On October 7, 1944 Chester Rybarczyk was on his fifteenth mission, 384th Bomber Group Mission Number 207 to a synthetic oil plant at Leipzig, Germany. At 1100 hours in the vicinity of Bad Iburg, Germany, Chester Rybarczyk’s aircraft was hit by flak and peeled off from formation with the #2 wing tank smoking and leaking. Rybarczyk was flying as Navigator with the James W. Orr crew on aircraft 43-38615, name unknown. They were last seen over Osnabruck with wheels down and under control. No chutes were seen to emerge. The aircraft landed in allied territory with all crew safe. A crash landing didn’t stop this crew for long. A week later Rybarczyk and the Orr crew were back in the air again on Mission 210 to the Marshalling Yards at Saarbrucken, Germany.
Rybarczyk’s flight jacket shows a picture of a bomb for each of his missions except for his 15th mission. That mission is depicted as a boot, signifying a mission from which the boys had to walk back after a crash landing. He also had the back of his jacket inscribed “Korky,” his nickname for his sweetheart back home, Bernadette Korlewski. His last duty was in December 1944, and Chester and Bernadette married on May 21, 1945.
Information and photos provided by Tony Rybarczyk, Chester Rybarczyk’s son.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014