Mission#88 March 4, 1944 – Target: Berlin. The Loss of Lt. William R. Burkett, 351st Fighter Squadron.

Date: Mar 4, 44

Dispatched: 36           Aborts: 2

Mission: Withdrawal support to 1st & 2nd ATF, 660 B-17s

Field Order: 260        Target: Berlin

Time Up/Down: 13:03 hrs     16:18 hrs

Leader: Lt Col: Rimerman (A) Major Pidduck (B)

Claims Air: 00-00-00 Claims Ground: 00-00-00 Lost/Damaged: 01-00

“A” Group

L/F Flushing 22,000ft, 14:45 hrs. Flew to planned R/V point. No bombers seen. Contrails to north turned out to be P-47s and P-51s. Bombers reported by Denver 1-6 to be below overcast. Investigation made but no bombers see. No e/a seen. Accurate flak believed Hamm and Rotterdam. L/F out Hook of Holland, 27,000ft, 15:34 hrs. Lt. Burkett last seen approx. Vicinity Liege. Lt Col. Ben Rimerman and Capt. Charles J. Hoey of Group HQ participating.

351st: Lt Col Rimerman. T/U 12:57 hrs. T/D 16:05 hrs. Total flight time 03:08 hrs. Route: In at Walcheren Island, out at Rotterdam. Withdrawal support. [L/F in] Walcheren Island at 13:34 hrs, 24,000ft. P-47S and P-38s [seen]. Rotterdam at 15:53hrs at 26,000ft. [Flak] Heavy and intense over Ruhr. One NYR Lt. William R. Burkett. Lt. Burkett was last seen in the Liege area where he turned back to give escort to Lt. Weaver, who had called on R/T saying that his oxygen was almost out. Later a call was heard on R/T saying ‘I almost hit compressibility and am at 4,000ft, I might have to bail out, maybe I can straighten it up.’

 

Lt Col Ben Rimerman (Gp & Sqdn Ldr) YJ-H
2nd Lt Irving Toppel YJ-I
1st Lt Francis N. King YJ-P
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik YJ-M
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (Flt Ldr) YJ-E
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G
F/O Cletus Peterson YJ-P
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr) YJ-L
2nd Lt John G. Treitz YJ-J
2nd Lt Jack Terzian YJ-W
2nd Lt William J. Weaver (Flt Ldr) YJ-N
1st Lt William R. Burkett YJ-A 42-75850
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan YJ-Y
2nd Lt Francis L. Edwards (Not dis) YJ-F 42-75570
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley (Not dis) YJ-R 42-75507
Capt Vic L. Byers (Not dis) YJ-V 42-75563

In the vicinity of Liege 2nd Lt. William J. Weaver’s aircraft developed a fault with his oxygen supply forcing him to descend through the overcast to a breathable altitude:

I was flying on the left wing of Lt. Burkett in number three position when my oxygen regulator became inoperative. I called Lt. Burkett and told him I had to go home and had to go down to a level where I did not need oxygen. He called back saying he was coming with me. I made a left turn out of formation and he did likewise. He called me to make a right turn and get on his wing, which I did.

We flew in close formation skimming over the tops of the clouds at 24,000ft. Twice he called me while flying like this, asking if I was all right. Both times I replied saying I was all right so far but had to get down right away as I had full emergency oxygen on and still was getting very little oxygen. We then started to descend through the clouds together, flying a course of around 300 degrees, which was roughly the course home.

We descended about 4,000ft together in close formation. Then Lt. Burkett started a turn to the right with me on the inside of the turn. The turn began getting steeper and steeper until my airplane was shuttering almost to the stalling point. I called to Lt. Burkett to make a left turn and I received no answer. I called him a second time to make a left turn, and gain I received no answer.

Suddenly my plane did a high speed stall from the sharp angle of bank and I made a stall recovery. Just as I made the recovery Lt. Burkett faded away from me in the clouds. This was somewhere in the Liege area.

I then pulled up into a steep climb and my airspeed fell off sharply. I immediately put the nose down and went into a steep dive with both wing tanks on. The airspeed hit 600 mph and with the altimeter reading 8,000ft I tried the controls which were frozen solid. I then gave two rolls of trim tab and pulled back on the stick with both hands. I broke out of the clouds at about 3000ft, and at the same time the plane pulled out of the dive, pulling right back up into the clouds.

When I last saw Lt Burkett he was in a steep right bank with his left wing tank on and his right one off [MACR No 2793 refers].

Bill Weaver returned alone on instruments and landed at Duxford. 1st Lt. William R. Burkett flying YJ-A (a/c 42-75850) evidently did not escape from the dive and remained with his aircraft. Lt. Burkett from Jefferson, Iowa is buried in the Ardennes American Cemetery, Neupre, Belgium. More information can be found HERE.

1st Lt. William R. Burkett (0-728570) of Jefferson, Iowa lost March 4, 1944 (353rd FG Archive).

1st Lt. William R. Burkett (0-728570) of Jefferson, Iowa lost March 4, 1944 (353rd FG Archive).

Lt. Burkett's Mission and Awards Record (353rd FG Archive).

Lt. Burkett’s Mission and Awards Record – click for larger view (353rd FG Archive).

352nd: Major Bailey. T/U 13:01 hrs. T/D 16:08 hrs. Total flight time 03:07 hrs. Withdrawal support to 1st and 3rd Div of B-17s. Made L/F in on course at 24,000ft at 13:44 hrs. Did not R/V with bombers. Observed P-38s coming out, they called us and said “No Big Friends -Mercury”. Controller said B Fs still in there. We observed flak to our left and turned to investigate and found other P-47s and P-51s over Ruhr. We went NE and then W. Left coast over Watwijk ann Zee at 15:33 hrs at 28,000ft. No flak directed at our Squadron. Active cumulus with hi cirrus layer at 26-28,000ft over entire route. Few thin spots. One Group of B-17s seen returning home as we made L/F in. Denver 1-6 talked to us and said they were with Big Friends at 16,000ft and everyone was happy. We never did see them.

Major William B. Bailey (A Group) SX-U
1st Lt Charles W. Kipfer SX-Q 42-75544
1st Lt Clinton H. Sperry DNTO SX-G
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz SX-I
1st Lt James N. Poindexter (Flt Ldr) SX-H
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger SX-S 42-75691
1st Lt William F. Streit SX-K
2nd Lt Glenn G. Callans SX-V
Capt Charles J. Hoey (Flt Ldr) SX-Z
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan SX-W
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame SX-M

“B” Group

350th: Major Pidduck. T/U 14:02 hrs. T/D 16:25 hrs. Total flight time 02:23 hrs. L/F on course 14:50, 24,000ft. No R/V with bombers. P-47s. Left coast at Ostend 15:50, 26,000ft. Flak Koln Heavy intense accurate. R/T normal. 8/10-10/10 alto cumulus 6/10-8/10 stratus over continent. Swept area from Dutch islands to Koln to Brussels to Ostend along the bomber route.

Major Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt John H. Winder
1st Lt John Sullivan
1st Lt Chauncey Rowan
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff (Flt Ldr)
F/O William W. Hargus
1st Lt Joseph F. Furness
1st Lt Carl W. Mueller
1st Lt John L. Devane (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Richard L. Bedford
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
1st Lt Robert S. Hart
Capt Robert E. Fortier
1st Lt Charles O. Durant

352nd: Capt Robertson. T/U 13:59 hrs. T/D 16:19 hrs. Total flight time 02:20 hrs. Withdrawal support to 1st and 3rd Div of B-17s. Landfall at Schouwen Islands 14:45 hrs at 24,000ft. No R/V made. L/F out at Knocke 15:55 hrs at 27,000ft. Heavy, intense, accurate flak at Cologne and Munchen. Point of deepest penetration S of Cologne. Proceeded on course but never saw the bombers at briefed R/V.

Capt Raynor E. Robertson (B Group) SX-R
2nd Lt Joseph L. Knoble SX-O
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson SX-Y
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens SX-F

Group Aborts/ERTNS/MIAs

42-  75691 ABT supercharger out SX-S Lt. Schillinger flying.
42-  75544 ABT oil leak SX-Q Lt. Kipfer flying.
42-  75850 MIA YJ-A Lt. Burkett flying.
42-    8608 ERTN oil leak LH-D
42-  75157 ERTN belly tank not draw LH-Y
42-    7903 ERTN belly tank not draw LH-?
42-  75507 ERTN oil leak push rods YJ-R Lt. Stanley flying.
42-  75563 ERTN pilot illness YJ-V Capt. Byers flying.
42-  75570 ERTN gas fumes in oxygen YJ-F Lt. Edwards flying.

 

 

 

 

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Mission#87 March 3, 1944 – Target: Berlin.

Date: Mar 3, 44

Dispatched: 45 Aborts:7

Mission: Penetration Support to 1st ATF, 300 B-17s (1st Div)

Field Order: 259 Target: Berlin (aborted)

Time Up/Down: 09:40 hrs     12:45 hrs Leader: Lt Col. Rimerman

Claims Air: 00-00-00 Claims Ground: 00-00-00 Lost/Damaged: 00-00

Group saw bombers to north when passing West Frisian Islands. R/V north of Helgoland 10:50 hrs. Bomber formation good at 26,000ft. Left bombers 11:15 hrs, vicinity NW of Elmshorn when lead formations [of] bombers made a 180 degree turn, and Goldsmith 1-2 had informed Group leader they were returning. L/F out over West Frisian Islands 11:55 hrs, 20,000ft. Moderate to meagre inaccurate flak all along northern route. No e/a seen. Large white explosion 24,000ft approx. Vicinity Borkum Islands when Group coming out. Seven freighters seen mouth of Elbe River. 8 freighters slightly out to sea at mouth of Ems River. Small but well developed A/D on Helgoland. Radio reception excellent to Norderney Islands. Lt Col. Rimerman, Capt. Charles L. Stafford and Capt John B. Rose of Group HQ participated.

350th: Major Pidduck. T/U 09:40 hrs. T/D 12:50 hrs. Total flight time 03:10 hrs. L/F in on course 10:20 hrs, 22,000ft. R/V with bombers 1st Div over course 10:50 hrs, 29,000ft. Formation good, many stragglers. P-47s. No combat. Left bombers 11:11 hrs, 29,000ft. Left coast Terschelling 12:00 hrs, 24,000ft. R/T normal. Overcast heavy cumulus, 4/10 increasing to solid overcast at R/V.

Major Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
Capt John B. Rose
1st Lt William F. Tanner
1st Lt Chauncey Rowan
Capt Robert E. Fortier (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Charles O. Durant
1st Lt John Sullivan
1st Lt Carl W. Mueller
1st Lt John L. Devane (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Arthur C. Bergeron
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
1st Lt Robert S. Hart
1st Lt William J. Price (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Richard L. Bedford
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
1st Lt Roland N. McKean
1st Lt John H. Winder

351st: Major Christian. T/U 09:39 hrs. T/D 12:48 hrs. Total flight time 03:09 hrs. Route: In north of Terschelling Island, over Itzehoe, out north of Terschelling Island. Penetration support [L/F in] North of Terschelling Island at 10:30 hrs at 27,000ft. Unit unknown south of Helgoland at 10:50 hrs at 27,000ft. [Bombers] fairly good formation. One group of P-47s [seen]. [Left bombers] North of Itzehoe at 11:15 hrs at 27,000ft. [L/F out] North of Terschelling Island at 12:24 hrs at 14,000ft. Seven freighters seen at mouth of Elbe River, also 8 more freighters seen at mouth of Ems River, slightly out at sea.

Major Shannon Christian (Sqdn Ldr) YJ-H
2nd Lt Irving Toppel YJ-I
1st Lt Francis N. King YJ-P
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik YJ-M
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley (Flt Ldr) YJ-R 42-75507
2nd Lt John G. Treitz YJ-J
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan YJ-Y
Capt Vic L. Byers (Flt Ldr) YJ-L
2nd Lt William J. Weaver YJ-N
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G
2nd Lt Jack Terzian YJ-W
F/O Cletus Peterson (Flt Ldr) YJ-P
2nd Lt Herbert K. Field YJ-F
2nd Lt Francis L. Edwards YJ-T
Capt Charles L. Stafford YJ-A 42-75850
2nd Lt Robert C. Strobell (Relay) YJ-U
1st Lt William R. Burkett (Not dis) YJ-B 42-75457
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (Not dis) YJ-E 42-75815

352nd: Lt Col Rimerman. T/U 09:33 hrs. T/D 12:50 hrs. Total flight time 03:17 hrs. Penetration support to 1st ATF, 1st Div. R/V with 1st Div of bombers at about 10:50 hrs in vicinity of Helgoland at 26,000ft. Bomber formation was good with few abortions. 1st 2 CWs aborted so we turned and came with them. Observed other P-47s. Left bombers at about 11:15 hrs somewhere along the Frisian Islands about Ameland. Moderate, heavy flak from Cuxhaven inaccurate. Meager flak from all along Frisian Islands. 80-100 bursts of heavy flak from Helgoland, accurate for altitude but behind. It was directed toward a Fort flying at about 22,000ft. [Weather] Clear at base, increasing to 9 to 10/10 covered at R/V point. Top of Hi-cirrus around 27,000ft. 1 B-17 believed to be E[nemy] flown seen flying opposite course of B-17s then turned and headed on course with them. This B-17 had standard American markings with a white square with a “C”. Its waist doors were seen open. Small but well-developed A/D seen on Helgoland.

Lt Col Ben Rimerman (Grp & Sqdn Ldr) SX-U
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison SX-A
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame SX-M
2nd Lt Glenn G. Callans SX-V
Capt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr) SX-H
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan SX-Q
1st Lt Leslie P. Cles SX-G
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens SX-F
Capt Raynor E. Robertson (Flt Ldr) SX-S
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin SX-W
1st Lt William F. Streit SX-Y 42-22465
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger SX-O
Major William B. Bailey SX-B
1st Lt Gordon L. Willits SX-R

Group Aborts/ERTNs:

42-8390 DNTO wing tanks SX-I
42-74647 ABT BT wouldn’t draw LH-U
42-8373 ABT radio out LH-Y
42-76321 ABT oil leak LH-S
42-74618 ERTN escort LH-?
42-75507 ABT oil leak YJ-R Lt. Stanley flying.
42-75850 ABT left wing tank YJ-A Capt. Stafford flying.
42-22465 ABT oil leak SX-Y Lt. Streit flying.
42-75457 ERTN rough engine YJ-B Lt. Burkett flying
42-75815 ERTN broken glass elbow YJ-E Lt. Emory flying.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Last Hurrah for the 353rd Fighter Group

Important Announcement

Colchester

In 2015 it will be 70 years since the end of World War II and exactly 20 years since the memorial at Raydon was dedicated to the memory of the of the 353rd Fighter Group and to their comrades who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II. In the years since the war the village of Raydon has often welcomed returning veterans. Wartime events, both good and bad were remembered and  firm, lasting friendships were made. Our last official visit from the 353rd was in 1999 and now, sadly but inevitably, most of the veterans have left us. Their memory is still fondly held and we therefore warmly invite families of veterans to join with us in a very special event to give the men of the 353rd a “Last Hurrah” in 2015.

Programme

Friday Aug 21          

AM Reception in Colchester Town Hall

PM Free time in the historic town of Colchester

PM Welcome dinner with speaker Dr. Graham Cross “The History of the 353rd FG in WWII”

Saturday Aug 22      

AM Service to Rededicate the Raydon Memorial

PM “Air Gathering” at Raydon Airfield with historic aircraft, vehicles and displays

Sunday Aug 23        

AM/PM Visit to Raydon Church (TBC) and guests of Raydon Village

PM Optional visit to Metfield Airfield (the home of the 353rd until April 1944)

Monday Aug 24        

AM Visit to the Cambridge American Military Cemetery at Madingley

PM Optional visit to either Imperial War Museum Duxford or Cambridge

PM Farewell Dinner at Colchester for families and local people.

The tour party will be based in a hotel in central Colchester – further details will be supplied to those interested in attending. You are, of course, free to attend as much or as little as you chose and make your own plans at any time.

Reunion coordinator for the weekend will be Graham Cross who acted in that capacity for the Group in their 1990, 92, 95 and 99 UK Reunions. Many highly experienced people are involved here in the UK  to make the weekend a success.

Some families of veterans have already expressed an interest in attending so can I ask now that anyone that wants to come please let me know via my email slybird353 with @hotmail.co.uk added to it

Can I also stress that at this stage this is a private event for the families of veterans and that the reunion tour is organised for them to join with local people to remember their loved ones service. Further details of any public events during the weekend will be released at a later date.

This really is the “Last Hurrah” for the 353rd Fighter Group – living memory of those wartime years is rapidly passing from the scene. This is a chance to say a final thank you to all those who served and we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Raydon next August.

Reunion at Memorial

 

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Update on the third “Lonesome Polecat”

Summer is proving a busy time for me, but I will continue the blog as and when I get time. The forthcoming schedule is a post on Joe Knoble of the 352nd with a history of SX-D and N. Then I’m putting together a post on another 352nd pilot, Don Corrigan, with a history of SX-P. Along the way I’ll also keep posting the mission summaries so hopefully plenty to take a look at coming soon. Keep an eye out also for an exciting announcement on a UK reunion for the families of 353rd veterans in 2015.

Mark Richie, Vice President of the 4th FG Association, kindly got in touch with a wonderful colour picture of George Ahles’ third “Lonesome Polecat” (a/c YJ-A 42-8619). It seems that the 4th FG used the aircraft as a OTU/Hack aircraft at some point. I post the photo here with thanks to Mark for sharing the image and for filling in another piece of the aircraft’s service record.

 

Lt. George N. Ahles' third "Lonesome Polecat" (YJ-A a/c 42-8619) as QP-O "Man Made Monster" with the 4th Fighter Group. This fine colour photo comes from a sequence recording the return of 4th FG aircraft from Operation Frantic (mission to Russia) July 5, 1944 so it looks as if the aircraft was with them from at least this date. We have a record indicating "Man Made Monster" was a 351st FS name, but have no indication of who was responsible for it. Records indicate the aircraft kept the name when it later flew with the 5th Emergency Rescue Squadron (credit/copyright CWO E.B. Richie, 4th Fighter Group with thanks to Mark Richie, Vice President, Association 4th FG WWII)

Lt. George N. Ahles’ third “Lonesome Polecat” (YJ-A a/c 42-8619) as QP-O “Man Made Monster” with the 4th Fighter Group. We have a record indicating “Man Made Monster” was a 351st FS name, but have no indication of who was responsible for it. Records also indicate the aircraft kept the name when it later flew with the 5th Emergency Rescue Squadron (credit/copyright CWO E.B. Richie, 4th Fighter Group with thanks to Mark Richie, Vice President, Association 4th FG WWII)

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Mission#86 March 2, 1944 – Target: Frankfurt.

Date: Mar 2, 44

Dispatched: 42           Abort: 2

Mission: Withdrawal Support to 1st ATF, 360 B-17s (1st Div)

Field Order: 257 Target: Frankfurt

Time Up/Down: 11:43 hrs     14:56 hrs Leader: Lt Col. Duncan

Claims Air: 00-00-00 Claims Ground: 00-00-00     Lost/Damaged: 00-00

L/F in Flushing 12:22 hrs, 22,500ft. R/V three CW’s of bombers NW of Koblenz, 12:53 hrs. Bombers unmolested and in good formation – 18/22,000 ft. Left bombers 13:30 hrs, 10 miles south of Liege. Out Cape Griz Nez, Gravelines and Knocke 14:30 hrs, 16/20,000ft. Three chutes seen from the bombers approx R/V point. Bomber continued on under control and watched until we left bombers. No e/a, no flak. Fighter bomber and fighter/fighter intercom very good. Lt Col. Duncan and Capt. Charles J. Hoey of Group HQ participated.

350th: Major Pidduck. T/U 11:42 hrs. T/D 15:00 hrs. Total flight time 03:18 hrs. L/F in on course at 12:20 hrs, 25,000ft. R/V with 1st Div at 12:50 hrs, 28,000ft. Good formation. Left bombers Leige at 13:30 hrs, 25,000ft. Left coast Gravelines 14:30 hrs, 18,000ft. Solid over R/V decreasing to nil at cont coast.

Major Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Tom Lorance
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
1st Lt Chauncey Rowan
Capt Robert E. Fortier (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Abel H. Garey
1st Lt Roland N. McKean
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Arthur C. Bergeron
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
1st Lt John H. Winder
1st Lt William J. Price (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Richard L. Bedford
2nd Lt Kenneth Chetwood

351st: Lt Col Duncan. T/U 11:35 hrs. T/D 15:10 hrs. Total flight time 03:35 hrs. Route: In at Flushing, over Charleroi, out at Mardyck. Flushing at 12:21 hrs, 24,000ft. [R/V] place unknown because of overcast at 12:51 hrs at 21,000ft. Good, close formation. Four boxes of about 60 bombers in each box. [Left bombers] approximately Charleroi-Gosselies area 13:30 hrs. [L/F out] Mardyck at 14:28 hrs, 19,000 ft. Remarks: Bombers late. After R/V with bombers proceeded inland along bombers route for four or five minutes. Made a 180 degree turn, caught up with bombers and escorted them to limit of endurance.

Lt Col. Glenn E. Duncan (Gp & Sqdn Ldr) YJ-H
1st Lt George N. Ahles YJ-A 42-75850
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan YJ-Y
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (Flt Ldr) YJ-E
2nd Lt Francis L. Edwards YJ-T 42-75842
2nd Lt Herbert K. Field YJ-F
F/O Cletus Peterson YJ-P
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr) YJ-L
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G
1st Lt Francis N. King YJ-M
2nd Lt Irving Toppel YJ-I
Capt Vic L. Byers (Flt Ldr) YJ-N
2nd Lt William J. Weaver YJ-R
2nd Lt John G. Treitz YJ-J
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik (Relay) YJ-P
2nd Lt Jack Terzian* YJ-W 42-75670
1st Lt William R. Burkett* YJ-B

*[Not counted as dispatched for mission due to mechanical trouble].

352nd: Major Bailey. T/U 11:42 hrs. T/D 14:52 hrs. Total flight time 03:10 hrs. L/F made at Zeebruge at 12:22 hrs at 22,000ft. R/V with 3 CW’s of 1st Div of B-17s at 12:54 hrs at 20,000 ft, area unknown due to cloud coverage 10/10. Bomber formation was good, could only find 3 CW’s of 1st Div. P-38’s and P-47’s seen. Left bombers believed to be in the vicinity of Namur 13:25 hrs, 20,000ft. Left enemy coast at Knocke 14:18hrs at 15,000ft. Flak nil. Results of bombing nil. R/T good. Large ships observed in the harbor S of Flushing believed to be an M/V. 2/10 cloud over channel building up to 10/10 overcast on the Continent. Solid overcast over R/V area. Four (4) white parachutes observed just as R/V was made. Might have come from a B-17 which seemed to be in trouble, but chutes were not seen coming from it. A straggling B-17 investigated in the vicinity of Namur but didn’t seem to be in any apparent trouble.

Major William B. Bailey (Sqdn Ldr) SX-B
2nd Lt Clifford F. Armstrong SX-F
1st Lt Edward M. Fogarty SX-O
1st Lt Charles W. Kipfer SX-Q
Capt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr) SX-H
1st Lt Leslie P. Cles SX-S
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame SX-M
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison SX-R
Capt Charles J. Hoey (Flt Ldr) SX-A
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan SX-G
1st Lt Gordon L. Willits SX-U
2nd Lt Glenn G. Callans SX-V
1st Lt William F. Streit SX-W
1st Lt William J. Jordan SX-Z

Group Abort/ERTN:

42-75842 ABT belly tank YJ-T Lt. Edwards flying.
42-75850 ABT illness (ear trouble) YJ-A Lt. Ahles flying.
42-75670 ERTN belly tank YJ-W Lt. Terzian flying.
42-8661 ERTN tach out LH-? Unknown
42-8480 ERTN turbo out LH-Z Unknown

 

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Mission#85 February 25, 1944 – Target: Regensburg

Date: Feb 25, 44

Dispatched: 49 Aborts: 4

Mission: Withdrawal Support to 360 B-17s (3rd Div) Field Order: 251

Time Up/Down: 13:36 hrs (A) 14:00 hrs (B) 17:00 hrs (A) 17:00 hrs (B)

Target: Regensburg

Leader: Lt Col. Rimerman (A), Major Bailey (B)

Claims Air: 00-00-00 Claims Ground: 01-00-02 Lost/Damaged: 00-00

“A” Group:

L/F in Walcheren 14:18 hrs, 21,000ft. Proceeded on course and in [the] vicinity city of Luxembourg saw two CWs east to approx. 20 miles north of Saarbrucken. R/V with First Division B-17s at 15:10 hrs and one small box of Third Division B-17s and several boxes of B-24S. Individual CWs in good formation. Left bombers 15:55 hrs, approx. 10 miles south of Sedan. No e/a seen. Out Nieuport 16:25 hrs, 15,000ft. No bombers seen in trouble. Two pilots returning early strafed A/D at Charleroi Gosselies, probably destroying a Do217 and damaging a Ju88. Lt Col. Rimerman and 1st Lt. Thistlethwaite of Group HQ participated.

351st: Lt Col. Rimerman. T/U 13:33 hrs. T/D 17:10 hrs. Total flight time 03:37 hrs. Route: In at Walcheren Island, over St. Quentin, out at Cape Gris Nez. 16 P-47s (A Group). 1 P-47 (B Group). Three aborts – two belly tanks and one radio. Walcheren Island at 14:25 hrs at 21,000ft. All units along bomber withdrawal route at 15:14 hrs at 22,000ft. P-47s and P-38s [seen]. [Left bombers] East of St. Quentin at 15:55 hrs at 22,000ft. [L/F out Cap Gris Nez at 16:30 hrs at 22,000ft. [Three 350th pilots flew with the Squadron].

Lt Col Ben Rimerman (A Gp Ldr) YJ-N
1st Lt William T. Thistlethwaite YJ-T
1st Lt Tom Lorance (350th) YJ-A
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan YJ-Y
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (Flt Ldr) YJ-E
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G 42-75688
1st Lt William J. Maguire YJ-M
F/O Cletus Peterson YJ-P
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr) YJ-L
2nd Lt Jack Terzian YJ-H
1st Lt William R. Burkett YJ-B 42-75457
2nd Lt John G. Treitz YJ-W
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton (Flt Ldr) YJ-O
2nd Lt Irving Toppel YJ-I
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley YJ-R 42-75507
2nd Lt Kenneth Chetwood (350th) YJ-F
2nd Lt William J. Weaver (Relay) YJ-U

352nd: Capt Robertson. T/U 13:35 hrs. T/D 17:10 hrs. Total flight time 03:35 hrs. L/F in south of Walcheren Island at 14:22 hrs, 24,000ft. R/V’d with B-17s of the First and Third Division. B-24’s were also seen. Bomber formation good. P-47s, 38s and 51s [seen]. No aerial combat. Yellow 2 and 3 dove at a Me110 which was in the center of Luxembourg A/D. The nose of the E/A was enveloped in flame, burning badly when they pulled up. After climbing back to 16,000ft, E/A were sighted on the runway at Charleroi Gosselies. (Many bomb craters were observed on the A/F). A low level attack was made and Yellow 2 got hits on what is believed to be a Do217 and Yellow 3 on what he believes to be a Ju88. Left bombers SW of Charleville Mezieres at 15:50 hrs at 20,000ft. L/F out S of Ostend at 16:23 hrs, 17,000ft. 9/10ths overcast over North Sea, 10/10ths inland for approx. 10 miles, decreasing to 3/10ths further in on the Continent.

Capt Raynor E. Robertson (A Group) SX-H
2nd Lt Clifford F. Armstrong SX-F
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame SX-M
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison SX-G
Capt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr) SX-W
2nd Lt William S. Marchant SX-K
1st Lt William F. Streit SX-A
2nd Lt Glenn G. Callans SX-V

1st Lt. William Marchant, flying Slybird Yellow 2, was awarded an Me110 destroyed, shared with Lt Streit and a further Do217 damaged:

After leaving the bombers east of Luxembourg, Yellow 3 and I sighted what we believe was Luxembourg airfield. We went down from 25000ft and saw e/a on the airfield when we were about 12000ft. We made a turn and came out of the Sun in about a 60 degree dive. I led the attack with Yellow three following, opening up at about 1000 yards, closing to about 200, and saw the e/a explode. Bright red flames enveloped the nose and cockpit. We pulled up abruptly in a chandelle to the left rather than go straight across the airfield. Ground defences were surprised upon the initial attack but fired accurately when we pulled up.

After climbing back to about 16000ft, we sighted e/a on the runways at an airfield, believed to be Charleroi Gosselies (many bomb craters were seen on this field). Yellow three led the attack, going from SW to NE in approximately a 30 degree dive. He picked an e/a on the north side of the airfield and I fired at a twin engine e/a on the south side, believed to be a Do217. I opened fire at about 1000 yards and closed to point blank range, observing many strikes on the wings and fuselage. Pieces of the e/a flew off on all directions. I had trouble pulling up over it because of my high speed. Gun crews were running to their positions. I noticed tracers going past my wing tips as I pulled away from the field. We then came back to base.

Yellow three was 1st Lt. William F. Streit who shared the Me110 destroyed and was awarded a further unidentified twin engine aircraft damaged:

Marchant led the attack, diving down from 12000ft in about a 60 degree dive. Yellow two fired on an Me110 and a large puff of smoke and flame came from it. I came in behind and fired from about 500 yards, closing to about 300. Many strikes were observed. As I pulled up to the left I looked back and saw the e/a burning badly.

We gained altitude to about 16000ft and set course for home again. We spotted another airfield with several e/a dispersed on it. We came down in formation. Each picking a plane, I opened fire at 1000 yards, closing to 300 on a twin engine e/a, which I couldn’t identify, just off the end of the SW to NE runway. I got several strikes on the e/a. This time I stayed on the deck for a ways to avoid the flak and small arms, as it was fairly intense (light) at the first airfield. We then pulled up, gained altitude, and came home.

“B” Group:

L/F north of Ostend 14:47 hrs. Bombers at 18,000ft. CWs in good formation. Flew to rear boxes of bombers in approx. Vicinity of Luxembourg escorting bombers until 16:01 hrs, leaving vicinity St. Quentin. Out Berk Sur Mer 16:25 hrs, 20,000ft. RAF Mustangs and Spits observed. Capt. John B. Rose of Group HQ participated.

352nd: Major Bailey. T/U 14:00 hrs. T/D 17:00 hrs. Total flight time 03:00 hrs. L/F in at 14:47hrs north of Ostend at 22,500ft. R/V’d with B-24S at 15:20hrs near Sedan at 28,000ft. Heard Goldsmith 1-6 call saying they were at Luxembourg. We turned left and proceeded to Luxembourg and R/Vd with B-17s there at 15:30hrs at 28,000ft. Noticed only one small box of Third Division. Bomber formation was good. Very few stragglers. Observed other P-47s, P-51s and Spits. Left bombers near St. Quentin at 18-20,000ft at 16:01hrs. Left coast over Berck sur Mer at 16:25 hrs at 20,000ft. “A” channel good. At approx. 14:45hrs remarks in German or Dutch were heard. “C” channel good but there was too much conversation and they were not identifying themselves properly. [Weather] same as 352nd “A” Squadron.

Major William B. Bailey (B Group) SX-B
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger SX-J 42-7910
1st Lt Gordon L. Willits SX-U
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin SX-Y 42-22465
Capt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr) SX-S
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan SX-R
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson SX-O
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens SX-Q

350th: Major Pidduck. T/U 14:00 hrs. T/D 17:04 hrs. Total flight time 03:04 hrs. L/F Ostend 14:50 hrs, 27,000ft. R/V Longayon 15:20 hrs, 23,000ft. Close. P-47, Spitfires. No e/a. Left bombers St Quentin 16:00 hrs, 23,000ft. Left coast Cayeux 16:23 hrs, 23,000ft. Nil flak, R/T normal. Low 6/10 overcast. No middle or high cloud.

Major Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Richard A. Stearns
1st Lt John Sullivan
1st Lt Carl W. Mueller
Capt Robert E. Fortier (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Abel H. Garey
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
1st Lt Chauncey Rowan
1st Lt John L. Devane (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt John Zolner
1st Lt Joseph F. Furness
1st Lt Roland N. McKean
1st Lt William J. Price (Flt Ldr)
F/O William W. Hargus
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
Capt John B. Rose YJ-V
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh (Relay)

Group Aborts/ERTNs:

42-75683 ERTN radio was out SX-Z Did not fly.*
42-75507 ABT glass elbow broken YJ-R Lt. Stanley flying.
42-75688 ABT radio out YJ-G Lt. Perpente flying.
42-8623 ERTN escort LH-F Unknown
42-7910 ABT prop out SX-J Lt. Schillinger flying.
42-22465 ERTN escort SX-Y Lt. Dustin flying.
42-8374 ABT couldn’t drop tank SX-D Did not fly.*
42-75457 ABT glass elbow broken YJ-B Lt. Burkett flying

*Aircraft are not listed on Squadron flight plans and so may not have made take-off or form-up.

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Mission#84 February 24, 1944 – Target: Gotha.

Date: Feb 24, 44

Dispatched: 49           Abort: 4

Mission: Penetration support to 1st ATF, 180 B-24s

Field Order: 250 Target: Gotha

Time Up/Down: 10:59 hrs     14:20 hrs

Leader: Lt Col. Rimerman (A), Lt Col Duncan (B)

Claims Air: 05-00-01Claims Ground: 00-00-01 Lost/Damaged: 00-03

A & B Groups L/F north of Ijmuiden 11:47 hrs at 20,000ft. R/V with 1st TF B-24s north of Lingen 12:15 hrs. Bombers at 18,000ft, good formation. Left bombers 12:50 hrs NW Gottinger. Vicinity of Steinhuder Lake, White flight of “B” Group engaged 8 Fw190s destroying 5. “B” Group L/F out south Egmond 13:20 hrs from deck to 23,000ft. One pilot returning on deck observed four T/E E/A on airdrome, believed to be Enschede, strafed same, damaging one T/E A/C. Crossing Zuider Zee this pilot fired upon by armed M/V (approx. 4-5,000 tons). This M/V strafed, many strikes seen on ship. “A” Group L/F out north of Hague 13:50 hrs, 12,000ft. E/A attacking bombers with 20mm Hoxter area, engaged and dispersed, but made no claims. One bomber seen to break in half and go down in flames vicinity Hardenberg, one chute observed. One S/E A/C thought to be P-47 seen headed down trailing smoke vicinity Newenhaus. Several E/A seen engaged by 56th Group vicinity Dummer Lake, two seen destroyed. One B-17 white triangle, but with red circle around star seen on deck Schipol airdrome, appearing to land. The E/A increased throttle and made for Channel when one of our A/C investigated it, later turned in land when we passed it. Airfield at Munster appeared deserted. Airfield vicinity Deelen seen smoking as if recently bombed. Boat seen burning off Egmond. Moderate flak Osnabruck. Lt Col. Duncan, Lt Col. Rimerman and Capt. Stafford of Group HQ participated.

Combat Results

1 Fw190 destroyed Lt Col. Duncan

1 T/E E/A damaged (ground) Lt Col. Duncan

1 Fw190 destroyed Lt. Walsh (350th)

2 Fw190 destroyed Lt. Stearns (350th)

1 Fw190 destroyed Lt. Rowan (350th)

1 Fw190 damaged Lt. Poindexter (352nd)

350th: Capt Pidduck. T/U 10:57 hrs. T/D 14:04 hrs. Total flight time 03:07 hrs. L/F in N of Ijmuiden 11:46 hrs, 22,000ft. R/V B-24s and B-17s tail end of. Area of Furstenau, 12:27 hrs, 31,000ft. Good. P-51, P-47, P-38. 8 190s SE of Dummer Lake 7-15,000ft. Left bombers 20 miles SE Dummer Lake 12:50 hrs, 31,000ft. Left coast S Egmond 13:20 hrs, 23,000ft. Heavy accurate Osnabruck. R/T normal. Boat burning of Egmond. Very good weather.

Major Stanley R. Pidduck (Sqdn Ldr)
2nd Lt Arthur C. Bergeron
1st Lt John Sullivan
1st Lt Carl W. Mueller
Capt Robert E. Fortier (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Abel H. Garey
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
1st Lt Joseph F. Furness
Lt Col Glenn E. Duncan (Flt Ldr) LH-T 42-74665
1st Lt Richard A. Stearns
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
1st Lt Chauncey Rowan
1st Lt John L. Devane (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Tom Lorance
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
2nd Lt Kenneth Chetwood

Lt Col Duncan leading “B” Group [single belly tank] in White flight of the Squadron was awarded an Fw190 destroyed, a Ju88 damaged and also a boat damaged. During the intense fight with a skilful enemy his aircraft was hit in the wing by a 20mm round after which Duncan headed out and made an emergency landing back at Metfield.

For the February 24, 1944 mission Lt Col. Duncan borrowed Capt. Charles W. Dinse's LH-T "Fatty Patty II" (a/c 42-74665). He brought it back to Metfield with a "man-sized" hole in the wing after it was hit by 20mm fire from a skilful adversary which made the landing a "little rough".

For the February 24, 1944 mission Lt Col. Duncan borrowed Capt. Charles W. Dinse’s LH-T “Fatty Patty II” (a/c 42-74665). He brought it back to Metfield with a “man-sized” hole in the wing after it was hit by 20mm fire from a skilful adversary that made the landing a “little rough”.

Duncan’s wing man, 1st Lt Richard A Stearns, claimed two Fw190s destroyed:

We started a bounce on eight Fw190s (approx 12.45 hrs in the vicinity of Obernkirchen) that were below and off to the left of a box of B-24s. On going down we discovered that there were some P-47s from another Group, also mixing it up with the 190s and our first bounce was broken up by them cutting in front of us. We pulled up into a left climbing turn, and as we did I looked back and saw a 190 on my tail – at the same time feeling hits on my plane. I broke left – the altitude was around 15000ft – and started a roll down with everything in the corner. I gave my flight leader a call and told him I wasn’t with him anymore and continued to roll down. About 8000ft I leveled off and saw I had lost him. The 190s were still pretty thick, so I picked one out and started my attack. I came in almost dead astern, with a little deflection, and gave him a short burst from 300 yards, observing strikes along the wings and around the engine. I closed to 175 yards at which time the 190 went into a steep left climbing turn and I saw more strikes on his right wing. We had dropped down to about 1500ft, or less, when the e/a started for the ground on its back. Just before it hit, the canopy flew off and the pilot shot out and his chute opened. The plane hit the ground and exploded.

After breaking off my first combat and being alone, I started climbing and was around 3- 4000ft when two more Fw190s jumped me. I broke into them and we started a Luftberry that lasted several minutes. One e/a would pull out to the side, and as I would turn with the other one, he’d come at a quarter head on attack. We traded head on attacks quite a few times and it was on one of these that I downed another e/a. I opened fire with a short burst at about 350 yards, and saw strikes around the engine and on his left wing. By this time we were down to 1500ft. The e/a flipped over on his back and hit the ground in almost a vertical dive and exploded. I didn’t see the pilot get out. I made one more turn with the e/a that was left and then hit the deck. He followed me down, and we were both going balls out on the tree tops. The range was too great for him to get any hits on me – about 1000 to 1200 yards and with water injection I soon out distanced him. When the e/a was out of sight I climbed to 10000ft and came out alone.

Flying second element lead in Basement White flight was 1st Lt. Francis T. Walsh who was also able to destroy an Fw190:

The Colonel spotted about 8 Fw190s that had just attacked the bombers and were queuing up again below the ‘big friends’ for another attack. We bounced these e/a from 23000ft, and contact was made at approximately 15000ft, vicinity of Steinhuder Lake. I had a deflection shot at one of these red nosed 190s but observed no hits. Then I closed to dead astern, fired a short burst that hit the Jerry on the left wing root. The whole left wing broke off in pieces that flew back at me. The action was accompanied by a burst of flame. The last I saw of the Fw190, the ship was disintegrating. Combat took place from 15 to 7000ft. My wing man Lt. Rowan, after I started zooming back up, saw a Fw190 trying to get on my tail. He shot the jerry off and observed him spinning down. It was a very good piece of team work on the part of my wing man.

1st Lt. Chauncey Rowan reported the destruction of White flight’s fifth Fw190:

I observed Lt. Walsh firing at a Red nosed Fw190 down to about 7000ft or less, he was dead astern of the Fw190. He fired, and the e/a promptly blew up. Lt. Walsh then pulled up in a steep climb. I followed about 3 – 400 yards behind him. Immediately after pulling up, an Fw 190 pulled straight up between Lt. Walsh and me, attempting to attack my element leader. The e/a presented a target with about 30 to 40 degree deflection. I pulled the sight thru his line of flight and led him. At times he was obscured from vision by the engine of my plane. He was 200 yards or less from me. I observed strikes near and on his cockpit. He then spun to the left smoking as he went down. The altitude was about 9000ft and I did not see the e/a recover from his spin after observing 6 or 7 turns. This e/a was firing at Lt. Walsh and radio chatter prohibited me from advising Lt. Walsh that he was in danger.

351st: Lt Col Rimerman [“A” Group with wing tanks]. T/U 10:51 hrs. T/D 14:25 hrs. Total flight time 03:34 hrs. Route: In at Ijmuiden, R/V with bombers, over Hanover, out at Noordwijerhout. Ijmuiden at 11:47 hrs at 20,000ft. R/V with B-24s. Some boxes close and some boxes loose. 56th Group [and] P-51s [seen]. South of Hanover at 12:48 hrs. At Noordwijerhout at 13:49 hrs, 21,000ft. Remarks: One bomber seen to break in half and go down in flames in Hardenbergh area. One S/E plane seen headed down trailing smoke in Neuenhaus area – thought to be P-47.

Lt Col Ben Rimerman (A Gp Ldr) YJ-A
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan YJ-Y
1st Lt William R. Burkett YJ-B
2nd Lt John G. Treitz YJ-I
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton (Flt Ldr) YJ-D
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump YJ-W
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley TJ-R
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik YJ-N
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr) YJ-L
2nd Lt Joseph A. Schillinger (352nd) YJ-T
1st Lt William J. Maguire YJ-M
2nd Lt Jack Terzian YJ-Z
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (Flt Ldr) YJ-E
F/O Cletus Peterson YJ-P
Capt Charles L. Stafford YJ-F
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G

Flying with “B” Group:

2nd Lt Clifford F. Armstrong (B Gp) YJ-V

352nd: Capt Hoey [“A” Group]. T/U 10:58 hrs. T/D 14:03 hrs. Total flight time 03:05 hrs. Penetration Support. L/F in north of Ijmuiden, A Group at 11:46 hrs, 22,000 ft and B Group at 25,000 ft at 11:48 hrs. R/V with the B-24s after passing over various B-17s, near an area east of Lingen at 12:30 hrs at 30,000ft for B Group and about 22,000ft for A Group. Bombers were flying fairly good formation within wings but B-24s were mixed with 17 CWs. Observed other P-47s, P-51s and P-38s. Many bandits seen in the area of Neuenhous. No combat. Engagements were made in Hoxter area but no claims. These E/A were Me109s and Fw190s, flying at about 20,000ft. Group left bombers at 12:48 hrs, 26,00ft near Holzminden. A Group stayed with them until 13:03 hrs and left near Northiem. B Group left coast north of Hague at 13:25 hrs at 24,000ft. A Group L/F out at 13:48 hrs over Noordwijk aan Zee. Moderate, light, accurate flak from Schipol area at 4,000ft. An airfield believed to be 8 miles west of Appeldoorn was seen smoking as if it had been bombed sometime today. “A” and “C” Channels good. Four medium sized ships seen coming out of river near Noordwal, proceeding north along enemy coast. One aborting B-17 escorted to England by an E/R from this Squadron [likely Corrigan]. One B-17 seen to blow up about 10 miles east of Lingen and one chute observed from it. Our A/C that encountered E/A today found that they were having considerable trouble trying to out-turn and out-climb E/A. Also two could not catch E/A in dive. One B-17 with white triangle, but red circle around star, seen on deck over Schipol airfield as if approaching to land there. The A/C increased throttle and made for Channel as one of our A/C investigated it. It then turned back inland as our A/C passed it. Several sets of towers, in twos, believed to be radio or radar towers seen on beach from Nordwijk aan Zee to Zandvoort. Rounds fired Poindexter 395, Marchant 616, Hoey 73, Gonnam 200.

Capt Charles J. Hoey (A Sqdn Ldr) SX-A
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson SX-F
1st Lt James N. Poindexter SX-H
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison SX-G
1st Lt Jesse W. Gonnam (Flt Ldr) SX-U
1st Lt William J. Jordan SX-K
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz SX-M
2nd Lt William S. Marchant SX-Q
2nd Lt Richard V. Keywan (Spare) SX-W

As the enemy aircraft broke for the deck, 1st Lt. James Poindexter, flying element lead in Green flight, claimed an Fw190 damaged:

My flight leader called and instructed me to take #3 in the e/a flight. I followed him down to about 2000ft and then began dogfighting. He had taken violent evasive action all the way down. My wing man and I could turn with him but I could not get more than two rings of deflection for firing. I fired about five short bursts during the turning but observed no strikes. This Fw190 outclimbed us and headed further inland. I thought it wise to break off the attack and return to base.

Slybird Black flight, led by 1st Lt. Jesse Gonnam, also defended the bombers:

After leaving the bombers and an engagement with two e/a, during which I was top cover, a single Me109 came in at two o’clock. I turned and fired a short burst but wasn’t head on enough to hit him. We broke down and to the left and one of my flight, Lt. Marchant, chased him down a short distance but could not close, so rejoined and we came on home.

“B” Squadron: Major Bailey. T/U 10:54. T/D14:30. Total flight time 03:05 hrs.

Major William B. Bailey (B Sqdn Ldr) SX-B
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame SX-?
Capt Thomas J. Forkin SX-S
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan SX-O 42-22470
1st Lt Gordon L. Willits SX-R
2nd Lt Harry H. Dustin SX-Z

Group Damaged/Aborts/ERTNs:

42-   7910 ABT prop out SX-J
42- 22470 ABT belly tank SX-O Lt. Corrigan flying.
42-   8623 ABT prop out LH-F
42-   8661 ABT windshield LH-?
42- 74647 BD Cat A LH-U
42- 74665 BD Cat B LH-T Lt Col Duncan flying.
42- 75157 BD Cat AC LH-Y

 

 

 

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Mission#83 February 22, 1944 – Target: Aircraft Plants Bernberg. The Loss of Major Walter C. Beckham, Lt. Joseph E. Wood, Lt. Don M. Hurlburt, Lt. Edison G. Stiff and Capt. Keith A. Orsinger.

Date: Feb 22, 44

Dispatched: 50 Aborts: 5

Mission: Withdrawal Support to 300 B-17s (1st Div)

Field Order: 247 Leader: Lt Col. Duncan

Time Up/Down: 13:16 hrs     16:15 hrs

Target: Aircraft Plants at Bernberg, Oschersleben, Aschersleben, Halberstadt.

Claims Air: 04-00-00 Claims Ground: 03-00-02 Lost/Damaged: 05-03

Landfall over Schouwen Islands, 25,000ft. Flew on course R/Ving with 17 bombers 1st Div at 14:44 hrs and two Groups of B-17s in the rear at 15:03 hrs. Bombers at 18,000ft. 50+ T/E A/C on A/D 4 miles northeast of Bonn attacked by 351st Squadron, two destroyed, two probably destroyed. One larger hanger left ablaze, ground installations strafed. Major Beckham heard to say that he had six A/C in line for attack. After pulling up from this attack, he later informed his wing man that his engine was on fire and that he was forced to bail out. Two locos attacked in Germany, strikes seen on boiler. 10 miles SE of Antwerp, one Fw190 destroyed, seen to crash. In the vicinity of Diest Schaffen one Ju88 destroyed taking off from A/D. Antwerp A/D one FW190 destroyed on the ground. 8 miles south east of Munchen Gladbach 2 Me109s destroyed. Lt. Stiff received direct hit by flak 28,000ft on way in over Antwerp. Plane seen to hit ground – no parachute seen. Coming out on the deck Lt. Wood and Lt. Hurlburt hit by flak – one A/C seen smoking, the other’s engine on fire. Both turned inland. Just after R/V Capt. Orsinger was last seen in a spin possibly from E/A. Intense flak from Antwerp and Kohn. One B-17 and one P-47 seen hit by flak and go down at Kohn. No chutes seen. One B-17 20 miles off enemy coast at Haamsteede trailing smoke. Lt Col. Duncan, Capt. Charles L. Stafford and 1st Lt. Thistlethwaite of Group HQ participated.

Missing:

Major Beckham 351st FS

Capt. Orsinger 366th FG (reason unknown)

Lt. Wood 351st FS

Lt. Hurlburt 351st FS

Lt. Stiff 352nd FS

Claims:

1 Fw190 destroyed Lt Col. Duncan

1 T/E A/C destroyed (ground) shared by Lt Col Duncan and Major Holt

1 Fw190 destroyed (ground) Lt. Compton

1 Ju88 destroyed Lt. Compton

2 Fw190s probably destroyed (ground) shared by Major Beckham, Lt. Compton, Emory and Perpente.

2 Me109s destroyed Lt. Poindexter

1 Fw190 destroyed (ground) Lt. Newman

350th: Capt Newhart. T/U 13:15 hrs. T/D 16:21 hrs. Total flying time 03:06 hrs. L/F in at Walcheren, 14:04 hrs, 27,000ft. Close. P-47s, No e/a. Left bombers 15:12 hrs, 19,000ft. Flak Antwerp heavy, accurate. R/T normal. 7/10 coverage south and east of Ruhr. Solid overcast over western part of continent.

Capt Dewey E. Newhart (Sqdn Ldr)
Capt Barnhart (366th FG)
1st Lt John Zolner
1st Lt Richard A. Stearns
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff (Flt Ldr)
Lt McGuire (366th FG)
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
1st Lt Robert S. Hart
1st Lt John L. Devane (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Abel H. Garey
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
1st Lt Carl W. Mueller
1st Lt William J. Price (Flt Ldr)
F/O William W. Hargus
1st Lt Tom Lorance
2nd Lt Kenneth Chetwood

351st: Lt Col Duncan. T/U 13:10 hrs. T/D 16:35 hrs. Total flying time 03:25 hrs. Route: In at Walcheren Island, over Aachen, out at Walcheren Island. Walcheren Island at 14:03 hrs at 26,000ft. 2 Combat Wings of B-17S with Triangular markings, east of Cologne at 14:45 hrs, 22,000ft. 1 Group P-47s seen over Bruxelles at 14:50 hrs. Ju88s and Fw190s on airdrome east of Aachen. Left bombers in Aachen area. Left coast at Walcheren Islands at 15:55 hrs, zero altitude. Intense and accurate for altitude flak over Antwerp. Ground defenses on airdrome just east of Aachen very intense and accurate. Channel C contact good. Remarks: Major Beckham was last seen after making attack on six enemy aircraft lined up on the airdrome at Bonn. He called his wingman, Lt. Perpente, that he had to bail out and for him to take the Squadron home. His [Perpente's] plane evidently not seriously hit. Lt. Hurlburt and Lt. Wood were also hit by ground installations coming out on the deck over Walcheren Islands. Both planes made a right turning evidently heading inland. Lt Wood’s plane had a small fire at the right wing root. Lt. Hurlburt’s plane seen to emit a trail of black smoke. Two damaged by flak (cat unknown). One late return also damaged. Three MIA Major Beckham, Lt. Wood and Lt. Hurlburt. One Ju88 destroyed by Lt. Compton on airdrome Diest-Schaffen. One Fw190 destroyed and two Fw190s probably destroyed by Lt. Compton. Others sharing in the two probable Fw190s are Major Beckham, Lt. Perpente and Lt. Emory [likely not counted as a credit]. One Ju88 destroyed by Major Holt and shared with Col. Duncan. Two locomotives (Germany) damaged by Major Holt. Hanger and ground installations damaged by Lt. Stanley and Lt. Treitz and Lt. Peterson.

Lt Col Glenn E. Duncan (Gp & Sqdn Ldr) LH-X 42-8634
Major Holt (366th FG) YJ-H 42-75189
Capt Charles L. Stafford YJ-A 42-75850
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik YJ-T 42-75842
Capt Vic L. Byers (Flt Ldr) YJ-V
Lt Kerr (366th FG) YJ-F
2nd Lt John G. Treitz YJ-I
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan YJ-Y 42-75856
Major Walter C. Beckham (Flt Ldr) YJ-X 42-75226
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G
1st Lt Frank N. Emory YJ-E
F/O Cletus Peterson YJ-P 42-75149
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton (Flt Ldr) YJ-O
F/O Joseph E. Wood YJ-S 42-75647
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley YJ-B
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt YJ-H 42-75653
1st Lt William J. Maguire YJ-M 42-75114
1st Lt William T. Thistlethwaite (Relay) YJ-N
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Relay) YJ-L

Between 15.15 hrs and 15.55 hrs Lt Col. Duncan led the attack on 50 + twin engine aircraft. Duncan was awarded the Ju88 he attacked on the airfield and an additional Fw190. He was also credited a hanger damaged and two locomotives also damaged, shared with Major Holt [366th FG] who followed close behind:

I was Roughman White 2 with Lt Col. Duncan leading the Group. Just after R/V with the bombers, Col Duncan called for an attack on an airfield in the vicinity of Bonn. We dove from approximately 21,000ft in tight spirals to an area just east of the airdrome where we started our strafing run on the target towards the west.

As we approached the field Col. Duncan fired on a twin engine aircraft starting a fire. Selecting the same target, I fired at it also noticing a definite flare up as if another gas tank had been pierced with a resulting explosion.

We levelled off and experienced violent and accurate flak bursts all around us, discovering later that we had received a number of hits due to flak shrapnel [Flying a/c 42-75189 Holt was not awarded a share of Duncan’s t/e].

Proceeding on at ground level we next encountered a train NE and just a few miles from the field, both firing on the locomotive. We both got strikes on the engine, claiming damage. After this encounter we became separated and while apart I fired on a second locomotive in the same vicinity but farther on toward the NE, about 5 minutes after the first locomotive encounter. I saw strikes on the boiler, claiming damage.

After joining up again on the deck, Col. Duncan called my attention to a single engine a/c far off at about 500ft and proceeding across our course from the right. We flew on until the ship was well off to our left, when we turned in behind it and boosted up to full power to catch it. It proved to be an Fw190 and Col. Duncan fired. I noticed its wheels half dropped after observing strikes by Colonel Duncan. When he pulled up I fired on the e/a, then it started to dive into the ground. I continued to fire on it until I had to pull up. Looking back I saw it had crashed into the ground.

We continued on at approximately 310 degrees still at ground level. We passed over the coast without difficulty from flak or ground artillery. After staying close to the water for approximately 5 minutes, we pulled up into a climb. At about 8000ft we noticed a B-17 flying close to the water, also noticing that all four engines were operating, assuming the bomber to be all right. Having spiralled down to investigate, we climbed back up and proceeded on home. The bomber was sighted 30 to 40 miles SE of friendly coastline at Orfordness.

Major Holt of the 366th FG picked up some damage in YJ-H (a/c 42-75189) February 22, 1944. (353rd FG Archive)

Major Holt of the 366th FG picked up some damage in YJ-H (a/c 42-75189) February 22, 1944. (353rd FG Archive)

Following closely down onto the airfield were Roughman Blue Flight led by Major Beckham. His wing man, 1st Lt. George F. Perpente, described what happened next:

I was flying Roughman Blue 2 on Major Beckham’s wing. After making R/V with the bombers, Lt Col Duncan leading White flight, made a strafing attack on an airdrome just east of Bonn, Germany. Shortly afterward Major Beckham called and asked if it was all right to bring his section down. After getting no answer we started down from about 14000ft. We got down to about 7000ft and made an orbit. Major Beckham called and said he had some all lined up and let’s go. Then we rolled out of the turn and went down.

I saw him firing and getting strikes on some planes on the ground, and then I started to fire at them.Between following Major Beckham and trying to watch the ground I did not notice the exactness of my firing, but Emory flying Blue 3 says he did see hits on the planes. As I flew over the field I saw ahanger burning pretty badly.

They were shooting everything they could find at us. Tracers, bullets and flak were coming from every direction at us. Major Beckham then started a slight climbing turn to the right. I started to pull up with him, but he told me to stay low. I kept turning with him down low. He said for me to take a course of 310 degrees and go on home as he was going to have to bail out. I stayed with him a while longer. A little black smoke was coming out the rear of his ship, but did not seem to be on fire. Then he kept heading for a wooded area and was about 1000ft high. He called me again to go home, and at that point I left. Then I noticed that Lt Peterson, who was flying Blue 4, was right with me. We then pulled up into the clouds at 3000ft, but they only lasted a few minutes so we hit the deck and came home all the way there. Once we left the target no more flak was shot at us.

Major Walter C. Beckham (0-430771) was Commanding Officer of the 351st Fighter Squadron when he was brough down by flak February 22, 1944. He spent the rest of the was as a POW in Stalag Luft III (353rd FG Archive).

Major Walter C. Beckham (0-430771) was Commanding Officer of the 351st Fighter Squadron when he was brought down by flak February 22, 1944. He spent the rest of the war as a POW in Stalag Luft III (353rd FG Archive).

 

Beckham's Mission and Award Record (353rd FG Archive).

Beckham’s Mission and Award Record. Click for larger view (353rd FG Archive).

Beckham had been hit by long-range flak during his dive and, after bailing out, was immediately captured and spent the rest of the war as a POW in Stalag Luft III and Nuremberg Langwasser 49-11.

In May of 1985 Beckham was given a flight in a P-47 painted up to represent his aircraft. He "wasn't too scared" of being back in a Thunderbolt after 40 years (353rd FG Archive).

In May of 1985 Beckham was given a flight in a P-47 painted up to represent his aircraft. He “wasn’t too scared” of being back in a Thunderbolt after 40 years (353rd FG Archive).

Beckham back in the cockpit of a P-47 in May 1985 (353rd FG Archive).

Beckham back in the cockpit of a P-47 in May 1985 (353rd FG Archive).

I was given the following two-page write-up by a member of Beckham's extended family. I've never been able to trace the source, so if anyone can let me know I'd be most grateful. I have some further stunning photos of Beckham after his capture and the wreck of his plane from the Bundesarchiv - sadly their copywright prevents me from posting them.

I was given the following two-page write-up by a member of Beckham’s extended family. I’ve never been able to trace the source, so if anyone can let me know I’d be most grateful. I also have some further stunning photos of Beckham after his capture and the wreck of his plane from the Bundesarchiv – sadly their copyright prevents me from posting them on the blog.

[Back to the mission] Following close behind Beckham’s flight was 1st Lt. Gordon B. Compton leading Roughman Yellow Flight:

Major Beckham made an attack on the airdrome. He said over the radio that he had six Fw190s lined up. I could not see these e/a but followed Major Beckham down anyway and fired in the same general area that he was firing at. As I closed I saw three Fw190s parked close together. I strafed and saw hits on all three, and saw one burst into flames. I pulled up off the target, turning about 90 degrees to the left, and heard Major Beckham say that he’d been hit, was on fire, and for everyone to get out.

I was about 500 ft high at this time and saw tracers coming from every direction, also flak was bursting uncomfortably close, so I hit the deck. I was now far enough south of Bonn to be able to take up a course in the general direction of home and just miss the suburbs of the town. Checking up on my flight, I found everyone present, (Lt. J. E. Wood, Lt. R. D. Stanley and Lt. D. M. Hurlburt, in that order) and that I had been joined by Lt. J. G. Treitz from Roughman Red flight.

We continued out on the deck, being shot at occasionally by ground defense, and shooting targets which got in our way. As we approached Diest Schaffen airfield from the Southeast I saw a Ju88 break out above the horizon, Northwest of the town. Apparently it had just taken off. I continued on a course that was taking us south of the town. The Ju88 flew right out in front of us at about 100ft. I then fired a short burst at the e/a allowing for 15 to 20 degrees deflection at 400 yards, saw no results, so I turned dead astern and at 150 to 200 yards fired three bursts. The first burst started the left engine smoking and small pieces began to fly off. The second burst did the same thing to the right engine. The third burst struck the tail section. There was a loss of speed in the Ju88 and I overshot to the right, noticing that the prop had stopped and that the plane had started down. I glanced up at my mirror and saw a sheet of flame as the e/a hit the ground. We then continued out, breaking landfall over Noord Bevenland Island.

Compton was awarded an Fw190 destroyed on the ground and also claimed the Ju88. Stanley and Treitz were also awarded a share with Peterson in a hanger destroyed. 1st Lt. John G. Treitz had originally been Roughman Red 3:

I was flying in Capt Byer’s flight. My Wing man had returned early because his radio was out (Lt Milligan), and the spare that filled in also returned because his belly tank would not release. After R/V with the bombers our flight followed Lt Col. Duncan’s flight down to strafe the airdrome. I lost sight of my flight so tacked on to Roughman Yellow flight and went down and strafed installations. From then on out we were on the deck, approximately 325 degrees. Flak over Bonn was intense and accurate down low.

The five of us were spread out line abreast. A Ju88 flew directly across our path after taking off. Lt Compton leading the flight pulled directly behind it and really clobbered it at close range. Pieces flew off it, smoke and flames poured out from the fuselage and left engine. Lt. Wood pulled up, and it looked like he gave it a short burst. When he passed it I pulled up and threw a few slugs at it too. The Ju88 crashed into the ground, splattering pieces and a ball of flame all over. No one could have survived.

Farther on a ground gun fired at us and I fired at it. As we were approaching the coast we were drawing fire from the guns there to, so I fired right back. As I passed over one of these guns I could see the gunner sitting beside his gun, which was pointed out to sea directly on our course. I got right down on the beach and water to give them as hard a target as possible.

Yellow flight, desperately trying to get home, were subjected to an intense barrage of flak from the shore battery. 1st Lt Compton described the further tragedy that was to strike the 351st that day:

Ground opposition was negligible (on way out) until we made landfall over Nord Bevenland. It was then that I passed directly over a battery of machine and flak guns concealed and camouflaged on the inside of the beach among what can best be described as sand dunes.

The guns operated by men in sand coloured clothing, opened up on us and Lt. Wood on my right wing said he had been hit. He pulled away from me leaving a trail of black smoke, altitude about 50 feet, and turned back toward land. Lt. Hurlburt, also on my right, was hit and turned back with Lt. Wood. I did not see Lt. Hurlburt and he did not call on the radio.

The guns continued firing until we were two or three miles out to sea, and we stayed right down on the water, until the firing ceased.

1st Lt. Don M. Hurlburt (0-794951) of Portville, New York lost February 22, 1944 (353rd FG Archive)

1st Lt. Don M. Hurlburt (0-794951) of Portville, New York lost February 22, 1944 (353rd FG Archive)

Lt. Hurlburt's Mission and Award Record (353rd FG Archive).

Lt. Hurlburt’s Mission and Award Record. Hurlburt flew as Roughman 64 (353rd FG Archive).

1st Lt. John Treitz, down as far as he could go, also heard the call:

We were coming out the coast on the deck at Nord Bevenland Island. Lt Wood was flying to my left and a little in front of me. Someone reported on the R/T that they were hit, at which time I saw a small fire on the wing root of Lt. Wood’s ship. He pulled across in front of me and to my right towards Lt. Hurlburt’s ship, who was flying slightly off my right. It was then that I saw Lt. Hurlburt’s ship smoking badly, evidently hit by flak.

They both turned to the right together just as we were leaving the coast when I saw the last of them. Their heading when I last saw them was about 40 degrees, only 50 feet off the ground. I did not watch them any longer because I was concentrating on staying as close to the water as possible. We were fired at well out to sea, flak bursting all around us which was very accurate [MACR 2671 and 2673 refer].

2nd Lt. Joseph E. Wood (0-2044973) of Miami, Florida lost February 22, 1944 (353rd FG Archive).

2nd Lt. Joseph E. Wood (0-2044973) of Miami, Florida lost February 22, 1944 (353rd FG Archive).

Lt. Wood's Mission and Awards Record (353rd FG Archive).

Lt. Wood’s Mission and Awards Record. Wood flew as Roughman 62 (353rd FG Archive).

The Missing Air Crew Report Map showing the route when Hurlburt and Wood were last seen (353rd FG Archive).

The Missing Air Crew Report Map showing the route when Hurlburt and Wood were last seen (353rd FG Archive).

Lts Wood and Hurlburt are memorialised on the Tablets of the Missing in the Netherlands American Military Cemetery. Further information can be found HERE.

352nd: Capt Robertson. T/U 13:13 hrs. T/D 16:15 hrs. Total flying time 03:02 hrs. Made L/F south of course over Walcheren Islands at 14:02 hrs, 25,000ft. Our B-24s aborted and we proceeded on to our intended R/V point, and at approx. 15:00 hrs picked up one box of B-17s who flew over Bonn. We made a turn and picked up B-17s who flew over Kohn. Bomber formation and task force was good. Observed other P-47 group flying below us. Six Me109s engaged near Erkelenz, Germany at about 15:10 hrs. Two were destroyed by Lt. Poindexter and the other four believed to have been the ones who destroyed Capt. Orsinger’s plane; he was not seen to have bailed out. Lt. Newman destroyed his 190 on ground at Antwerp A/D. Left bombers near Venlo area at approx 15:00 hrs. Left coast over Haamsteede at 20,000ft at 15:45 hrs. Intense heavy accurate, repeat accurate, flak from Antwerp. This is the reason for Lt. Stiff’s NYR. Intense, heavy flak from Kohn. One unidentified P-47 seen to go down, also one B-17. “A” channel good “C” channel poor contact. Small boats seen in the harbor at Willenstad. Weather off continent clear to 5/10ths over route. Tops around 6,000ft. Note: original target was not bombed but we picked up B-17s who flew over Bonn and bombed targets of opportunity in the Ruhr. Lt. Burlingame and Capt. Juntilla circled to observe Lt. Stiff’s plane which was hit by flak and were unable to join up then. Capt. Orsinger and Lt. Stiff not yet returned. 2 Me109s destroyed by Lt. Poindexter and 1 Fw190 destroyed by Lt. Newman (ground).

Capt Raynor E. Robertson (Sqdn Ldr) SX-S
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan SX-G
1st Lt James N. Poindexter SX-B
1st Lt Charles W. Kipfer SX-Q
Capt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr) SX-W
Lt Lusby SX-V
1st Lt Robert A. Newman SX-N
2nd Lt Richard V. Keywan SX-F
Capt Keith A. Orsinger MIA SX-X 42-75140
1st Lt Robert P. Geurtz SX-O
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison SX-R
Capt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr) SX-K 42-75608?
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens SX-J 42-7910
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame SX-Z 42-75683
2nd Lt Edison G. Stiff MIA SX-L
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson SX-U

The 352nd also had a disastrous day which started as they crossed over the enemy coast. At approximately 14.15 hrs, 7km north of Antwerpen, 1st Lt. Edison G. Stiff was lost to a direct burst of flak. 1st Lt. Gordon S. Burlingame reported what happened:

I was flying Wakeford Yellow 3 with Lt Stiff as my wing man. In the near vicinity of Antwerp, Belgium, we encountered some flak, and a group left turn was called to evade it. Our flight and Wakeford Blue flight were the last to come through the area and received a very accurate barrage at 28000ft. We were taking violent evasive action, including turns and altitude changes, when I saw Lt. Stiff receive a direct hit. His ship threw out clouds of flame and he spun down, burning all the way. I lost sight of him while making another turn. I did not see him get out or see a parachute.

1st Lt. Edison G. Stiff (0-792077) of Hackettstown, New Jersey flew as Wakeford 56 in the 352nd FS. He was killed in action by flak February 22, 1944 (353rd FG Archive).

1st Lt. Edison G. Stiff (0-792077) of Hackettstown, New Jersey flew as Wakeford 56 in the 352nd FS. He was killed in action by flak February 22, 1944 (353rd FG Archive).

Leading Yellow flight was Capt. Wilbert Juntilla:

He pulled straight up and burst into flames. He stalled and went into a spin still flaming badly. I called him but received no answer. I then watched him until the ship hit the ground. I saw no parachute, so I assume he went in with his ship [MACR 2672 refers].

Lt. Stiff is buried in the Ardennes American Military Cemetery and further information can be found HERE.

The rest of the Squadron continued and picked up a box of 1st Div B-17s around 15.00 hrs. The Squadron then made a left turn and picked up another group of bombers flying to Koln. About 10 minutes later, near Ecklenz, Germany six Me109s were encountered, with 1st Lt. James N. Poindexter accounted for two of them making him an ace:

We were escorting bombers on withdrawal from Koln. I called in two 109s at three o’clock low to my flight leader [Capt. Robertson] and he began an attack. I opened fire on the wing man of an element of e/a’s at about 350 yards and 30 degrees deflection as he was beginning an attack on the bombers. I observed no strikes on this burst so I closed to approximately 300 yards dead astern in a shallow dive and opened fire again. I observed many strikes on the wing roots and fuselage. A huge piece fell off the wing root and the canopy was blown off. The e/a burst into flame and grey smoke, then exploded in many pieces.

I then began an attack on the leader who had just shot down a Fortress in his only pass at the formation. This aircraft, an Me109, had the designation N7-5 in red letters on the fuselage. My opening fire was too great a range and deflection, however I closed very rapidly to dead astern and point blank range, firing short bursts. I observed only one huge flash or explosion in the left wing root and wing. I pulled up, almost hitting the e/a, and half rolled. His entire left wing blew off at the wheel fairings. I assumed this to be caused by the e/a’s ammunition exploding. The entire fuselage then caught on fire and the e/a tumbled and spun to the ground and crashed. My ship became half covered with oil from the debris of the e/a.

The other Me109s seen at the same time as Poindexter’s were believed responsible for the Squadron’s second loss of the day. Capt. Keith A. Orsinger, on attachment from the 366th Fighter Group, was last seen in a spin, possibly from enemy aircraft fire. I have no further information on Capt. Orsinger and there appears to be no MACR record available. His body does appear to have been returned to the US for burial around 1950. I would welcome any further clarification on his story.

On the way home from the mission 1st Lt. Robert A. Newman claimed an Fw190 destroyed on the ground, when Wakeford Red flight attacked an airfield:

I was flying Red 3 and my flight was coming out alone. I saw an e/a on the airdrome below, and as Red 2 was low on gas, just #4 [1st Lt. Richard V. Keywan] and I went down.

I made a large diving circle south of the drome and came in at ground level. I hopped a hanger and lined up on the e/a. I got very good strikes on the e/a, from wing tips to fuselage and a good concentration of hits in the engine and accessory section. I believe the e/a was starting to burn as I passed over it. I didn’t have a chance for a second pass. I believe the 190 was a new airplane as it was a silver colour. I fired 600 rounds, and except for a split second burst at a hanger, it was all on the e/a. The results were very good. I drew ineffective small arms fire from the airdrome but only had one small hit in my plane from it.

Group Lost/Damaged/ERTN:

42-75856 ABT radio out YJ-Y Lt. Milligan flying.
42-75114 ABT belly tank wouldn’t draw YJ-M Lt. Maguire flying.
42-75707 ABT turbo inoperative SX-A
42-7910 ABT prop out SX-J
42-75683 ERTN escort SX-Z
42-75608 ERTN no manifold pressure SX-? SX-K by 9/7/44
42-75065 MIA SX-L Lt. Stiff flying.
42-75226 MIA YJ-X Major Beckham flying.
42-75140 MIA SX-X Capt. Orsinger flying.
42-75647 MIA YJ-S Lt. Wood flying.
42-75653 MIA YJ-H Lt. Hurlburt flying.
42-8634 BD Cat AC LH-X Lt Col. Duncan flying.
42-75281 BD Cat AC Unknown*
42-75850 BD Cat A YJ-A Capt. Stafford flying.
42-75149 BD Cat A YJ-P F/O Peterson flying.
42-75842 BD Cat A YJ-T Lt. Mincik flying.
42-75189 BD Cat AC YJ-H Major Holt flying.

*Hopefully to confirm later.

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Lt. Hildreth R. “Holly” Owens of the 352nd Fighter Squadron and SX-L

Some further information has come in on 1st Lt. Hildreth R. “Holly” Owens that I would like to share with you. Holly Owens from Quinton, New Jersey was one of a batch of five early replacements who joined the 352nd Fighter Squadron on September 14, 1943. Sadly, he does not show up in Squadron records much other than on the flight schedules for his 59 recorded missions. He flew his first mission on October 3, 1943 and completed his tour May 8, 1944. There is a bit of a mystery after he left the Squadron for the Zone of the Interior on May 12, 1944. Squadron records indicate he intended to return for another tour, but he does not appear to have done so. The assumption therefore is that he must have been posted to another unit elsewhere.

 

1st Lt. Hildreth R. "Holly" Owens (0-800031) from Quiton, New Jersey flew his first mission October 3, 1943 and completed his tour May 8, 1944 (353rd FG Archive).

1st Lt. Hildreth R. “Holly” Owens (0-800031) from Quiton, New Jersey flew his first mission October 3, 1943 and completed his tour May 8, 1944 (353rd FG Archive).

There are two occasions Holly Owens does appear in the records. The first is at Metfield November 12, 1943 when he was taxiing SX-K (a/c 42-8414).He nosed over the aircraft when a Command Car driven by Lt. Murphy headed towards him and he had to make an emergency use of the brakes. The other occasion is April 8, 1944 when, as wing man to Capt. Hoey, he attacked a gun battery:

We went down to strafe an airdrome but missed it and came just up the north side of it. I shot at one small building about 500 yards off the perimeter track, hopped over some small trees, and saw a gun battery with about 50 guns which I think were 50 mm. It was too late to strafe them all but directly in my sights was one, manned by four men. They were turning the gun so as to shoot at us as we flew away. I gave them about a three second burst and saw many strikes and a lot of dust created by my bullets. I then stayed low for a few seconds and saw a large building slightly to my left and gave it a two second burst.

P-47D-11-RE SX-L in the hands of Holly Owens was named "Pa Ma Rod" after his father, mother and youngest brother Rodney (Valerie Owens).

P-47D-11-RE SX-L in the hands of Holly Owens was named “Pa Ma Rod” after his father, mother and youngest brother Rodney (Valerie Owens-Weigel).

The other side of P-47D-11-RE SX-L was named "Miss Texas" because one of the ground crew hailed from the State. Left to right are Cpl. Erwin G. Wolf, Lt. Hildreth "Holly" Owens and S/Sgt William F. Jopke. Possibly missing from the photo is the other crew member S/Sgt Kermit M. Knutson (Valerie Owens).

The other side of P-47D-11-RE SX-L was named “Miss Texas” because one of the ground crew hailed from the State. Left to right are Cpl. Erwin G. Wolf, Lt. Hildreth “Holly” Owens and S/Sgt William F. Jopke. Possibly missing from the photo is the other crew member S/Sgt Kermit M. Knutson (Valerie Owens-Weigel).

Of the four other pilots Owens joined the Squadron with, Lt. Hajosy was killed in an accident September 18, 1943, Lt. Moriarty was shot down and became a POW December 30, 1943 and Lt. Keywan was killed in action June 12, 1944. Owens and his best friend Joe Schillinger were the only ones to complete their tours – Owens was later best man at Schillinger’s wedding. Holly Owens passed away in 1981 following a battle with cancer. The following post is made with thanks to Holly’s daughter Valerie Owens-Weigel who was named so because her father heard the popular name while he was in England. Valerie has also kindly provided the photos of SX-L under her father’s ownership.

 

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Glenn E. Stapp, 351st Fighter Squadron 1922-2014

It is with sadness that I report the passing of Glenn E. Stapp on May 11, 2014 aged 92. Glenn Stapp was a P-51 pilot with the 351st Fighter Squadron and flew five combat missions in April of 1945. My thoughts are with his daughter Kathleen, who kindly passed on the sad news, and the rest of his loved ones at this time.

F/O Glenn E. Stapp (left) of the 351st FS with Lt. William A. Manahan (right) of the 350th FS.

F/O Glenn E. Stapp (left) of the 351st FS with Lt. William A. Manahan (right) of the 350th FS.

 

F/O Stapp's comabt mission record.

F/O Stapp’s comabt mission record.

Glenn E. Stapp 1922-2014 (353rd FG Archive).

Glenn E. Stapp 1922-2014 (353rd FG Archive).

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