458th Bombardment Group (H)

  Honoring those who served with the 458th BG during World War II

Crew 9 - Assigned 752nd Squadron - October 20, 1943

Back Row: Arnold LeHardy - CP, Joseph Roubal - P, James Trent - B, John Ekberg - N
Middle Row: Norman Holm - NTG, Gordon Carlson - TTG, James McKenna - BTG, Edward Fitzgerald - E
Front Row: William Dailey - RO, Donald Henry - TG

(Photo: AFHRA/Larry Dean)

Completed Tour

RoubalCrew
 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
Capt Joseph W Roubal 0738475 Pilot 14-Oct-44 CT Squadron Ops Officer on Leave
1Lt Arnold LeHardy   Co-pilot Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
1Lt John R Ekberg 0810528 Navigator Oct-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
1Lt James H Trent 0752911 Bombardier Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
T/Sgt  William P Dailey 31253126 Radio Operator 06-Jun-44 UNK Mission Load List
T/Sgt Norman C Holm 16071564 Flight Engineer Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
S/Sgt Edward J Fitzgerald  32657691  Aerial Gunner/2E  Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross 
S/Sgt Gordon H Carlson 16169644 Aeial Gunner Jul-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
S/Sgt James B McKenna 36213055 Aeial Gunner Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
S/Sgt Donald F Henry 14094034 Aeial Gunner Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross

Crew 9 was assigned to the 752nd Squadron on October 20, 1943 in Tonopah, NV where the 458th received combat crew training.  Squadron records indicate that all except 2Lt John Ekberg and F/O Arnold LeHardy were part of the original crew.  On December 30, 1943 the full crew received orders (as did all crews in the 458th) to proceed to Hamilton Field, CA and then east to Florida and the Southern Route across the Atlantic, eventually to England, arriving in late January or early February 1944.  The aircraft they flew was a brand new B-24H that the crew had named Liberty Lib and had a portrait of the Statue of Liberty painted on the nose.


On February 25, 1944, the 458th flew their second diversion mission in support of “Big Week”, and Crew 9 was along in Liberty Lib.  Each aircraft that flew one of these diversionary missions was anointed with a decoy duck symbol instead of the customary bomb symbol that would be added for a combat mission.


Crew 9 flew their first combat mission on March 3, 1944.  The weather that day forced most of the Eighth Air Force to abandon their efforts to Berlin and seek out targets of opportunity.  Three days later on March 6th the crew took off on their third combat mission, the group’s fourth and the first successful  American daylight raid on Berlin.  Once again the crew boarded Liberty Lib, taking off with a load of 52 M47 incendiaries.  They flew in the lead squadron, second ship in the third element just to the left of Col Isbell flying group lead.  Over the target, the crew witnessed several aircraft downed including the aircraft flown by 2Lt Guy Rogers and crew from the 754th Squadron.  It seems that the downing of Rogers' aircraft was seen by many crews in the 458th as it appears on several of the debriefing reports after the mission under section "10. FRIENDLY A/C LOST OR IN DISTRESS”.  On Roubal’s load list/debrief sheet the following is stated: “B24 with K on it first seen about 18,000 [feet], circled down with #2 engine smoking, five parachutes opened and plane crashed just over lake SW of Berlin [time] (1344).”


The crew flew Liberty Lib on their next 12 missions, but for some reason did not fly this aircraft again for the rest of their tour.  They flew a variety of 752nd Squadron Liberators through May, June, and July.  During the last half of the crew’s tour they flew ten missions as lead and deputy lead with a succession of command pilots.  It is not known if co-pilot Arnold LeHardy flew these lead missions with the crew or not.  Squadron records show that he flew three missions in July as first pilot, but group formation plans do not support this.


According to group and squadron records most of the crew received the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) in August 1944, usually an indicator (at least in the 458th) that a combat crewman had completed his missions.  S/Sgt Gordon Carlson may have finished earlier as he received the DFC in July.  Navigator 1Lt John Ekberg is shown receiving a DFC in August and a second DFC in October 1944, but no citations are given in either case, T/Sgt William Dailey is not noted in the records as receiving a DFC with the other members of his crew, but it is most likely that he received the award.


While S/Sgt Edward Fitzgerald is listed as the crew’s flight engineer, on December 1943 movement orders, it may have been T/Sgt Norman Holm who was elevated to that position, hence the Technical Sergeant vs. Staff Sergeant rank.  Both he and Fitzgerald were rated flight engineers as was Gordon Carlson.


On August 4, 1944 1Lt Joseph Roubal, after completing his tour was promoted to Captain and became the 752nd Squadron’s Operations Officer.  It is not known exactly when he left this position, but he did not participate in any further combat missions as command pilot, which would normally be flown by an operations officer.


Missions

RoubalMissions
Date  Target 458th Msn  Pilot Msn  Cmd Pilot Ld  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
25-Feb-44 DUTCH COAST D2 --     41-29303 -- Z5 D2 LIBERTY LIB Diversion Mission
03-Mar-44 BERLIN 2 1     41-29303 -- Z5 1 LIBERTY LIB  
05-Mar-44 BORDEAUX/MERIGNAC 3 2     41-29303 H Z5 2 LIBERTY LIB  
06-Mar-44 BERLIN/GENSHAGEN 4 3     41-29303 H Z5 3 LIBERTY LIB  
09-Mar-44 BRANDENBURG 6 4     41-29303 H Z5 4 LIBERTY LIB  
16-Mar-44 FRIEDRICHSHAFEN 8 5     41-29303 H Z5 5 LIBERTY LIB  
18-Mar-44 FRIEDRICHSHAFEN 9 6     41-29303 H Z5 6 LIBERTY LIB  
21-Mar-44 WATTEN, near ST. OMER 10 7     41-29303 H Z5 7 LIBERTY LIB  
23-Mar-44 OSNABRUCK 12 8     41-29303 H Z5 8 LIBERTY LIB  
24-Mar-44 ST. DIZIER 13 9     41-29303 H Z5 9 LIBERTY LIB  
27-Mar-44 BIARRITZ 15 10     41-29303   Z5 10 LIBERTY LIB  
08-Apr-44 BRUNSWICK/WAGGUM 17 11     41-29303 H Z5 11 LIBERTY LIB  
09-Apr-44 TUTOW A/F 18 12     41-29303 H Z5 12 LIBERTY LIB  
11-Apr-44 OSCHERSLEBEN 20 13     41-29303 H Z5 14 LIBERTY LIB  
18-Apr-44 BRANDENBURG 22 14     41-29303 H Z5 15 LIBERTY LIB  
19-Apr-44 PADERBORN A/F 23 15     41-29303 H Z5 16 LIBERTY LIB  
24-Apr-44 LEIPHEIM A/F 26 16     42-109812 D 7V 11 UNKNOWN 016  
01-May-44 MARQUISE/MIMOYECQUES  32 17 MOORE L2 42-109812 D 7V 14 UNKNOWN 016  
01-May-44 LIEGE M/Y 33 18 HINCKLEY L2 42-109812 D 7V 15 UNKNOWN 016 ABORT - FLAK DMG
05-May-44 SOTTEVAST 35 19   D2 42-100365 B 7V 21 WOLFGANG NAV - HARRIS
07-May-44 OSNABRUCK 36 20     42-100311 A 7V 19 YOKUM BOY  
08-May-44 BRUNSWICK 37 21 WRIGHT L 42-100311 A 7V 20 YOKUM BOY BURTON - LEAD NAV
12-May-44 BOHLEN 40 22     42-100311 A 7V 21 YOKUM BOY  
29-May-44  TUTOW A/F 50 23 WHITLOW D1 42-109812 D 7V 20 UNKNOWN 016 NAV - COX
06-Jun-44 PONTAUBAULT 58 24 WRIGHT D1 42-100365 B 7V 31 WOLFGANG MSN #3
12-Jun-44 EVREUX/FAUVILLE 64 25 FREEMAN L3 42-109812 D 7V 26 UNKNOWN 016   
15-Jun-44 GUYANCOURT 66 26 WILLIAMSON L2 42-109812 D 7V 27 UNKNOWN 016  
19-Jun-44 REGNAUVILLE 72 27     42-100311 A 7V 30 YOKUM BOY MSN #2
23-Jun-44 3 NO BALLS 76 28     42-109812 D 7V 28 UNKNOWN 016 TGT # 6 COUBRONNE
28-Jun-44 SAARBRUCKEN 81 29 CHAMBERLAIN  L2 42-109812 D 7V 29 UNKNOWN 016  
08-Jul-44 ANIZY, FRANCE 87 30 OLLUM L2 42-95118 E 7V 8 ALFRED V A/C Trnsf to 392BG
24-Jul-44 ST. LO AREA 97 31 BOOTH L3 42-109812 D 7V 32 UNKNOWN 016  
18-Sep-44 HSF to CLASTRES TR02 --     42-100311 P 7V T2 YOKUM BOY CARGO
19-Sep-44 HSF to CLASTRES TR03 --     42-52455 O J4 T2 PLUTOCRAT CARGO
23-Jun-44 3 NO BALLS 76 30     41-28735 V J3 26 UNKNOWN 005 TGT #7 BLAUGERMONT
08-Jul-44 ANIZY, FRANCE 87 MSHL     -- -- -- --   MARSHALING CHIEF
16-Jul-44 SAARBRUCKEN 91 MSHL     -- -- -- --   MARSHALING CHIEF


B-24H-10-CF 41-29303 7V H Liberty Lib

Above: Note decoy for Feb 25, 1944 diversion.  All 11 missions up to this point flown by Crew 9.

Right: M/Sgt Robert R. Hinman (center), crew chief

(Photos: George Reynolds & Robert Hinman
 

Liberty Lib shown in early May 1944 with 25 missions and one German fighter downed.


Photo: George Reynolds


Battle Damage

ENGLAND - M/Sgt Robert Hinman of Madison, Wisconsin, crew chief of the Liberator "Liberty Lib"

inspects the large hole in the tail of the bomber caused by a flak burst.


(Photo: FOLD3)


August 1944

Standing: James McKenna, John Ekberg, Joseph Roubal, James Trent, Norman Holm
Kneeling: William Dailey, Gordon Carlson, Donald Henry, Edward Fitzgerald

(Photo: AFHRA/Larry Dean)