New information from a new search on Ancestry.com, and new information from military records have provided me with some new and updated information regarding Marvin Fryden, the original bombardier of the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group of the 8th Army Air Forces in WWII.
To view my original post and other information about Marvin Fryden, please see the links at the end of this post.
While in the military, Marvin Fryden spelled his last name as “Fryden.” However, the original spelling of his family’s last name when he was growing up was “Frydyn.” I will use both spellings as they were found in historical records, but generally Marvin’s parents continued to use the “Frydyn” spelling as Marvin and his younger sister, Florence, used the “Fryden” spelling in the 1940’s.
Marvin’s father was Harry Frydyn and his mother was Sylvia Kaplan. The family was Jewish and Yiddish was their native language.
Harry Frydyn was born on February 15, 1889 in Radom, Poland/Russia (depending on the year, Radom was part of Poland or Russia). Radom is located about sixty miles south of Warsaw. According to U.S. Naturalization Records, Harry immigrated to the United States from Russia on 13 November 1907 around the age of 18 (his birthplace was Russia), and he became a naturalized citizen on 5 March 1914 at the age of 25. Alternate records show he immigrated to the United States in 1910 and was naturalized in 1916 (according to the 1920 and 1930 Federal census records).
Sylvia Kaplan Frydyn was born in 1898 in Bialastok [Bialystok], Poland. She immigrated to the United States in 1910 and was naturalized in 1919 (according to the 1920 census) or immigrated in 1914 (according to the 1930 census).
On 5 June 1917, Marvin’s father, Harry Frydyn, at the age of 28, registered for the World War I (July 1914 to 11 November 1918) draft. While I can find no details of Harry’s military service, the Veterans Administration Master Index notes Harry’s Military Service record date as January 1918.
On 8 December 1919, Harry Frydyn, age 30, married Sylvia Kaplan, age 21, in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.
The 1920 census recorded Harry and Sylvia Frydyn living at 3238 Augusta Street, Chicago, Ward 15 as borders of David and Rose Rosenberg and their son Jerome.
Harry and Sylvia Frydyn had three children in the 1920’s. Their first child, Marvin, was born on 8 January 1921 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. On 21 May 1925, they had a second son, Marshall, who survived only five and a half months, dying on 4 November 1925. The next year, the Frydyn’s third child, a daughter named Florence, was born on 16 October 1926.
The 1930 census recorded Harry (39), Sylvia (31), Marvin (9) and Florence (3) renting a home at 2652 W. Potomac Avenue, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. Sylvia’s sister, Lilly Kaplan (25), a new immigrant to American in 1927, was living with the family.
The 1940 census recorded the Frydyn family still residing at 2652 W. Potomac Avenue in Chicago. In 1940, Marvin (19) worked as a salesman at Hyraces Silk Manufacturers and had had one year of college. Florence (13) was a student.
In 1944, Florence was pictured in the Sullivan High School yearbook with her last name spelled “Fryden” rather than “Frydyn.”
Entry into WWII Military Service
On 13 January 1942, Marvin Fryden enlisted for service in the Army Air Corps in Chicago, Illinois for Aviation Cadet Training. Marvin’s enlistment record notes his residence as Cook County, Illinois and that he was born in Illinois in 1921. His Army Serial Number at the time of enlistment was 16038334. Note: Officers were reassigned with a new serial number when they were commissioned and Marvin’s later become O-731492.
At the time of his enlistment, Marvin Fryden was 5’9″ tall, weighed 126 pounds, had completed two years of college, and was single with no dependents.
With very few official records of Marvin Fryden’s training and service in the States before his combat duty in the European Theater of Operation, I must rely on records noted by Marvin’s wife, Marilyn Ash Fryden Samet.
- Was sent for pilot training, but then went on to Bombardier School in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he got his wings in October 1942. (Courtesy of Marilyn Fryden)
- Graduated from Bombardier School at Kirtland AAF, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Class #42-14, 10 October 1942. (Courtesy of Bobby Silliman and 384th Bomb Group personnel records)
- After marriage, went to training command at Chandler, Arizona and Deming, New Mexico. (Courtesy of Marilyn Fryden)
- Marvin Fryden served as a Bombardier Instructor at the Bombardier School at Deming Army Air Field in Deming, New Mexico (Courtesy of Marilyn Fryden and Frank Furiga)
- Avn. Cit. ACRTC. Kelly Field, Texas. Kelly Field was an Advanced Flying School in San Antonio, Texas. (Source: Master Index Card/NPRC – National Personnel Records Center)
- In Deming, on June 6th, D-Day, commented “I should be there helping them,” after which he was assigned to advanced training in Midland, Texas. There he met bombardiers who had returned from their missions, and he became even more dedicated to serving in a combat zone. He requested combat duty and was sent to Salt Lake City, was assigned to a crew, and went on to Ardmore, Oklahoma for B-17 training. (Courtesy of Marilyn Fryden)
Marriage to Marilyn Ash
Two days before his Bombardier School graduation, Marvin Fryden married Marilyn Ash on 8 October 1942 in Bernalillo, New Mexico. At the time of their marriage, Marvin was twenty-one years old and Marilyn was a few weeks shy of her seventeenth birthday.
Marilyn Ash was born 26 October 1925 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois to Simon Harry Ash and Fay Ash. Simon, a physician in private practice, was born on 26 June 1892 in Germany according to census records, although he noted on his WWII draft registration card that he was born in Vilna, Russia. Fay was born in Illinois. Simon immigrated in 1905 and was a naturalized American citizen. Census records note Fay’s parents were both born in Russia and Simon’s parents were both born in Germany.
In 1930 Simon and Fay Ash and their two children, Marilyn (4 years old) and Myron (a 2-month old infant) lived at 2410 West 51st Street in Chicago. In 1940, the family lived in the same home.
In 1930 and 1940, the Frydyn and Ash families lived only eight miles apart in Chicago, with the Frydyn family at 2651 W Potomac Avenue and the Ash family at 2410 W 51st Street.
The photo below was taken 13 June 1944 at Fonville Studios in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Marvin left for combat on 26 June 1944.
Marvin Fryden was assigned as bombardier to the John Oliver Buslee B-17 crew, of which my father was assigned waist gunner, in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
Combat Duty in World War II in the 384th Bomb Group
Marvin Fryden’s 384th Bomb Group Individual Sortie record indicates that his duty was Bombardier, one month’s pay was $275.00, and his home address was Mrs. Marilyn Fryden, 2416 W. 51st St., Chicago, Illinois. [Marilyn must have returned to her parents’ home to wait for Marvin while he was away in combat].
Morning Reports of the 384th Bombardment Group and other military documents indicate the following for Marvin Fryden
On 22 JULY 1944, 1st Lt. Marvin Fryden was assigned as Bombardier with the MOS (Military Occupational Specialty 1035) to the John Oliver Buslee crew of the 544th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), per AAF Station 106 Special Orders #144 dated 22 July 1944.
On 5 AUGUST 1944, on his second mission, Mission 173 to Langenhagen, Germany, target was the German Air Force (Luftwaffe), a Luftwaffe Controlling Station, Marvin Fryden was (KIA) killed by flak at the age of 23.
On the 5 August 1944 mission to a German Air Force (Luftwaffe) target in Langenhagen, Germany, a flak shell exploded just outside the nose of Tremblin’ Gremlin where Marvin Fryden sat in position ready to drop his bombs. A piece of flak hit Marvin in the chest, but he was able to release his bombs on the target. He collapsed and survived the return trip to England, but died in the arms of his friend, navigator Chester Rybarczyk, in the hospital.
Marvin Fryden was credited with two missions with the 384th Bomb Group. His first mission was on 4 August 1944 and his last was on 5 August 1944.
Medals and Decorations
Marvin Fryden was awarded the Purple Heart, Killed in action (died of wounds on August 5, 1944).
Casualty of War
Marvin Fryden, Buslee crew bombardier, participating in the 5 August 1944 mission to Langenhagen, Germany, died on that date, at the age of 23. He is buried at the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, Coton, South Cambridgeshire District, Cambridgeshire, England, Plot E, Row 2, Grave 4.
His Hospital Admission card recorded,
- Age 23
- Years of service 2 years, 7 months
- First diagnosis – wounds, perforating, location thorax (the chest), generally
- Second diagnosis – fracture, compound, comminuted or depressed, humerus (the bone of the upper arm or forelimb, forming joints at the shoulder and the elbow), generally
- Causative agent shell fragment, flak, shrapnel.
The National Jewish Welfare Board, Bureau of War Records, Master Card System recorded Marvin Fryden’s death on FEB 14 1945. His name as recorded on the card was FRYDYN Marvin, Rank Lt., Age 23, Next of Kin Mr. & Mrs. Harry Frydyn, Relationship Parents, Address 6719 Lakewood Avenue, City Chicago, State Ill.
Marvin and Marilyn Fryden had been married for two years when Marvin died on 5 August 1944. At the time of Marvin’s death, Marilyn was only eighteen years old. You can read more about Marilyn and her love for Marvin here.
Family After the War
Marvin’s mother, Sylvia Kaplan Frydyn, died on July 8, 1952.
Marvin’s father, Harry Frydyn, died on 27 January 1968 (alternately reported as January 1967).
Marvin’s wife, Marilyn Ash Fryden, was remarried on 22 December 1945 in Illinois to Jerome Samet. They divorced on 17 September 1990 in Surry, North Carolina. Marilyn Ash Fryden Samet died on 7 November 2013 in Cary, North Carolina at the age of 88.
Marvin’s sister, Florence “Faye” Fryden/Frydyn Dobrow, married to Morton Dobrow, died on 12 December 2016 at the age of 90.
Fiftieth Anniversary of V-E Day
NPRC Records Search by American Vice President Al Gore’s Advance Team
In researching Marvin Fryden, I reviewed the documents in his personnel file at the NPRC (National Personnel Records Center) in St. Louis, Missouri. Marvin’s personnel file held very few records, but this letter that dates to 1995 was on file as part of his record.
The letter, dated 3 May 1995, was sent from the Assistant Director of Military Records of the NPRC and addressed to a representative, Ms. Lynn Sicade, of Vice President Gore’s Advance Team, London, England. In 1995, Al Gore was American President Bill Clinton’s Vice President.
According to the letter, Ms. Sicade was looking for information on three deceased Army veterans, one of whom was Marvin Fryden. While the letter noted that the NPRC did send some “limited” information about Marvin Fryden, it also noted that his military personnel record was destroyed in the major fire at the facility, which occurred in 1973.
So, why would Vice President Al Gore be interested in Marvin Fryden and the other two deceased Army service members, Elsie B. Keasey and Leo E. Apanasewicz, in 1995?
All three men died in World War II and are buried at Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial in England.
- Marvin Fryden is buried in Plot E, Row 2, Grave 4.
- Elsie B. Keasey is buried in Plot C, Row 3, Grave 2.
- Leo E. Apanasewicz is buried in Plot A, Row 4, Grave 10.
And that fact leads to the reason that Al Gore was interested in these men.
V-E Day Celebrations: Many Memories of a Great Occasion
According to a 6 May 1995 article, in part, by Audrey Woods,
LONDON (AP) _ Thousands of veterans of World War II joined in commemorations Saturday of the 50th anniversary of V-E Day, each bringing particular memories of triumph, liberation and sorrow.
Vice President Al Gore told veterans gathered at the American Cemetery in Cambridge that the war against evil did not end on May 8, 1945. Vice President Gore said,
“From their deaths, we have learned enduring lessons. If we don’t heed them now, the 21st century … could bring us a greater barbarism than the world has ever known.”
Gore, Veterans in Cambridge to Mark 50th Anniversary of VE-Day
CAMBRIDGE, England (AP) _ American veterans gathered among the graves of their fallen comrades today to mark the 50th anniversary of victory in World War II.
Vice President Al Gore was representing the United States at the ceremony, and at other events in Britain, France and Germany. Vice President Gore said,
“I would like to emphasize on this occasion what a great honor it is to be able to represent my country at VE Day commemorations, and to remember on behalf of all Americans the hours when Britain stood alone against the forces of evil threatening our civilization, and to celebrate partnership that won that war, and to honor those who sacrificed everything for our freedom,” Gore said this morning, after meeting Prime Minister John Major in London.
Gore is to lay a wreath at Cambridge’s American Cemetery to honor the 3,812 U.S. war dead interred there and thousands of others listed as missing.
Some 4,000 U.S. veterans, many of them pilots and crew members of the American planes that flew more than a half million missions from England into occupied Europe, are expected to attend the memorial service.
The multi-nation V-E Day celebration began in London, England and continued to Paris, France, to Berlin, Germany, and to Moscow, Russian Federation. Leaders or other officials of fifty-four nations attended events in London – a formal dinner Saturday night (5 May), a service of reconciliation at St. Paul’s Cathedral Sunday morning (6 May), and another banquet at Buckingham Palace.
While visiting the Cambridge American Cemetery, did Vice President Al Gore visit Marvin Fryden’s grave or make remarks about him and the others his Advance Team researched through the NPRC? I cannot answer that question now, but perhaps the answer is in the archives somewhere in a transcript of his speech or in photos of his visit to the cemetery that day.
Previous post, The Family of Marvin Fryden
Wikipedia: Radom, Poland
Wikipedia: Bialystok, Poland
Previous post, A Photo of Marvin Fryden, Bombardier of the Buslee Crew
Marvin Fryden’s Enlistment Record in the online National Archives (in the Reserve Corps records)
Marvin Fryden’s Personnel Record courtesy of the 384th Bomb Group
MOS means Military Occupational Specialty
Previous post, Assigned Military Occupational Specialties of the Buslee and Brodie Crews
Previous post, Timeline for Buslee Crewmembers and Substitutes, 544th Bomb Squadron
Previous post, August 5, 1944 Mission 173 Press Release – Transcription
Marvin Fryden’s Find a Grave Memorial
Florence “Faye” Frydyn Dobrow obituary
AP News: V-E Day Celebrations: Many Memories of a Great Occasion
AP News: Gore, Veterans in Cambridge to Mark 50th Anniversary of VE-Day
The 1973 Fire, National Personnel Records Center
© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2023
How sad. So many of the young men back then were married only a short time before they were killed. My mother’s cousin married a war widow after he returned from his service in Europe. They were together for about 50 years before passing away.
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