458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Holtz Crew - Assigned - 754th Squadron - February 18, 1945

Standing: Unknown, Bob Smith - CP, Merrill Holtz - P, James Dutt - N, Unknown
Kneeling: 2nd from left Paul Perry - BTG

If you can identify the other crew members please contact me

(Photo: John Zimitsch)

Flying at the End of Hostilities

HoltzCrew
 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
1Lt Merrill L Holtz 0780599 Pilot Jun-45 FEH Ferry Liberator to U.S.
2Lt Robert E Smith 02066894 Co-pilot Jun-45 FEH Ferry Liberator to U.S.
2Lt James L Dutt 02072431 Navigator Jun-45 FEH Ferry Liberator to U.S.
S/Sgt Vincent N Roman 35059070 Radio Operator Jun-45 FEH Ferry Liberator to U.S.
Sgt William A Maultsby 18197961 Flight Engineer Jun-45 FEH Ferry Liberator to U.S.
T/Sgt  Paul J Perry 6895912 Armorer-Gunner Jun-45 FEH Ferry Liberator to U.S.
S/Sgt Alan H Cross 33709393  Aerial Gunner Jun-45 FEH Ferry Liberator to U.S.
S/Sgt Justin Martincic, Jr 13190328 Armorer Gunner Jun-45 FEH Ferry Liberator to U.S.
S/Sgt Raymond D McKinney  37490700 Aerial Gunner/2E  Jun-45 FEH Ferry Liberator to U.S. 

2Lt Merrill Holtz and crew were assigned to the 754th Squadron 2-1/2 months before the war would come to an end.  They took off on what was supposed to be their first combat flight on March 8th, but were forced to abort due to mechanical difficulties.  They were able to complete the next day's mission to Osnabruck and were credited for their first mission. 

In all the crew flew 13 combat missions as well as two missions listed on formation plans as "weather ship".  A designated crew would fly out over the Continent prior to the group's take off and report back on the weather.  Crews were not given mission credit for these flights.  Nine of the thirteen missions were aboard a veteran 458th Liberator named Sky Tramp / Spitten Kitten.  The crew would also ferry this Liberator back to the United States in June.

After the war had ended, the 458th, along with all of the other heavy bombardment groups in the Eighth Air Force, took their ground men on a flying tour of Germany.  These flights were called "Trolley Missions" and their purpose was to show the men whose job it was to put the planes in the air, how their efforts had helped to win the war.  Holtz and crew obtained a number of photographs of several cities they visited on these trips.

Missions

HoltzMissions
Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
08-Mar-45 DILLENBURG 199 ABT 42-110059 T Z5 -- UNKNOWN 056 ABORT - #1, 2 ENG ??
09-Mar-45 OSNABRUCK 200 1 42-95183 U Z5 85 BRINEY MARLIN  
12-Mar-45 FRIEDBURG 202 2 44-40298 E Z5 41 THE SHACK ABORT - SORTIE CREDIT BOMB OT 
17-Mar-45 HANNOVER 205 3 44-40126 L Z5 68 SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP  
24-Mar-45  NORDHORN 212 4 42-110059 T Z5 73 UNKNOWN 056 BOMBED WITH 467BG
25-Mar-45 HITZACKER 214 5 44-40126 L Z5 74 SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP  
31-Mar-45 BRUNSWICK 216 6 44-40126 L Z5 76 SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP   
04-Apr-45 PERLEBERG 217 7 44-40126 L Z5 77 SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP  
05-Apr-45 PLAUEN 218 8 44-40126 L Z5 78 SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP  
07-Apr-45 KRUMMEL 220 9 42-95108 B Z5 76 ENVY OF 'EM ALL II  
09-Apr-45 LECHFELD 222 10 44-40126 L Z5 80 SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP  
10-Apr-45 RECHLIN/LARZ  223 11 44-40126 L Z5 81 SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP  
11-Apr-45 REGENSBURG 224 WTHR 42-95018 J Z5 -- OLD DOC'S YACHT WEATHER SHIP
16-Apr-45 LANDSHUT 227 12 44-40126 L Z5 84 SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP  
18-Apr-45 PASSAU 228 WTHR 44-50618 S -- -- UNKNOWN 052 WEATHER SHIP
19-Apr-45 ZWIESEL SCR -- 42-51179 P Z5 -- DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE SCRUBBED
20-Apr-45 ZWIESEL 229 13 44-40126 L Z5 85 SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP


May 1945

2Lt Robert Smith shows off the big news!

"Trolley Missions" - May 1945

Bielefeld Viaduct
 
Cologne and Hamburg
 
Essen and the Ruhr Valley

B-24J-145-CO 44-40126 Z5 L  Sky Tramp / Spitten Kitten

Mechanics working on a new engine for Sky Tramp.
(L-R) Pfc Marian Rodgers, M/Sgt William Seatena, 2Lt Merrill Holtz
Photos courtesy: John Zimitsch & Mark Woodward

June 1945

Standing: Bob Smith, Merril Holtz, James Dutt
Click for larger image

(Photo: FOLD3)