In mid-March 1945, Patricia Albrecht, the wife of Buslee crew co-pilot David Franklin Albrecht, sent Mrs. Buslee, John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s mother, this letter. Both the Albrecht and Buslee families had learned the sad fate of their sons who died side by side in the cockpit of the B-17 43-37822 in the skies above Magdeburg, Germany on September 28, 1944.
March 18, 1945
Dearest Mrs. Buslee:
Your letter went on to Chico, and then back here. I’ve been with Dave’s folks just a week now.
It was grand to hear from you. I haven’t written any letters since I received the news. It doesn’t seem possible and I hope it isn’t true, but I would hate to believe him alive and then someday realize he wasn’t. We heard that the boys’ plane was cut in half by another B-17, out of control. The only hope is that they may have bailed out before, but if they didn’t I can’t imagine them living through such a collision, but as you, am not going to give up hope entirely until the war in Germany is over.
I guess as far as the Government is concerned the case is closed. They have been sending me papers to fill out for Dave’s insurance. I can’t hardly bring myself to fill them out, but suppose I will have to.
I mailed Marilyn a card yesterday telling her about it. Now, I realize I shouldn’t have, but too late now. She made me promise to tell her when I heard something.
I received the pkg. and should have thanked you before now, but you know how you just can’t write now and then. The robe was beautiful and the baby has started to play with toys a little and the toy really catches her eyes. I have a picture to send you of the baby when she was 6 weeks old. She will be 4 months the 8 and weighs about 14 lbs. She looks exactly like Dave did and is just beautiful. I can’t even dream what I’d do without her.
Do you have Chet’s address? I was so glad for him. I imagine it seems pretty swell to him to be home again.
Write again soon please. We don’t know any more about the boys, and the minute we hear some news I’ll write. I’ve been thinking about you folks and Janice a lot. Tell Janice to drop a line. I thought so much of Janice and Gene. I hope to remain
Your Friend Always,
Pat & Nancy
- David and Patricia Albrecht married on December 24, 1943. Their daughter, Nancy, was born on December 8, 1944, while Dave Albrecht was still considered missing in action over Germany. Patricia was from Chico, California.
- Marilyn was Marilyn Fryden, widow of Marvin Fryden, the original bombardier of the Buslee crew who was killed on his second mission on August 5, 1944.
- Chet was Chester Rybarczyk, original navigator of the Buslee crew who was not on board the Buslee crew’s B-17 on September 28, 1944 when it collided with another B-17.
- Janice was Janice Buslee, the Buslee’s daughter and John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s sister, married to Gene Kielhofer.
Thank you to John Dale Kielhofer, John Oliver (Jay) Buslee’s nephew, for sharing this family letter with me.
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020