458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Fuson Crew - Assigned 753rd Squadron - May 26, 1944

Back Row: Frank Fuson - P, Fielding Washington - B, William Kotowicz - CP, William Jameson - N
Middle Row: Forest Large - G, Ulgere Simoneaux - E, William Harris - G, Unknown
Front Row: Robert Bauch - G, Charles King - G
(Photo: FOLD3)

Completed Tour

FusonCrew
 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
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 

Frank Fuson and crew were one of ten specially trained AZON crews who were assigned to the 458th in the spring of 1944.  Originally intended for duty in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater, their orders were changed en route and they flew to England instead.

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.



Missions

FusonMissions
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
06-Jul-44 KIEL 85 4 42-7516 K J3 17 GATOR  
16-Jul-44 SAARBRUCKEN 91 5 42-100366 B Z5 31 MIZPAH  
17-Jul-44 3 NO BALLS 92 6 44-40285 H J4 10 TABLE STUFF  
20-Jul-44 EISENACH 95 7 44-40288 S J4 5 BAD GIRL  
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
05-Aug-44 BRUNSWICK/WAGGUM 105 12 44-40288 S J4 11 BAD GIRL  
06-Aug-44 HAMBURG 106 13 44-40288 S J4 12 BAD GIRL  
08-Aug-44 CLASTRES 108 14 44-40288 S J4 14 BAD GIRL  
09-Aug-44 SAARBRUCKEN 109 15 44-40288 S J4 15 BAD GIRL  
16-Aug-44 MAGDEBURG 115 16 44-40134 R J4 16 UNKNOWN 039  
17-Aug-44 LE FOULONS RR BRIDGE AZ11 17 44-40288 S J4 17 BAD GIRL 10/10 CLOUD - NO DROP
18-Aug-44 WOIPPY 116 18 44-40288 S J4 18 BAD GIRL  
24-Aug-44 HANNOVER 117 19 44-40288 S J4 19 BAD GIRL  
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
03-Oct-44 GAGGENAU 127 22 44-40277 P J4 11 MISS USED  
07-Oct-44 MAGDEBURG 130 23 42-95133 K J4 1 LADY JANE  
12-Oct-44 OSNABRUCK 132 24 41-28980 V J4 3 UNKNOWN 009  
19-Oct-44 MAINZ 136 25 41-28980 V J4 6 UNKNOWN 009  
30-Oct-44 HARBURG 139 26 44-40201 N J4 22 SILVER CHIEF  
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  
25-Nov-44 BINGEN 149 30 44-40201 N J4 30 SILVER CHIEF  
24-Dec-44 SCHONECKEN 157 31 44-40285 H J4 47 TABLE STUFF  
25-Dec-44 PRONSFELD 158 32 44-40285 H J4 48 TABLE STUFF  
27-Dec-44 NEUNKIRCHEN 159 33 44-40285 H J4 49 TABLE STUFF  
02-Jan-45 REMAGEN 164 MSHL -- -- -- --   MARSHALLING CHIEF


B-24JAZ-155-CO 44-40288 J4 S  Bad Girl

Bad Girl and co-pilot William Kotowicz

(Photo: Terry McGrew)

October 6, 1944

(Photos: Rick Rockicki & Harold Armstrong)


2Lt Arthur C. Akin

"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

Back Row: Fielding Washington, William Kotowicz, Frank Fuson, William Jameson
Middle Row: Robert Bauch, Charles King, William Harris, Emilio DaBramo
Front Row: Ulgere Simoneaux, Forest Large
(Photo: Larry & William Fuson)

Distinguished Flying Cross

Fielding Washington, William Jameson, William Kotowicz, and Frank Fuson after being decorated

T/Sgt Emilio DaBramo and S/Sgt William Harris
(Photos: FOLD3)

Maj Charles Breeding pins the DFC on S/Sgt Forest Large

The Distinguished Flying Cross was recently presented [to] S/Sgt Forest B. Large, Gallipolis, O., by Maj Charles N, Breeding, Liberator Squadron Commander, at an Eighth Air Force Liberator station in England.  The medal was presented for extraordinary achievement as an aerial gunner on a B-24 Liberator heavy bomber.  S/Sgt Large has flown on 35 bombing missions over Germany. and enemy occupied Europe with the 458th Bombardment group in the Second Bombardment Division.  His parents , Mr. and Mrs. James B. Large live at 74 Engler St., Columbus. His wife, Helen, lives at Crown Court, Route 1, Gallia County.

From a news article courtesy Judith Taylor