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MISSION 183

The 384th Bomb Group’s Mission #183 was the 8th AAF’s Mission #568.

My dad, George Edwin Farrar, participated as waist gunner in his fifth mission with the 384th Bomb Group on 24 AUGUST 1944, flying with the 544th Bomb Squadron’s John Oliver Buslee crew.

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,

Oil Pressure
The 384th Bombardment Group (H) provided all three groups of the 41st C Combat Bombardment Wing on today’s mission. The 8th AF continued to decimate the enemy’s fuel supply by attacking this giant chemical complex. The C wing was to follow the A and B wings, but over the North Sea, they caught up and passed both, leading them from the enemy coast, for the rest of the mission. This was apparently due to the wings making different adjustments for cloud layers, and perhaps navigation errors. Although the 384th was prepared for a target obscured by clouds and smoke screen, there was sufficient visibility for visual bombing.

Forty-four aircraft of the 384th Bomb Group were assigned to the mission. Of the 44,

  • 35 completed the mission (not including spares)
  • 3 flying spare, returned as briefed
  • 5 ground spare aircraft were unused
  • 1 returned early due to flak damage

None of the aircraft are missing.

Mission documents identified the specific target of the day for the 41st “C” Combat Wing as a hydrogenation or water softener plant with an area of 1250 feet by 125 feet in Merseburg (Leuna). It is a new target, one that has not previously been hit. The whole of this particular target is dependent on water processed at this softener plant. Its destruction would put the target out of production.

Mission documents included additional target information:

  • The Secondary Target was a synthetic oil and thermal power station in Lutzkendorf.
  • Targets of Opportunity and Last Resort are any military objective in Germany positively identified and not disrupting fighter escort.
  • Enemy fighter opposition expected to be strong.

The Buslee crew was part of the High Group led by Major Gerald Busby Sammons.

The Buslee crew flew under these leaders on this date,

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

Back in action after a twelve day gap since their last mission, the Buslee Crew Loading List for Mission #183 was the same as the previous three missions with the exception of the assigned navigator:

  • Pilot – John Oliver Buslee
  • Co-Pilot – David Franklin Albrecht
  • Navigator – Leonard Galloway
  • Bombardier – James Buford Davis
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Sebastiano Joseph Peluso
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Lenard Leroy Bryant
  • Ball Turret Gunner – Erwin Vernon Foster
  • Tail Gunner – Eugene Daniel Lucynski
  • Waist Gunner – George Edwin Farrar (my dad)

The navigator flying with the Buslee crew on this mission, Leonard Galloway, completed his last mission and tour with the 384th on this day.

The Buslee crew was aboard B-17 42-98000, Fightin’ Hebe. The Tactical Interrogation form filled out by Lt. Buslee at the completion of the mission described,

  • Time took off 0707
  • Time landed 1530
  • Target attacked at 1212 from an altitude of 23,800 ft.
  • Bombs on target: 10 x 500
  • Too much smoke for observed results and damage
  • Flak was accurate and intense, including at the target, with black barrage flak, white tracking flak, twin rockets, and red bursts
  • On the way to the target observed 30 ships in a convoy and several large ships anchored, and 13 large ships strung out like forming a convoy
  • German ME-109 and ME-410 attacking the group ahead
  • 2 B-17’s from group in front of this group were seen to crash
  • 5 enemy fighters were seen going down in the target area
  • On return to base, No. 2 engine acting up
  • Battle damage: Hit by flak. No. 2 & 3 engines were hit. Prop Governor hit cable. Through cylinder. Right wing flap hit (at root). Horizontal stabilizer hit. Two holes in top of nose.
  • Technical failures: Oxygen ran low. No safety wire on [Oxygen] regulators on most (transcribed in typed reports as nose) positions. Radio: Mike button shot off on nose gun. Navigator’s finger was hit, [notably, Chester Rybarczyk’s substitute, Leonard Galloway on his last mission]. “Something” on trailing antenna lost.

The original members of the James Brodie crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron flew on this mission in the Lead Group aboard B-17 42-32106, Worry Bird (aka Voan), minus waist gunner Harry Liniger. The crew’s other waist gunner, Leonard Opie, manned the waist guns for the crew on this mission, leaving Liniger to sit this one out.

The Brodie crew reported,

  • Flak at three points during the mission including at the target.
  • Dogfights seen.
  • Battle damage of Co-pilot’s oxygen hose shot in two, and about 20 flak holes in ship.
  • Technical failures of Flux gate compass out/inoperative, bomb bay doors stay open one to two inches, and therma-couple in tail was inoperative.

Mission data in group reports included,

  • Fighter escort was good and effective. Approximately 30 to 35 miles east of Wesermunde, we observed from 20 to 30 single and twin engine enemy fighters attacking the Wing directly ahead of us. However, no attacks were made on our Wing on the entire mission.

Notes

The James Brodie crew left crew training at Ardmore, Oklahoma at the same time as the Buslee crew on their way to the ETO, European Theatre of Operations. Both crews were assigned to the 384th Bomb Group within days of each other after reaching England although the Buslee crew was assigned to the 544th Bomb Squadron while the Brodie crew was assigned to the 545th.

The two crews participated in many of the same missions, although it is unlikely that the men of the two crews interacted in any other way as they were members of different crews and different squadrons at Grafton Underwood, although they may have recognized each other from their time at Ardmore together.

  • Previous post on Mission 183
  • Thank you to the 384th’s Fred Preller and Keith Ellefson for obtaining and sharing WWII reports and mission documents from the National Archives for the 384th Bomb Group.
  • Mission documents and other mission information may be found, viewed, and saved or printed courtesy of Fred Preller’s 384th Bomb Group website

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

MISSION 178

The 384th Bomb Group’s Mission #178 was the 8th AAF’s Mission #545.

My dad, George Edwin Farrar, participated as waist gunner in his fourth mission with the 384th Bomb Group on 12 AUGUST 1944, flying with the 544th Bomb Squadron’s John Oliver Buslee crew.

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,

Luftwaffe Attacked Near Paris
The 384th Bombardment Group (H) provided all three groups of the 41st C Combat Bombardment Wing on today’s mission. The mission proceeded generally as briefed, up until bomb release – then the bomb release on the high group lead aircraft failed to operate. The high group leader asked wing for permission to make a second run, which was granted, but the target was so obscured by prior bombing that they were unable to aim accurately. The high group then proceeded to the briefed secondary, an airfield between Étampes and Mondesir and completed a successful attack there.

Forty-three aircraft of the 384th Bomb Group were assigned to the mission. Of the 43,

  • 34 completed the mission (not including spares)
  • 2 aborted because of equipment failures
  • 1 was scrubbed
  • 2 flying spare, completed the mission
  • 1 flying spare, returned as briefed
  • 3 ground spare aircraft were unused

None of the aircraft are missing.

Mission documents identified the specific target of the day for the 41st “C” Combat Wing as La Perthe, a Landing Ground actively used by the Germans, a German Air Force (Luftwaffe) target in France.

Mission documents included additional target information:

  • The Secondary Target was Etampes/Mondesir.
  • The Targets of Last Resort were Any A/D, M/Y, any bridge, any enemy column or convoy on the road, any concentration of troops or equipment not in the area restricted west of Paris.
  • Meager to moderate opposition may be expected.

The Buslee crew flew spare today, filling in for the Gilbert R. Lindberg crew when the Lindberg crew could not find the formation. They were part of the Lead Group led by Lt. Col. Alfred Charles “Coach” Nuttall.

The Buslee crew flew under these leaders on this date,

  • Lt. Col. Alfred Charles “Coach” Nuttall, Lead Group Commander , 544th Bomb Squadron Commanding Officer
  • 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 Buslee Crew Loading List for Mission #178 was the same as #176 and #177:

  • Pilot – John Oliver Buslee
  • Co-Pilot – David Franklin Albrecht
  • Navigator – Chester Anthony Rybarczyk
  • Bombardier – James Buford Davis
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Sebastiano Joseph Peluso
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Lenard Leroy Bryant
  • Ball Turret Gunner – Erwin Vernon Foster
  • Tail Gunner – Eugene Daniel Lucynski
  • Waist Gunner – George Edwin Farrar (my dad)

The Buslee crew was aboard B-17 42-38013, Nevada Avenger. The Tactical Interrogation form filled out by Lt. Buslee at the completion of the mission described,

  • Time took off 0610
  • Time landed 1400
  • Target attacked at 1049 from an altitude of 20,000 ft.
  • Bombs on target: 12 x 500
  • No flak reported
  • No battle damage reported
  • Technical Failures, Aircraft: Engines: #1 and #4 cylinder head temperature gauge went out. Written up. Oxygen: Ball turret (written as Lower Ball) auto mix [Foster’s oxygen system] not operating properly; used more oxygen than when in safety position. Not written up.
  • Technical Failures, Flying Equipment and Battle Damage: None
  • Crew suggestion: Relief tubes should be put in A/C 013, none at present.
  • No armament failures reported

Mission data in group reports included,

  • A B-24 section gave us considerable difficulty, evidently crowding the Division leader and we made a 360° turn just prior to reaching the French coast.
  • We had no encounters with enemy aircraft throughout.
  • At the I.P. … meager and inaccurate flak was fired between the Lead and Low Sections after they had taken bombing interval. Nuttall’s pilot, 1st Lt. Allred reported between 30 – 40 bursts sent up. No damage resulted. No other flak was encountered during the Mission.
  • Fighter escort was excellent today.
  • The Scouting Force (led by prior 384th Commander Budd Peaslee) gave us our target weather long before we reached the target area.
  • Suggest that the Second Division not have course and departure points which practically coincide with the First Division. Such a practice causes no end of worry to Wings which must go in abreast as they did today.

Also of note on this date…

Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr, a United States Navy Lieutenant and older brother of future president John Fitzgerald Kennedy, was killed on an experimental flight over England as part of a program code-named “Aphrodite.”

As part of the secret program, Joe Kennedy, Jr. was pilot on an old B-17 which was filled with explosives. After the ship was set for a pre-determined course, the pilot was to bail out, allowing the ship to crash into its target. On this day, Kennedy’s aircraft exploded prematurely and he vanished in the blast.

As the eldest son of Joe Kennedy, Sr., he was being groomed by his father to run for President of the United States. After his death, younger brother John followed the path first planned for Joe Jr., from House to Senate to the Presidency.

Notes

  • Previous post on Mission 178
  • Thank you to the 384th’s Fred Preller and Keith Ellefson for obtaining and sharing WWII reports and mission documents from the National Archives for the 384th Bomb Group.
  • Mission documents and other mission information may be found, viewed, and saved or printed courtesy of Fred Preller’s 384th Bomb Group website.

Source of information on Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr.

  • Ken Decker’s Memories of the 384th Bombardment Group (H), Second Edition
  • Wikipedia

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

MISSION 177

The 384th Bomb Group’s Mission #177 was the 8th AAF’s Mission #541.

My dad, George Edwin Farrar, participated as waist gunner in his third mission with the 384th Bomb Group on 11 AUGUST 1944, flying with the 544th Bomb Squadron’s John Oliver Buslee crew.

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 “A” Combat Wing.

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

More Troop Support
The 384th Bombardment Group (H) provided all three groups of the 41st A Combat Bombardment Wing on today’s mission. Little opposition and good weather conditions permitted each group formation to bomb their assigned targets in the Brest area accurately. Note that each group was assigned a different aiming point for this mission.

Forty-four aircraft of the 384th Bomb Group were assigned to the mission. Of the 44,

  • 36 completed the mission (not including spares)
  • 1 aborted because of equipment failure and unable to locate the formation
  • 2 flying spare, completed the mission
  • 4 ground spare aircraft were unused
  • 1 completed flight (weather aircraft)

None of the aircraft are missing.

Mission documents identified the specific target of the day for the 41st “A” Combat Wing as Brest, France for the purposes of ground support. The 384th Bomb Group website notes the target as tactical and specifically, the military target of Coastal Artillery Emplacements.

Mission documents include additional target information:

  • These targets were requested by the Army Ground Forces and it is believed that they are probably fortified positions or concentrations of personnel and material.
  • Convoys: None expected, however, crews should be briefed to be on the lookout for friendly convoys at all times.
  • Penhat A.C. Reporting Station
  • Aiming point Gun Emplacements and Observation Tower

The Buslee crew flew today in the Lead Group led by Major George Henry “Snapper” Koehne, Jr.

The Buslee crew flew under these leaders on this date,

  • Lead Group Commander Major George Henry “Snapper” Koehne, Jr., 384th Bomb Group Group Operations Officer
  • 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 Buslee Crew Loading List for Mission #177 was the same as #176:

  • Pilot – John Oliver Buslee
  • Co-Pilot – David Franklin Albrecht
  • Navigator – Chester Anthony Rybarczyk
  • Bombardier – James Buford Davis
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Sebastiano Joseph Peluso
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Lenard Leroy Bryant
  • Ball Turret Gunner – Erwin Vernon Foster
  • Tail Gunner – Eugene Daniel Lucynski
  • Waist Gunner – George Edwin Farrar (my dad)

The Buslee crew was aboard B-17 42-37822, The Lead (or Led) Banana. The Tactical Interrogation form filled out by Lt. Buslee at the completion of the mission described,

  • Time took off 1357
  • Time landed 1920
  • Target attacked at 1725 from an altitude of 25,000 ft.
  • Bombs on target: 12 x 500
  • Flak reported as 4 Rockets at Time of 1723 at Place the target
  • No battle damage reported
  • No aircraft technical failures reported
  • No armament failures reported

The original members of the James Brodie crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron flew spare on this mission in the Low Group, but joined the formation and completed it aboard B-17 42-102518, Damn Yankee, minus waist gunner Harry Liniger. The crew’s other waist gunner, Leonard Opie, manned the waist guns for the crew on this mission, leaving Liniger to sit this one out.

The Brodie crew did not report any battle damage or failures other than the radio compass was out with the indicator inoperable, the left waist gun feed belt was damaged, and the right waist interphone went out during the mission after being ok at the start of the mission.

Mission data in group reports included,

Returning crews reported rockets fired from ground leaving white and brown smoke trails following an angular course and burst at formation altitude but well ahead of formation. Rockets were reported in two concentrations, one over Brest, one SW of city. Up to 15 rockets were reported. Lead crew reports 14 in a line along the Brest waterfront.

Notes

The James Brodie crew left crew training at Ardmore, Oklahoma at the same time as the Buslee crew on their way to the ETO, European Theatre of Operations. Both crews were assigned to the 384th Bomb Group within days of each other after reaching England although the Buslee crew was assigned to the 544th Bomb Squadron while the Brodie crew was assigned to the 545th.

The two crews participated in many of the same missions, although it is unlikely that the men of the two crews interacted in any other way as they were members of different crews and different squadrons at Grafton Underwood, although they may have recognized each other from their time at Ardmore together.

  • Previous post on Mission 177
  • Thank you to the 384th’s Fred Preller and Keith Ellefson for obtaining and sharing WWII reports and mission documents from the National Archives for the 384th Bomb Group.
  • Mission documents and other mission information may be found, viewed, and saved or printed courtesy of Fred Preller’s 384th Bomb Group website

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

MISSION 176

The 384th Bomb Group’s Mission #176 was the 8th AAF’s Mission #533.

My dad, George Edwin Farrar, participated as waist gunner in his second mission with the 384th Bomb Group on 9 AUGUST 1944, flying with the 544th Bomb Squadron’s John Oliver Buslee crew.

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,

More Bad Weather
The 384th Bombardment Group (H) provided all three groups of the 41st B Combat Bombardment Wing – except for three aircraft from the 303rd BG, which formed the high element of the high group – on today’s mission. Although the division abandoned operations at the Dutch Coast due to bad weather, the 41st B carried on until after they had passed Aachen, at which point the weather had become impenetrable. The wing leader ordered the wing to attack the briefed target of last resort, which the lead and high groups accomplished. However, the low group’s bombsight gyro ‘tumbled’ just before bombs away, so they went on to bomb a target of opportunity (TOO).

Thirty-five aircraft of the 384th Bomb Group were assigned to the mission. Of the 35,

  • 30 completed the mission (not including spares)
  • 2 aborted because of personnel failure and unable to locate the formation
  • 2 were scrubbed
  • 1 ground spare aircraft was unused

None of the aircraft are missing.

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

Erding Air Depot and A/F 20 miles NE of Munich, very important Air Storage Deport [Depot] holding large stores of A/C parts and equipment. Repairs and overhaul of operational A/C are carried out in the workshops. MPI is the center of the Sq. group of bldgs. 1 3/4 mi WNW of the A/F. This is a dispersed storage unit.

The targets of last resort were A/F at Stuttgart and the shoe factory at Permarens.

The Buslee crew flew today in the Low Group led by Capt. Edward William Lane. In his Low Section Leader’s Narrative, Lane noted that they bombed a target of opportunity, a bridge at Nohfelden, Germany, over the Nahe River.

The Buslee crew flew under these leaders on this date,

  • Low Group Commander Capt. Edward William Lane, 384th Bomb Group Assistant Group Operations Officer
  • 41st “B” Combat Wing Air Commander Lt. Col. William R. Calhoun, Jr., originally of the 303rd Bomb Group, transferred to 41st CBW at Molesworth as Director of Operations and Executive Officer until 23 DECEMBER 1944. [The American Air Museum in Britain reports that Calhoun was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel at age 23 and Clark Gable pinned Calhoun’s silver oak leaves on him. Read more about Calhoun on their site].
  • 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 Buslee Crew Loading List for Mission #176 was:

  • Pilot – John Oliver Buslee
  • Co-Pilot – David Franklin Albrecht
  • Navigator – Chester Anthony Rybarczyk
  • Bombardier – James Buford Davis
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Sebastiano Joseph Peluso
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Lenard Leroy Bryant
  • Ball Turret Gunner – Erwin Vernon Foster
  • Tail Gunner – Eugene Daniel Lucynski
  • Waist Gunner – George Edwin Farrar (my dad)

The Buslee crew were aboard B-17 44-6149, Hot After It. The Tactical Interrogation form filled out by Lt. Buslee at the completion of the mission described,

  • Time took off 0705
  • Time landed 1345
  • Target attacked at 1052 from an altitude of 18,500 ft.
  • Bombs on target: 6 with group, Returned: 4
  • Observed Results, Probable Damage: Poor
  • No flak reported
  • No battle damage reported

Buslee reported Technical Failures:

  • Tail gunner’s (Lucynski’s) interphone push to talk button on the gun inoperative.
  • Three (3) bombs hung up on the right inboard rack. 1 on upper station of right outboard rack.
  • Fluxgate compass inoperative.

Mission data in group reports included Armament Failures reported for 44-6149 as Four bombs returned.

With Buslee flying his first mission as first pilot, David Franklin Albrecht flew in the co-pilot position with the Buslee crew for the first time in combat.

With Clarence Seeley in the hospital recovering from his flak wound of the 5 AUGUST mission, Lenard Leroy Bryant, one of the two waist gunners assigned to the Buslee crew, took over as Engineer/Top Turret gunner for the crew.

With the death of Marvin Fryden due to flak on the 5 AUGUST mission, James Buford Davis became the Buslee crew bombardier, and flew his first combat mission of the war.

Also on this same mission with the Buslee crew, but flying in the High Group, the original members of the James Brodie crew of the 545th Bomb Squadron completed Mission #176 aboard B-17 42-31484, Mairsy Doats, minus waist gunner Leonard Opie. The crew’s other waist gunner, Harry Liniger, manned the waist guns for the crew on this mission, leaving Opie to sit this one out.

The Brodie crew did not report any battle damage or failures other than the range sites were bent on both waist guns and the tail gunner’s heated suit went out.

Notes

The James Brodie crew left crew training at Ardmore, Oklahoma at the same time as the Buslee crew on their way to the ETO, European Theatre of Operations. Both crews were assigned to the 384th Bomb Group within days of each other after reaching England although the Buslee crew was assigned to the 544th Bomb Squadron while the Brodie crew was assigned to the 545th.

The two crews participated in many of the same missions, although it is unlikely that the men of the two crews interacted in any other way as they were members of different crews and different squadrons at Grafton Underwood, although they may have recognized each other from their time at Ardmore together.

  • Previous post on Mission 176
  • Thank you to the 384th’s Fred Preller and Keith Ellefson for obtaining and sharing WWII reports and mission documents from the National Archives for the 384th Bomb Group.
  • Mission documents and other mission information courtesy of Fred Preller’s 384th Bomb Group website

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

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. Of the 41,

  • 33 completed the mission (not including spares)
  • 1 aborted because of equipment failure
  • 1 was scrubbed
  • 1 flying spare, completed the mission
  • 2 flying spare, returned as briefed
  • 2 ground spare aircraft were unused
  • 1 had 5 enlisted crewmembers bail out when they misheard the bailout standby order

One of the aircraft landed away post-mission with battle damage and wounded aboard. None of the aircraft are missing.

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.

Notes

© 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. Of the 42,

  • 36 completed the mission (not including spares)
  • 3 flying spare, returned as briefed
  • 3 ground spare aircraft were unused

None of the aircraft are missing.

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.

Notes

  • Previous post on Mission 171
  • Thank you to the 384th’s Fred Preller and Keith Ellefson for obtaining and sharing WWII reports and mission documents from the National Archives for the 384th Bomb Group.
  • Mission documents and other mission information may be found, viewed, and saved or printed courtesy of Fred Preller’s 384th Bomb Group website

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2020

2018 384th Bomb Group Reunion

When I returned from the 384th Bomb Group’s 2018 reunion in Dayton, Ohio, I posted a few photos here.

I have now had a chance to sort through the three hundred-plus photos I took and have posted about five dozen in the group’s photo gallery. The link is to the main album, which contains all photos contributed by reunion attendees. My photos, at least for now, are in the sub-album “Cindy Bryan’s Photos.” These may be rolled up into the main album in the future, so if you don’t see my sub-album, you can assume all my photos have been moved into the main album.

Here are just a few more of my photos from the 2018 Reunion in Dayton, but you can see lots more using the photo gallery link to the group’s online photo gallery.

Friday, October 19 – Our visit to the National Museum of the US Air Force

After a short bus ride from our reunion hotel, we gathered around the 384th Bomb Group memorial outside the museum. An honor guard presented the colors and taps was played.

Honor guard at the 384th Bomb Group memorial at the National Museum of the USAF

The five 384th Bomb Group veterans who attended the reunion posed for a photo on this cold Dayton morning.  Attending were (left to right):

  • Peter Bielskis, Ball Turret Gunner, 27 Missions
  • Henry Sienkiewicz, Navigator, 35 Missions
  • William Wilkens, Engineer/Top Turret Gunner, 30 Missions
  • John DeFrancesco, Pilot, 35 Missions, POW
  • Donald Hilliard, Radio Operator, 16 Missions

Veterans of the 384th Bomb Group pose behind the group’s memorial at the Museum of the USAF
Left to right: Peter Bielskis, Henry Sienkiewicz, William Wilkens, John DeFrancesco, and Donald Hilliard

Never missing an opportunity to photograph our veteran heroes, our group posed inside the museum in front of the Memphis Belle (see previous post), and with UK friend of the group, Neill Howarth, in front of the museum’s soaring stained glass backdrop.

In the Museum of the USAF, left to right: Peter Bielskis, Henry Sienkiewicz, Neill Howarth, John DeFrancesco, William Wilkens, and Donald Hilliard

Saturday, October 20 – Our visit to the Champaign Aviation Museum at Grimes Field, Urbana, Ohio

Our group got a close look at the restoration work on the museum’s B-17 Champaign Lady, getting a hands-on educational opportunity in our favorite subject, the Flying Fortress. We held parts in our hands, crawled through the work-in-progress fuselage and ball turret, and, of course, took more photos.

We even had the opportunity to meet two local WWII Army Air Forces veterans from different bomb groups, Red Ketcham and Art Kemp, who were also based in England during the war. You can see their photos in the gallery.

At the Champaign Aviation Museum, left to right: Neill Howarth and John DeFrancesco

Our 384th veterans gathered in front of Champaign Lady

At the Champaign Aviation Museum, left to right: William Wilkens, Henry Sienkiewicz, John DeFrancesco, Peter Bielskis, and Donald Hilliard

The obvious “stars” of our group are our veterans, but as the number of surviving veterans dwindle, it is up to the next generation of children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews in our group to carry their memory forward.

In addition to our five veterans, twenty-seven family members and five friends of the group gathered in Dayton this year. It is not just our country’s history we celebrate when we gather, it is our family history, too. Others like me seek to learn everything we can about our relatives’ involvement in that time long ago, not just for ourselves, but so that we can pass this knowledge down for generations to come.

Left to right: Fred Preller (son of 384th pilot Robert Preller), Cindy Farrar Bryan (daughter of 384th waist gunner George Edwin Farrar), John DeFrancesco (384th pilot), and Keith Ellefson (nephew of 384th ball turret gunner Raymond Orlando Wisdahl)

It took several days for me to return to “normal” from the travel between Florida and Ohio, and the reunion itself. But after my immersion of several days into the WWII air war over Europe, it will take me much longer to return to 2018 from 1945. Part of me is still there in that different world in that long ago time.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2018

Robert Jeremy Fisher

Several years ago, as I was researching the 384th Bomb Group’s mission of September 28, 1944 – the mission on which my dad’s B-17 and another B-17 of his Group collided over Magdeburg, Germany – I wrote about original Buslee crew navigator Chester Rybarczyk. The original post is here.

Chester Rybarczyk was flying with the William J. Blankenmeyer crew that day aboard Hot Nuts. The Blankenmeyer crew’s Sortie Report for that mission stated that they “Left formation after target for unknown reasons, but returned to base.” With Rybarczyk on board, I imagined that the reason they left formation was to try to determine the fate of Rybarczyk’s Buslee crewmates as he watched the two planes fall to earth.

I have learned that was not the case. The 384th Bomb Group’s Facebook Group is a wealth of information and that is where I found that my reasoning about why the Blankenmeyer crew left formation was not correct.

Through the Facebook group, I have made many connections with 384th Bomb Group Veterans and their children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and great-nieces and nephews. Sometimes one of them provides me with a missing piece of the puzzle of my father’s WWII service and this was one of those times.

Robert Jeremy “Bob” Fisher was the co-pilot of the Blankenmeyer crew and was aboard Hot Nuts on September 28, 1944. Bob and his son and daughter are all members of the Facebook group. When Bob’s children chimed in on one of the threads on Facebook and mentioned their dad, I looked him up in the 384th Bomb Group’s database and found that he was on that mission and on the B-17 with Chester Rybarczyk.

Formation chart of the High Group, September 28, 1944. Buslee and Brodie collide after coming off the target. The Blankenmeyer crew, including co-pilot Bob Fisher and Buslee crew navigator Chester Rybarczyk, witness the collision.

After I requested Bob’s children to ask their dad if he remembered that mission, his daughter did so and told me of a small notebook in which her dad wrote notes about each mission. On September 28, 1944, Bob Fisher wrote:

Made reciprocal run on target due to group under us when we were to drop the first time. On turn one we almost hit our squadron leader due to an exceedingly sharp turn. On turn off target 2 planes hit together and both went down. Seven chutes reported. Let down more slowly then formation due to the fact that Bill’s ears would not clear. Had some trouble with mine – ambulance met us at dispersal and took Bill to get his ears cleared. Bill grounded-as is Reed and Obermeyer.

The reason the Blankenmeyer crew left formation was because the pilot, William J. “Bill” Blankenmeyer was having trouble clearing his ears.

But there is another interesting clue in Bob Fisher’s notebook. Obermeyer was not the crew’s navigator on September 28, 1944 as he had previously been grounded. Because of his grounding, Chester Rybarczyk filled in for him, keeping him off the Buslee crew’s plane that day. Had he flown with the Buslee crew, he would have been one of the men to perish aboard Lead Banana that day after the mid-air collision. My father, George Edwin Farrar, was the only survivor.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017

Keep the Show on the Road

Our 384th Bomb Group motto is “Keep the Show on the Road.” But it was not the original motto. Early on in the group’s history, the motto was “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (I Came, I Saw, I Conquered), as seen on the jacket patch in this photo of the 384th’s first Commander, Budd Peaslee.

First commander of the 384th Bomb Group wearing the Group Patch reading “Veni Vidi Vici”
Photo courtesy of Keith Ellefson, 2014

But a loss on the group’s second mission led to the Group’s new motto. The Group’s Deputy Commanding Officer, Major Selden L. McMillin, was shot down on June 25, 1943 on the group’s mission to Hamburg, Germany. McMillin, known as “Major Mac” managed to crash land in Holland. The Engineer/Top Turret Gunner was killed and the remainder of the crew was taken prisoner.

Major Mac sent a postcard to his commander, Colonel Budd Peaslee, telling Peaslee to “KEEP THE SHOW ON THE ROAD.” The 384th adopted McMillian’s message as their motto and it remains our mantra to this day.

Keep the Show on the Road
Reproduction artwork by Marc Poole, artist and originator of 384thBombGroup.com

Keeping the Show on the Road is what we NexGens (Next Generation) strive to do, meaning it is our job to keep the history of the 384th Bomb Group alive.

NexGens research the men of the Group, the aircraft, the missions, and every other thing that is 384th Bomb Group related. We help relatives of the men of the 384th discover the part their airman played and the sacrifices they made in WWII. 384th Bomb Group webmaster Fred Preller and his band of researchers make sure that information is readily available for those seeking it through the Group’s website and photo gallery.

NexGens meet at reunions. The next reunion of the 384th Bomb Group is in conjunction with the 8th Air Force Historical Society’s reunion in New Orleans at the end of September. For more information, click here.

NexGens take our Commemorative Wing Panel (affectionately known as Wingy) to veterans of the 384th all over the country for their signatures. Edward Field was the most recent to sign. For more information on the wing panel project, click here.

546th Bomb Squadron Navigator Edward Field signs the 384th Bomb Group Wing Panel

Christopher Wilkinson, instigator of the Commemorative Wing Panel Project, says it best.

One of the things we learn as we host the wing panel for our veterans is that each man came to their own understanding of their part, and so each brings something unique to their own story of what they did and saw. This opens new understandings for us as well, and in turn helps us to convey in a more personal way to younger generations what happened during the war.

All of us who lend a hand to the cause of keeping the history of “Our Group” alive want the same thing. We want current and future generations to remember these men. We want our children and their children to know the part these men played in one of the most critical periods in the history of our country. We want them to know what these men did for us. At the time, these brave young men of the 384th were fighting for their mothers and fathers, their brothers and sisters, their young wives, and of course, their countrymen. Most of us weren’t even born yet, but they were doing it for us, too.

Remember these men and when you meet one, thank him for his service. They deserve your thanks and much more. And whenever possible, share their stories and Keep the Show on the Road.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017

John DeFrancesco

John Joseph DeFrancesco, pilot with the 544th Bomb Squad. Photo courtesy of John DeFrancesco.

If you recall my post from last week, I recently spent an enjoyable weekend in Savannah with my three Stalag Luft IV sisters, Ellen Weaver, Candy Brown, and Laura Edge, and 384th Bomb Group veteran, John DeFrancesco. The better I get to know John, the more I am in awe of him and the other boys who served in the 384th and other Bomb Groups of the 8th Air Force in WWII. Most of the boys were just that – boys who had just finished high school or maybe had a couple of years of college. And here they were, fighting a war on foreign soil, defending our freedom, some of them dying for us. A very big responsibility for such young men.

John Joseph DeFrancesco, pilot with the 544th Bomb Squad. Photo courtesy of John DeFrancesco.

John Joseph DeFrancesco enlisted just a couple of months after graduating from high school. He was just eighteen years old when he enlisted, but despite his young age, he was selected for the aviation cadet program and was soon on his way to becoming a pilot. No, he had never flown before, but growing up he loved looking up to the sky when he heard the sound of an aircraft engine overhead and delighted in watching them in flight. That led him to choose the Army Air Forces for his military career.

John Joseph DeFrancesco, pilot with the 544th Bomb Squad. Photo courtesy of John DeFrancesco.

At the completion of his training, John was assigned a crew and they were assigned to the 544th Bomb Squadron of the 384th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force (a.k.a. “The Mighty Eighth”) and were stationed in Grafton Underwood, England. The 384th Bomb Group’s website displays John’s personnel data:

John DeFrancesco’s Personnel Data. Edited screenshot from 384thBombGroup.com.

John does not possess a full crew photo, but he does still have the escape/evasion photos of most of his crew. Escape/evasion photos were taken to assist a crewman who was able to escape or evade capture in the event he found himself bailing out of his B-17 and landing in hostile territory.

John Joseph DeFrancesco, Pilot

Escape/evasion photo for John Joseph DeFrancesco, Pilot, 544th Bomb Squadron. Photo courtesy of John DeFrancesco.

Robert Edwin Simmons, Co-pilot

Escape/evasion photo for John DeFrancesco crewmember Robert Edwin Simmons (Co-pilot). Photo courtesy of John DeFrancesco.

Jerome Calnitz, Navigator

Escape/evasion photo for John DeFrancesco crewmember Jerome Calnitz (Navigator). Photo courtesy of John DeFrancesco

William C. Brown, Bombardier

No photo available

Ira J. Bias, Jr., Radio Operator/Gunner

Escape/evasion photo for John DeFrancesco crewmember Ira J. Bias, Jr. (Radio Operator). Photo courtesy of John DeFrancesco.

Evan L. “Dixie” Howell, Engineer/Top Turret Gunner

Escape/evasion photo for John DeFrancesco crewmember Evan L. (Dixie) Howell (Engineer/Top Turret Gunner). Photo courtesy of John DeFrancesco.

Charles J. Doleshal, Ball Turret Gunner

Escape/evasion photo for John DeFrancesco crewmember Charles J. Doleshal (Ball Turret Gunner). Photo courtesy of John DeFrancesco.

Harmon C. Hastings, Tail Gunner

Escape/evasion photo for John DeFrancesco crewmember Harmon C. Hastings (Tail Gunner/Flexible Gunner). Photo courtesy of John DeFrancesco.

Ferris J. Walker, Tail Gunner

Escape/evasion photo for John DeFrancesco crewmember Ferris J. Walker (Tail Gunner). Photo courtesy of John DeFrancesco.

John Allen Williams, Flexible Gunner

Escape/evasion photo for John DeFrancesco crewmember John (Johnny) Allen Williams (Flexible Gunner). Photo courtesy of John DeFrancesco.

There were a few other men who John DeFrancesco served with on a number of missions. He flew with William E. Moon (no photo available) of the James W. Orr crew on twenty-one missions. Moon was originally a bombardier who retrained as a navigator.

John flew with Homer L. Lott of the James Robson Gilmore crew on eleven missions. Lott was a flexible gunner turned togglier and flew with John on the January 8, 1945 mission on which both me became POWs.

Homer L. Lott of the James Robson Gilmore Crew, 384th Bomb Group. Photo posted on Ancestry.com.

John DeFrancesco’s sixth mission on October 18, 1944, target Ford Motor Works in Cologne, Germany, was a memorable one. As the bombardier bent over the bomb sight, a piece of flak smashed through the Plexiglass nose of their B-17. It flew over the bombardier’s head and struck the navigator on that flight, Jack Lyons, in the arm, tearing away a large chunk of flesh and shattering his arm.

The piece of flak continued through the aircraft and came through the floor of the cockpit, lodging under his pilot’s seat. With other crew members unsuccessful in their attempts to aid Lt. Lyons, John turned the controls over to his co-pilot and went to Lt. Lyons’ aid in the nose. He cut the sleeve off Lt. Lyons’ jacket, formed it into a bandage, and applied it to the wound to stop the flow of blood.

John’s actions saved the life of Jack Lyons, as without John’s help, Jack would have bled to death before they returned to their base at Grafton Underwood. With Lt. Lyons stable, John returned to the cockpit and assumed the controls of the aircraft, bringing navigator Jack Lyons home alive.

John DeFrancesco became a POW on his thirty-fifth mission and served 144 days as a POW in Germany in the prison camps Stalag 13D (Nuremburg) and Stalag 7A (Moosburg). The story of John’s thirty-fifth mission will be the subject of a future post.

John DeFrancesco  received the following medals for his WWII service:

  • European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal
  • Air Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters
  • Victory Medal
  • POW Medal

After WWII, John DeFrancesco served in the Air Force Active Reserves from 1945 until the late 1960’s when he went into the Inactive Reserves. In 1984, John retired from the military as a Lieutenant Colonel.

In 2014, John DeFrancesco signed the 384th Bomb Group’s Commemorative Wing Panel. I was honored to attend his signing and meet him and 384th Bomb Group armorer Paul Bureau that day.

John DeFrancesco signs the 384th Bomb Group Wing Panel, 2014. Photo courtesy of 384thBombGroup.com.

John DeFrancesco addresses the audience at his 384th Bomb Group Wing Panel Signing, 2014. Photo courtesy of 384thBombGroup.com.

To be continued in a future post…

John’s thirty-fifth mission with the 384th Bomb Group and his time as a prisoner of war in Germany.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017