458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Beno Crew - Assigned 754th Squadron - July 6, 1944

Standing: Bill Beno - P, I. M. Hunsberger - N, Austin Schmidt - B, Clinton Wallace - CP
Kneeling: Del Shaffer - TT/E, Bill Gorman - RO, Ray Yow - BTG, Bob Duvall - WG, Ted Wassel - NTG, John Confalone - TG

(Photo: Del Shaffer)

Completed Tour

BenoCrew
Rank First Name MI  Last Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Notes
Capt William G Beno 0817382 Pilot May-45 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
1Lt Austin R Schmidt 0716769 Bombardier 27-Feb-45 UNK Trsf to 754th
1Lt Isaac M Hunsberger 0716448 Navigator May-45 CT Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross
F/O Clinton E Wallace T1244169 Co-pilot 13-Jan-45 UNK Air Crew Leave
T/Sgt William D Gorman 17064961 Radio Operator May-45 CT Transferred to 70th RD return to ZI
T/Sgt Delbert E Shaffer 13173398 Flight Engineer May-45 CT Transferred to 70th RD return to ZI
S/Sgt John A Confalone 33794432 Aerial Gunner May-45 CT Transferred to 70th RD return to ZI
S/Sgt Robert N Duvall 39207457 Armorer-Gunner May-45 CT Transferred to 70th RD return to ZI
S/Sgt Theodore J Wassel 36000674 Aerial Gunner May-45 CT Transferred to 70th RD return to ZI
Sgt Ray A Yow 34678894 Aerial Gunner May-45 CT Transferred to 70th RD return to ZI

Squadron records indicate that Beno's crew flew four missions with the 754th Squadron between August - October 1944 before being reassigned to the 755th Squadron as a lead crew.  Records further indicate that they completed fourteen missions with the 755th Squadron between November 1944 and April 1945, their last being a mission to the railroad marshalling yards in Passau, Germany.


After flying a number of missions with his crew, F/O Clinton Wallace (co-pilot) was transferred to the 466th Bomb Group on August 19, 1944.  Records do not indicate when he returned to the group, but he returned prior to being sent on Air Crew Leave in January 1945.


Del Shaffer, flight engineer on Beno's crew

"I don’t remember the exact date but I think it was on the 7th of October 1944 on a bombing mission to Magdeburg Germany that I had an experience with the electronic waste gate controls on the turbocharger exhaust system on our B24J bomber. I picked that date because I was on two other missions to Magdeburg and they were 7:45 hrs. on Sept 11 and 7:00 hrs. on August 16 and the Oct 7th was 8:15 hrs. This one was longer because we had problems with the superchargers, which will be explained later.


"Before I tell you about the troubles of Oct 7th, I must go back a few weeks or maybe a couple of months to tell you of a training tip I received from a sergeant instructor. One day there appeared on base a trailer truck with all kinds of training aids for flight engineers concerning the B24. I got word that it was on base so I went to see what they had to offer. I don’t think many engineers attended but as always I was interested in finding out what was new on the later B24s. One of the things this instructor told me was that maybe some time during a mission; the waste gates may come full open. He said this could happen if a piece of flak (from a German “ack ack” shell) cut a certain wire of the controllers. If that happens, here is what you do. He had the electronic amplifier controller in his hand that was about 4 inches wide and 8 to 10 inches long with 4 electron tubes in it. He told me to take one tube out and then take another one out and put it in the place the first one was removed. You had to remove and replace in only one certain position or it would not work. Then I was to plug the amplifier into the socket where the whole unit came out of (either 1, 2, 3, or 4 engine control). By doing this I could close the waste gate and depending on how long I had it connected I could position the gate in any position (manifold pressure) the pilot wanted and it would stay in that position. The sergeant had a mock setup in the trailer and demonstrated this to me and he let me go through the procedure so I had some hands on experience. At that time little did I know that on some mission that little bit of knowledge would come in handy.


"On the Oct. 7th mission to Magdeburg, we were flying a lead crew deputy position off the right wing of the leader of our squadron. On the bomb run the flak was very heavy and somewhere near or over our target at Magdeburg we suddenly dropped out of formation and fell very quickly to around 10,000ft. (At that altitude it is possible to keep the B-24 flying without the superchargers but airspeed is very slow). At the time I was sitting in the bomb bay area, it was my job to open the bomb bay doors for the bomb run and close them after. I don’t remember whether the bombs were dropped before we fell out of formation or sometime after we were down at low altitude. I closed the bomb bay doors and went up to a position behind the pilots. It was then that I knew we were in trouble. I could see we were out of formation, very low air speed and the manifold pressure on each engine was not normal. Also we were being escorted by two P-51 fighter planes. We flew along this way for a short while and since we were flying so slow that the P-51’s had trouble flying slow enough to stay with us, two P-47 fighters were then called in to escort us.


"We were all glad to have the fighters to protect us. They were with us until we were safely out of enemy territory. About this time I crawled back thru the bomb bay to the waist gunner’s position where I could get a look at the waste gates on the superchargers. Sure enough they were fully open on all four engines. I crawled back to the pilots and told them what I was going to do to get the manifold pressure up on the engines. I don’t think they believed me. I went down to the front entrance to the bomb bay where the waste gate controls were located. There I proceeded to get ready to switch tubes in one amplifier and plug it into the number one engine position. I then got pilot Beno’s attention that I was ready and he gave me the OK to proceed. I plugged the modified amplifier in and the manifold pressure on number one engine started to climb. Pilot Beno signaled me when to stop and as I recall it was around sixty inches of mercury on the gauge on the instrument panel. I proceeded to do the same on the other three remaining engines. After I was finished I moved back up to my position near the pilots and noticed that our air speed was up to cruising speed (maybe a little above) so we were on our way as fast as we could fly to get out of Germany. We made it back to Norwich without any more problems but we did arrive a little late and every one was glad to see we made it back. As I remember, we were reported as a MIA bomber for a while because other planes in our squadron saw us drop out of the formation very fast, thinking we were shot down.


"After we were back safely on the ground at our base, and crawled out of the plane to make our way to the briefing room, there was not much said about what happened. I explained to my fellow noncom’s what I did to help get the bomber to fly faster and told them why we dropped out of formation. They thanked me for what I did. As for the pilots I don’t recall them saying anything to me, not even a thank you. Our navigator (I Moyer Hunsberger) and bombardier (Austin R Schmidt) were very grateful. In the next few days they went to bat for me in a meeting with higher ups to see, if what I did was worth a citation or an accommodation. They came back and told me that the Brass said it was just part of my job as flight engineer to do those things. I didn’t disagree but I will bet that no other flight engineer in the Eight Air Force had that kind of experience to talk about. They also told me that in the meeting they didn’t get much help from our pilot Bill Beno. So it went down in the record books as just another mission with no mention of it on my flight record."


Missions

BenoMissions
DATE  TARGET 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Cmd Pilot LD  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Notes
27-Aug-44 FINOW 121 1     42-100366 H Z5 46 MIZPAH CREDIT IN NOV
09-Sep-44 MAINZ 124 2 CLAGGETT L2 42-50768 A Z5 10 ARISE MY LOVE  COME WITH ME  
11-Sep-44 MAGDEBURG 126 3     42-50516 B Z5 7 STARDUST  
07-Oct-44 MAGDEBURG 130 4 BREVAKIS D1 42-95610 D+ J3 2 UNKNOWN 037  
14-Oct-44 COLOGNE 133 5 BOOTH L4 42-95554 E Z5 1 UNKNOWN 050
19-Oct-44 MAINZ 136 6 QUINN D1 42-51939 A+ J3 3 UNKNOWN 028  
02-Nov-44 BIELEFELD 140 7 JAMISON L1 42-50684 B+ J3 3 A&G FISH SHOPPE RELEASE 20mi SHORT
06-Nov-44 MINDEN 143 8 SPENCER L1 42-50954 A+ J3 4 UNKNOWN 021  
08-Nov-44 RHEINE 144 ASSY     41-28697 Z Z5 A30 SPOTTED APE ASSEMBLY CREW 
28-Jan-45 DORTMUND 174 9 BREVAKIS L1 44-49261 A J3 2 UNKNOWN 042  
08-Feb-45 RHEINE/OSNABRUCK REC -- PHILLIP   44-49261 A J3 -- UNKNOWN 042 RECALL - WEATHER
16-Feb-45 OSNABRUCK 183 10 BOOTH L1 44-49261 A J3 3 UNKNOWN 042  
23-Feb-45 GERA-REICHENBACH 187 11 SIMES L1 42-51936 I J3 14 UNKNOWN 027  
27-Feb-45 HALLE 191 12 WILLIAMSON L1 42-51669 J J3 13 UNKNOWN 026  
03-Mar-45 NIENBURG 195 13 BOOTH L1 42-51936 I J3 17 UNKNOWN 027  
04-Mar-45 STUTTGART 196 14 BETZOLD L1 44-49261 A J3 7 UNKNOWN 042  
08-Mar-45 DILLENBURG 199 15 RUE L1 44-49261 A J3 9 UNKNOWN 042  
10-Mar-45 ARNSBURG 201 16 SIMES L1 44-49910 D J3 2 UNKNOWN 044  
14-Mar-45 HOLZWICKEDE 203 17 RUE L1 44-49910 D J3 4 UNKNOWN 044  
22-Mar-45 KITZINGEN 210 18 RUE L1 42-51936 I J3 23 UNKNOWN 027  
24-Mar-45 NORDHORN 212 19 QUINN L1 42-51669 J J3 23 UNKNOWN 026  
25-Mar-45 HITZACKER 214 20 HOGG L1 42-51669 J J3 24 UNKNOWN 026  
06-Apr-45 HALLE 219 21 O'NEILL L1 42-51669 J J3 28 UNKNOWN 026  
11-Apr-45 REGENSBURG 224 22 HERZBERG L1 42-51669 J J3 30 UNKNOWN 026  
18-Apr-45 PASSAU 228 23 WILLIAMSON L1 42-51669 J J3 31 UNKNOWN 026

Lead Crew after a mission - Winter 1944 - 45

Standing:1Lt James R. Ginn - Pilotage Nav, Austin Schmidt, I. M. Hunsberger, Bill Beno, Maj. Theodore Brevakis - Cmd P, Unknown Officer, Bob Duvall
Kneeling: John Confalone, Del Shaffer, Bill Gorman, Ray Yow

(Photo: Del Shaffer)

Lead Crew Commendations

Courtesy: Del Shaffer

Public Relations Article March 1945

Ray Yow with English Wren
P
hoto: Del Shaffer


A BIRD GOES ON A MISSION

AN EIGHTH AIR FORCE LIBERATOR STATION, ENGLAND – FROM TAKEOFF TO RETURN, AN ENGLISH WREN WENT ON A COMPLETE BOMBING MISSION TO GERMANY THE OTHER DAY WITH STAFF SGT. RAY A. YOW OF HIGH POINT, N.C., WHO IS AN AERIAL GUNNER ON A B-24 LIBERATOR HEAVY BOMBER WITH THE 458TH BOMBARDMENT GROUP.  HE PROTECTED THE BIRD AFTER THE ANIMAL WAS FOUND ON THE CATWALK OF THE BOMB BAY.  HE KEPT THE BIRD WARM IN HIS HEATED GLOVE AND FED IT OXYGEN THROUGH HIS FACE MASK.  AFTER THE HIGH ALTITUDE, NO DOUBT THE BIRD WAS GLAD TO GET BACK DOWN TO NORMAL TEMPERATURE.  THE WREN WAS RELEASED SHORTLY AFTER LANDING.


SGT. YOW, WHO IS THE SON OF MR. AND MRS. E. J. YOW OF HIGH POINT, N.C., HAS FLOWN ON 24 BOMBING MISSIONS OVER GERMANY AND ENEMY-OCCUPIED EUROPE WITH THE 458TH BOMBARDMENT GROUP OF THE SECOND AIR DIVISION, COMMANDED BY MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM E. KEPNER.  A FEW OF THE PROMINENT TARGETS INCLUDED MUNICH, COLOGNE, MAGDEBURG, AND HAMBURG.  PRIOR TO HIS ENTRANCE INTO THE ARMED FORCES IN AUG. 1943 SGT. YOW WAS EMPLOYED BY THE ADAMS MILLIS CORP., OF HIGH POINT.  HE IS A GRADUATE OF HIGH POINT HIGH SCHOOL IN 1941 AND HAS BEEN OVERSEAS SINCE JUNE 8, 1944 AND HOLDS THE AIR MEDAL WITH 3 OAK LEAF CLUSTERS.