Mission#20 September 9, 1943 – 353rd Fighter Group

Date: Sept 9, 43

Dispatched: 44 Aborts: 0

Mission: Close escort to 7th TF 60 B-17’s     Field Oder: 58/128

Time Up/Down: 07:34 hrs 09:27 hrs Leader: Major Duncan

Target: Vitry-En-Artois

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

Group made landfall between Calais and Gravelines. At Fruges sighted bombers on starboard of Cayeaux. Right turn at Hesdin. Picked up bombers between Abbeville and Doulens. Continued with bombers S-ing and orbiting to Vitry-En-Artois. Left bombers at Dunkirk at 08:51 hrs at 26,000ft. Lt. Rose and Lt. Herfurth [not listed in flight plan] of the Group HQ participated. Observed no attacks on the B-17’s – no stragglers. No response to attempts to contact them on C Channel.

350th: Major Rimerman. T/U 07:44 hrs. T/D 09:28 hrs. Total flight time 1:44 hrs. Squadron met the bombers at Doullens and escorted them to Douai Airport, the target. Buildings along Douai Airport, and dispersal areas received direct hits. An oil dump (presumably) was hit causing large fire and black smoke. Flak was negligible.

Major Ben Rimerman (Sqdn Ldr)
2nd Lt Robert N. Ireland
1st Lt William W. Odom
1st Lt John B. Rose
Capt Dewey E. Newhart (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt Tom Lorance
1st Lt Charles W. Dinse
2nd Lt Dwight A. Fry
Capt Robert E. Fortier (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Charles O. Durant
1st Lt John Sullivan
2nd Lt Roland N. McKean

351st: Major Duncan. T/U 07:26 hrs. T/D 09:20 hrs. Total flight time 1:54 hrs. Route in at NE Calais, Doullens, Vitry en Artois, Adrm and out NE of Dunkerque.

Major Glenn E. Duncan (Gp and Sqdn Ldr)
2nd Lt Jack Terzian
1st Lt William R. Burkett
2nd Lt Harold J. Morris
Capt Walter C. Beckham (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Irving Toppel
Capt Jack R. Walsh
2nd Lt Lloyd A. Thornell
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt John G. Treitz
1st Lt George N. Ahles
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump
1st Lt Vernon A. Leatherman (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley
1st Lt Francis N. King
1st Lt William J. Maguire
1st Lt Vic L. Byers

352nd: Unknown. T/U 07:38 hrs. T/D 09:24 hrs. Total flight time 1:46 hrs. Close escort. Course: Doullens, Douai. Flight plan as per Squadron records:

1st Lt Gordon L. Willits
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame
1st Lt Leroy W. Ista
1st Lt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan
1st Lt Charles W. Kipfer
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison
2nd Lt Wilton W. Johnson
1st Lt Clinton H. Sperry
1st Lt Leslie P. Cles
1st Lt James N. Poindexter (Flt Ldr)
1st Lt William F. Streit
1st Lt Robert A. Newman

A second mission led by Lt Col. McCollom, took off 17:51hrs and returned to Metfield at 18:58 hrs. Total flight time 1:07 hrs. The plan was to escort the 3rd Task Force of 60 B-17’s to Chievries. McCollom was first forced to abort and Capt. Hoey took over command. A dense layer of 10/10ths altostratus was encountered at 17,000ft. After five minutes of instrument flying the Group was forced to abort and returned home. No mission credit was given, but the pilots were given combat time credit. Lt. Herfurth of the Group HQ participated.

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