458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Fletcher Crew - Assigned 754th Squadron - November 9, 1944

Standing: Hugh Gaffney - E, Alfred Lankus - TG, Glenn Franklin - NTG, John Hubbard - TTG, Santos Ortega - RO, Jacob Kuhn - WG

Seated: Veto Stasumas - N, Howard Berry - CP, Robert Fletcher - P, Lt Tashjien (?) - B


(Photo: Trevor Hewitt)


Flying at the End of Hostilities

FletcherCrew
 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
1Lt Robert G Fletcher  0824123 Pilot 17-May-45 FEH Transferred to 755th Sqdn
1Lt Howard E Berry 0777562 Co-pilot 17-May-45 FEH Transferred to 755th Sqdn
2Lt Veto J Stasumas 02015095 Navigator 17-May-45 FEH Transferred to 755th Sqdn
T/Sgt Santos Ortega, Jr 39282498  Radio Operator 17-May-45 FEH Transferred to 755th Sqdn
T/Sgt Hugh C Gaffney 35766681 Flight Engineer 17-May-45 FEH Transferred to 755th Sqdn
S/Sgt  John T Hubbard 35630025 Armorer-Gunner  17-May-45 FEH Transferred to 755th Sqdn 
S/Sgt Glenn V Franklin 36831756 Armorer-Gunner 17-May-45 FEH Transferred to 755th Sqdn
S/Sgt Jacob E Kuhn 13188363 Armorer-Gunner 17-May-45 FEH Transferred to 755th Sqdn
S/Sgt Alfred S Lankus 36737640 Armorer-Gunner 17-May-45 FEH Transferred to 755th Sqdn

2Lt Robert G. Fletcher and crew arrived at the 458th in November 1944 and had almost completed their 35-mission tour by war's end.  They flew nine different Liberators in their 32 missions, all but one of these to targets in Germany.  The crew did not abort due to mechanical or personnel issues in all that time.

On February 26, 1945 the crew flew to Berlin on the 458th's 200th mission.  A month later, on April 25th they were one of 27 aircraft put up by the Group to bomb the rail yards at Bad Reichenhall, Germany on the Eighth Air Force's last combat mission of the war.  On May 17, 1945 the crew were transferred into the 755th Squadron.

Those crews who had not completed their tour by war's end were assigned the task of ferrying the Group's Liberators back to the States. Each aircraft would carry a combat crew of 9 - 10 men and 10 ground men. Fletcher and crew were given a B-24M that had compiled a mere five missions over Germany.  They departed Horsham in June and arrived back in the States that same month.

Missions

FletcherMissions
Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
04-Dec-44 BEBRA 152 1 42-51179 P Z5 51 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
10-Dec-44 BINGEN 154 2 42-50640 O Z5 17 BUGS BUNNY  
18-Dec-44 KOBLENZ REC -- 44-40126 L Z5 -- SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP  RECALL DUTCH ISLE
24-Dec-44 SCHONECKEN 157 3 42-95120 M Z5 57 HOOKEM COW / BETTY  
31-Dec-44 KOBLENZ 162 4 42-95120 M Z5 59 HOOKEM COW / BETTY  
01-Jan-45 KOBLENZ 163 5 42-95120 M Z5 60 HOOKEM COW / BETTY  
03-Jan-45 NEUNKIRCHEN 165 6 42-110059 T Z5 55 UNKNOWN 056  
07-Jan-45 RASTATT 166 7 42-95120 M Z5 61 HOOKEM COW / BETTY  
08-Jan-45 STADTKYLL 167 8 42-51179 P Z5 58 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
10-Jan-45 SCHONBERG 168 9 44-40126 L Z5 42 SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP  
28-Jan-45 DORTMUND 174 10 42-51196 Q J3 29 THE GYPSY QUEEN  
31-Jan-45 BRUNSWICK 176 11 42-95120 M Z5 66 HOOKEM COW / BETTY RECALL - SORTIE CRED 
03-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 177 12 42-110059 T Z5 59 UNKNOWN 056  
06-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 178 13 42-110059 T Z5 60 UNKNOWN 056  
14-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 181 14 42-51196 Q J3 33 THE GYPSY QUEEN  
17-Feb-45 ASCHAFFENBURG M/Y REC -- 42-51199 A Z5 -- UNKNOWN 023 RECALL - WEATHER
20-Feb-45 NUREMBURG TANK FACT  REC -- 42-51199 A Z5 -- UNKNOWN 023 RECALL - WEATHER
21-Feb-45 NUREMBERG 185 15 42-51199 A Z5 25 UNKNOWN 023  
22-Feb-45 PEINE-HILDESHEIM 186 16 42-51199 A Z5 26 UNKNOWN 023  
24-Feb-45 BIELEFELD 188 17 42-95120 M Z5 73 HOOKEM COW / BETTY  
26-Feb-45 BERLIN 190 18 42-51199 A Z5 29 UNKNOWN 023 GRP 200TH MISSION
02-Mar-45 MAGDEBURG 194 19 42-50578 F Z5 38 SKY ROOM  
03-Mar-45 NIENBURG 195 20 42-95120 M Z5 78 HOOKEM COW / BETTY  
07-Mar-45 SOEST 198 21 44-40298 E Z5 37 THE SHACK REPLACE 199
08-Mar-45  DILLENBURG 199 22 42-51199 A Z5 31 UNKNOWN 023  
12-Mar-45 FRIEDBURG 202 23 42-51199 A Z5 34 UNKNOWN 023  
17-Mar-45 HANNOVER 205 24 42-51199 A Z5 36 UNKNOWN 023  
30-Mar-45 WILHELMSHAVEN 215 25 42-110059 T Z5 74 UNKNOWN 056 REPLACE 199
07-Apr-45 KRUMMEL 220 26 42-51196 Q J3 56 THE GYPSY QUEEN  
08-Apr-45 UNTERSCHLAUERSBACH 221 27 42-51179 P Z5 90 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
10-Apr-45 RECHLIN/LARZ 223 28 42-50640 O Z5 44 BUGS BUNNY  
11-Apr-45 REGENSBURG 224 29 42-50640 O Z5 45 BUGS BUNNY  
14-Apr-45 POINTE DE GRAVE 225 30 42-51199 A Z5 48 UNKNOWN 023  
16-Apr-45 LANDSHUT 227 31 42-51199 A Z5 49 UNKNOWN 023  
19-Apr-45 ZWIESEL SCR -- 42-51199 A Z5 -- UNKNOWN 023 SCRUBBED
25-Apr-45 BAD REICHENHALL 230 32 42-51199 A Z5 51 UNKNOWN 023


1945

Standing: Santos Ortega, Unidentified (RCM Op), Glenn Franklin, Robert Fletcher, Veto Stasumas, Jacob Kuhn (center)

Kneeling: Al Lankus, Hugh Gaffney, Howard berry, John Hubbard


From the 2ADA Journal: "This picture shows the crew ready for action on a bombing mission close to the Russian border, one of several 10 hour sorties.  Note "Old Glory" arm bands, .45 caliber sidearms also required..."


(2ADA Journal Spring 1994)



Horsham Hardstand

Fletcher Crew at Horsham St Faith. 
Date is unknown, but the aircraft is B-24M-10-FO 44-50693 P in the 755th Squadron.

(Photo: Santos Ortega)

June 1945

Back Row: Robert Fletcher, Veto Stasumas, Walter Stynetski (Totten Crew Navigator), Howard Berry
Middle Row: Santos Ortega, Unknown, Al Lankus, John Hubbard, Unknown, Unknown
Front Row: Glenn Franklin, Unknown, Jacob Kuhn, Unknown, Unknown

(Photo: FOLD3 - Click for larger image)

Hilton Head, SC

Crew members reunited at the 2nd Air Division Association Reunion in the early 1990's at Hilton Head, SC.
Al Lankas, Santos Ortega, Veto Stasumas, Robert Fletcher

(2ADA Journal Spring 1994)