Z SQUARE 7, A B-29 TRUE STORY

Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 17

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Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Pages Introduction
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Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - B29 Superfortress
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Lt Robert Copeland, copilot, Z Square 8
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C. Douglas Caffey on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
C. Douglas Caffey With More on PTSD
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Ivan Fail's "The Saga Of The Superfortress"
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This B-25, Mitchell, was assigned to the 500th Squadron of the 345th Bomb Group.  On June 15, 1945, after completing the run over Okaseki Airdrome, Formosa, the plane was hit and immediately went in on a rice paddy exploding on impact.  S/Sgt Walter J. Bacher was buried at the Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery at Site E017 on January 28, 1949.

 

 

1/Lt GEYER, James J                        Pilot         Honolulu Memorial

 

2/Lt ROE, John W.                   Co-Pilot      Honolulu Memorial

 

2/Lt WORMAN, Robert E.            Navigator      Honolulu Memorial

 

S/Sgt HARTMANN, Roy W.                Engineer           Unknown

 

S/Sgt BACHER, Walter J.             Radio Operator     Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

 

 

HISTORY OF THE
500TH BOMB SQUADRON (M)

The 500th Bomb Squadron ("Rough Raiders") -- one of four squadrons of the 345th Bomb Group (M) -- was activated at Columbia Army Air Base, South Carolina on 11 November, 1942.  After training in the United States and Australia, combat operations of the 500th Bomb Squadron began in New Guinea in June 1943.  Shortly after flying a few combat missions against the Japanese at medium altitudes, the squadron's B-25 "Mitchell" bombers were converted to strafers and, for the remainder of its existence, the squadron flew low-level strafer-bombing missions.  From New Guinea, the squadron continued its combat operations "island hopping" northward, winding up against the Japanese homeland itself in early August 1945.

The 500th Squadron used the following major bases (not including staging bases) in its move northward: Port Moresby, New Guinea; Dobodura, New Guinea; Nadzab, New Guinea; Biak, N.E.I.; Tacloban, Leyte. P.I.; San Marcelino, Luzon, P.I.; Clark Field, Luzon, P.I.; Ie Shima, Ryukyus Islands.  The 500th was deactivated at Ie Shima on 11 November, 1945.

During  the three years of its existence in World War II, the 500th contributed well to the following overall combat record of the 345th Bomb Group:

       10,609   Sorties
      58,562   Combat flying hours
       6,340   Tons of bombs dropped
  12,586,000   Rounds of ammunition expended
         177   Planes lost
         588   Personnel lost on flights
         260   Japanese vessels destroyed
         275   Japanese vessels damaged
         260   Japanese planes destroyed on the ground
         107   Japanese planes destroyed in the air
   

COMMANDERS OF THE
500TH BOMB SQUADRON

Charles M. Hagest    11 Nov 1942  to  29 Mar 1944
Keith E. Dougherty   29 Mar 1944  to  28 Aug 1944
Max H. Mortensen     28 Aug 1944  to  21 Feb 1945
Thomas R. Bazzel     21 Feb 1945  to   5 May 1945
Robert B. Canning     5 May 1945  to  11 Jul 1945
Robert F. Todd       11 Jul 1945  to  25 Oct 1945
William G. Paukovich 25 Oct 1945  to  11 Nov 1945

500th Bombardment Squadron

The 500th Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 345th Bombardment Wing, based at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. It was inactivated on 25 June 1959.

History

Established as a B-25 Mitchell medium bomber group in late 1942; trained under Third Air Force in the southeast United States. Deployed to the Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO), in June 1943 being assigned to Fifth Air Force in the Southwest Pacific Area. Engaged in combat operations initially during the New Guinea Campaign, attacking enemy targets in New Guinea in support of General MacArthur's campaign, using B-25s for low-level strafing attacks. B-25s were modified with extra fuel tanks to increase range with extra .50 caliber machine guns installed in the noses of the aircraft. Squadron engaged in combat over New Guinea, the Bismark Archipelago, Northern Solomon Islands, the Southern Philippines and Leyte. Also flew long-distance attacks over Southeastern China and Formosa before the Japanese Capitulation in August 1945. Squadron demobilized on Okinawa during the fall of 1945, inactivated on 19 December.

Reactivated in 1954 as part of Tactical Air Command. Equipped with B-26's and later with B-57'S. Trained to maintain combat proficiency in locating, attacking, and destroying targets from all altitudes and under all conditions of weather and light including deployment to Dhahran Airfield, Saudi Arabia 16 July-21 October 1958. Inactivated on 25 June 1959 as part of the phaseout of the B-57.

Stations

 

 

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This B-25 Mitchell, 41-30326,was assigned to 448th Squadron, 321st Bomb Group, 57th Wing of the 12th Air Force. On December 2, 1943, the bomber went down in flames after a direct flak hit to the gas tank.  2/Lt Richard Abbe and S/Sgt John Paschel were buried at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Section E208 on December 14, 1949.

                       

                        2/Lt Paul I. Clark    Pilot               POW

                        Maj. James P.”Jimmy” Bates    Copilot      POW

                        2/Lt Richard A. Abbe                Navigator   Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

                        Capt. Robert H. “Brownie” Brown     Bombardier   

                        S/Sgt Harold V. Terho            Engineer - Gunner

                        S/Sgt Henry F. Lewis             Radio- Gunner

                        S/Sgt John W. Paschel Gunner         Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

 

 

2/Lt Abbe and S/Sgt John W. Paschel were Killed In Action on 02 December 1943 during a Bombing Mission on a Road Bridge Northwest of Chieti, Italy, Just 25 Miles North of the Front Lines. The Plane, Flying in the Lead Position, Took a Direct Flak Hit to the Gas Tank, Exploded, and What Was Left, Went Down in Flames. The Pilot, 2/Lt. Clark and The Co-Pilot, Major Bates, Somehow Survived, But Were Captured By The Enemy, And Held As Prisoners Of War. They Were Later Returned. 2/Lt. Richard A. Abbe and S/Sgt. John W. Paschal Were Buried or Memorialized TOGETHER at ZACHARY TAYLOR NATIONAL CEMETERY.

 

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Thursday, 2 December 1943

 

USAAF Chronology: MTO Tactical Operations (12th AF): B-25's, A-20's, and RAF light bombers support ground forces in the Monte Trocchio area, and other B-25's, A-20's, and RAF and SAAF airplanes support ground forces near Sant' Ambrogio; more B-25's hit bridge and approaches near Chieti; fighters strafe trucks and trains while fighter-bombers blast gun positions along the US Fifth and British Eighth Army fronts, and hit harbors and shipping along the Yugoslav coast at or near Omis, Drvenicki, Trogir, Vrbnik, and Ston.

 

HQ 321st BG War Diary: The first mission of the month was flown today, our planes taking off to bomb the road bridge northwest Chieti about 25 miles north of the front lines. The formation was scattered due to the lead ship being hit by flak just before the target. The east approach was believed to have been hit. Two of our planes failed to return from this mission; both were shot down by flak at the target. Major Bates was pilot of the lead ship which was shot down and Lt. Clark was his co-pilot with Captain Brown, group bombardier, as bombardier. The loss of these men is deeply felt throughout the Group. It will be difficult to replace them. A second mission was flown today against the road bridge at Chieti with better results. The east approach was hit and direct hits were made on the road to the west of the bridge. Numerous near misses were made on the bridge itself.

 

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Mission Report # 163, 2 December 1943

1.       321st Bombardment Group (M), 447th & 448th Squadrons.

2.       At 0840 23 B-25s took off to bomb road bridge NW of Chieti. One returned early. 20 dropped 113x500 lb. bombs with 1/10 and .025 second fusing at 0940 hrs. from 8500/9500 ft. 20 returned at 1030. Two lost due to flak. One parachute seen. Axis of attack 287.

3.       Lead ship was hit by flak and exploded on bomb run, forcing formation to scatter. No hits on bridge but hits believed made on E approach.

4.       Flak--------Heavy, intense, very accurate, tracking, within radius of 4/5 miles of

target. Positions noted 1000 yards N of target and 1000 yards NE in field. Flak loss intense to N and E of target. One report that after flak burst, spiral trail of smoke developed. 8 A/C holed.

Ground----Ship appeared to be B-25 on ground N of Ripatta at 41 54’ N, 15 14’ E.

Enroute and return---4/10 cumulus at 4000 feet.

Target------------------CAVU.

Flight leaders-------Major Bates, Lts. Clark and Beeson.

 

Number of sorties—22

Photos taken.

FRANCIS R. PEMBERTON,

Major, Air Corps,

Intelligence Officer

 

 

448th BS Mission Summary: (Ops Order 162/mission 161) Group Mission # 163: Mission # 126 (163): At 08:40 twenty three B-25’s off to bomb road bridge NW CHIETI, Italy. One returned early. 20 dropped 113 x 500 bombs at 09:40 from 5,500 – 9,500 feet. Twenty returned at 10:30. Two planes lost due to flak. Lead ship hit by flak and exploded on bomb run, forcing formation to scatter. No hits on bridge but some on E approach. Flak: Heavy, intense and very accurate. 8 A/C hit. Weather: 4/10th cumulus at 4,000 feet enroute. CAVU at target. No E fighters. F/L: Major Bates and Lt. Clark (lost)

 

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Eyewitness Accounts: Feeley, Walter C., Jr., 2Lt, bombardier, navigator, 448th BS

448th Bombardment Squadron (M) AAF

321st Bombardment Group (M) AAF

APO 520, US Army

We (42-64514) started in on the bomb run - flak increasing very strong and accurate for about (4) minutes - we were doing evasive action and I happened to glance at the lead ship in the lead element to see if they were dropping their bombs - I saw the lead ship hit as the bomb bays had just opened - the plane instantly burst into flames - and slid off to the left and crashed in front of the primary target Chieti bridge.

Walter C., Feeley Jr.

2nd Lt., Air Corps

Bombardier

 

 

Eyewitness Accounts: Joli, William H., 2Lt, pilot, 448th BS

448th Bombardment Squadron (M) AAF

321st Bombardment Group (M) AAF

APO 520, US Army

On the 2nd of December, 1943, during a combat mission in which our objective was a road bridge at Chieti, I observed the following -- My position in the formation was 1st Flight, 1st Element, number three ship, placing me (42-64521) on the left wing of ship # 41-30326.

At approximately 0930, just before our point of release, ship # 41-30326 suddenly burst into a great sheet of flames. It held its position momentarily and then veered off towards me. In order to avoid a collision it was necessary for me to pull my ship up sharply. The ship then passed underneath me and the heat from it was felt in my ship. The stricken ship was last seen in a steep diving turn enveloped in flames. Evidently the ship received a direct hit in its left wing gas tanks, spreading ignited gas over the entire ship and surrounding air. There was a small concussion from the exploding gasoline, but no parts were seen to disintegrate from the ship. From what I observed, it is my opinion that it was impossible for any of the crew members to escape because of the intense heat, and altitude of the ship when last seen.

WILLIAM H. JOLI,

2nd Lieut., Air Corps,

Pilot.

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Eyewitness Accounts: Cook, Bailey C., Lt Col, pilot, Operations Officer, HQ 321st BG

HEADQUARTERS 321st BOMBARDMENT GROUP (M) AAF

A P O 5 2 0

Office of the Operations Officer

U. S. Army,

Dec. 7, 1943

SUBJECT: Conclusions as to use of parachute.

TO : Whom it may concern.

1. As a result of interrogation of personnel participating in combat mission of morning of Dec. 2, 1943, it is to be concluded that a parachute was seen to be used by a member of one of the two aircraft lost on this mission.

2. It is not possible to state definitely from which of the two aircraft the jump was mad, due to conflicting reports of eye-witnesses.

BAILEY C. COOK,

Lt. Colonel, Air Corps,

Operations Officer.

 

 

 

Eyewitness Accounts: Bates, James P. "Jimmy", Maj, pilot, Commander, 448th BS

INDIVIDUAL CASUALTY QUESTIONNAIRE

(Some time after liberation from POW)

Lt. Clark bailed out before myself. The plane was wildly spinning to earth and we each experienced difficulty leaving through the top hatch.

 

ABBE, Richard A., 2nd Lt., 0-793082, Navigator: Bailed out - parachute aflame - according to German Officer - near Chieti, Italy. The information that I received on Abbe was that his body was found, badly burned, apart from the wreckage, and that his rip cord was pulled but his chute was burned up.

 

BROWN, Robert H., Captain, 0-727308, Bombardier: Body found charred in wreckage - Source German Reporting Officer.

 

TERHO, Harold V., S/Sgt, 37292739, Engineer: Charred body found in wreckage - Source German Reporting Officer.

 

HENRY, Lewis F., S/Sgt, 35330507, Radio Operator: Charred body found in wreckage - Source German Reporting Officer.

 

PASCHAL, John W., S/Sgt, 13066066, Gunner: Charred body found in wreckage - Source German Reporting Officer.

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Eyewitness Accounts: Clark, Paul I., 2Lt, pilot, 448th BS

INDIVIDUAL CASUALTY QUESTIONNAIRE

(Some time after liberation from POW)

Maj James P. Bates escaped the same as I - through hatch directly overhead. As far as I know the following were in the plane when it crashed - Brown - Terho - Henry - Paschal. Brown in nose - rest in rear. The nature of the accident prohibited my seeing any of the crew, except the co-pilot, following the explosion.

 

ABBE, Richard A., 2nd Lt., 0-793082, Navigator: German officer informed me that the body of Lt. Abbe was found with a Burnt parachute away from the plane. I assumed he jumped and his chute was burned so as to be ineffective. This information came to me while in a German hospital the same day as the crash.

 

BROWN, Robert H., Captain, 0-727308, Bombardier: Capt. Brown apparently couldn’t reach an escape hatch and crashed with the plane. According to a German Officer, Killed in plane - Wreckage of plane contained 3 or 4 bodies.

 

TERHO, Harold V., S/Sgt, 37292739, Engineer: My assumption is that Terho crashed with the plane. The anti-aircraft shell exploded in the rear and may have thrown him out. He was tail gunner. I believe the 3 men in the rear were killed by the explosion.

 

HENRY, Lewis F., S/Sgt, 35330507, Radio Operator: I believe Henry was killed by the explosion.

 

PASCHAL, John W., S/Sgt, 13066066, Gunner: I believe Paschal was killed by the explosion.

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This C47, 43-48602, was assigned to the 91st Reconnaissance Squadron (91RS) of the 311th Reconnaissance Wing (311RW). The plane was enroute from Asuncion, Paraguay to Montevideo, Uruguay when it crashed on December 3, 1945, 10 miles southeast of Carlos Pellegrini, Argentina in the wild Argentina-Brazil-Uruguay border country (MACR 16004). The C47 was operated by the United States Air Force with 5 crew members and 9 passengers. All 14 occupants died in the crash. On May 10, 1948, nine people were buried in the Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery Section E003-006.

 

                   Schweitzer, Richard W            T/Sgt

                   Leopold, Theodore H             PFC

                   Gilcher, Zake W                    1/LT

                   Kellogg, David S                   CPL

                   King, Earl S Jr,                      1/LT

                   Michelsen, Orville A               1/LT

                   Nunemaker, William B            1/LT

                   Roberson, James R,               SGT

                   Klein, Reuben                        1/LT

 

The 311th began its existence in February 1944, at Bolling Field, Washington D.C. and operated in the United States for its entire active period. Subordinate units, however, between February 1944 and August 1945, deployed to diverse areas of the world such as Africa, the Middle East, the China Burma India Theater, Mexico, Canada, Alaska, and the Caribbean. The 91st Reconnaissance Squadron mainly flew missions to South America in timeframe when C-47 crashed.  After World War II, the 311th transferred to the Strategic Air Command and in March 1946 became its primary reconnaissance organization being designated as a division two years later.

   

91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron

U.S. civilian and military leaders were concerned with Nazi Germany’s preoccupation with South and Central America. In order to prepare for possible hostilities in our own backyard, the military planners needed accurate charts and maps of all of these regions. Millions of square miles were virtually unexplored and uncharted. The 91st was given the tremendous task of getting this job done through aerial photography.

                       

The 91st flew throughout South and Central America and the Caribbean. Staging from Ramey Field, Puerto Rico, aircraft and crews were sent on “TDYs” all over the northern portions of South American continent and Central America.                                          

                      

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This C47, 42-23492, and crew were assigned to the 44th Troop Carrier Squadron of the 316th Troop Carrier Group. The plane was shot down on July 10, 1943 and crashed 3 miles inland from the Gulf of Gela near Vittoria. There were no survivors. On June 24, 1949, the four crewmembers were buried at the Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery Section E80.

 

Sgt Leonard, John M              Radio Operator

Capt Lichliter, Lawrence D    Pilot           

F/O Powlowski, Harry R            Copilot

T/Sgt Thornburg, Olin J,              

 

As the 316th approached Sicily, the crews sighted numerous ant-aircraft bursts at Ponte Olivo, Gela, and Licata. Some crews also reported that ground fire was light and inaccurate, and appeared to be erratic and spasmodic. Gela, itself, was on fire and around it was a perimeter of light anti-aircraft fire.

 

Although assumed to be a “milk run,” two aircraft from the 44th Squadron were shot down. The plane piloted by Captain Lawrence D. Lichliter, a/c 42-23492, exploded in mid-air killing the entire crew, FO Harry R. Pawlowski (CP), T/Sgt Olin J. Thornburg (CC), and John M. Leonard (RO). It was later surmised that the plane was hit by ground fire in one of the parapacks which was carrying ammunition or explosives.

 

The Facts – 1943

 

The German and Italian forces were beaten in North Africa and the high brass agreed to invade the soft underbelly of Europe by attacking the island of Sicily, that could be used to attack Italy itself and try to bring the Italians on allied side. (which happened in September 1943).

 

D-Day for operation was set for 10 July 1943. A total of 226 C-47s and C-53s loaden with paratroopers of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, B Company 307th Airborne Engineers, 456th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, the 3rd Battalion 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment plus several miscellaneous units (like navy liasion teams) took off from fields in Tunisia for their flight to the dropzones in southern Sicily, the dropzones were located east of the village of Gela in the Gela plain. There was a strong western wind and the paratroopers were landing even many miles beyond the actual dropzone. As soon as the men landed they went to their targets, set up road blocks and attacked the enemy where ever they could.

 

A total of eight [8] planes were shot down by the Germans and Italians. The remains of the crews were first buried in temporary American cemeteries at Comiso airport, at Gela or at Licata and were later reburied at the American Cemetery Paestum/Mount Soprano, before the men finally found their last resting place either in the Sicily-Rome cemetery at Nettuno [south of Rome] or they were repatriated and were buried in a cemetery in the United States.

 

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