Fuson Crew - Assigned 753rd Squadron - May 26, 1944
|1Lt||Frank C Fuson||0693666||Pilot||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|1Lt||William J Kotowicz||0760636||Co-pilot||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|1Lt||William S Jameson||0707389||Navigator||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|1Lt||Fielding L Washington||0701663||Bombardier||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|T/Sgt||Emilio DaBramo||32741278||Radio Operator||01-Dec-44||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|T/Sgt||Ulgere B Simoneaux||38267516||Flight Engineer||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|S/Sgt||Forest B Large||35647427||Armorer-Gunner||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|S/Sgt||Robert H Bauch||36806853||Aerial Gunner||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|S/Sgt||William A Harris||38512309||Aerial Gunner||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
|S/Sgt||Charles H King||33562911||Aerial Gunner||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD - Completed Tour|
The four officers, flight engineer and radio operator that had trained together arrived in England in May 1944, along with Corporal Andrew E. Reeves, an Electronics Technician assigned to keep the AZON equipment in good working order. The four gunners, not onboard the AZON aircraft en route to the combat zone, continued on to the CBI, being replaced by four different gunners once the crew arrived in England.
Fuson’s first mission was on June 14, 1944, AZON Sortie #6. They flew the aircraft they had trained in and brought overseas, a specially equipped B-24J that they had named Bad Girl. Records indicate that 15 aircraft went after five different targets on this date, but it is not known which one Fuson bombed.
The crew flew five of the ten AZON missions, their last on August 26th to bridges at Moerdjik, Holland. The AZON project was abandoned towards the end of September. Between the AZON trips, they flew a number of missions with the Group in July and August, most of these in Bad Girl. In September the 458th participated in the Truckin’ Missions, in which a number of war weary Liberators from several 2nd bombardment Division groups were stripped down so that they could haul gasoline to France in supply of Patton’s Third Army. Fuson and crew flew seven of these missions, although none of the crews participating received any sortie credit.
Shortly after the group resumed combat flying in October, Bad Girl was crash-landed at Horsham by Lt Arthur Akin and crew (see section below). Fuson flew the remainder of their missions between October and December, finishing up just after Christmas.
The entire crew was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and sent back to the States for reassignment.
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|14-Jun-44||HANIM||AZ06||1||44-40288||S||J4||2||BAD GIRL||5 TARGETS|
|15-Jun-44||ETAPLES/PERONNA/DOULLENS||AZ07||2||44-40288||S||J4||3||BAD GIRL||3 RAILWAY BRIDGES|
|20-Jun-44||NOBALL FRANCE||REC||NTO||41-29300||Y||J3||--||LORELEI||MSN #3 RECALL|
|24-Jun-44||ST OMER||78||3||42-100425||D||J3||13||THE BIRD||MSN #3|
|17-Jul-44||3 NO BALLS||92||6||44-40285||H||J4||10||TABLE STUFF|
|24-Jul-44||ST. LO AREA||97||8||44-40288||S||J4||7||BAD GIRL|
|25-Jul-44||ST. LO AREA "B"||98||9||44-40288||S||J4||8||BAD GIRL|
|01-Aug-44||T.O.s FRANCE||100||10||44-40273||T||J4||8||HOWLING BANSHEE|
|02-Aug-44||3 NO BALLS||101||11||44-40288||S||J4||10||BAD GIRL||E. BARNHART ALSO 288S|
|04-Aug-44||ROSTOCK||103||ABT||44-40288||S||J4||--||BAD GIRL||GAS LEAK - CAP LOOSE|
|17-Aug-44||LE FOULONS RR BRIDGE||AZ11||17||44-40288||S||J4||17||BAD GIRL||10/10 CLOUD - NO DROP|
|25-Aug-44||MOERDIJK, NETH||AZ12||20||44-40288||S||J4||20||BAD GIRL||TORRES, WE 2Lt (Nav)|
|26-Aug-44||MOERDIJK, NETH||AZ13||21||44-40288||S||J4||21||BAD GIRL||NO DROP - SORTIE CREDIT|
|18-Sep-44||HORSHAM to CLASTRES||TR02||--||41-28721||G||J4||T1||DOWNWIND-LEG||WW|
|19-Sep-44||HORSHAM to CLASTRES||TR03||--||41-28721||G||J4||T2||DOWNWIND-LEG||WW|
|23-Sep-44||HORSHAM to ST DIZIER||TR07||--||41-28714||G||389BG||T1||UNKNOWN||LOAD No. 1|
|25-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR08-1||--||41-29303||H||7V||T5||LIBERTY LIB||1ST FLIGHT - CARGO|
|26-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR09||--||42-29249||M||389BG||T2||NOT 458TH SHIP||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|29-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR12||--||807||E||T1||NOT 458TH SHIP||ON LOAN FOR TRUCKIN'|
|30-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR13||--||42-110059||T||754||T6||UNKNOWN||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|04-Nov-44||MISBURG||141||27||44-40283||I||J4||14||LASSIE COME HOME|
|05-Nov-44||KARLSRUHE||142||ASSY||41-28697||Z||Z5||A28||SPOTTED APE||ASSEMBLY CREW|
|06-Nov-44||MINDEN||143||28||44-40283||I||J4||16||LASSIE COME HOME|
|09-Nov-44||METZ AREA||145||29||44-40283||I||J4||18||LASSIE COME HOME|
B-24JAZ-155-CO 44-40288 J4 S Bad Girl
(Photo: Terry McGrew)
October 6, 1944
"The takeoff runway was 23, with a formation taking off on a practice
mission. I pulled to the right side of the runway to avoid filling the
runway with prop wash from my engines. On the green light I advanced
the throttles and began rolling down the runway. Number one engine
suddenly revved up and pulled one wheel just of the runway but was
straightened out without difficulty. I was soon off the ground and
making my turn to Splasher 5 when I noticed a great pressure on the
right rudder. At about the same time my engineer tells me that number 1
engine is on fire. The co-pilot and I had checked for number 1 being
out and proceeded to cut the engine and try to feather it, but the oil
tank exploded, blowing a hole in the top of the cowling, and there was
no oil pressure. We made a turn back to the field and called the tower
for landing instructions and were told to use runway 05.
"Our altitude was too low to allow the crew to bail out safely and I didn’t believe there was any danger of the empty auxiliary tank exploding so I advised the crew to jump if they liked, but I thought their chances were better with the ship.
"I dropped 10 degrees of flaps to gain altitude and was pulling 42 inches of manifold pressure, 2450 RPM. When I turned on the approach I had reached 800 feet. I let down onto the field making a high approach, cut off all power by the throttles and [illegible] out the rudder trim. The landing was with a slight crosswind from the left, so when I landed, I thought the wind was pulling me to the left and I applied full right rudder, but it continued its merry way to the edge of the runway. I applied power to number 2 engine, but it went off the runway, hit a pile of sand and washed out the landing gear, nose wheel collapsing at the sand pile and the left main gear immediately afterward.
"On looking at the tire, I found a hole burned through the rubber, and my [illegible] gunner heard it blow out when the wheels first touched the ground. A portion of the rim of the wheel was found just off the runway. One crew member received a few bruises, the others were unhurt."
Accident Report 45-10-2-518
Back from a Combat Mission
Distinguished Flying Cross
From a news article courtesy Judith Taylor