Mission#10 August 19, 1943 – 353rd Fighter Group

Date: Aug 19, 43

Dispatched: 42 Aborts: 6

Mission: General Support to 2nd TF 60 B-17s Field Order: 39/107

Time Up/Down: 17.01 hrs 19.24 hrs Leader: Major McCollom

Target: Gilze Rijen

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

Group made landfall at 25,000 ft over Haamstede and made rendezvous with bombers over western tip of Tholens Island, escorted bombers to Gilze-Rijen and thence to Geertruidenberg, out at Noordeval, 26,000 ft. Group was led by Major McCollom with Lts Stafford, Thistlethwaite and Major Duncan from Group HQ participating.

350th: Major McCollom. T/U 17:01 hrs T/D 18:54 hrs. Total flight time 1:53 hrs. Squadron suffered one mechanical abort and a further aircraft acted as escort. Halfway between Woensdrecht and Gilze Rijen Lt. Hurst reported approximately nine Me109s positioning themselves for a head-on attack on the bombers. The flight led by Major McCollom turned into the formation preventing the attack. On the way out heavy flak was seen troubling the bombers far to the left of the course of the Squadron in the general vicinity of Ostend.

Major Loren G. McCollom (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Wilford F. Hurst
1st Lt Robert L. Newman
Major Glenn E. Duncan
1st Lt Irvin E. Venell (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Roland N. McKean
1st Lt John L. Devane
2nd Lt John Zolner
Capt Stanley R. Pidduck (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Tom Lorance
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff
2nd Lt Walter L. Angelo
1st Lt Dewey E. Newhart (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Francis T. Walsh
1st Lt Charles W. Dinse
2nd Lt Dwight A. Fry
1st Lt William W. Odom

351st: Major Christian. T/U –:– hrs. T/D –:– hrs. Total flight time [unknown]. As the bombers were on their way out from Gilze-Rijen airfield, Capt Walter Beckham’s flight saw five or six e/a attacking the second box of bombers. Capt. Beckham led his flight in a dive on the last two aircraft. The Me109s evaded Beckham’s guns by rolling to the left and he overshot. His wing man, 2nd Lt. Harold Morris, was able to fire and was credited with a 109 damaged.

Two pilots from the Squadron, Lts Emory and Edwards, flew as spotters to cover the return of the Group. They saw a pilot with his chute in the water signaling with a heliograph. Circling the spot, they transmitted for a fix and headed home, finally landing at Metfield at 19.32 hrs. The next morning, however, they were told that German Air Sea rescue had picked up the Allied pilot.

Major Shannon Christian (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton
1st Lt Charles L. Stafford
2nd Lt William T. Thistlethwaite
1st Lt Vernon A. Leatherman (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley
1st Lt Francis N. King
2nd Lt Benedict E Kraft
Capt Walter C. Beckham (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Harold J. Morris
1st Lt George N. Ahles
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump
1st Lt Orville A. Kinkade (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Herbert K. Field
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (spotter)
2nd Lt Francis L. Edwards (spotter)

352nd: Major Bailey. T/U 17:06 hrs. T/D 18:50 hrs. Total flight time 1:44 hrs. 2nd Lt Victor Vogel was flying #4 in Wakeford White flight when he heard ‘Wakeford White 4, Break right!’ Turning right he noticed an unidentified aircraft on his tail, closing in. He half rolled and headed home on the deck. Going out he noticed three small boats in a harbour and fired on these, observing no results. Further on, a flak boat fired on him and put a hole through one of his propellers.

Major William B. Bailey (Sqdn Ldr)
F/O Maurice Morrison
1st Lt Jesse W. Gonnam
2nd Lt Victor L. Vogel
1st Lt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr)
F/O Glenn C. Callans
1st Lt William F. Streit
F/O Earl W. Perry
Capt Raynor E. Robertson (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Leroy W. Ista
1st Lt James N. Poindexter
2nd Lt Leslie P. Cles
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