Matze Crew - Assigned 753rd Squadron - 26 May 1944
|Capt||Gerald W Matze||01030397||Pilot||Mar-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
|Capt||Melvin E Fields||0434477||Co-pilot||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
|1Lt||Arthur L Smith||0702499||Navigator||Jan-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
|1Lt||Charles W Bullard||0702008||Bombardier||Feb-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
|T/Sgt||Michael P Agresta||15130548||Radio Operator||Mar-45||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|T/Sgt||Clarence W Ferris||39121515||Flight Engineer||Mar-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
|S/Sgt||Albert J Pizzica||33367497||Armorer-Gunner||Mar-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
|S/Sgt||Adolph Janowski||38454789||Flight Engineer||Mar-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
|S/Sgt||Karl E VanKuran, Jr||39255592||Aerial Gunner||Mar-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
|S/Sgt||James P Keel||34649926||Aerial Gunner||Mar-45||CT||Trsf to 70RD for return to ZI|
Gerald Matze 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 Eddie E. Lamb, an Electronics Technician assigned to keep the AZON equipment in good working order. The four gunners, not on board 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.
According to available records,
the Matze crew flew seven AZON missions, three in June, three in August and one in September, just
prior to the project being abandoned. In between that time they flew a
number of non-AZON missions with the 753rd. The crew must have
excelled at their job, for on October 23rd, when the 755th Squadron
became the group's lead crew squadron, Matze and crew were transferred
to be a lead. After training the month of October, they flew the
remainder of their missions between November 1944 - February 1945.
Two additional navigators also joined the crew at this time. 1Lt Wilbur D. King, Radar Navigator, joined the 458th as an individual replacement in mid-October 1944, and 1Lt William J Weiland, Dead Reckoning (DR) Navigator, joined the group on May 8, 1944, also as an individual replacement. Records show that Weiland completed his tour in February 1945, and while King is known to have flown the group's last mission on April 25, 1945, it is not known whether or not he completed a full complement of combat missions.
Mel Fields, co-pilot, is listed on formation plans as a first pilot on one of the final AZON missions on September 1, 1944. When pilot 2Lt Patrick McCormick (AZON 06) was wounded on August 6th, Fields took over as pilot for this crew. After the Matze crew was transferred to the 755th, Fields remained in the 753rd Squadron and flew the remainder of his missions there. The co-pilot position on Matze's crew in the 755th was filled by various command pilots.
Gerald Matze Missions as 1st Pilot
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Cmd Pilot||Ld||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|14-Jun-44||5 TARGETS||AZ06||1||44-40277||P||J4||3||MISS USED|
|15-Jun-44||3 RAILWAY BRIDGES||AZ07||2||44-40277||P||J4||4||MISS USED|
|22-Jun-44||Saumer/Tours - Bridges||AZ09||3||44-40277||P||J4||5||MISS USED|
|05-Jul-44||LE COULET, BEL A/F||84||4||42-95316||N||J3||25||PRINCESS PAT|
|13-Jul-44||SAARBRUCKEN||90||ABT||41-29340||N||7V||--||YANKEE BUZZ BOMB||#2 SUPER CHG|
|24-Jul-44||ST. LO AREA||97||8||44-40281||Q||J4||7||A DOG'S LIFE|
|25-Jul-44||ST. LO AREA "B"||98||9||44-40134||L||J4||6||UNKNOWN 039|
|01-Aug-44||T.O.s FRANCE||100||10||44-40264||K||J4||6||KISS ME BABY|
|03-Aug-44||2 NO BALLS||102||11||44-40264||K||J4||7||KISS ME BABY|
|05-Aug-44||BRUNSWICK/WAGGUM||105||12||44-40264||K||J4||9||KISS ME BABY|
|15-Aug-44||VECHTA||114||13||44-40264||K||J4||10||KISS ME BABY|
|17-Aug-44||LE FOULONS RR Bridge||AZ11||14||44-40264||K||J4||11||KISS ME BABY||10/10 CLOUD-NO DROP|
|18-Aug-44||WOIPPY||116||15||44-40264||K||J4||12||KISS ME BABY|
|25-Aug-44||MOERDIJK, NETH||AZ12||16||42-100408||D||J4||29||BEASTFACE||SMITH, AL 2Lt (Nav)|
|26-Aug-44||MOERDIJK, NETH||AZ13||17||GRIFFITH||42-50499||U||J3||9||COOKIE/OPEN POST||NO DROP|
|01-Sep-44||RAVENSTEIN, HOL||AZ14||18||HENSLER||44-40264||K||J4||14||KISS ME BABY|
|05-Sep-44||KARLSRUHE||122||19||GORRELL||L2||44-40264||K||J4||15||KISS ME BABY|
|28-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR11||--||41-28714||G||489BG||T4||389BG A/C||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
(Photo: Tom Bullard)
B-24JAZ-155-CO 44-40277 J4 P Miss Used
(Photos: Mike Bailey & Tom Bullard)
Mel Fields Missions as 1st pilot
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|01-Sep-44||RAVENSTEIN, HOLLAND||AZ14||1||44-40288||S||J4||22||BAD GIRL|
|18-Sep-44||HORSHAM to CLASTRES||TR02||--||41-28705||X||J4||T1||YE OLDE HELLGATE||CARGO|
|19-Sep-44||HORSHAM to CLASTRES||TR03||--||702||T1||NOT 458TH SHIP||ON LOAN FOR TRUCKIN'|
|23-Sep-44||HORSHAM to ST DIZIER||TR07||--||42-110063||B||389BG||T1||NOT 458TH SHIP||BESTEN CROSSED OUT|
|25-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR08-2||--||41-29352||K||752||T4||WOLVES LAIR||2ND FLIGHT - CARGO|
|26-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR09||--||42-28739||D||389BG||T3||NOT 458TH SHIP||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|28-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR11||--||803||389BG||T5||42-40803 P B-24D?||ON LOAN FOR TRUCKIN'|
|30-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR13||--||41-28714||G||389BG||T7||CYCLONE||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|19-Oct-44||MAINZ||136||ASSY||41-28697||Z||Z5||A22||SPOTTED APE||ASSEMBLY SHIP|
|09-Nov-44||METZ AREA||145||ABT||44-40287||J||J4||--||BACHELOR'S BEDLAM||#4 ENG FAILURE|
|10-Nov-44||HANAU A/F||146||10||44-40273||T||J4||34||HOWLING BANSHEE|
|18-Dec-44||KOBLENZ||REC||--||44-40134||R||J4||--||UNKNOWN 039||RECALL DUTCH ISLE|
755th Squadron Lead Crew - January 1945
A little R&R...
(Photo: Tom Bullard)
Brothers Meet After 3 Years
Reunion at Home After Long Overseas Service.
Two of the sons of Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Bullard, Route 1, Gobles, S/Sgt Hubert Bullard, and Lt. Charles Bullard, recently met at home for the first time in three years. Sgt. Bullard spent a 60-day furlough at home after which he was ordered to San Antonio, Tex. He has been stationed with the Ninth, 12th, and 15th Air Forces respectively, having seen action in North Africa, Tunisia, Sicily, and Italy during the last 29 months. He wears four battle stars on his ETO ribbon.
Lt. Bullard was stationed with the Eighth Air Force in England for the last 11 months. He flew 30 missions during which he participated in the D-Day invasion last June. He wears the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters and four battle stars on his ETO ribbon. Following his 21-day leave here, he will report to Big Springs, Tex., where he expects to be assigned to a primary school for training pilots.
Both brothers are graduates of State High School. Sgt. Bullard was employed by General Motors Corporation in Detroit and Lt. Bullard worked for the Atlas Press Company here before joining the service.
Another brother, Pfc. Duane Bullard, is stationed in the Hawaiian Islands.
(Photos & News Article courtesy Tom Bullard)