Z SQUARE 7, A B-29 TRUE STORY

Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 21

Home
The Z Square 7 Crew
Z Square 7 Crew Families
Z Square 7 Crew Cemeteries.
Missing Air Crew Report
Z Square 7 Crew Military Funeral
Memorial Lt Eugene M. Thomas Jr (Marion, Al)
Memorial Lt Francis X. Glacken (Cambridge, MA)
Memorial Lt Norman B. Bassett (Cornell University, Ithaca, NY)
Marcia Bassett McGrattan
Memorial Sgt George P. Demers (Lynn, MA)
Memorial Sgt George P. Demers (Lynn, MA)
Peter & Lillian Demers/Charlotte (Demers) Fiasconaro
Memorial Sgt Louis A. Dorio (Clarksville, VA)
HIRE OUR VETERANS!
POW-MIA-KIA Ceremony
500th Bomb Group, 73rd Wing Honor Roll
Bill Mauldin With Willie And Joe
Father John McBride
S/Sgt Kenneth O. Eslick with Photo Album
Sgt Jesse S. Klein. 41-13180
Frank Farr & Merseburg, Germany
"Lili Marlene" The Song!
"Lili Marlene" The B-17
"Lily Marlene" The B-24
"Lili Marlene" The B-24
Ivan Fail Introduction and "Long Before The Guns And Tanks."
Ivan Fail's "Tribute to the Queen"
American Battle Monuments Commission - Cemeteries
American Battle Monuments Commission - Memorials
NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL
THE MARINE CORPS WAR MEMORIAL (IWO JIMA )
KOREAN WAR VETERANS MEMORIAL
VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL
M/Sgt Roy P. Benavidez, Vietnam Medal Of Honor
Frank Farr Poetry "November 2, 1944", "Old Men And The War", " Merseburg"
Some Pictures of World War 2
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Pages Introduction
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Crew Index
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 1
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 2
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 3
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 4
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 5
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 6
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 7
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 8
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 9
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 10
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 11
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 12
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 13
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 14
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 15
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 16
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 17
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 18
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 19
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 20
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 21
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 22
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 23
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 24
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page 25
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - B29 Superfortress
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - B26 Marauder
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - B25 Mitchell
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - B24 Liberator
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - B17 Flying Fortress
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - C87 Liberator Express
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - PBM-5 Mariner
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - A20 Havoc Attack Bomber
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - C47 Transport
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - P61 Black Widow
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - A26 Invader
GIVE OUR VETERANS JOBS!!
Ivan Fail's "The Tuskegee Airmen"
Airmen Medal Of Honor Memorial
Memorial Page #1
Memorial Page #2
Memorial Page #3
Memorial Page #4
Memorial Page #5
Memorial Page #6
The Navajo Code Talkers & Native American Medals Of Honor
Ivan Fail's "D Day, The Normandy Invasion"
B-29 Crew Positions & Specifications
About The Book
C. Clayton Thompson Bookseller
Ivan Fail's "When The Mustangs Came"
Contacts
Ivan Fail "The Eighteen Wheeler's Hymn"
Awards
Lompoc Veterans Memorial Building with photo album
Ivan Fail's "Against All Odds - Mission Complete"
Ford Tolbert by Sallyann
Ford Tolbert Pictures
A Tribute to Lt Raymond "Hap" Halloran
Lt Raymond "Hap" Halloran
Colonel Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, USMC, The Black Sheep Squadron
Lt Halloran Eulogy for Colonel Boyington
Omori POW Camp
Ivan Fail's "A Salute To Lt. Holguin"/ "Shoo Shoo Baby"
Great Bend, Kansas B-29 Memorial
General Lemay's biography including a B-29 nose art photo album
THE GENERAL AND MRS CURTIS LEMAY FOUNDATION
March 9 and 10, 1945 Over Tokyo
Lt "Hap" Halloran on March 10, 1945
General Earl Johnson
General Earl Johnson Biography
313th Bomb Wing Mining Missions
Lt Robert Copeland, copilot, Z Square 8
Pyote Bomber Base With A Photo Album
History of "Diamond Lil" With A Photo Album
History of "FIFI" With A Photo Album
"Hap" Halloran induction Combat Airman Hall of Fame
Blackie Blackburn with a photo album
Hap's Memorable Flight On FIFI
C. Douglas Caffey, A WW2 Veteran, Book Of Poetry
C. Douglas Caffey Collection Of Poetry
Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13
Page 14
Page 15
Page 16
Page 17
Page 18
Page 19
Page 20
Page 21
Page 22
Page 23
Page 24
Page 25
Page 26
Page 27
Page 28
Page 29
Page 30
Page 31
Page 32
Page 33
C. Douglas Caffey on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
C. Douglas Caffey With More on PTSD
C. Douglas Caffey Memorial Day Flying The Flag
C. Douglas Caffey Saying Goodbye To America
OUR VETERANS NEED WORK!
Pearl Harbor with Photo Album
The Pacific Theater
Battle of Saipan, Mariana Islands
Saipan Medals of Honor
Battle of Tinian, Mariana Islands
Tinian Medals of Honor
Battle of Guam, Mariana Islands
Guam Medals of Honor
Battle of Iwo Jima
Iwo Jima Medals of Honor
Cpl Ira Hayes, USMC
Battle of Okinawa
Okinawa Medals of Honor
Japanese Surrender
Navy Ships At Surrender Ceremonies
Ivan Fail's "The Saga Of The Superfortress"
Ivan Fail's "The Silent Sentries"
Last Page

starbar.gif

This B25 Mitchell, 43-27979, and crew were assigned to the 100th Squadron of the 42nd Bomb Group. The plane was hit with Japanese anti-aircraft during a low-level bombing mission on Kendari Airfield on Celebes Island. There were no survivors. On August 16, 1949 all the crewmembers were buried at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery at Site E145-146.

 

2/Lt John W. Magnum        Pilot

2/Lt Clarence W. Acker      Copilot

2/Lt Thomas W. Quinn       Navigator

Cpl Philip Arkus          Radio Operator

Sgt Carl Snyder        Engineer

Cpl Wallace E. Hough   Gunner

 

They took off from Sansapor Airfield (Mar) in Indonesia and crashed after a low level bombing mission on Kendari Airfield on Celebes Island. The entire crew was presumed to perish. An eyewitness recalled in an after action report: "It is believed that the aircraft was hit in the right engine just after dropping its bombs in the target area. The plane was observed to slowly settle while on fire. It crashed and exploded on a ridge 6,000 feet west of the target area P-1 at Kendari. The bombay doors were still open when the plane exploded. There was no chance for any of the crew to escape alive. "

 

Relatives reported that Lieutenant Quinn had completed his rotation and was due to be redeployed back to the United States. The CO asked if he would volunteer for two additional missions. He was a B-25 pilot, but filled in as the navigator on the doomed flight.

 

On January 11, 1945, large numbers of B-24s, B-25s, A-20s, and fighter-bombers concentrated on communications targets throughout Northern Luzon and attacked airfields, communications, and town areas in Southern Luzon, the Central Philippines , and on Mindanao. B-25s and P-38s attack Kendari Airfield but lost B-25J 43-27979.

starbar.gif

This B25 Mitchell, 42-87296, “Montana Maid,” and crew were assigned to the 17th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the 71st Tactical  Reconnaissance Group. They took off from San Jose Airfield located at the tip of San Jose on Mindoro. Experiencing heavy rains, the plane ran out of fuel attempting to reach Tacloban Airfield on northern  Leyte. On September 30, 1949, they were all buried at Zachary Taylor Memorial Cemetery at Site E160-161

 

2/LT Gadnes, Robert J         Copilot

S/SGT Allmon, Robert L         Engineer            

S/SGT Davies, William E Jr   Gunner              

1/LT Kennon, Van         Passenger                

1/LT Vowell, Burwell M,         Pilot         

S/SGT Smith, James C         Radio               

1/LT Hershey, Richard L.           Navigator

 

 

TUESDAY, 26 DECEMBER 1944

 

SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA [SWPA, Far East Air Force (FEAF)]: B-24s pound Clark Field on Luzon Island; on Mindanao, B-25s hit Matina Airfield, shipping in the Davao River, and bomb nearby Samal Island; and B-24s hit Libby airfield; the 418th Night Fighter Squadron, 310th Bombardment Wing (Medium), moves from Morotai to San Jose, Mindoro with P-61s. On Halmahera, B-25s, B-24s, and fighter-bombers hit Galela, Lolobata, and Hate Tabako. Miscellaneous attacks by other FEAF aircraft are flown against targets in N Borneo, NE Celebes, and Halmahera. The 36th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, 6th Photographic Reconnaissance Group, moves from Hollandia, New Guinea to Biak Island with F-5s (first mission is 25 Mar 45). Lost are B-25D "Montana Maid" 42-87296 and B-25D "The Mad Missourian" 42-87297.

starbar.gif

This B24, 42-73194, and crew were assigned to the 493rd Squadron of the 7th Bomb Group. They were shot down, with two others, on November 14, 1943 after being attacked by enemy fighters. There were no survivors. The crew was buried at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery Section E163-164 on September 27, 1949.

 

1/LT McLoughlin, Willis J.    Pilot

2/LT Smith, Theodore F. Jr.  Copilot    Honolulu American Nat’l Cemetery

1/LT Kinney, Kenneth E.      Bombardier

S/SGT Tronic, Sidney S.        Gunner

S/SGT Whitsell, Uhel F    Gunner              Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

T/SGT Funderburg, Floyd V Flight Engineer Zachary Taylor Nat’l   Cem.                                  

S/SGT Higgs, William E   Radio Operator Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery                                                

S/SGT  Litz, Herman  Gunner  Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery                                                

2/LT Rogers, James  Navigator      Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

S/SGT Swope, Howard B      Gunner    Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

                                                                                                                         

Part of a six plane formation led by Major Werner on a bombing mission with the primary target the Mamyo barrack area and the secondary target the town of Pakokku. After two bomb runs were made over Mamyo, both dry due to weather obscurity, Major Werner led the formation to the secondary target, Pakokku. The formation was hit by 15 to 20 enemy fighters attacking from all directions. The planes of Lt McLoughlin, Major Werner and Lt Kimball were shot down. Lt McLoughlin and Major Werner crashed about 200 yards apart just west of the Chindwin River.

             

starbar.gif

This B25, 42-64535, and crew were assigned to the 488th Squadron of the 340th Bomb Group  On July 31, 1943 the plane was shot down over Sicily by anti-aircraft with no survivors. On June 23, 1949 all the crew members were buried at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery Section E71-72.

 

2/LT Morrison, Matthew C,   

2/LT Noble, George F       

1/LT Wilke, Erwin H         Pilot               

SGT Wilson, Harry S          

T/SGT Brown, William J Jr                        . 

 

Thirteen B25 Mitchells from the 488th Squadron targeted the Cesaro town and roads at 10,500 feet altitude. Heavy and accurate anti-aircraft was experienced from locations north, south and east of town. Traffic consisting of large trucks and tanks were seen on roads west of the town and were heading west. 42-64535 was shot down by an anti-aircraft direct hit and crashed northeast of town.

starbar.gif

This B24 Liberator, 44-40929, and crew were assigned to the 372nd Squadron of the 307th Bomb Group. The plane came up missing on December 10, 1944. On January 16, 1950 all the crew of 44-40929 were buried at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery Site E253-255.

 

2/Lt. Herbert N. F. Patrick, Pilot
Lt. Col J. W. Hinton (Group C. O.)  Copilot
1/Lt. Fred K. Harrison, Jr.  Navigator

2/Lt. Robert M. Jones   Bombardier
T/Sgt Roy E. Hanan    Engineer
S/Sgt George H. Westlund  Ass’t Engineer
T/Sgt Henry J. Hritz   Radio Operator
S/Sgt Robert H. Podewils  Ass’t Radio Operator
S/Sgt Francis E. Shea    Gunner
S/Sgt Thomas Wong  Armorer/Gunner
S/Sgt Leonard C. Bennett   Photo/Gunner

 

MIA  December 10, 1944
MACR
 11028

Aircraft History
Built by Consolidated. Assigned to the 307th Bombardment Group, 372nd Bombardment Squadron. This B-24 had no nickname or nose art. When lost, engines R-1830-43 serial numbers: BP-443755, BP-440608, BP-440608, BB-443699, BB-440650. Ten 50 caliber machine guns were installed, serial numbers unknown.

Crew History
Co-Pilot J. W. "Grasy" Hinton was a quarterback for one season for the St. Louis Gunners. Joined the US Army, he graduated from advanced flying school in 1939. He was the group's commanding officer.

Mission History
One of two B-24s that took off from
Pitu Airfield (Pitoe) on a strafing mission against Miri Airfield and Miri on Borneo. Loaded were 15 x 250 lbs bombs, 10,00 rounds of ammunition and 3,100 gallons of fuel. Weather was 12 mile visibility with high clouds above 10,000' with a few scattered clouds. No radio contact was made after take off. Last sighted by Captain Lex E. Souter, the exact cause of the crash was unknown.

Search
After the loss of this B-24, six search missions were conducted and the scene of the crash was believe to be located, at the northern tip of
Halmahera. Photos were taken but revealed nothing definitive and further searches were aborted.

Ring Found
In December, 2009, a
US Army Air Corps Advanced Flying School ring of J. W. Hinton was discovered and offered for sale at an antique shop in Bali.

Memorials
Officially declared dead on the day of the mission. Later, the remains of the crew were recovered and transported to Manila. Finally, they were buried on January 16, 1950 in a
group burial at section E, site 253-255 at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.

References
MACR 11028 created December 12, 1944
307th BG Mission Report - December 10, 1944
"The two were killed in action while taking off on an early morning shipping strike from Morotai with Colonel Hinton, our deputy group commander. I think Colonel Hinton was flying the plane with Pat in the co-pilot seat. George was attempting to makeup a mission probably missed because of a cold or some other circumstance. The plane crashed into a hillside on IIalmahera Island. The crash explosions could be seen from the runway on Morotai. A concentrated air to ground search was conducted for a period of six to ten days to no avail. We could not locate the plane or the crash sight. Several years after the war their remains were found, returned to Zachary Taylor Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky, and buried in a common grave." Thanks to Pat Ranfranz for additional information

 

Thanks to Pacificwrecks.com for this information.

starbar.gif

This B25 Mitchell, 41-30386, and crew were assigned to the 487th Squadron of the 340th Bomb Group. On February 12, 1944, the plane was shot down over the Italy target. Four members of the crew were buried at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery on January 19, 1950 at Section E216-217.

1/LT Boston, J. W.   Pilot  Sicily-Rome American Cemetery

2/LT Chandler, C. H.   Copilot

1/LT Alexander, Robert B Bombardier  Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery                                        

S/SGT Isaacowitz, William  Gunner  Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery                                       

S/SGT Liebe, Woodrow  Radio Oper. Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery                                    

S/SGT Rupert, Paul A   Gunner     Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery      

                               

Twelve of our ships took off at 1033 hours this morning to bomb a road and railroad junction at Compoleone, Italy. Capacity bomb load was dropped directly on the target area from 9400'. 100% hits were recorded on the road, railway junction and station. Ack-ack was heavy, intense and accurate, knocking one ship out over the target. The ship was last seen in distress with one 'chute opening, although other formation report seeing all six 'chutes in the air upon leaving the target area. Time and time alone will assure us of the fate of our absent comrades. The ship was crewed by: 1st Lt. J.W. Boston, pilot; 2nd Lt. C. H. Chandler, co-pilot; 1st Lt. R. B. Alexander, bombardier; Sgt. W. Liebe, radio-gunner, Sgt. W. Isaacowitz, gunner and S/Sgt. P. A. Rupert, tailgunner.

starbar.gif

 This B24, 44-40502, and crew were assigned to the 512th Squadron of the 376th Bomb Group. On August 22, 1944, this B24 was involved in a midair collision with another B24, 42-73085, assigned to the same unit returning from the mission. On January 18, 1950, four crew members were buried at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery Section E237-238.

 

44-40502

CPL Brancato, Stephen V          Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

CPL Edwards, Horace P           Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

CPL Jones, Robert L            Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

1/LT Stickel, Marshall N Jr,    Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

CPL Catron, William H.             Sicily-Rome American Nat’l Cemetery

1/LT Good, Robert P.                  Sicily-Rome American Nat’l Cemetery

2/LT Johnston, James L.

CPL Newton, Lawrence D.

2/LT Scott, Douglas

2/LT Smith, Charles W.                Arlington Nat’l Cemetery

 

42-73085

 

Captain 1st class Blagoje Radosavljevic  Pilot

Captain 1st class Borivoje G. Vulic     copilot

Captain 2nd class Slobodan M. Pavlovic     Navigator

Lt. Vojin Stojkovic     tail gunner

2nd Lt Vuko V. Sijakovic

2nd Lt Obrad Dj. Crvenkovic

2nd Lt Boris K. Parapatic

2nd Lt Toma M. Zivanovic

Sgt. Milutin A. Bobek

Sgt. Emil A. Trampus

 

 The 376th Bomb Group had a small contingent of Yugoslav crews. Lt Vuko Sijakovic was a pilot in the Royal Yugoslav Air Force until 1941. He escaped to Egypt with several other officers. This flight started on Bari AFB, Italy.  The mission target was Vienna but the accident occurred over Yugoslovia.

 

On August 22, 1944, the Captain Radosavljevic crew took part in assault on underground oil storage tanks near Lobau, east of Vienna. It was the 200th mission of the 512th Squadron in which members of Yugoslav Detachment participated and the 35th combat mission for the 42-73085 crew. 

 

The B24, 44-40502, under command of American 1/LT Marshall N. Stickel, was hit over the target by several heavy shots and  began lagging behind the formation. The formation leader reduced engine power, slowed and descended to protect the stricken plane. Just before crossing Adriatic coast, 1/LT Stickel, unable to control the damaged plane, asked the Yugoslav crew via radio if he was over liberated territory. Capt. Radosavljevic, through his Navigator Capt. Pavlovic, answered affirmative.  

 

Flying at 12,800 feet, Lt Stickel,44-40502, collided in mid-air with 42-73085. Right wing and propellers of 44-40502 cut the tail and fuselage and broke the left wing of the Yugoslav Liberator 42-73085.  Both aircraft crashed some 20km NW of Sinj, east of Kijevo village, near Knin, Yugoslavia .

 

Only one man from each plane bailed out. Only Yugoslav survivor was 2nd Lt. Vojin Stojkovic who by a real miracle succeeded to get out of the tail turret. Before he touched the ground on the Dinara mountainside he sighted another parachute most probably some American flyer who drifted with the wind west of the Cetina river in an area held by Nazi Germans. Stojkovic heard shots being fired, and, as he understood from his rescuers conversation, the flyer was killed. Partisans found Vojin Stojkovic and he was evacuated to Vis island. He returned to his unit in Italy in early September after a nineteen day journey. 

 

starbar.gif

This B25 Mitchell, 43-27649, and crew were assigned to the 379th Squadron of the 310th Bomb Group. On January 18, 1945, the plane was shot down by flak with the loss of the entire crew when they crashed in Yugoslavia. The mission was to create a landslide over a railroad line near San Ambrogio di Valpolicella, Italy (MACR 11392). On March 28, 1949, the crew, except for Sgt Nelsen the tail gunner, was buried at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery at Site E30.

 Sgt Basso, Paul A          Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

Captain McKanna, Ellis J     Pilot   Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

Captain Phillips, Edward I Jr   Copilot  Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

Captain Rath, Walter J,      Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

Sgt Stewart, Robert E                   Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

1/Lt Watts, George S    Bombardier   Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

Sgt Nelsen, James D.          Tailgunner

   

         

The squadron engaged in psychological warfare missions, dropping propaganda leaflets behind enemy lines. They took part in the Allied operations against Axis forces in North Africa during March–May 1943, the reduction of Pantelleria and Lampedusain islands during June, the invasion of Sicily in July, the landing at Salerno in September, the Allied advance toward Rome during January–June 1944, the invasion of Southern France in August 1944, and the Allied operations in northern Italy from September 1944 to April 1945.

starbar.gif

This A20 Havoc, 44-108, and crew were assigned to the 668th Squadron of the 416th Bomb Group. On December 25, 1944, the target was a  communications center at Munstereifel, Germany that was heavily defended with anti-aircraft. Just as the bombs were about to be dropped by Lt Burg, a burst of flak hit inside the bomb-bay and the plane exploded. On September 15, 1949, 2 cew members were buried at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Section E142.

 

S/SGT Galloway, Arthur F  Gunner  Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

S/SGT Simmonds, John R  Gunner  Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery

CAPT Miracle, Richard Victor   Pilot

1/LT Burg, Jack J.  Bomb/Nav Henri-Chapelle American Nat’l Cemetery

 

 

December 25, 1944

Merry Christmas; -- in peacetime those words would carry a wonderful feeling. Here, it marked the end of the trail for some of our best boys. Men, who came all the way with us, were lost today, one of the blackest days in the squadron’s history. They gave their lives on the very day that signified “peace on earth”. Their sacrifices must never be forgotten, and never have to occur in the future generations to come. Those who won’t answer the roll tonite are; Captain Richard B. Prentiss, Captain Richard V. Miracle, 1st Lt. Robert R. Svenson, 1st Lt. Jack J. Burg, 1st Lt. Francis H. Bursiel, S/Sgt. D.M. Brown, S/Sgt. P.G. Fild, Sgt. A.O. Wylie, S/Sgt. John H. Simmons, and S/Sgt. A.F. Galloway. The status of these men is unknown; they may be dead or alive. In many cases, witnesses doubt their chances of being alive. Time will tell, whom fate smiled on.

 

Very early on this Xmas morning, the formation took off to secure peace and happiness for the future world. Thirty-five aircraft were sent out, six of them containing crews from this squadron. The B/N Team of Miracle & Burg, with Gunners Simmons and Galloway led the second flight of the second box. Flying with them were; Lt’s Chalmers, Prucha, Montrose, Jacobsen, and Lackner?.

 

The trip over was mild until nearing the target. Again it was a communications center target, this time at Munstereifel, Germany. Heavy accurate flak came up, and took its toll. Just before the point of releasing bombs, a burst caught Capt. Miracle directly in the bomb-bay. The plane was seen to explode in mid-air, and that was all there was to it. Thus ended the career of four of the best men to have ever entered the squadron. Capt. Miracle was a West Point graduate, with a very promising future in the air. He had over 55 missions. Fate was against Lt. Burg, as he almost was lost on Capt. Meagher’s last flight. S/Sgt. Simmons, young and curly haired, had twenty missions to his credit. S/Sgt. Galloway was on the sure par with Simmons. This was one of the smoothest B/N Teams in operation. Several pilots on the mission claim to have seen one chute come from the plane. A dim ray of hope still shines for one of these men.

 

Another plane and crew was lost of another squadron. The rest of the formation returned intact to the base, badly riddled. Enemy planes were seen, but didn’t attack due to our perfect fighter cover. This mission was of 3:30 duration. Needless to say, everyone felt pretty bad when learning of the news. Xmas had ceased to exist for many. The results were good, with one “superior”, two P.N.P., and one “no attack”. Refueling, re-loading and repairing was the order prior to the next missions takeoff. Ground crews working feverishly had the planes ready in a little over an hour’s passing.

 

At just a little past 1400 hours, the next mission was already taking off. This was Group Mission # 177, and was to strike us another hard blow. We had nine crews take part from this squadron, two of them leading both boxes. Captain “Rick” Prentiss, with Lt. Bursiel and Gunners Brown and Wylie, led the first box in an A-20J. Right behind them, leading the second box was Major Price, with Lt. Hand and Gunners Fild at the .50 cals. This was Fild’s 51st mission, and upon return he would return to the States. These are the twists of fate that cut deep.

 

The target was the defended village of Hillsheim, Germany. Again, all of this bombing was done to put a crimp in Von Runstedt’s drive. The flight over was quite, till the target area was reached. Then all hell broke loose, the effects—devastation. “Rick” Prentiss rocked his plane all over the sky in evasive action, but to no avail. The flak was heavy and intense, and clawed at the planes in the sky. Bursts of flak surrounded Prentiss’s plane, and also caught his wingman and deputy. Both were seen going down, with no chutes blossoming. They crashed, and no one escaped to the knowledge of the eyewitnesses. “Rick” Prentiss was to be married in three months. He had over 45 missions to his credit, holder of the Air Medal and DFC. “Frank” Bursiel was one of those dependable bombardiers and an excellent officer. S/Sgt Brown was Chief Gunner of the squadron, and was doing a great job. It was Wylie’s second mission, and he was eager always. “Swede” Svenson was always sweating them out to get back to Ohio and the Mrs. Fild was happy in the fact that it was his last, and he too would be able to go home to Ohio. Christmas will be remembered by many this year.

 

The rest of the formation made it back to the base after dropping their loads. They were very battered and broken up, and both Major Price and Lt. “Buck” Buchanan couldn’t bring their planes back to the area. They had to be towed back. The flight lasted 3:00 and all planes bore evidence of flak. It was dusk as the last plane landed, signaling the end of the day. Christmas Night, and empty beds filled the tents. No one reveled or rejoiced in wild abandon. Thoughts were with those men – “somewhere out there”. The results on the last mission were undetermined, with no photos taken due to the severe evasive action used. Another or our aircraft was forced down, piloted by a crew from the 669th. The crew reported later, safe and sound.

 

The curtain fell on Christmas of “44”. It is better to leave words unspoken.

starbar.gif

previous.jpg

top.jpg

next.jpg