The B17-G aircraft with serial number 43-37822 was assigned to the 384th Bomb Group, 544th Squadron. Known as The Lead Banana, it completed 27 missions, returning safely to base on 26 of those missions. Its first mission, on July 20, 1944, was to an aircraft plant in Dessau, Germany. Its last mission, on September 28, 1944, was to a steelworks plant in Magdeburg, Germany. The crew was able to complete its assignment and drop its bombs over Magdeburg, but was involved in a mid-air collision coming off the target.
John Oliver Buslee, David Franklin Albrecht, William Alvin Henson, II, Robert Sumner Stearns, Sebastiano Joseph Peluso, Lenard Leroy Bryant, George Francis McMann, Jr., and Gerald Lee Andersen, all aboard the Lead Banana, did not survive the crash.
The only survivor, George Edwin Farrar (my dad), became a POW confined at Stalag Luft IV.
Most of these men had flown on The Lead Banana on previous missions, but for George Francis McMann, Jr., and Gerald Lee Andersen, September 28 was the first and last time they set foot on this plane.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2013