Marvin Fryden was the original bombardier of the John Oliver (Jay) Buslee crew. He trained alongside his other Buslee crewmates in Ardmore, Oklahoma before the crew transferred to the ETO, being stationed with the 384th Bombardment Group of the 8th Air Force in Grafton Underwood, England.
On August 5, 1944, on only his second mission with the 544th Bomb Squad, Marvin was hit in the chest by a fragment of a shell at the start of the bomb run of Mission 173 to a Luftwaffe controlling station in Langenhagen, Germany. He was able to press the bomb release and completed his task of getting his bombs on the target before collapsing. Marvin and the rest of the crew made it back to England in their flying fortress, Tremblin’ Gremlin, on only two engines and riddled with over 100 flak holes, but Marvin was mortally wounded. He died later in an army hospital with his friend and crewmate, navigator Chester Rybarczyk, by his side, holding his friend in his last moments.
Marvin Fryden was a married man. He had married the former Marilyn Ash on October 8, 1942 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At the time, he was a bombardier instructor at the Albuquerque Air Base.
On November 18, 2007, almost sixty-three years after Marvin died, Marilyn Ash Fryden, now Marilyn Samet, posted a request on the 384th Bomb Group’s web site Log Book. It is still there today in the Log Book archives. It reads:
My husband, 1st Lt. Marvin Fryden was on his second mission as bombardier aboard the Tremblin Gremlin when he was fatally wounded, remaining conscious only to drop his bombs over Langenhagen..(544th) He had been commissioned and assigned as an instructor in the states. We had almost 2 years together as he constantly said he was not doing his part, He finally requested combat duty and was assigned to the Gremlin with John Buslee, Dick Albrecht and other crew members. He was gone from me less than six weeks when he was killed. I have contacted a lot of old friends..but would love knowing more about Dick Albrecht’s wife, Patty, and the baby girl they had with them in Ardmore Ok. They were from Chico, Ca.
Another six years went by and on October 17, 2013, Marilyn again posted to the 384th’s Log Book. Marilyn must have had some difficulty typing her message, and I have edited it only to be easier to read. This original message, too, is still in the 384th’s Log Book archives and can be accessed at www.384thbombgroup.com under the Resources menu heading.
My husband, 1st Lt Marvin Fryden, left his Bombardier Training in Deming, NM because he felt needed in combat. Left me to fly the Tremblin’ Gremlin over the pond at the end of July 1944. Fatally wounded on second mission. Buried in Maddingly in Cambridge. I am 88, still loving my first love. Ready to leave this world and reunite with my love in England. Only one survivor of the Tremblin Gremlin. He died in Akron as a fireman saving someone from a fire. Will say more later.
Marilyn was mistaken about the lone survivor of the Buslee crew in the September 28, 1944 mid-air collision. The lone survivor was my dad, George Edwin Farrar. The firefighter she refers to was Chester Rybarczyk, who was not with the Buslee crew on September 28, 1944 and completed his tour with the 384th. Chester, the same man who held her husband as he lay dying in 1944, died fighting a fire in Toledo in 1967.
Three days later, on October 20, 2013, Marilyn posted her final message to the 384th Log Book (again, I have edited).
I am inspired by so many still remembering. My husband Lt Marvin Fryden was a Bombardier Trainer in Deming NM, but on D-Day he woke up and said, “I should be over there.” He requested combat duty, trained with crew on a B-17, and left me on June 23rd. I went home. He flew his first mission on 8/4/44. Next day he was fatally wounded and is buried at Maddingly. All of the crew were killed on another mission except the navigator who lived to become a firefighter in Toledo and died trying to save someone in a fire.
Two and a half weeks later, on November 7, 2013 Marilyn Ash Fryden Samet passed away after a long illness. She was 88 years old. Marilyn willed her remains to the Duke Medical School and asked that no service be held, feeling that “good memories make enough of a memorial.”
I did not discover Marilyn’s posts until November 17, 2013. Not knowing that she had died ten days previously, I e-mailed her, but of course, I was too late. I was not to discover until early in 2014 that Marilyn had left this world. I can only hope that she got her wish and has reunited with Marvin in England. Perhaps their ghosts roam the grounds of the old Grafton Underwood airfield together. Someday when I get a chance to visit that place, I will stand silent and listen. With the rumble of the B-17 engines long gone, I may be able to hear their happy laughter at being together again forever.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2014