if you would like to correspond about any of this, I am so curious about your uncle and to know that some of the Santee’s flyers are still with us.

    All best,

    Torin Boyd

    Contact: photoscaimages (at) Yahoo dot com.

    October 16, 2012 at 12:00 am

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