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Lenard Leroy Bryant

Lenard Leroy Bryant

Lenard Leroy Bryant

Lenard Leroy Bryant was originally a Waist Gunner on a B-17 G with the Buslee crew.  On the crew’s fourth mission, Bryant became the Engineer/Top Turret Gunner.

Bryant and the Buslee crew were eventually stationed at the Grafton Underwood Airbase with the 8th Air Force, 384th Bomb Group, 544th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy).  Bryant’s first mission was August 4, 1944, and his last was on September 28, 1944.

On the September 28 mission, another 384th plane collided with his plane coming off the target in Magdeburg, Germany.  He was killed along with seven other members of the crew.

Lenard Leroy Bryant is buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery at Margraten, Holland in Plot G, Row 7, Grave 22.  He received an Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster for his service in WWII.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2013

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George Edwin Farrar

George Edwin Farrar

George Edwin Farrar

George Edwin Farrar was my dad.  He was the Waist Gunner on a B-17G on the Buslee crew.  He enlisted with the Army Air Forces on June 4, 1942 at Fort McPherson (Atlanta), Georgia.

At the time of his enlistment he was 20 years old and was employed as a vending machine repairman.  He had quit school after completing 10th grade to help support the family.  His father, Carroll Johnson Farrar, Sr., was very ill and, being bedridden, could no longer work.

Before becoming part of a B-17 crew, Farrar was an Army Air Forces Gunnery Instructor.  Beginning in May 1943, he instructed military personnel in flexible gunnery for 7 months at Kingman,  Arizona.  In Kingman, he conducted and administered training classes and gunnery tests.

After his stint in Kingman, he administered phase checks, and organized students and instructors for training in aerial gunnery for six months at Ardmore OTU, Oklahoma.  The Ardmore assignment must have started around December 1943 and lasted until May 1944.

On June 8, 1944, while at the 222nd Combat Crew Training School in Ardmore, Oklahoma, Farrar and future crewmate, Eugene D. Lucynski, received orders to duty as combat crew members requiring regular and frequent participation in aerial flights.

Farrar left Ardmore around June 22, 1944, with the crew making several other stops in the states before finally departing the states between June 29 and July 1.

Farrar and the Buslee crew were eventually stationed at the Grafton Underwood Airbase with the 8th Air Force, 384th Bomb Group, 544th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy).  My dad’s first mission was on August 5, 1944 and his last on September 28, 1944.

According to his Separation Qualification Record, Farrar flew as Armorer Gunner in lead ship and was responsible for inspection and repair of bomb racks, gun sights, and turrets.  He fired 50 caliber machine guns from Waist position when in combat.

On the September 28 mission, another 384th plane collided with his plane coming off the target in Magdeburg, Germany.  He was the only survivor on his plane.  He became a prisoner of war, endured the Black March in the winter of 1945, and eventually returned home.

He married Bernice Jane Chase of Meno, Oklahoma, and had two children – me, Cindy Farrar Bryan, and my sister, Nancy Dunlap.

Sources:  Enlistment Record, Farrar’s Separation Qualification Record

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2013

Brodie Crew on September 28, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 201

Brodie Crew on September 28, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 201

The 384th Bomb Group Mission 201 was also known as Eighth Air Force Mission 652.

The Brodie crew flew this mission aboard aircraft 42-31222, named “Lazy Daisy.”

The primary target was the Steelworks Industry in Magdeburg, Germany.

Coming off the target, aircraft 42-31222, “Lazy Daisy,” collided with 43-37822, “The Lead Banana.”

Lazy Daisy Crew List:

  • Pilot – James Joseph Brodie
  • Co-Pilot – Lloyd Oliver Vevle
  • Navigator – George Marshall Hawkins, Jr.
  • Togglier – Byron Laverne Atkins
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Donald William Dooley
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Robert Doyle Crumpton
  • Ball Turret Gunner – Gordon Eugene Hetu
  • Tail Gunner – Wilfred Frank Miller
  • Waist Gunner – Harry Allen Liniger

Brodie, Vevle, Hawkins, Crumpton, Hetu, Miller, and Liniger were all original Brodie crew members on the aircraft.

Original Brodie crew Bombardier, William D. Barnes, Jr., last flew with the Brodie crew on September 13, 1944.  Barnes did not fly again until October 17, 1944.  He returned to flight as a Navigator, completed his tour after 35 missions, and returned to the US.

Byron Laverne Atkins flew only six missions, three of them as a Ball Turret Gunner, and one as a Flexible Gunner.  He served as Togglier for the Brodie crew on two occasions – once on September 21 and again on September 28, 1944.

William Edson Taylor, did not fly on the September 28 mission.  On October 5, he flew as Radio Operator/Gunner with the Robert Bruce Birckhead crew.  His aircraft was damaged by flak and crashed near Munchen-Gladbach, Germany (MACR 9754).  Of the crew, four were killed, and five were taken prisoner of war, including Taylor.

Donald William Dooley’s first mission would be his last.  He flew as Radio Operator/Gunner for the Brodie crew.

Source:  Sortie Reports for Lazy Daisy.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2013

Buslee Crew on September 28, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 201

Buslee Crew on September 28, 1944 – 384th BG Mission 201

The 384th Bomb Group Mission 201 was also known as Eighth Air Force Mission 652.

The Buslee crew flew this mission aboard aircraft 43-37822, named “The Lead Banana.”

The primary target was the Steelworks Industry in Magdeburg, Germany.

Coming off the target, aircraft 42-31222, “Lazy Daisy,” collided with “The Lead Banana.”

Lead Banana Crew List:

  • Pilot – John Oliver Buslee
  • Co-Pilot – David Franklin Albrecht
  • Navigator – William Alvin Henson II
  • Bombardier – Robert Sumner Stearns
  • Radio Operator/Gunner – Sebastiano Joseph Peluso
  • Engineer/Top Turret Gunner – Lenard Leroy Bryant
  • Ball Turret Gunner – George Francis McMann, Jr.
  • Tail Gunner – Gerald Lee Andersen
  • Waist Gunner – George Edwin Farrar

Buslee, Albrecht, Peluso, Bryant, and Farrar were the only original Buslee crew members on the aircraft.

William Alvin Henson II replaced Chester Rybarczyk three times on the Buslee crew.  It was Rybarczyk’s lucky day to be flying with the William J. Blankenmeyer crew on aircraft 42-39888, “Hotnuts” on this mission.  Comments were entered on the “Hotnuts” Sortie Report that the ship “Left formation after target for unknown reasons, but returned to base.”  Rybarczyk did witness the crash, as he stated in a letter to Farrar’s mother dated October 13, 1944.  The “unknown reason” was most likely a search for parachutes and survivors after the collision.

Original Bombardier Marvin B. Fryden was killed on the crew’s second mission on August 5, 1944.  James B. Davis replaced Fryden on the Buslee crew, but for the second time, Robert Sumner Stearns replaced Davis on this mission.  Davis flew as Bombardier on the Raymond J. Gabel crew on aircraft 43-38062, “Pleasure Bent.”

Original Engineer/Top Turret Gunner Clarence B. Seeley was wounded on the August 5, 1944 mission, and did not fly again until October 2, 1944.  Lenard Leroy Bryant, an original member of the Buslee crew, moved to the Engineer/Top Turret Gunner position from his original waist gunner position.

Original Ball Turret Gunner Erwin V. Foster’s last flight with the Buslee crew was on September 9, 1944.  Foster did not fly again until September 30, 1944.  George Francis McMann served with the Buslee crew as Ball Turret Gunner on the September 28 flight, his one and only flight with this crew.

Source:  Sortie Reports for Lead Banana, Hotnuts, and Pleasure Bent.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2013