This B-26, Marauder, 41-31805, was
assigned to the 553rd Squadron of the 386th Bomb Group. They
perished on July 28, 1944 in a mid-air collision with a German fighter identified as a FW-190 near Lessard-et-le Chene, France.
(MACR 7016) Four crewmembers were buried at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery Section E152 on September 1,1949.
Left to Right:
1/Lt Frederick O. Briggs
Pilot Remains returned to the family
Leon C. Higginbotham Co-Pilot
Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
1/Lt Claude C. Cannaday
Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
T/Sgt Selwyn B. Danowitz
Radio Zachary Taylor Nat’l
S/Sgt Charley Manford Johns Engineer Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
S/Sgt Robert J. Birmingham
Gunner Remains returned to the family
|Sgt Charley Johns, Flight Engineer
On the 28th of July 1944 the B26, 41-31805
of the 386th BG 553rd BS, was lost. The plane collided with a German fighter and went down near Lessard-et-le Chene France.
The crew was returning to their home base at Great Dunmow England. All onboard were lost.
A village near Lessard-et-le Chene
France, wants to put up a memorial to the crew. I'm searching for descendants so they can be invited to the ceremony;
five of the crew have been found.
American liaison for ANSA - Normandy Ass. for Air Remembrance
brother of the Engineer Sgt Charley Johns, went to France and found the crash site. He talked with the farmer who saw the
collision. He was able to recover some artifacts including the co-pilots dog tags - Leon C. Higginbotham. He will give them
to Higginbotham's family himself and tell them how he got them.
Z Square 47, 42-24600, “Adam’s Eve,” was assigned to the 883rd Squadron of the 500th
Bomb Group. The crew was lost when their bomber was rammed by a Japanese fighter on April 7, 1945. Lt. Brittain and Sgt Headley
were buried in the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery Site E180 on October 7, 1949.
ROBERT E. KING Pilot Honolulu National Memorial Cemetery
GEORGE N. CHAFFIN Copilot
JEROME J. WONDRASEK Bombardier Arlington
WILLIAM W. BERGREN Flight Engineer
CHARLES E. BRITTAIN Navigator Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
JEROME E. NETTUM
ELMER R. KERSHNER
CORP WALKER P. BULLER
WILLIAM C. HEADLEY CFC Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
ALBERT D. ISZA
The King Crew
was substituting for the Adam’s Crew who were on R & R during this mission. The target was the Musashi
Nakajima Aircraft Factory. The plane was rammed by Japanese fighter pilot Lt. Takashi Kawano and crashed in Kugayama,
Suginami-Ku, Tokyo. The entire crew was killed in action. Japanese records indicate Corporal Miller was taken to the
hospital but died from his injuries. Ten bodies were recovered from the site and buried in the cemetery at Komyoji High School.
This B-25, 41-13129, was assigned to the 445th Squadron of the 321st Bomb Group. On February
21, 1944 they were shot down over the target (MACR 2478). Four crew members were
buried at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery on February 14, 1950 at Section E286-287.
2/Lt Newkirk, Renford R, Pilot Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
2/Lt Cook, William K., Copilot Florence American Nat'l Cemetery
2/Lt Forney, William A. Bombardier Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
Sgt Carner, Donald E.
Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
Sgt Carson, Donald
Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
Sgt Lewis, Harold E
Monday, 21 February 1944
Italy, B-25s bomb Orte marshalling yard, and B-26s hit Imperia docks; A-20s pound troop concentrations near Campoleone,
along with P-40s and A-36s which also hit a fuel dump, tank and truck concentrations, and gun positions in the area; fighter-bombers
also bomb and block the Itri-Gaeta road.
321st BG Mission Summary (Ops Order 258/mission 257) Group Mission # 220: The mission of twenty-four planes attacked the Orte marshalling yards as an alternate to the Spoleto
yards, closed-in by weather. Pictures show not only good coverage on the marshalling yard buildings but also two hits scored
on a 40-wagon train south of the yards on the Civitavecchia line. Also two hits were made on the Rome line. Three FW190’s
mad aggressive attacks on the first flight of the formation and shot down one of our ships, Lt. Newkirk’s of the 445th Bomb
Squadron. S/Sgt. Carson, his turret-gunner, got a probably destroyed FW190 before going down. One observer saw the B-25 explode
on contact with the ground – no parachutes were seen. Lt. Newkirk was in
good formation when hit. One engine feathered and was last seen going down”.
Slight, heavy, inaccurate from Viterbo A/D and N. of Lake A-5017. Also reported from A-5050.
Air: 3 FW-190’s followed 1st flight (which bombed target last) after leaving target. One aggressive
came up from rear to attack from six o’clock. One flew under element from head on coming up from rear and flew parallel
formation for 2 miles. 8 E/A seen in dog-fight near Orte. About 30 E/A A/C on Viterbo main. 10 on Viterbo #2. T/E JU-52’s and
some S/E unidentified.
Sgt. Cecil E. Carson, turret gunner 445th Squadron. One FW-190—probable.
Due to cloud cover over primary alternate was bombed. 1st
Flight bombed last on a 275°. 2nd Flight bombed on 45°
heading, and reported good cover on middle and S. end of M/Yds on RR S. of M/Yds. 1st Flight’s bombs over for the most part. A
few hits reported near N. choke point—across road N. of Orte and over town.
Ground: 40/50 M/T on main highway between Terni and Spoleto going both N. & S. Much activity on roads in area between
Todi and S. Orte.
Leaders: Lts. Olson and Stokes. Number of Sorties: 23
MALCOLM D. HAVEN,
Capt, Air Corps,
Gp. Intelligence Officer.
BS War Diary: This date marks the first anniversary
of this Squadron’s arrival at the port of Oran in North Africa – one year on foreign soil today. The orderly room
tent is now set up completely and more pyramidals are springing up around camp. A plane was sent to Cairo to take Lt. Kauric,
bombardier, and Sgt. Reddy, gunner to a school at Ballah, Egypt. Lt Kauric will brush up on bombing while Sgt. Reddy with
learn more about aerial gunnery in a 30 day course. A number of Officers and enlisted men went along for the ride. Two of
the B-25D’s were transferred out of the Squadron. Hamburgers were very much enjoyed for supper tonight.
BS Mission Summary: (Ops Order 258/mission 257) Group Mission # 220: Today’s mission was to bomb the Orte marshalling yards. It cost this Squadron one plane
– Lt. Newkirk and his crew – to attacks by enemy fighters. Sgt. Cecil F. Carson, turret gunner in the Squadron
claimed a Focke Wulf 190 in the battle between the B-25’s and about 8 Focke Wulf 190’s.
This B17, 42-30649, “Rose Olive,” was assigned to the 327th Squadron of the
92nd Bomb Group. On April 11, 1944, they were attacked by enemy fighters. The plane caught fire and exploded near
Brunswick, Germany (MACR 3668). There were no survivors. On February 23, 1950,
three members of the crew were buried in Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Section E278.
2 Lt. John E. Harris Pilot
Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
2 Lt. Milton Y. Wilson Copilot Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
2 Lt. Jim B. Goodner, Jr.
Pvt. Charles R. Pettibone
Gunner Zachary Taylor Nat’l Cemetery
S/Sgt. Thomas O. Obedina Engineer
S/Sgt. Clinton M. Gill
Sgt. Robert W. Fuller Gunner
Sgt. Jennings A. Ball
Sgt. Howard L. Evans
Sgt. Donald L. Cash
Ardennes American Cemetery, Neupre, Belgium.
Donald Lee CASH was buried in Ardennes American Cemetery Plot D, Row 7, Grave 14.
|B-17 ROSE OLIVE 327th Squadron 92nd Bomb group
In the Picture; left to right front row;
John Harris-Pilot / Milton
Wilson-Co-Pilot / Jim Goodner-Bombardier / Marchetti-Navigator /
Thomas Obedina-Engineer /
Jennings Ball-Gunner / Clinton Gill-Radio Operator / Don Cash-Tail Gunner /
Ed Braun-Top Turret
Gunner / Roger Fuller-Ball Turret Gunner
Note: Ed Braun was in the hospital
with injuries during the fatal mission
Pettibone replaced Ed Braun.
327th Squadron, 92nd Bomb Group
In the fall of 1943
long range raids began, and resulted immediately in heavy losses. One of these missions was flown on Thursday, October 14,
1943, against the ball bearing plants at Schweinfurt. For what was to become a famous mission called "Black Thursday", the
326th led the mission with Capt J K McLaughlin and Co-Pilot Colonel Budd J. Peaslee, the Mission Commander and led the group
in the lead wing with 21, 92BG aircraft; one 326th Squadron and two other Group aircraft aborted, and of the 12 group aircraft
that made it back to England, only 3 came home that day.
This loss of six is sobering enough,
but it was not the only loss suffered by the 92nd BG during the war, and two more years of combat flying lay ahead. By the
end of the war against Germany, the group had flown over 300 combat missions, 154 aircraft missing in action and more than
150 returned with battle damage that it would not fly again. It was a war of grim determination, grinding hard work, and heroic
acts on an everyday basis.
Some of the notable successes of the squadron included missions against German troop concentrations
in Normandy after D-Day. On the 24th of July, 1944, for example, the Squadron participated in a raid that virtually destroyed
the elite "Panzer Lehr" armored division outside St. Lo. General Bayerlein, the Panzer division commander, described this
raid, "Back and forth the bomb carpets were laid. Artillery positions were wiped out, tanks overturned and buried, infantry
positions flattened and all roads and tracks destroyed. By midday, the entire area resembled a moon landscape. The shock effect
on the troops was indescribable."
Another notable success was a raid against the virtually indestructible German submarine
pens at Ijmuiden. Using experimental rocket-propelled bombs, the Squadron destroyed these pens in a single raid after hundreds
of conventional bombs dropped in earlier raids had failed. The Squadron flew its last mission of the Second World War on April
25th, 1945, against the chemical plants at Pilsen. One 327th aircraft was lost, and Germany had lost the war.
This A-20 Havoc Attack Bomber was assigned to the 90th Squadron of the 3rd
Bomb Group. 2/Lt Edward J. Kunzer, Jr. lost his life when the A-20 Havoc Attack Bomber he was piloting was knocked down by
enemy fire over Negros Island on April 19, 1945. Lt. Kunzer entered the armed forces on September 22, 1942 at Camp Grant,
Illinois and was stationed at Madura island in the Philippines at the time of his death. Lt. Kunzer was buried at the Zachary
Taylor National Cemetery in Section E162 on November 9, 1949.
3rd Bombardment Group
The group served in combat
from 1 Apr 1942 until V-J Day. It used A-20, A-24, and B-25 aircraft for operations. The group had its headquarters in Australia
until Jan 1943, but its squadrons operated from New Guinea, bombing and strafing enemy airfields, supply lines, installations,
and shipping as the Allies halted the Japanese drive toward Port Moresby and drove the enemy back from Buna to Lae. At the
end of that campaign in Jan 1943, headquarters moved to New Guinea. For the next year and a half the group continued to serve
in the Southwest Pacific, where it played an important role in the offensives in which the Allies pushed along the northern
coast of New Guinea, taking Salamaua, Lae, Hollandia, Wakde, Biak, and Noemfoor. In Mar 1943 it took part in the Battle of
the Bismarck Sea, which ended Japanese attempts to send convoys to Lae. In Aug 1943, when Fifth AF struck airfields at Wewak
to neutralize Japanese airpower that threatened the advance of Allied forces in New Guinea, the group made an attack in the
face of intense antiaircraft fire on 17 Aug, destroyed or damaged many enemy planes, and won a DUC for the mission. In the
fall of 1943 the group struck Japanese naval and air power at Rabaul to support the assaults on Bougainville and New Britain.
In an attack on shipping at Simpson Harbor, New Britain, on 2 Nov 1943, the 3rd group encountered heavy opposition from enemy
fighters and from antiaircraft batteries on the ships. In that attack Maj Raymond H Wilkins, commander of the 8th squadron,
sank two ships before he was shot down as he deliberately drew the fire of a destroyer so that other planes of his squadron
could withdraw safely - an action for which Maj Wilkins was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. The group moved to the
Philippines late in 1944. Equipped with A-20's, it bombed and strafed airfields; supported ground forces on Mindoro, Luzon,
and Mindanao; attacked industries and railways on Formosa; and struck shipping along the China coast.
Moved to Okinawa early in Aug 1945 and flew some missions to Japan before the war ended.
Moved to Japan in Sep 1945 and, as part of Far East Air Forces, became part of the army of occupation. Operated first from
Japan and later from Korea, using B-26 aircraft. Flew most of its missions at night to attack such targets as airfields, vehicles,
and railways. Capt John S Walmsley Jr was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on 14 Sep 1944: flying a
night mission in a B-26, Capt Walmsley discovered and attacked an enemy supply train, and after exhausting his ammunition
he flew at low altitude to direct other aircraft to the same objective; the train was destroyed but Walmsley's plane crashed
in the target area.