458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

W.E. Jackson Crew - Assigned 752nd Squadron - December 19, 1944

Standing: George Fleming - NTG, Santiago Gomez - E, William McMullen - BTG/WG, Wilbur VanZomeren - TG, Marion Griffith - TTG
Kneeling: William Jackson - P, Ferdinand Guida - N, Robert Nork - CP, Leocadio Torres - RO

(Photo: Robert Nixon)

2Lt W.E. Jackson Crew - Flying at the End of Hostilities

Jackson-WE-Crew
 Rank  Name  Serial #  Crew Pos Date Status  Comments
1Lt William E Jackson 0829486 Pilot May-45 FEH Promoted to 1st Lieutenant
2Lt Robert V Nork 0719714 Co-Pilot May-45 FEH 2AD Personnel Roster - 752nd Sq
1Lt Ferdinand J Guida 02070018 Navigator May-45 FEH Promoted to 1st Lieutenant
2Lt Lester Katz 02015098 Bombardier May-45 FEH 2AD Personnel Roster - 755th Sq
T/Sgt Leocadio M Torres 18199663 Radio Operator 01-May-45 FEH Promoted to T/Sgt
S/Sgt Chester R Rudzewicz  36868030 Flight Engineer 13-Feb-45 RECLS Reclassified Airplane/Engine Mech 
S/Sgt George W Fleming 33601675 Armorer-Gunner 06-May-45 FEH Promoted to S/Sgt
S/Sgt Marion H Griffith 35808028 Armorer-Gunner 06-May-45 FEH Promoted to S/Sgt
S/Sgt William D McMullen 36867477 Armorer-Gunner 01-May-45 FEH Promoted to S/Sgt
S/Sgt Wilbur VanZomeren 37675080 Armorer-Gunner  06-May-45 FEH Promoted to S/Sgt

2Lt William E. Jackson’s crew was assigned to the 752nd Squadron on December 19, 1944.  On this same day the crew of 2Lt William L. Jackson was also assigned to the 752nd Squadron.  [This has caused some difficulty 60 years later, trying to determine which pilot flew which mission.]  Formation plans and group records (for the most part) use the pilots first and middle initials to differentiate between the two crews.


The W.E. Jackson crew flew their first mission on January 8, 1945 to hit a road intersection near Stadtkyll, Germany in an attempt to disrupt Nazi communications.  The crew flew all but one of their 25 missions to Germany.  The sole trip to France took place on April 15, 1945 when the 458th was dispatched to the Royan Area.  This was the 458th’s first use of the new “jellied gasoline” bombs called Napalm.


The crew flew their final mission of the war on April 16, 1945.  Nine days later the Eighth Air Force ceased combat operations in Europe.

This crew went through a number of personnel changes during their four month combat tour.  On March 27, 1945, 2Lt Ferdinand Guida, navigator, was transferred to the 755th Squadron to be a lead navigator.  2Lt James L. Lawler took his place.  Lawler was assigned to the 458th on August 15, 1944 as part of 2Lt William H. Curland’s crew.  On October 30th Lawler did not fly and Curland’s crew was shot down leaving him without a crew. 


F/O Lester Katz, bombardier, was likewise transferred to a lead crew in the 755th Squadron on February 7, 1945.  According to Leocadio Torres’ mission diary, George Fleming took over as bombardier (togglier).  Katz was later promoted to 2Lt and eventually transferred back to the 752nd Squadron in May 1945.


Flight Engineer Sgt Chester Rudzewicz was removed from flying status on January 24, 1945 and reclassified as an Airplane/Engine Mechanic.  Taking his place was veteran engineer T/Sgt Ralph L. Cashwell who had been with the group since June 1944.  It is assumed that Cashwell had flown a tour of combat missions (or was in the middle of his tour) when he joined the W.E. Jackson crew.  His tenure was short lived as he was also removed from flying status in February 1945 after getting into unknown trouble while on leave in London.  He was demoted to Private and flew no further missions.  The third engineer for the crew seemed to work out well in the person of T/Sgt Santiago Gomez. He had been with the group since the end of August 1944 and had flown with the Ruark crew in the 755th and 752nd Squadrons.  His first mission with Jackson’s crew was on the February 21st trip to Nuremburg.  It is assumed that he flew the remainder of his missions with the Jackson crew.


Other than orders showing the crew’s assignment to the group, there is virtually no additional information on their co-pilot, 2Lt Robert V. Nork.  It is assumed that he flew most if not all of his missions with this crew.


Missions

Jackson-WE-Missions
Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
21-Jan-45 HEILBRONN 173 1 42-95179 X 7V 74 HERE I GO AGAIN  
03-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 177 2 41-29352 K 7V 69 WOLVE'S LAIR  
08-Feb-45 RHEINE M/Y, OSNABRUCK REC -- 42-51514 B 7V -- BIG CHIEF LIL' BEAVER RECALL - WEATHER
09-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 179 3 42-51514 B 7V 10 BIG CHIEF LIL' BEAVER  
15-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 182 ABT 41-29340 N 7V -- YANKEE BUZZ BOMB ABORT - FUEL TRSF SYST 
16-Feb-45 OSNABRUCK 183 4 42-51270 A 7V 10 MY BUNNIE II  
20-Feb-45 NUREMBURG TANK FACT  REC -- 42-95316 H 7V -- PRINCESS PAT RECALL - WEATHER
21-Feb-45 NUREMBERG 185 5 42-95316 H 7V 79 PRINCESS PAT  
22-Feb-45 PEINE-HILDESHEIM 186 6 42-50502 E 7V 35 LARRUPIN' LINDA  
23-Feb-45 GERA-REICHENBACH 187 ASSY 41-28697 Z Z5 A63 SPOTTED APE ASSEMBLY CREW
24-Feb-45 BIELEFELD 188 7 42-51514 B 7V 16 BIG CHIEF LIL' BEAVER DROP ON OT
26-Feb-45 BERLIN 190 8 44-40475 D 7V 26 JOLLY ROGER LAND AT WOODBRIDGE
01-Mar-45 INGOLSTADT 193 NTO 41-29340 N 7V -- YANKEE BUZZ BOMB NO TAKE OFF
02-Mar-45 MAGDEBURG 194 9 42-52457 Q 7V 95 FINAL APPROACH  
08-Mar-45 DILLENBURG 199 10 42-95316 H 7V 90 PRINCESS PAT  
10-Mar-45 ARNSBURG 201 11 44-10487 R 7V 40 Girl on surfboard (no name)   
14-Mar-45 HOLZWICKEDE 203 12 41-29352 K 7V 79 WOLVE'S LAIR  
17-Mar-45 HANNOVER 205 13 42-51514 B 7V 25 BIG CHIEF LIL' BEAVER  
20-Mar-45 HEMINGSTEDT 208 14 42-51270 A 7V 27 MY BUNNIE II  
23-Mar-45 OSNABRUCK 211 15 42-50502 E 7V 53 LARRUPIN' LINDA  
30-Mar-45 WILHELMSHAVEN 215 16 41-29567 G 7V 21 MY BUNNIE / BAMBI  
02-Apr-45 TIRSTROP ABN -- 42-51270 A 7V -- MY BUNNIE II MISSION ABANDONED
07-Apr-45 KRUMMEL 220 17 42-51270 A 7V 36 MY BUNNIE II  
08-Apr-45 UNTERSCHLAUERSBACH 221 18 42-50504 L 7V 34 UNKNOWN 019  
09-Apr-45 LECHFELD 222 19 42-51514 B 7V 35 BIG CHIEF LIL' BEAVER  
10-Apr-45 RECHLIN/LARZ 223 20 42-100425 O 7V 81 THE BIRD  
14-Apr-45 POINTE DE GRAVE 225 NTO 42-51514 B 7V -- BIG CHIEF LIL' BEAVER NO TAKE OFF
15-Apr-45 ROYAN AREA 226 21 42-50502 E 7V 66 LARRUPIN' LINDA  
16-Apr-45 LANDSHUT 227 22 42-51270 A 7V 41 MY BUNNIE II


T/Sgt Leocadio Torres Record of Flying Time





 

T/Sgt Torres 1st Mission

For Leocadio Torres diary of missions click here.

Courtesy: Robert Nixon


B-24J-1-DT 42-51270 7V A "MY BUNNIE II"

"My Bunnie II" late 1944

Photo: Rick Rokicki


Chito Torres - 2006

Photo: Robert Nixon