There’s one more Buslee crew member I want to address in this deeper look into their crew photo – Erwin Vernon Foster. As Keith Ellefson, combat data specialist and NexGen of the 384th Bomb Group, has pointed out, it looks like Foster had flown a previous combat tour before joining the Buslee crew.
Keith notes that “all of the men in the photo are wearing wings but only Foster has any kind of awards being displayed.” Keith also notes that on his assignment order, Foster was a Corporal. Since Foster had a previous tour, he normally should have been at least a Sergeant, and more likely a Staff Sergeant. This led Keith to believe that Foster had been reduced to Corporal prior to being assigned to the Buslee crew.
However, Keith noticed the following decorations worn by Foster. He has his crew member wings on top. Foster’s ribbons represent an Air Medal with at least one Oak Leaf Cluster, a Good Conduct Medal, and European, African, and Middle Eastern Campaign ribbons with two Campaign Stars. He also wears an Armament Specialist Qualification Badge on his right sleeve.
Foster was one of only three of the original Buslee crew members to complete his missions without being killed, seriously wounded, or taken prisoner. He went on to fight in the Korean War as evidenced by his tombstone. Like my dad, Erwin Foster only lived to be sixty-one, dying in 1981. A short life of sixty-one years doesn’t seem fair for a man who fought for his country in two tours in WWII and in Korea, does it?
Thank you again, Keith Ellefson, 384th Bomb Group NexGen and combat data specialist for you help in providing me this information.
WWII photos courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2016