B-25 Mitchell, 41-13180, and crew were assigned to the 487th Squadron of the 340th Bomb Group. On April
6, 1944 the plane was crippled by flak over the target,
Perugia Aerodrome in central Italy, and was last seen spiraling earthward with 4 chutes. On
January 13, 1950 three crewmembers were buried in Section E Site 226-227 of the Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery.
Gerald U. Ashmore, Pilot Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
Julius W. Ikner, Gunner Zachary Taylor Nat’l
Sgt Jesse S. Klein, Tailgunner Zachary Taylor Nat’l
Hamilton E. Finney, Copilot Returned
to his Squadron
George L. Simpson, Bombardier Returned to his Squadron
Bernard A. Burton
Returned to his Squadron
The copilot 2nd t. Hamilton E. Finney, the bombardier 2nd Lt. George L. Simpson and the radio
gunner Cpl. Bernard A. Burton all bailed out and returned to their squadron.
The aircraft, 41-13180, flew its first
mission on March 27, 1944 and was shot down a week later on April 6, 1944. It is presumed this was originally a 12th Bomb
Group plane that was left when the 12th left for the CBI and was a replacement
for the planes lost on March 22, 1944 when Vesuvious blew her top and destroyed all of the 340th BG planes on the ground.
The volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius on March 22nd,
1944 caused more physical damage to the 340th bombardment group than the German air raid was to inflict two months later at
Alesan Air Field on the island of Corsica. Indeed, 88 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers were covered in hot ash which burned off
the fabric control surfaces and glazed the Plexiglas. Planes were tipped onto their tails from the weight of the ash. All
88 B-25s were completely totaled.
February 13, 2011
First let me tell you how much I enjoyed viewing your site.
My name is Alan Schneider. My distant cousin, Sgt. Jesse Klein was a tail gunner who flew with a B-25 crew shot down
and killed in Italy. He is mentioned on your Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Page 5. My dad, Jesse's first
cousin, had mentioned him in passing and even visited his grave at Zachary Taylor Military Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky.
Your site is the first time I ever saw Jesse's name listed anywhere on the net. I have tried to find out
about him in the past but really did not know how to go about it. My dad, who passed away in 2008, never spoke about him or
his own WWII days (US Navy). I am wondering if you would have any idea how to find further information on Jesse Klein. We
were not really that close with my dad's family, so contacting them would be nearly impossible. Any ideas or further information
you would have would be greatly appreciated.
name: Janet Dethick April 18, 2012
Jesse Klein and Alan Schneider
comment: I have been trying to contact Alan Schneider with information about his relative
Jesse Klein but he is not responding - presumably my email is ending up as spam. Would it be possible for me to get in touch
with him through you? I belong to a committee in Umria Italy which is trying to contact the realtives of the men on Jesse's
April 21, 2012 Frank Grube
Alan Schneider and Janet Dethick are communicating now. I am glad I could help!
|Info on Jesse|
||11/10/2014 8:11:41 P.M. Pacific Standard Time|
A few years ago we emailed back and forth regarding Sgt Jesse S. Klein.
Because of your site I have gotten in contact with a cousin of mine I have not
seen in over 50 years. We were from different sides of the family and I am 8 or
10 years younger.
My cousin and I spoke for a long while on the phone about
and of course Jesse. I gave her Janet Dethicks email and they have corresponded.
I and Janet both have a picture of Jesse now.
None of this would have been possible without your website.
Thank You ever so much.
Sgt. Jesse Klein USAAC, April 6, 1944, crash, Perugia
Date: 7/22/2015 11:12:54 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
CC: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Re: Sgt. Jesse Klein USAAC This B-25 Mitchell, 41-13180, and crew were assigned to the 487th Squadron of the 340th Bomb
Group. On April 6, 1944 the plane was crippled by flak over the target, Perugia Aerodrome in central Italy, and was last seen
spiraling earthward with 4 chutes.
Dear Janet and Frank,
Through Frank's website (http://flgrube1.tripod.com/id234.html) and with the help of Alan Scheider, I was able to locate
Jeffery Klein, Jesse Klein's nephew. Over 45 years ago I came to possess Jesse's Purple Heart and Air Medal but as of today
(July 22, 2015) the medals are in the hands of the rightful owner, Jeff Klein! The attachment provides a fuller description
of how this came about.
COL (ret) Louis Pomerantz
In the course of doing genealogy research, tracing my parents'; respective families, I took an excursion. My paternal grandfather,
Louis Pomerantz, for whom I am named, died in 1940. Sometime in the 1940s, my widowed grandmother, Paulie, married a widower,
Ben Klein. After Ben died in the late-1960s, my grandmother decided to move from Florida, returning home to New York. My
grandmother's possessions ended up at my parent's; home on Long Island.
While unpacking boxes, I came upon a Purple Heart and an Air Medal, both inscribed "Jesse Klein". I asked my
father who Jesse was and he told me Jesse was Ben's son and Jesse was shot down over Europe during World War II. I was enrolled
in Army ROTC at the time the medals came into my possession. Since there was no contact with any of Ben's relatives, the medals
remained with me. For about 47 years, I have kept and treasured Jesse's medals. As a retired Army Colonel, who never had the
chance to serve in a combat zone, I appreciate the ultimate sacrifice Jesse made for his Nation and I understand the significance
of the medals, awarded posthumously, to Jesse's father, Ben.
While researching my family genealogy I decided to search for;Jesse Klein WW II aviator; and was surprised to find websites
with information detailing the incident that took 24 year old Jesse's life. On one web site, a distant cousin of Jesse, Alan
Schneider, posted a request for any information about Jesse. I contacted Alan via e-mail and a few days later I was rewarded
with a reply. Alan had forwarded my name and contact info to Jesse's nephew. Serendipity struck; as I closed Alan's e-mail
a new e-mail appeared, this one from Jeffrey Klein, Jesse's nephew and namesake. After a flurry of e-mails, followed by a
telephone conversation, Jeff and I bonded. We became family, though we do not share a common ancestor. Jeff put me in contact
with his older brother Art and he and I also have exchanged e-mails and we've spoken.
On July 22, Jeff and I and our wives met. Though we wanted to connect and get to know one another, I had another mission:
to transfer a Purple Heart and an Air Medal to Jesse Klein's nephew.
Subject: Re: Sgt. Jesse Klein USAAC, April 6, 1944, crash, Perugia
Date: 7/23/2015 1:19:43 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time
It is a pleasure to hear from you again. As far as I am concerned please publish all of it. I hope this might encourage
others to take the time and answer inquiries. Because of your site, three people sharing a common interest have been brought
together. As far as I am concerned Lou is also family, as is Jeff who is my cousin. The greatest pleasure I have is knowing
that a true hero is not forgotten. Before I contacted you several years ago I ran into dead ends everywhere. Because of you
Jesse will not be forgotten. I think that is the most satisfying feeling from this endeavor.
This B-25 Mitchell, 43-36192, “Jaunty Jo,” and crew were assigned
to the 498th Squadron of the 345th Bomb Group. They were shot down over Formosa by flak on May 26, 1945
with no survivors. Two crewmembers were buried on August 16, 1949 in Section E Plot 96 at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.
1/Lt Lloyd E. Bodell Unknown burial location
2/Lt Robert J. Knauf Honolulu Memorial Cemetery
2/Lt Martin H. Mulner Honolulu Memorial Cemetery
Sgt Tennyson C. Harrell Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
Cpl Harold O. Montville Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
B-25 Mitchell "Jaunty Jo," serial number 43-36192, 498th Bomb Squadron, 345th Bomb Group, 5th Air Force (Far East Air Force)
was struck by hidden antiaircraft artillery just after deploying 250-pound parachute-retarded demolition bombs on the Byoritsu
Alcohol Refinery in Formosa. The cockpit has been torn open. Seconds later the plane crashed, killing the entire crew: Second
Lieutenant Robert J. Knauf, Second Lieutenant Martin H. Mulner, First Lieutenant Lloyd E. Bodell, Corporal Harold O. Montville,
and Gunnery Sergeant Tennyson C. Harrell. The plane was one of 16 B-25s that were attempting to deny the Japanese the ability
to process synthetic fuel from sugar cane. Byoritsu refinery was hit in March, May and July 1945.
The 345th Air Apaches
The 345th Medium Bombardment Group, "The Air Apaches" were widely known
in the Southwest Pacific theatre. Their brightly painted Falcon (498th Sqdn), Bat (499th Sqdn), Bat (500th Sqdn) and Panther
(501st Sqdn) Mitchell B-25 twin engine bombers flew at low level, often at tree-top height. Converted to gun nosed B-25's,
with up to 12 forward firing fifty caliber machine guns they were well respected and feared by the Japanese. Used in conjunction
with the heavy firepower were parafrag bombs, bombs using parachutes to allow the bomber to move away to a safe distance before
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, the 345th entered combat on June 30, 1943 from New Guinea.
Missions flown were:
|Air Force Assigned to:
||5th AF (April '43 - end of WWII)|
|Stations flown from:
||Port Moresby, New Guinea|
||Dobodura, New Guinea|
||Nadzab, New Guinea|
||San Marcelino, Luzon|
||Clark Field, Luzon|
B-24 Liberator, 42-78608, and crew were assigned to the 376th Bomb Group. On a mission to Szomebathely, Hungary
on December 6, 1944, the aircraft fell out of formation 15 miles SE of Maribor, Yugoslavia. The plane crashed and there were
no survivors. On August 9, 1949 five members of the crew were buried in Section E Site 98-99 at the Zachary Taylor National
1/Lt Beck, Donald E
S/Sgt Burbick, William
S/Sgt Rhyne, Marvin L
T/Sgt Ross, Edwin S
S/Sgt Banfield, Tunis G
B-17 Superfortress, 42-29747, "Rikki-Tikki
Tavi II," and crew were assigned to the 527th Squadron of the 379th Bomb
Group. On January 5, 1944 the plane had an accident taking off in the darkness from a base in England and the ten crewmembers
perished. The target was the port facilities at Kiel, Germany. On April 28, 1949 seven of the ten crewmembers were buried
in Section E Site 35 at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.
2/Lt Dale C. Killion, Pilot
2/Lt Paul R. Chamberlain, Copilot
2/Lt Robert L. DeGroff Jr, Navigator
2/Lt Remy Bourque, Bombardier
T/Sgt Earl Crumpton, Gunner
S/Sgt Kenneth R. Matlack, Gunner
Sgt Victor R. Morphonios, Gunner
Weiss, Tailgunner Buried at the Cambridge American
C. McIntyre, Gunner Buried at the Cambridge American Cemetery
S/Sgt Harry E.
Hancock, Gunner Buried at the Cambridge American Cemetery
All Missions Flown By: Dale C Killion
Of The 379th Bomb Group 527 Squadron
Missions Flown: 4
This information was provided by:
Elizabethtown, Kentucky 42701
Hancock, Harry Edward, b Aug 23, 1919 d Jan 5 1944. Killed in B-17 action over
Germany, Staff Sgt., US Army Air Corps. Buried in Cambridge Cemetery, Coton, England. Plot F, Row 3, Grave 101 American Military
Cemetery. The 527 Bombardment Squadron was part of the 379th Bomb Group (Heavy) of the 8th Air Force at Kimbolton, Huntingdonshire,
England. He was a ball turret gunner on the crew of 2/Lt Dale C Killion. According to 379th database records he flew 4 missions
and was killed in a mid-air collision on a mission to Kiel, Germany bombing the port facilities. The collision occurred near
C(h)atsworth with a 303rd Bomb Group plane, tail number 23-1441. Entire crew was lost (Bomb Group mission #56). His last mission
was in an aircraft named Rikki-Tikki Tavi II, B-17G serial number 42- 29747. Relatives said that Sgt. Hancock, a turret gunner
on a Flying Fortress, was participating in his fourth raid over enemy-occupied territory when he lost his life. He entered the Air Force in Mar. 1942. The flier received training with the A. A. F. at Lowry Field, Colo.,
Key Field, Miss. and at Pyote and Dalhart, Tex. He was graduated from the flexible gunnery school at Tyndall Field, Fla.,
last Dec. 1 and was assigned to duty in England a short time after. Buried in Cambridge Cemetery Plot F, Row 3, Grave 101
American Military Cemetery.
42-110115, “Drunkard’s Dream”, and crew were assigned to 531st Squadron of the 380th
Bomb Group at Murtha Field, Mindoro in the Phillipines. On June 18, 1945, their aircraft failed to get airborne and exploded
at the end of the runway. No one survived. Three crewmembers were buried on January 20, 1950 in Section E Plot 242 at the
Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.
S/Sgt Albert, Lonnie L.,
Gunner Zachary Taylor Nat’l
2/Lt Ostapowski, Henry L.,
Bombardier Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
S/Sgt Rollings, Harry D,
Photographer Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
Swan, Jay W., Copilot
Abbott, Smith M., Flight
Adams, George P., Gunner
Altig, Gerald H., Radio Oper Manila American Cemetery
Bain, Henry F., Jr., Gunner Manila American Cemetery
Barb, Joseph C., Gunner
Connaughton, Joseph B., Jr.,
Plotkin, Edward I., Navigator
This B-24, 42-99981, crew was shot down by flak on April 5, 1944.
They were assigned to the 406th Bomber Squadron of the 801st Bomb Group. They were buried in Section
E Plot 143 on August 30, 1949 at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.
William W. Nicoll, Pilot Buried overseas at the Brittany American
W. Kalbfleisch, Copilot Survived
Richard C. Bindel, Flight Engineer Zachary Taylor National
Warren A. Brewer, Radio Operator Zachary Taylor National Cemetery
Thomas F. Davis, Bombardier
Zachary Taylor National Cemetery
William G. Harris, Navigator Unknown burial location
Ralph L. Kittrell, Tailgunner Unknown burial location
E. Porter, Gunner
Monument at: Truttemer-le-Grand (Calvados), France
This was their first flight as a crew on the night of 5/6 April 1944. Kalbfleisch and Porter
survived the downing and successfully evaded until they were returned to the UK in August of 1944.
This B-24 Liberator, 42-73418, and crew
were assigned to the 343rd Squadron of the 98th Bomb group. They were shot down on December 19, 1943
over the Trentino Region of the Italian Alps. They were buried on August 5, 1949 in Section E Plot 93-95 at the Zachary Taylor
O. Patton, Pilot
N. Pleshko, Copilot
2/LT Earl M. Johnson, Navigator
S/Sgt Albert L. Collins, Jr. Engineer
S/Sgt Leon D. Susaman,
Sgt William R. Hunter, Asst Engineer
Sgt Karl R. Frants, Asst Radio Operator
James A. Miller, Jr. Gunner
Sgt George L. Simmons, Gunner
T/Sgt Gregory B. Crock, Gunner
This B-24 Liberator,
42-40402, “Sandman,” and crew were assigned to the 345th Squadron of the 98th Bomb Group.
The “Sandman” was shot down on December 19, 1943 with no survivors. On December 9, 1949 seven of the ten crewmembers
were buried in a group grave in Section E Plot 224 at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.
S/Sgt Freeze, S A, Ass’t Engineer
S/Sgt Hundley, Forrest D, Ass’t Radio Operator
1/Lt Napierala, Stanley W, Navigator
2/Lt Smyser, William M, Copilot
1/Lt Viers, John W, Pilot
S/Sgt Washburn, Curtis C, Gunner
T/Sgt Hagberg, Theodore N, Engineer
T/Sgt Jacobson, Paul L., Bombardier
Florence American Cemetery
T/Sgt Marshman, William O., Radio Operator Florence
S/Sgt Van Heyingen, Francis L, Gunner
The Viers' Crew
went aboard "The Sandman" the first time Sunday 19 December 1943. Returning from the mission destination of the Messerschmitt Plant at Augsburg,Germany enemy fighters were encountered. “Sandman” went down in flames
with none of the ten crewmen surviving. The crash site was located in the Italian Alps near Suedtirol
and the Alta Badia Valley.
This B-24 Liberator, 41-24026, “Baby,” and crew were assigned to the 344th
Squadron of the 98th Bomb Group. They were shot down by flak on August 21, 1943. Four crewmen were buried on January
24, 1950 in Section E Plot 228 of the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.
2nd Lt. Kenneth L. Minnich
Pilot Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
2nd Lt. Martin B. Cook
Copilot Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
2nd Lt. Charles
2nd Lt. Paul Marks Bombardier
T/Sgt Lloyd A Peterson Engineer
Richard P. Wallace Asst. Eng.
T/Sgt Enrico C. Pugliese Radio Opr.
S/Sgt Thomas O. Varner
Asst. Radio Sicily-Rome American Cemetery
S/Sgt Edward L Fracasso Gunner Sicily-Rome
S/Sgt Donald L. Bennett Asst. gunner Zachary
Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
S/Sgt A.C. Holman Sicily-Rome
S/Sgt C. L. Franck Zachary Taylor Nat’l