458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Crew 10 - Assigned 752nd Squadron - December 1943

Standing: Joseph McCollough - P, Robert Heimstra - CP, Dick Harris - B, George Shamis - N

Kneeling: Bob Hanson - RO, Al Barnett - TG, Larry Pilato - E, "Moose" Rasmussen - BTG

Sitting: Dave Epstein - NTG, Bob Minarick - TTG


(Photo: AFHRA / IDs: Robyn Spano)


Completed Tour

McColloughCrew
 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
Capt Joseph C McCollough 0681147 Pilot 10-Jul-44 CT Air Crew Leave
1Lt Robert E Heimstra 0611382 Co-pilot Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
1Lt George E Shamis 0811985 Navigator 10-Jul-44 CT Air Crew Leave
1Lt Richard D Harris 0688351 Bombardier Jun-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
T/Sgt Robert V Hanson 36557770 Radio Operator Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
S/Sgt Lawrence E Pilato 12157513 Flight Engineer 30-Apr-44 UNK Awards - 1st OLC Air Medal (GO336 2BD)
S/Sgt David H Epstein 12145567 Nose Turret Gunner Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
S/Sgt Robert J Minarick 12147402 Top Turret Gunner Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
S/Sgt Melvin N Rasmussen 36733174 Ball Turret Gunner Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
S/Sgt Albert L Barnett 39199454 Tail Turret Gunner Aug-44 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross

Crew 10 was assigned to the group and trained with them at Tonopah in late 1943.  The crew flew B-24H 41-29302 Nokkish over from the States when the group went to England.  The crew flew several missions aboard Nokkish, but this aircraft was later involved in a taxing accident after a mission with Lt Millard P. Schaaf's crew and salvaged.

In the latter half of McCollough’s combat tour, his crew appears to have started flying lead missions.  It was on a Group lead mission on June 11, 1944 that earned the officers on the crew the Distinguished Flying Cross for their part in the destruction of the bridge at Blois/St. Denis.  (See citations below)

Most of the crew completed their combat tour in late July or August.  One man, S/Sgt Lawrence Pilato, the crew’s flight engineer, is assumed to have completed his tour with the crew, although no mention of this can be found in group records.  


Missions

McColloughMissions
Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Cmd Pilot Ld  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
15-Mar-44 BRUNSWICK 7 1     41-29302 P 7V 4 NOKKISH  
16-Mar-44 FRIEDRICHSHAFEN 8 2     42-109812 D 7V 4 UNKNOWN 016  
18-Mar-44 FRIEDRICHSHAFEN 9 3     42-52455 O 7V 4 PLUTOCRAT  
21-Mar-44 WATTEN 10 4     41-29302 P 7V 5 NOKKISH  
22-Mar-44 BERLIN 11 ABT     41-29302 P 7V -- NOKKISH MANIF PRES
23-Mar-44 OSNABRUCK 12 5     41-28709 I 7V 5 LUCKY STRIKE  
26-Mar-44 BONNIERES 14 6     41-29302 P 7V 6 NOKKISH  
05-Apr-44 ST. POL-SIRACOURT 16 7     41-29302 P 7V 8 NOKKISH  
08-Apr-44 BRUNSWICK 17 8     41-28667 F 7V 7 JAYHAWKER  
09-Apr-44 TUTOW A/F 18 ABT     41-29352 K 7V -- WOLVE'S LAIR ENG CUT OUT
18-Apr-44 BRANDENBURG 22 9     41-29352 K 7V 12 WOLVE'S LAIR  
19-Apr-44 PADERBORN A/F 23 10     42-52455 O 7V 15 PLUTOCRAT  
22-Apr-44 HAMM M/Y 25 11     42-52455 O 7V 16 PLUTOCRAT  
24-Apr-44 LEIPHEIM A/F 26 12     42-52455 O 7V 17 PLUTOCRAT  
27-Apr-44 BONNIERES 29 13     41-29340 N 7V 10 YANKEE BUZZ BOMB GULICK X'd OUT
29-Apr-44 BERLIN 31 NTO     42-52455 O 7V -- PLUTOCRAT #1 MAGNETO OUT
01-May-44 LIEGE M/Y 33 14     42-52455 O 7V 21 PLUTOCRAT  
04-May-44 BRUNSWICK 34 15     42-52455 O 7V 22 PLUTOCRAT  
05-May-44 SOTTEVAST 35 16     42-50314 L 7V 2 ETO PLAYHOUSE FLEW w/ CREW 7
10-May-44 DIEPHOLZ REC --     42-52455 O 7V -- PLUTOCRAT RECALL
11-May-44 EPINAL 39 17     42-52455 O 7V 25 PLUTOCRAT  
12-May-44 BOHLEN 40 18     41-29303 H Z5 26 LIBERTY LIB  
13-May-44 TUTOW A/F 41 19     42-100311 A 7V 22 YOKUM BOY  
20-May-44 RHEIMS A/D 43 20 LaROCHE L1 42-109812 D 7V 17 UNKNOWN 016  
23-May-44 BOURGES 45 21     42-109812 D 7V 18 UNKNOWN 016  
25-May-44 MULHOUSE M/Y 47 22     42-109812 D 7V 19 UNKNOWN 016  
30-May-44 ZWISCHENAHN 51 23 FREEMAN L1 42-109812 D 7V 21 UNKNOWN 016  
04-Jun-44 BOURGES A/F 54 24     42-95118 E 7V 1 ALFRED V  
06-Jun-44 VILLERS BOCAGE 57 25 SCHWARTZ D1 42-109812 D 7V 23 UNKNOWN 016 MSN #2
11-Jun-44 BLOIS 62 26 OLLUM L1 42-109812 D 7V 25 UNKNOWN 016 WING LEAD
17-Jun-44 GUYANCOURT 67 ABT     42-110184 -- J3 -- GWEN COULD NOT CATCH FORM
20-Jun-44 OSTERMOOR 73 27 WILLIAMS D1 44-40126 -- -- 6 SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP  
24-Jun-44 CONCHES A/F 77 28 HENSLER L1 42-95118 E 7V 5 ALFRED V MSN #1
25-Jun-44 ST. OMER 80 29 HOGG L1 42-95118 E 7V 6 ALFRED V  
07-Jul-44 LUTZKENDORF 86 30 WILLIAMSON L1 42-100365 B 7V 35 WOLFGANG  
20-Jul-44 EISENACH 95 31 WRIGHT L 42-50499 F 7V 1 COOKIE/OPEN POST  
24-Jul-44 ST. LO AREA 97 32 FREEMAN L2 42-95118 E 7V 12 ALFRED V  
07-Aug-44 GHENT 107 ASSY HENSON L 41-28697 Z Z5 A9 SPOTTED APE ASSEMBLY CREW
16-Aug-44 MAGDEBURG 115 ASSY LaROCHE   41-28697 Z Z5 A11 SPOTTED APE ASSEMBLY CREW


B-24H-10-CF 41-29302  7V  P  Nokkish

Navigator George Shamis' name is clearly marked.

April 29, 1944 - Accident with Lt Millard P. Schaaf crew

June 11, 1944

Capt John Ollum, Lt Joseph McCollough, Capt James Smith, and Capt Irving Burton look over a photo of the Blois Bridge

AN EIGHTH AIR FORCE LIBERATOR STATION, ENGLAND – Capt. John L. Ollum (left) of South St. Paul, Minn., A Squadron Operations Officer, looks at a photograph of his formation’s bombs destroying a vital railway bridge in France.  With him are three other officers of the crew which led their group on this hazardous operation.  L to R are Capt. Ollum, 1st Lt Joseph C. McCollough, of Summit Miss., Lead Pilot for this attack, Capt. James C. Smith, of Ferndale, Mich., Squadron Bombardier, and Capt. Irving R. Burton, of Detroit, Squadron Navigator.  All four officers wear the Distinguished Flying Cross awarded them for this successful low altitude attack.

HQ 2d Bombardment Division
General Orders Number 96

The 96th Combat Bomb Wing (H) is cited for outstanding performance of duty and gallantry in action against the enemy on a mission to enemy-occupied territory 11 June 1944.

On this occasion, the 96th Combat Bomb Wing (H) was ordered to destroy, regardless of cost, a railway bridge which was a vital communications link in enemy counter-invasion operations.  The officers and men participating well knew that the importance of this bridge was such that there was every likelihood of encountering large numbers of hostile fighters and intense, accurate, heavy flak in the target area.  Nevertheless, every officer and man in this Wing was so imbued with the determination to destroy the target that when clouds were encountered over the target area, the formation descended through the overcast, and proceeded as individuals and small units to bomb the target from the extremely dangerous altitude of 6500 feet.  Bombing was accomplished with such conspicuous success that the bridge was destroyed and this key artery of the enemy communications system completely severed.

The courage, audacity, and determination displayed by the officers and men of the 96th Combat Bomb Wing (H) on this occasion and their complete disregard for the hazards of this dangerous undertaking are in the highest traditions of the service, and reflect the greatest credit upon themselves, their organization, and the United States Army Air Forces.

By command of Brigadier General HODGES.

Officers of the 458th are awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross
Maj. Frederick O'Neill, Maj. John LaRoche, BGen Walter Peck, Unknown, Capt.John Ollum, 1Lt. Joseph McCollough
Headquarters 2D Bombardment Division
General Orders Number 118

JOHN L. OLLUM
, 0-429105, Captain, Army Air Forces, United States Army.  For extraordinary achievement while serving as Command Pilot of a B-24 Group on a bombing mission to occupied France, 11 June 1944.  The target was a railway bridge which was a vital communication link in the enemy counter-invasion operations.  When clouds were encountered, Captain Ollum led his formation to bomb the target from an extremely low and dangerous altitude.  The courage and determination of Captain Ollum on this occasion resulted in the destruction of a difficult and important target, and reflect the greatest credit upon himself and the United States Army Air Forces.  Entered military service from Minnesota.

JOSEPH C. MCCOLLOUGH, 0-681147, First Lieutenant, Army Air Forces, United States Army. For extraordinary achievement while serving as Lead Pilot of a B-24 aircraft on a bombing mission to occupied France. The target was a railway bridge which was a vital communication link in the enemy counter-invasion operations. When clouds were encountered, Lieutenant McCollough led his formation to bomb the target from an extremely low and dangerous altitude.  The courage and determination of Lieutenant McCollough on this occasion reflect the greatest credit upon himself and the United States Army Air Forces.  Entered military service from Mississippi.

IRVING R. BURTON, 0-674137, Captain, Army Air Forces, United States Army.  For extraordinary achievement, while serving as Lead Navigator of a Heavy Bombardment Group on a bombing mission over enemy occupied territory.  Captain Burton displayed superior ability in navigating through extensive cloud cover and breaking through at a dangerously low altitude so accurately that a successful bomb run was accomplished by the Bombardier, contributing to the destruction of a vital target.  The skill and devotion to duty displayed by Captain Burton on this occasion reflect the greatest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.  Entered military service from New York.


Captain Smith is presented the DFC by Group CO Col James Isbell


JAMES C. SMITH, 0-670275, Captain, Army Air Forces, United States Army.  For extraordinary achievement, while serving as Lead Bombardier of a B-24 Group on a bombing mission over enemy occupied territory.  Bombing from an extremely low and dangerous altitude, Captain Smith dropped his bombs so successfully that the target was destroyed and a vital enemy communication link was severed.  The skill and devotion to duty displayed by Captain Smith  on this occasion reflect the greatest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.  Entered military service from Michigan.

Blois Bridge 2016

Bridge pilings as they appear today.  Note what appears to be damage from bombs in the bottom two photos.


Courtesy: Philippe Canonne