Crew 9 - Assigned 752nd Squadron - October 20, 1943
(Photo: AFHRA/Larry Dean)
|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.
|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|
|21-Mar-44||WATTEN, near ST. OMER||10||7||41-29303||H||Z5||7||LIBERTY LIB|
|24-Mar-44||ST. DIZIER||13||9||41-29303||H||Z5||9||LIBERTY LIB|
|09-Apr-44||TUTOW A/F||18||12||41-29303||H||Z5||12||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||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|
|08-May-44||BRUNSWICK||37||21||WRIGHT||L||42-100311||A||7V||20||YOKUM BOY||BURTON - LEAD NAV|
|29-May-44||TUTOW A/F||50||23||WHITLOW||D1||42-109812||D||7V||20||UNKNOWN 016||NAV - COX|
|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|
|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|
B-24H-10-CF 41-29303 7V H Liberty Lib
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
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: AFHRA/Larry Dean)