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MISSION 173

The 384th Bomb Group’s Mission #173 was the 8th AAF’s Mission #519.

On 5 AUGUST 1944, the 544th Bomb Squadron’s John Oliver Buslee crew, of which my dad George Edwin Farrar was a waist gunner, participated in their second combat mission with the 384th Bomb Group. It was the first combat mission for my dad, who did not participate in the crew’s first mission.

The 384th Bomb Group was part of the 1st Bombardment Division, 41st Combat Wing, of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, and today they flew as part of the 41st “B” Combat Wing.

The 384th Bomb Group website’s Mission Summary describes the mission as,

Fighter Control Center
The 384th Bombardment Group (H) provided all three groups of the 41st B Combat Bombardment Wing on today’s mission to knock out a control center for enemy fighter aircraft. Intense flak at the primary target did not deter the bombers, and visual bombing conditions enabled accurate bombing.

Forty-one aircraft of the 384th Bomb Group were assigned to the mission.

In Ken Decker’s Memories of the 384th Bombardment Group (H) book (2nd Edition), 384th Bomb Group bombardier Vern Arnold related the story of his first mission and noted that,

Our group didn’t lose any ships, but there were so many so badly shot up that we are “stood down” tomorrow to allow the ground crews time to patch them up.

Mission documents identified the specific target of the day as the,

GAF [German Air Force/Luftwaffe] Controlling Station at Langenhagen, 6 miles north of Hannover. This airfield is believed to be producing FW 154’s. This is the German version of the Mosquito. It has been bombed as ATO but little damage had been done. Dimensions are 2000 yds E-W by 2750 yds N-S.

Also noted was that,

There were three dummy airfields in the vicinity of the target,

and enemy opposition was expected as,

Both single and twin-engine fighters may be encountered. Moderated opposition is expected.

Like the previous day’s mission, the Buslee crew flew with experienced pilot Arthur Shwery, today in the High Group led by Gerald Sammons.

The Shwery/Buslee crew flew under these leaders on this date,

  • High Group Commander Major Gerald Busby Sammons, 544th Bomb Squadron Commanding Officer 14 September 1944 to 6 November 1944
  • 41st “B” Combat Wing Air Commander Lt. Col. William Edward Buck, Jr., 384th Bomb Group Deputy Group Commander
  • Col. Dale Orville Smith (not a mission participant), 384th Bomb Group Commander 23 November 1943 to 24 October 1944

The Shwery/Buslee Crew Loading List for Mission #173 was:

  • Pilot – Arthur James Shwery
  • Co-Pilot – John Oliver Buslee
  • Navigator – Chester Anthony Rybarczyk
  • Bombardier – Marvin Fryden
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Sebastiano Joseph Peluso
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Clarence Burdell Seeley
  • Ball Turret Gunner – Erwin Vernon Foster
  • Tail Gunner – Eugene Daniel Lucynski
  • Waist Gunner – George Edwin Farrar (my dad)

The Buslee/Shwery crew was aboard B-17 42-37982, Tremblin’ Gremlin. At the target, the group encountered intense and accurate flak, including major flak damage to the Gremlin. The Tactical Interrogation form filled out by Arthur Shwery at the completion of the mission described the destruction.

5 AUG 1944 Tactical Interrogation Form, front, as reported by Arthur Shwery

and (over),

5 AUG 1944 Tactical Interrogation Form, back, as reported by Arthur Shwery

On his post-mission Tactical Interrogation form, F/O (First Officer) A.J. Shwery indicated the location or Place of the flak as the Target, marked it as Intense, and specified it as Accurate.

In the top margin of the form (not shown in the photos), Shwery indicated that the crew landed at Hailsworth with injured, 1 serious, 2 slight.

In the form’s printed fields, Shwery did not enter the Time took off that day, but he did indicate Time Landed with the entry,

1455 at Hailsworth
Returned to GU at 2200 with another A/C

In his narrative further describing the details of the flak, Shwery’s hand-written notes included the following information.

  • Flak hit A/C [aircraft] on Bomb Run and killed Bomb. [Bombardier Marvin Fryden], Engineer [Clarence Seeley] in leg, & F/O Shwery (Pilot) were injured.
  • Bomb. [Bombardier] received first aid and toggled on lead.
  • Co-Pilot took over controls after pilot was hit and piloted A/C over target and back to Hailsworth.
  • After landing bombardier received treatment at hospital but had a relapse and died.

(Over).

  • Damage: T Turret [Top Turret] went out after target.
  • Command radio antenna shot up.
  • 106 [underlined 4 times] flak holes.
  • #4 turbo bucket wheel lost 4 buckets.
  • #3 engine hit at tgt [target] & feathered.
  • #2 engine out just before reaching Eng. [English] coast on return.
  • Right rudder shot out at target.
  • All trim tabs, oxygen, hydraulic systems also hit.
  • Bomb bay mechanism hit.
  • Returned in formation after leaving gp [group] at target and then rendezvous again.

Mission data in group reports included,

  • No enemy aircraft observed.
  • Per Gerald Sammons, “Flak was intense and accurate.”
  • Per Lead Bombardier for the Lead Group, Capt. A. Palazzo, “Approximately 1 1/2 minutes before bombs away we were hit severely by flak and I for a moment thought my bomb load might have been hit.”
  • “A/C 982 landed at Hailsworth due to major flak damage and three injured.”
  • Also per Gerald Sammons, “Bombs were away at 1302 hours from 25,500 feet…with good results.”
  • Bombing results believed to be excellent.

With Buslee in the co-pilot position, David Franklin Albrecht again did not fly with the Buslee crew. For the second time, Albrecht flew as co-pilot with the Paul E. Norton crew on aircraft 42-102459, Little Kenny.

With George Edwin Farrar manning the waist gun on this mission, Lenard Leroy Bryant, the other waist gunner assigned to the Buslee crew, sat this one out.

Marvin Fryden, the Buslee crew bombardier, died of his injuries on this, his second, combat mission of the war. Engineer/top turret gunner Clarence Seeley was seriously injured and was hospitalized. Seeley resumed flying in October and completed his tour in March 1945.

Thank you to the 384th’s Fred Preller and Keith Ellefson for obtaining and sharing WWII reports and mission documents for the 384th Bomb Group.

Notes

Previous post on Mission 173

Park Ridge (Illinois) Advocate Transcript of Mission 173

Mission documents and other mission information courtesy of Fred Preller’s…

384th Bomb Group website

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

MISSION 171

The 384th Bomb Group’s Mission #171 was the 8th AAF’s Mission #514.

On 4 AUGUST 1944, the 544th Bomb Squadron’s John Oliver Buslee crew, of which my dad George Edwin Farrar was a waist gunner, participated in their first combat mission with the 384th Bomb Group.

The 384th Bomb Group was part of the 1st Bombardment Division, 41st Combat Wing, of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, and today they flew as part of the 41st “C” Combat Wing.

The 384th Bomb Group website’s Mission Summary describes the mission as,

V-Weapon Laboratory Attacked
The 384th Bombardment Group (H) provided all three groups of the 41st C Combat Bombardment Wing on today’s mission. The long haul to Peenemünde on the Baltic – over 10 hours total flying time – was rewarded with visual bombing conditions at the primary target. Crews felt that the target area was well hit.

For the 384th, it was “a double mission day,” as late WWII historian Ken Decker called the date in his Memories of the 384th Bombardment Group (H) book (2nd Edition). On this day, forty-two aircraft were assigned to #171, the target a Crossbow V-Weapons rocket research and development complex in Peenemünde, Germany.

Mission documents specify that the primary target was the Hydrogen Peroxide Plant at Peenemünde, a building 170 yards wide and 300 yards long. The document also noted, “This is the work that is connected to buzz bombs.”

On the second mission of that double mission day, in the afternoon, nine aircraft were assigned to #172, the target a Crossbow (V-Weapons) NOBALL (V-1 Launch Site) in Crepieul, France, but a thunderstorm at the target area resulted in no target attacked.

Assigned to the first mission of the day, #171, the Buslee crew flew in the Low Group of the 41st “C” Combat Wing, with 2nd Lt. Arthur Shwery in the cockpit providing Buslee with his first real-time combat training. According to historical mission documents, the crew took off at 0939 (9:39 A.M British time), and landed at 1823 (6:23 P.M. British time), almost a nine-hour mission.

The Shwery/Buslee crew flew under these leaders on this date,

  • Low Group Commander James Wesley Hines, 545th Bomb Squadron Operations Officer
  • 41st “C” Combat Wing Air Commander Major Gordon Kenneth Stallings, 546th Bomb Squadron Commanding Officer 29 May 1944 to 30 September 1944
  • Major Gerald Busby Sammons (not a mission participant), 544th Bomb Squadron Commanding Officer 14 September 1944 to 6 November 1944
  • Col. Dale Orville Smith (not a mission participant), 384th Bomb Group Commander 23 November 1943 to 24 October 1944

The Shwery/Buslee Crew Loading List for Mission #171 was:

  • Pilot – Arthur James Shwery
  • Co-Pilot – John Oliver Buslee
  • Navigator – Chester Anthony Rybarczyk
  • Bombardier – Marvin Fryden
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Sebastiano Joseph Peluso
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Clarence Burdell Seeley
  • Ball Turret Gunner – Erwin Vernon Foster
  • Tail Gunner – Eugene Daniel Lucynski
  • Waist Gunner – Lenard Leroy Bryant

The Buslee/Shwery crew was aboard B-17 42-102620, De Rumble Izer, and Shwery reported on the post-mission Tactical Interrogation Form that everything went as briefed. They attacked the target at 1449 (2:49 P.M. British time) from 21,000 feet, with good results of all bombs on target. Shwery reported three incidents of flak, including flak at the target.

In other post-mission documents, Shwery reported,

  • No battle damage to his aircraft, 42-102620, De Rumble Izer.
  • One technical failure, a radio issue. The tail gunner’s interphone was inoperative.
  • No enemy aircraft.
  • No armament failures.

Mission data in group reports included,

  • Fighter escort was good except for about a half hour after leaving the target.
  • Flash Telephone Report on A.A. (Anti-Aircraft) Gunfire: Eight or more rockets were observed in the target area. They had white trails and white bursts. Three aircraft reported a huge rocket which burst behind the formation just after bombs away. It burst into a ball of fire, which broke up into 4-5 smaller balls with fiery streamers emanating from them.

With Buslee in the co-pilot position, the crew’s original co-pilot David Franklin Albrecht did not fly with the Buslee crew.  Albrecht flew as co-pilot with the Paul E. Norton crew on the unnamed B-17 42-102959.

The tenth member of the crew, my father George Edwin Farrar, did not fly this mission.  At this time in the war, the 384th assigned only one waist gunner per aircraft on missions. Bryant and Farrar were both waist gunners on the original Buslee crew, and Bryant was selected for the waist gunner position on this first mission for the crew.  Farrar did not fly with another crew.

Thank you to the 384th’s Fred Preller and Keith Ellefson for obtaining and sharing WWII reports and mission documents for the 384th Bomb Group.

Notes

Previous post on Mission 171

Mission documents and other mission information courtesy of Fred Preller’s…

384th Bomb Group website

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

Assigned Military Operational Specialties of the Buslee and Brodie Crews

I previously wrote about the special orders, Special Orders 86, for the John Oliver Buslee crew (Crew #4679) of the 384th Bomb Group (of which my dad was waist gunner). The orders, dated 23 JUNE 1944, released the airmen from their combat crew training assignment and duty at the 222nd Combat Crew Training School (H) at the Ardmore Army Air Field and transferred them to AAB, Kearney, Nebraska, the next leg of their journey to their permanent duty station in England.

Special Orders #86, Buslee crew

The James Joseph Brodie crew (Crew #4659) was assigned on the same special orders, on page 4 of the same document.

Special Orders #86, Brodie crew

I had a chance recently to review those orders and pull some more information from them, specifically (at time of the orders),

  • Assigned occupation in the B-17 and MOS (Military Operational Specialty)/Job Assignment number
  • Rank
  • Whether Married or Single (Married status was indicated by the * preceding their rank in the list)

The MOS (Military Operation Specialties)/Job Assignments, of which there were many in the United States Military, of the Buslee and Brodie crews at the time of these Special Orders were limited to these:

  • 1022 Pilot – Twin Engine (A-20, B-25, B-26, etc)
  • 1024 Pilot – Four Engine (Usually Transport Pilots)
  • 1034 Bombardier
  • 1035 Navigator
  • 748 Aerial Engineer Gunner, specifically Top Turret Gunner/Flight Engineer. Earlier, 748 was Airplane Mechanic Gunner, but the MOS changed when TM 12-427 (see Sources below) was updated/revised.
  • 757 Radio Operator/Mechanic/Gunner, the radio operator who could man a weapon and perform some basic repairs in flight as well as basic maintenance tasks.
  • 611 Aerial Gunner (Waist, Ball & Tail), a general classification for aerial gunner. That indicates the service member did not have additional formal school training on a specialty like RO (radio operator) or flight engineer.  Typically WG (waist gunners) and BT (ball turret gunners) are listed as assistant armorers, flight engineers or radio operators.  They are the fill-in guy to attempt to fulfill one of those jobs if needed.
  • 612 Armorer Gunner (Togglier), an Airplane Armorer Gunner.  He performs basic maintenance and repairs on various weapons-related equipment.  A togglier could be a guy – someone who isn’t busy with constant duties, performing a specific role on the bomb run (to toggle the switch to release the bombs at the same time as the lead bombardier), and someone who can get back to another position quickly.

Specific details in the above list were provided by 384th Bomb Group Historian John Edwards.

* * * * *

From the crew lists on Special Orders 86, I can produce a “Who’s Who” for the Buslee and Brodie crews at the time of those orders.

P – Pilot, classified as MOS 1024 Pilot – Four Engine (Usually Transport Pilots), but later, according to 384th Bomb Group records, re-classified as MOS 1091, Pilot, B-17

  • 2nd Lt. John O. Buslee, SN O-764209, marital status Single
  • 2nd Lt. James J. Brodie, SN O-1012186, marital status Married

CP – Co-pilot, classified as MOS 1022 Pilot – Twin Engine (A-20, B-25, B-26, etc), but later, according to 384th Bomb Group records, re-classified as MOS 1091, Pilot, B-17

  • [Buslee crew] 2nd Lt. David F. Albrecht, SN O-767423, marital status Married
  • [Brodie crew] 2nd Lt. Lloyd O. Vevle, SN O-768760, marital status Single

N – Navigator, classified as MOS 1035 Navigator

  • [Buslee crew] 2nd Lt. Chester A. Rybarczyk, SN O-0720014, marital status Single
  • [Brodie crew] 2nd Lt. George M. Hawkins, Jr., SN O-719944, marital status Single

B – Bombardier, classified as MOS 1034 Bombardier

  • [Buslee crew] 1st Lt. Marvin [NMI] Fryden, SN O-731492, marital status Married
  • [Brodie crew] 2nd Lt. William D. Barnes, Jr., SN O-768921, marital status Single

Marvin Fryden was a stateside instructor in the Army Air Forces before joining a combat crew, likely explaining why his rank was greater than the other officers of the two crews at the time of these orders.

AEG – Army Airplane Mechanic/Gunner, Flight Engineer (Top Turret Gunner/Flight Engineer), classified as MOS 748 Aerial Engineer Gunner

  • [Buslee crew] Sgt. Clarence B. Seeley, SN 39270874, marital status Single
  • [Brodie crew] S/Sgt. Robert D. Crumpton, SN 19056991, marital status Single

ROG – Radio Operator/Mechanic/Gunner, AAF, classified as MOS 757 Radio Operator/Mechanic/Gunner

  • [Buslee crew] Sgt. Sebastiano J. Peluso, SN 12182596, marital status Single
  • [Brodie crew] Sgt. William E. Taylor, SN 16115332, marital status Single

AAEG – Assistant Aerial Engineer Gunner (Assistant Flight Engineer/Gunner), classified as MOS 611 Aerial Gunner (Waist, Ball & Tail)

  • [Buslee crew] Cpl. Lenard L. Bryant, SN 38344446, one of the crew’s two waist gunners, marital status Married (although not indicated on SO 86)
  • [Brodie crew] Cpl. Leonard W. Opie, SN 36431961, one of the crew’s two waist gunners, marital status Single

Lenard Bryant later became the Buslee crew’s top turret gunner after Clarence Seeley was seriously injured.

GUN – Airplane Armorer/Gunner (classified as a 612 MOS) or Aerial Gunner (classified as a 611 MOS)

  • [Buslee crew] S/Sgt. Eugene D. Lucynski, SN 36507488, the crew’s tail gunner, classified as MOS 612 Airplane Armorer/Gunner, marital status Single
  • [Brodie crew] Cpl. Gordon E. Hetu, SN 16189148, the crew’s ball turret gunner, classified as MOS 611 Aerial Gunner, marital status Single

AG – Aerial Gunner (Waist, Ball & Tail), classified as a basic 611 MOS

  • [Buslee crew] Cpl. Erwin V. Foster, SN 32588280, the crew’s ball turret gunner, marital status Single
  • [Brodie crew] Cpl. Harry A. Liniger, SN 34670187, one of the crew’s two waist gunners, marital status Single

AAG – Airplane Armorer/Gunner (classified as a 612 MOS) or Aerial Gunner (classified as a 611 MOS)

  • [Buslee crew] Sgt. George E. Farrar, SN 14119873, one of the crew’s two waist gunners, classified as MOS 612 Airplane Armorer/Gunner, marital status Single
  • [Brodie crew] Cpl. Wilfred F. Miller, SN 36834864, the crew’s tail gunner, classified as MOS 611 Aerial Gunner, marital status Single

George Farrar was a stateside instructor in the Army Air Forces before joining a combat crew (with his last assignment as an instructor at Ardmore Army Air Field), likely explaining why his rank was Sgt. at the time of these orders.

Buslee crew tail gunner Eugene Lucynski was assigned on the same Combat Crew Detachment Orders Number 52 as George Farrar, possibly indicating that he also held a position (maybe also instructor) at Ardmore, and possibly explaining why he held the rank of S/Sgt. at the time of these orders.

In some cases, the makeup of the airmen assigned to a bomber crew changed before the crew reached the final destination of its overseas duty station. For instance, if one of the airmen became ill en route, he might be left behind while the remainder of the crew continued on with a replacement assigned in his stead. In this case, both the Buslee and Brodie crews arrived intact, as assigned on Special Orders 86, at the 384th Bomb Group’s Station #106 in the English midlands village of Grafton Underwood, and began flying missions as assigned in Special Orders 86.

Notes

[NMI] indicates No Middle Initial in name.

After discovering that Lenard Bryant’s marital status was incorrect on the SO, I realize that I need to review the marital status of the other airmen on these two crews, but will do so at a later date.

Sources

303rd Bomb Group website

384th Bomb Group Historian John Edwards, referencing “TM 12-427 Military Occupational Classification of Enlisted Personnel” dated 12 JULY 1944.

TM 12-427 Military Occupational Classification of Enlisted Personnel

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

Blue Skies, Wallace Storey

Wallace Arnold Storey

WWII Pilot Wallace Arnold Storey will be laid to rest today. His loss is personal for me. Wallace was the WWII veteran of the 384th Bomb Group who started me on my journey of discovery of my father’s WWII service.

I have written several articles about Wallace Storey (see Notes at the end for links), but have not previously written about his early life, which I will do today.

Wallace was born on November 19, 1922 to Paul Eugene and Ethel A. (Cooley) Storey in Calhoun Falls, Abbeville County, South Carolina.

The 1930 census records Wallace as a seven year old child. The family record lists father Paul E. Storey (29 years old), mother Ethel A. Storey (29 years old), and younger brother Paul E. Storey (2 years old). The family resided at 404 Houston Street in Greenville, Greenville County, South Carolina. Parents Paul and Ethel were both South Carolina natives as were both sets of their parents. Father Paul E. Storey was an insurance agent.

The 1940 census records Wallace as a seventeen year old and the same family members as in 1930, but ten years older. The family lived on Grove Road in Greenville and had lived there since at least 1935. Father Paul E. Storey was an Assistant Manager of an Insurance Agency. Wallace had completed the third year of high school as of the date the census was taken, and would graduate from Greenville High School later that year.

“The Nautilus” 1940 yearbook from Wallace’s senior year in high school listed his many accomplishments.

Wallace Arnold Storey as a Senior at Greenville High School, 1940 Yearbook “The Nautilus”

As you can see, Wallace was already interested in aviation, achieving the role of president of the Aviation Club.

After high school, Wallace continued his education at Clemson University, including involvement in the school’s R.O.T.C. program where he was part of Company A-1 at the school, until a war got in the way of his education.

On June 30, 1942, nineteen-year-old Wallace filled out his military draft card. He listed his address as 112 Grove Road in Greenville, South Carolina. He listed his date and place of birth as November 19, 1922 in Calhoun Falls, Abbeville County, South Carolina. He listed the person who would always know his address as his father, P.E. Storey. His employer’s name was Mr. Bailey at Judson Mill in Greenville. His height was 5’10” and he was 165 pounds with blue eyes, brown hair, and a light complexion.

Less than two months later, Wallace Arnold Storey enlisted in the Air Corps, on August 13, 1942. His enlistment record shows that at the time of enlistment, he was a resident of Greenville County, South Carolina. His enlistment record also shows he was born in 1922 in South Carolina. He was single with two years of college.

I have previously written of Wallace’s military history, so will only mention here that he completed thirty-five missions as a B-17 pilot with the 545th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group of the 8th Army Air Forces in WWII, stationed in Grafton Underwood England, and served in the Air Force Reserve until retirement as a Lt/Col. in February of 1969.

Kenneth E. Gross crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group
Standing L-R: S/Sgt. Wilbert G. Brickner (TT), F/O Robert C. Hassard (B), 2nd Lt. Kenneth E. Gross (Training P), 2nd Lt. Wallace A. Storey (P), 2nd Lt. Kenneth J. Nelson (N)
Kneeling L-R: Cpl. Allen G. Carson (TG), Cpl. Jesse L. Johnson (FG), Sgt. Dean R. Hepner (RO), Sgt. Edward B. Stone (FG), Sgt. Kniland E. Todd (BT)

It was Wallace’s ninth credited mission with the 384th Bomb Group that put him in a front row seat to witness the mid-air collision of my father’s B-17 with another B-17 of the group.

After the war, Wallace continued his education at Clemson University where he graduated in 1947 with degrees in both Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. After graduation, Wallace worked with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (now NASA) before joining Milliken and Company.

In 1948, Wallace married Martha Ray Lasseter of Decatur, Georgia and they became Spartanburg, South Carolina residents. He continued his employment with Milliken in the capacity of Vice-president and Director of Engineering, where he designed over forty Milliken facilities before retiring in 1987. After retirement, he continued as a consultant to Milliken for many years.

In 2011, my cousin Terry found Wallace’s story of the Magdeburg, Germany mission of September 28, 1944 on the internet and alerted me to read it.

I had not thought of my dad’s WWII stories for a very long time, and reading Wallace’s account of the story I knew so well awakened a renewed interest in me to learn more about my dad’s time in the war.

After an initial phone conversation, I visited Wallace and Martha Ray at their home in South Carolina and heard him tell the Magdeburg story firsthand. And so began my journey back in time into the 1940’s and a world at war.

I credit two people with setting me on this journey. One, my cousin Terry, who remembered the stories my dad told in our childhood, and second, Wallace Storey, who was actually there and saw the mid-air collision at the moment it happened.

Wallace Arnold Storey passed away on September 4, 2020. Wallace’s obituary is a tribute to the military, professional, and personal aspects of his life in more detail than I have told you here. His funeral service is today, which will conclude with his burial in Greenville Memorial Gardens in Piedmont, Greenville County, South Carolina beside Martha Ray, his wife of 71 years, who predeceased him in July.

Blue skies, Wallace Storey. Thank you for your service and may you rest in peace.

Notes

Previous post – Wallace A. Storey

Previous post – A Visit to Wallace Storey

Previous post – September 28, 1944 – Wallace Storey

Wallace Storey Obituary

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

Patricia Albrecht’s Letter to Mrs. Buslee

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
Scribner, Nebr.

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

Notes

  • 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

A Deep Hurt That Cannot Be Reached

Four days after his last note to the Buslee family, Louis Albrecht, father of the Buslee crew co-pilot David Franklin Albrecht, sent them this letter of sympathy. 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.

Feb. 3, 1945
Congregational Church
Scribner, Nebr.
Louis M. Albrecht, Pastor

Mr. & Mrs. John Buslee
Chicago, Ill.

Dear Friends: Your letter received. We received the same kind of a message. Our sympathy is with you. There is little that a person can say. Just a deep hurt that can not be reached. Our boys have done their duty and I try to feel that this is more than life. I wouldn’t want David to be alive in some men’s shoes. Our younger son was wounded Dec. 1. He was still in the hospital the last we heard. We expect David’s wife to come to be with us soon. May God’s power be with you in our prayer.

Rev. & Mrs. Louis M. Albrecht & Girls

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

WWII Timeline – 1947 and Beyond

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at 1947 and beyond in this post. This is the final post of my WWII Timeline series.

A Timeline of WWII, 1947 and Beyond

April 16, 1947

Former Auschwitz Kommandant Rudolf Höss was hanged at Auschwitz near Crematory I.

September 15, 1947

Twenty-one former SS-Einsatz leaders went on trial before the U.S. Military Tribunal in Nuremberg. Fourteen were sentenced to death, with only the four group commanders actually being executed. The others’ death sentences were commuted.

May 1948

The Soviets blockaded Berlin.

Regarding the Malmedy Massacre trial, political complications arose after the Soviets blockaded Berlin. The strategic importance of post-war Germany in the emerging Cold War became apparent to the U.S. amid public outcry in Germany against war crime trials being conducted by the U.S. Army.

June 25, 1948

President Harry Truman signed the Displaced Persons Act which allowed more than 200,000 European refugees to settle in the United States.

November 1948

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East sentenced Japanese War Minister Tojo Hideki to death for his war crimes.

1949

Regarding the Malmedy Massacre trial, in 1949, following a series of public charges and counter charges by trial participants and further investigations over whether justice had been served in the conduct of the trial, six of the remaining death sentences were commuted.

A U.S. Senate Armed Services Subcommittee then began an investigation, led by Sen. Joseph McCarthy, concerning the U.S. Army’s overall handling of the case. The Senate investigation heightened the controversy surrounding the trial, due in part to the aggressive behavior of Sen. McCarthy.

April 4, 1949

The United States, Canada, and several Western European nations signed the North Atlantic Treaty which established NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization).

May 1949

Following the establishment of NATO, the Soviets lifted their blockade of western Berlin.

Early 1950’s

Regarding the Malmedy Massacre trial, by the early 1950s, following years of accusations, denials, investigations, controversy, and political turmoil, the final remaining death sentences were commuted and release of all of the convicted SS men began.

December 1, 1950

President Harry Truman created the Federal Civil Defense Administration under the Office of Emergency Management.

September 8, 1951

The declaration of war against Japan in 1941 was officially lifted when forty-nine nations signed the Japanese Peace Treaty in San Francisco. It reestablished Japanese sovereignty and peaceful relations between Japan and the Allied Powers on behalf of the United Nations.

October 19, 1951

The declaration of war against Germany in 1941 was officially lifted when President Harry Truman signed an act formally ending World War II after having Congress abolish the state of war with Germany.

December 1956

The last prisoner from the Malmedy Massacre trial, Jochen Peiper, was released from Landsberg Prison. He eventually settled in eastern France.

May 11, 1960

Adolf Eichmann was captured in Argentina by the Israeli secret service.

April 11 – August 14, 1961

Adolf Eichmann was tried in Jerusalem and found guilty of crimes against the Jewish people, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. A fellow Nazi reported Eichmann once said he would,

leap laughing into the grave because the feeling that he had five million people on his conscience would be for him a source of extraordinary satisfaction.

May 31, 1962

Adolf Eichmann was hanged at Ramleh.

July 14, 1976

In the last of the acts following the Malmedy Massacre trial, on Bastille Day in France, Jochen Peiper was killed when a fire of mysterious origin destroyed his home. Firefighters responding to the blaze found their water hoses had been cut.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Jochen (aka Joachim) Peiper

Most recent post from the series:

1946

This is the final post of my WWII Timeline series.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

Sad News from Louis Albrecht

Eight days after his first letter to the Buslee family, Louis Albrecht, father of the Buslee crew co-pilot David Franklin Albrecht, sent them this short, sad note.

January 30, 1945
(Incorrectly dated Dec. 30, 1945)

Dear Friends. We have just received word that David was killed in action Sept. 28, 1944. We hope you have had better news.

Truly Yours,
Louis M. Albrecht
Scribner, Nebr.

Unfortunately, the Buslee family had received the same sad news on January 28, 1945, which they shared in a letter to my grandmother, Raleigh Mae Farrar, the mother of Buslee crew waist gunner, George Edwin Farrar, my father.

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

WWII Timeline – 1946

I’m continuing my WWII Timeline series with a look at 1946 in this post.

A Timeline of WWII, 1946

March 5, 1946

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivered his Sinews of Peace/Iron Curtain Speech at Missouri’s Westminster College. This speech may be regarded as the most important Churchill delivered as Leader of the Opposition (1945-1951). His passage on the iron curtain had incalculable impact upon public opinion in the United States and in Western Europe. Russian historians date the beginning of the Cold War from this speech. A link to the entire speech is in the Sources section below and includes Churchill’s full reference to the iron curtain starting with,

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent…

March 11, 1946

The British arrested former Auschwitz Kommandant Rudolf Höss, who was posing as a gardener or farm worker in Gottrupel, Germany.

March 20, 1946

The imprisonment of Japanese in American internment camps, which began on February 19, 1942, ended with the closing of the camps.

April 15, 1946

Rudolf Höss testified at the Nuremberg trials. Later he was tried in Warsaw, Poland and found guilty. While in prison, he wrote his memoirs about Auschwitz and claimed,

History will mark me as the greatest mass murderer of all time.

April 28, 1946

The International Military Tribunal for the Far East indicted Japanese War Minister Tojo Hideki as a war criminal and charged him with fifty-five counts.

May 16, 1946

The two month trial of the U.S. Military Tribunal for War Crimes for seventy-four former SS men, including Jochen (aka Joachim) Peiper and SS General Sepp Dietrich, concerning the Malmedy Massacre of December 17, 1944, began.

See more about the Malmedy Massacre of December 17, 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge in my Fall 1944 Timeline post and subsequent information regarding January 1945 in my Winter 1945 Timeline post.

The trial was held in a courthouse at Dachau. The defense team raised allegations of mistreatment including physical abuse by the U.S. Army and cited the use of mock trials in obtaining SS confessions as improper. The defense also complained that the court’s legal expert, a Jew, constantly ruled in favor of the prosecution.

The trial included testimony by a survivor of the massacre who was able to point out the SS man that actually fired the first shot.

July 11, 1946

In the Malmedy Massacre trial, the Judges returned a verdict after two and a half hours of deliberation. All of the SS were found guilty as charged. Forty-three, including Jochen Peiper, were sentenced to death, and twenty-two, including Sepp Dietrich, were sentenced to life imprisonment. The others received long prison terms in Landsberg Prison, the same prison where Hitler had served time following the failed Beer Hall Putsch of 1923.

Controversy continued, however, as various U.S. Army Boards conducted critical reviews of the trial process and methods used during pretrial interrogations. As a result, most of the death sentences were commuted and over half of the life sentences were reduced.

October 16, 1946

Hermann Göring commited suicide two hours before the scheduled execution of the first group of major Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg. Hans Frank and the others were hanged and the bodies taken to Dachau and burned in the final use of the crematories there.  Their ashes were scattered into a river.

During his imprisonment, Hans Frank stated,

A thousand years will pass and the guilt of Germany will not be erased.

December 9, 1946

Twenty-three former SS doctors and scientists went on trial before the U.S. Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Sixteen were found guilty, and seven were hanged.

December 31, 1946

Harry Truman issued Presidential Proclamation 2714 declaring an official end to World War II, officially declaring the cessation of all hostilities. Even though the actual combat of the war ended May 8, 1945 in Europe and September 2, 1945 in the Pacific, the state of war was not lifted off of Japan and Germany in order to give a reason for the necessity of occupation troops in those countries.

Once the War Crimes Trials ended, the hostilities were seen as over. The signing of Proclamation 2714 is the reason why the U.S. recognizes its World War II veterans as anyone who has served between the dates of December 7, 1941, and December 31, 1946.

Sources:

This series of posts is based on a compilation of timelines from:

The Holocaust Encyclopedia

The History Place:

The National WWII Museum Interactive Timeline

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

World War II Chronicle by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.

Winston Churchill’s Sinews of Peace-Iron Curtain Speech

Rudolf Höss – Wikipedia

Höss Testimony at the Nuremberg Trials

Subsequent Nuremberg trials

Doctors and Scientists Trial

Jochen (aka Joachim) Peiper

Most recent post from the series:

Fall 1945

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

Louis Albrecht Letter to the Buslees

Almost four months since the B-17’s of the Buslee and Brodie crews of the 384th Bomb Group collided over Magdeburg, Germany, the father of David Franklin Albrecht, co-pilot of the Buslee crew, wrote a letter to Jay Buslee’s (the pilot’s) parents. The boys were still considered Missing in Action.

January 22, 1945
(Letter incorrectly dated December 22, 1945)
Congregational Church
Scribner, Nebr.
Louis M. Albrecht, Pastor

Mr. John Buslee
Park Ridge, Illinois.

Dear Friends:  We appreciate your letters and interest and wish to thank you.  I am enclosing a copy of a circular letter which we sent to a number of our friends.  There is very little to add.  We are anxiously waiting every day for more news.

Pat [David Albrect’s wife Patricia] has had her baby girl now.  She is getting along real well.  Since her folks are working that leaves her with the house work and she seems to be very busy.  She plans to come out to be with us soon.

Our second boy had a very narrow escape.  A machine gun was turned onto his buddy and himself.  His buddy was killed.  Junior received some scalp wounds.  The last letter was written Jan. 8.  He doesn’t expect to get to the front line till spring.  We hope and pray that the war may be over before he has to get into action.

We have also been writing to different members of the families of our boys crew.  The news and response was similar to that which you received.  We also hope with you for more and better news.

Sincerely yours,
Louis M. Albrecht

Mr. Albrecht included the circular letter,

Undated
(Enclosed Circular Letter)
Congregational Church
Scribner, Nebr.
Louis M. Albrecht, Pastor

Dear Friends:  As you can see by the heading we are now located at Scribner.  Several factors entered to make moving advisable.  This is a large town, a bigger field, and has more desirable school facilities.  It seemed to be an advicable step from every viewpoint.

The people here are just wonderful, but that is nothing unusual, as we have always found excellent people wherever we were.  We have had extremes of joys and sorrows during the past few months and found that friends from everywhere prayed for and sympathized with us.  During the last three months we received in the neighborhood of three hundred lovely cards and messages of sympathy and good will.  It is almost impossible to write a personal letter to all but we want you to know that we appreciate your kindnesses and thoughtfulness.  We would enjoy a visit from you.

Our older son, David, has been missing since Sept 28 1944.  We have not received any other information.  He had been commended for meritorious service and had attained the rank of First Lieut.  The younger boy, Louis Jr. through a series of bad breaks caused mostly by political bungling, was finally reverted to the infantry and went into active service in Holland and Germany.  He was wounded while in action at the front in Germany on Dec. 1 and is now recuperating in England.  He is probably back at the front by this time.  He has been awarded the purple heart.  Last letter written Dec. 26.

The rest of us are here; the girls in school and Mrs. A. and I are trying to do the pastoral work for this parish.  This is a town of about one thousand, mixed nationalities but a majority of German descent.  It is a beautiful town located on the Elkhorn River.  The church and parsonage are side by side and the city park is just across the street to the east.  The church had been re-decorated during the past year.  New chancel and pews.  We have a nice pipe organ and gas heat throughout.  No coal to carry nor ashes to clean out.  Just keep warm and pay the bills at the end of every month.

There have been quite a number of deaths this fall.  Mostly older people.  This town was hit by a terrific flood last June 11.  It has almost fully recovered.  The people set to work with a will and have re-built better than ever.  The railroad to Dodge and beyond is almost ready for use.

We hope that this circular letter will partly compensate for the nice messages and cards we have received.  May God’s blessings be with you and protect you and yours is our prayer.

Mr. and Mrs. Louis K. Albrecht and Girls.

The 1st Congregational Church of Scribner, Nebraska is today known as United Church of Christ. It is located at 614 Howard Street.

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