According to the Sortie Report, on Mission 201 to Magdeburg on September 28, 1944, aircraft 42-39888, known as Hot Nuts, “Left formation after target for unknown reasons, but returned to base.” Flying on Hot Nuts was the William J. Blankenmeyer crew. Robert H. Obermeyer was the regular navigator for the Blankenmeyer crew, but for some reason, he did not fly on the September 28 mission.
On September 28, Obermeyer was replaced as navigator by Chester A. Rybarczyk, who usually flew with the John Oliver Buslee crew. It was through this action that Rybarczyk was not on the Lead Banana with the Buslee crew that day, and instead of being a part of the mid-air collision with the Lazy Daisy, was a witness to it instead.
Undoubtedly, the crew aboard Hot Nuts left formation in an attempt to determine the fate of the crews of the Lead Banana and Lazy Daisy, especially the Buslee crew aboard Lead Banana, as Chester Rybarczyk was normally a part of that crew and could have been on that plane if he had not replaced Obermeyer on the Blankenmeyer crew.
Chester Rybarczyk later wrote to George Edwin Farrar’s family, and probably to the families of the other boys in his crew, giving them hope that the boys survived the collision. Rybarczyk was limited in what information he could divulge, but what he did write contradicted official witness reports in MACR9753, Missing Air Crew Report 9753.
I will publish Rybarczyk’s complete letter dated October 12, 1944 in a future post.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2013