Mission#81 February 20, 1944 – Target: Leipzig, “Big Week” Begins.

Date: Feb 20, 44

Dispatched: 49 Aborts: 0

Mission: Penetration support to 1st ATF, 420 B-17s (1st Div)

Field Order: 245 Target: Leipzig

Time Up/Down: 10:54 hrs     13:36 hrs Leader: Lt Col. Rimerman

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

L/F 11:40 hrs, Ijmuiden, 25,000ft. R/V lead box 1st Div bombers 12:04 hrs, 20,000ft Bippen. Stayed with bombers until 12:27 hrs leaving them 15 miles east of Dummer Lake, 5 minutes after 56th had R/Vd. L/F out of the Hague 20,000ft, 13:03 hrs. Moderate flak Osnabruck. No E/A seen. Nothing of interest to report. Lt Col. Rimerman, Capt. Charles J. Hoey and 1st Lt. Thistlethwaite of Group HQ participated.

350th: Lt Col. Rimerman. T/U 10:48 hrs. T/D 13:45 hrs. Total flight time 02:57 hrs. L/F in on course 11:39 hrs, 24,000ft. R/V bombers rear box and then moved up 11:50 hrs, 25,000ft. Good. P-47s, 38, 51. No e/a. Left bombers E of Dummer Lake 12:25 hrs, 26,000ft. Left coast Noordwijerhout, 13:02 hrs, 20,000ft. Heavy, accurate Osnabruck area. R/T good. Broken stratus 6/10 overcast s of course.

Lt Col Ben Rimerman (Sqdn Ldr)
1st Lt Robert S. Hart
1st Lt Robert N. Ireland
1st Lt Carl W. Mueller
1st Lt John L. Devane (Flt Ldr)
Capt Barnhart* (366th FG)
1st Lt William J. Price
2nd Lt Kenneth Chetwood
Capt Dewey E. Newhart (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Arthur C. Bergeron
1st Lt Francis T. Walsh
1st Lt John H. Winder
1st Lt Wayne K. Blickenstaff (Flt Ldr)
2nd Lt Richard L. Bedford
1st Lt Melvin P. Dawson
1st Lt Roland N. McKean
1st Lt Tom Lorance

*Capt. Barnhart of the 366th Group flew as wing man to flight leader in Red flight for combat familiarisation.

351st: Major Beckham. T/U 10:49 hrs. T/D 13:37 hrs. Total flight time 02:48 hrs. Route: In South of Egmond, R/V with bombers north of Lingen, out at Noordwijerhout. Penetration support. South of Egmond at 11:39 hrs at 25,000ft. Triangle [1st Div], North of Lingen at 12:05 hrs at 27,000ft. B-17s good close formation. B-24s very good. P-47s. Two P-38s returning, one had a feathered prop. [Left bombers] Southwest of Dummer Lake, at 12:24 hrs at 20,000ft.[L/F out] Nordwijerhout at 13:03 hrs at 21,000ft. Channel “C” very good. Remarks: 19 B-17s with triangle markings [1st Div] seen returning at 11:10 hrs. Periodically bombers seen aborting along the bomber route.

Major Walter C. Beckham (Sqdn Ldr) YJ-X
Major Holt (366th FG) YJ-H
1st Lt William T. Thistlethwaite YJ-A
2nd Lt Hassell D. Stump YJ-S
1st Lt Gordon B. Compton (Flt Ldr) YJ-O
Lt Kerr (366th FG) YJ-I
2nd Lt Richard D. Stanley YJ-Z
2nd Lt Don M. Hurlburt YJ-H
Capt Frederick H. Lefebre (Flt Ldr) YJ-L
2nd Lt Herbert K. Field YJ-F
Capt Vic L. Byers YJ-V
2nd Lt Harry D. Milligan YJ-Y
1st Lt Frank N. Emory (Flt Ldr) YJ-E
F/O Cletus Peterson YJ-P
1st Lt William J. Maguire YJ-M
2nd Lt George F. Perpente YJ-G
2nd Lt Frank J. Mincik (Relay) YJ-U
2nd Lt John G. Treitz (Spare) YJ-B
F/O Joseph E. Wood (Spare) YJ-T

*Major Holt and Lt. Kerr from the 366th flew with the Squadron for combat familiarisation.

352nd: Major Bailey. T/U 10:52 hrs. T/D 13:30 hrs. Total flight time 02:38 hrs. Penetration support to First Division B-17s, 1st Task Force. L/F in south of Zandvoort at 11:41 hrs at 24,500ft. R/V vicinity of Lingen as briefed at 28,000ft. Boxes good but combat wings strung out. Two other 47 groups observed, a few 51s and 38s. Two unidentified A/C NE Osnabruck at 4-5,000ft. Left bombers at Herford at 12:25 hrs at 29,000ft. Left coast at Noordwijk am Zee at 12:59 hrs at 28,000ft. R/T constant jamming. Could not hear controller. “C” channel was good. Scattered clouds, tops around 4-5,000ft prevailed over our course. Area south of course was completely overcast and our route later became overcast. Clouds over Channel about 9/10ths, England overcast. Contrails began at about 24,100ft. One A/C with call numerals (39) was heard calling for landing instructions on our channel while we were still over enemy territory. His Squadron call sign was not very audible but it was not one of ours.

Major William B. Bailey (Sqdn Ldr) SX-B
2nd Lt Richard V. Keywan SX-S
1st Lt James N. Poindexter SX-H
2nd Lt Hildreth R. Owens SX-O
Capt Thomas J. Forkin (Flt Ldr) SX-W
Lt Lusby* (366th FG) SX-X
1st Lt Robert A. Newman SX-N
2nd Lt William S. Marchant SX-V
Capt Charles J. Hoey (Flt Ldr) SX-A
Capt Orsinger* (366th FG) SX-G
1st Lt Clinton H. Sperry SX-U
2nd Lt Edison G. Stiff SX-L
Capt Wilbert H. Juntilla (Flt Ldr) SX-K
2nd Lt Donald J. Corrigan SX-Q
1st Lt Gordon S. Burlingame SX-J
2nd Lt Maurice Morrison SX-Z
2nd Lt Clifford F. Armstrong SX-F

*Capt Orsinger and Lt Lusby of the 366th FG with the Squadron for combat familiarisation.

Group Aborts/ERTNs

None reported.

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