458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

McCoy Crew - Assigned 753rd Squadron - December 21, 1944

Crew Photo Needed

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Flying at the End of Hostilities

McCoyCrew
 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
1Lt William R McCoy, Jr 0778526 Pilot 17-Apr-45 FEH Rest Home Leave
2Lt John G Rea 0833409 Co-pilot 17-Apr-45 FEH Rest Home Leave
F/O Robert E Evans T131820 Navigator 17-Apr-45 FEH Rest Home Leave
Lt Michael Lopez   Bombardier  Dec-1944 TRSF Not assigned with crew 
T/Sgt Boulas P Hebert 38498218 Radio Operator 17-Apr-45 FEH Rest Home Leave
T/Sgt Eugene J Healy, Jr 33107261 Flight Engineer 17-Apr-45 FEH Rest Home Leave
S/Sgt Deverett E Brunley 38305475 Armorer-Gunner  14-May-45 FEH Reclassified MOS 612
S/Sgt Clarence F Fitzgerald, Jr  36742050 Armorer-Gunner 17-Apr-45 FEH Rest Home Leave
S/Sgt Franklin A Foutch 36884406 Armorer-Gunner 14-May-45 FEH Reclassified MOS 612
S/Sgt John Grencer 33836507 Armorer-Gunner 14-May-45 FEH Reclassified MOS 612

William R. McCoy and crew arrived at Horsham St. Faith on December 21, 1944 and were assigned to the 753rd Squadron.  Lt Mike Lopez, their bombardier throughout training, was removed from the crew and sent to a B-17 unit.  He trained with the RAF for a period and eventually flew several combat missions, although it is unknown with which group he was assigned. After a period of in theater indoctrination, the crew flew their first combat mission on January 28, 1945.  In 30 day's time they had completed seven missions.

Taking off on their eighth mission on the morning of March 2, 1945, the crew were flying a Liberator they had flow on two previous occasions, B-24J-145-CO 44-40134 J4 R, a nameless ship that had more than 50 missions on her scoreboard.  It was soon discovered that Lt Evans' heated suit was not working properly.  The crew decided to return to base, and in the words of the pilot, "...pick up an electrical suit for the Navigator and return on the mission as soon as possible." The aircraft came in with a full load of bombs and fuel, this extra weight possibly not being taken into account as to when to apply the brakes to bring the ship to a safe stop.  The aircraft rolled through the end of the runway where the nose wheel buckled and the ship came to a rest on her nose.

Undaunted, they were off on a mission the very next day, flying to Nienburg, Germany.  A total of nine mission were flown in March and eight in April (making 23 for McCoy), the last on the 16th just prior to the crew's being sent on rest home leave.  The next day the officers were off to AAF 495, Knightshayes Court, Tiverton, Devonshire; while the enlisted men embarked for AAF 566 at Keythorpe Hall, Tugby, Leicestershire for 10 days of leave before continuing their combat flying.

As it turned out, by the time McCoy and crew returned to Horsham, the Eighth Air Force's shooting war was over.  The last mission had been flown on April 25, 1945 to the marshalling yards at Bad Reichenhall.  Most of the crews who had not completed a full combat tour were assigned to ferry home the Liberators of the 458th, and a few from some neighboring groups.  McCoy was assigned one of the "newer" Liberators in the group, B-24J-65-CF 44-10602 J3 A Ten Gun Dottie to fly back to the States.  They had flown this aircraft on three occasions during their tour on missions over Germany. Most of the "ferry crews" left Horsham by early June 1945, headed back to the States to start the transition into B-29's for assignment in the South Pacific.

Missions

McCoyMissions
Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
14-Jan-45 HALLENDORF 170 MSHL -- -- -- --   MARSHALING CHIEF
28-Jan-45 DORTMUND 174 1 42-50912 D J4 4 THE TRAVLIN' BAG  
31-Jan-45 BRUNSWICK 176 2 42-50449 W J4 37 HEAVENLY HIDEAWAY RECALL - SORTIE CREDIT
08-Feb-45 RHEINE M/Y, OSNABRUCK  REC -- 44-40277 P J4 -- MISS USED RECALL - WEATHER
09-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 179 3 44-40277 P J4 35 MISS USED  
14-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 181 4 42-50912 D J4 10 THE TRAVLIN' BAG  
16-Feb-45 OSNABRUCK 183 ABT 42-110163 M J4 -- TIME'S A WASTIN #3 ENG LOSS OF POWER
17-Feb-45 ASCHAFFENBURG M/Y REC -- 44-40134 R J4 -- UNKNOWN 039 RECALL - WEATHER
19-Feb-45 MESCHADE 184 5 44-40134 R J4 51 UNKNOWN 039  
26-Feb-45 BERLIN 190 6 44-40285 H J4 66 TABLE STUFF LAND ON CONTINENT
28-Feb-45 BIELEFELD 192 7 44-40285 H J4 68 TABLE STUFF  
01-Mar-45 INGOLSTADT 193 WTHR 41-28743 Z -- -- EASTERN BEAST WEATHER SHIP
02-Mar-45 MAGDEBURG 194 ABT 44-40134 R J4 -- UNKNOWN 039 LANDING ACCIDENT 
03-Mar-45 NIENBURG 195 8 42-50502 E 7V 39 LARRUPIN' LINDA  
04-Mar-45 STUTTGART 196 9 44-40273 T J4 44 HOWLING BANSHEE  
07-Mar-45 SOEST 198 10 44-40285 H J4 73 TABLE STUFF  
10-Mar-45 ARNSBURG 201 11 42-100408 I J4 50 LADY LUCK / THE BEAST  
18-Mar-45 BERLIN 206 12 44-40298 E Z5 42 THE SHACK  
21-Mar-45  HESEPE 209 13 42-50768 Y J4 40 ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME   
23-Mar-45 OSNABRUCK 211 14 41-28980 V J4 28 UNKNOWN 009  
25-Mar-45 HITZACKER 214 15 44-10602 E J4 39 TEN GUN DOTTIE  
30-Mar-45 WILHELMSHAVEN 215 16 41-28980 V J4 30 UNKNOWN 009  
05-Apr-45 PLAUEN 218 17 44-10602 E J4 43 TEN GUN DOTTIE  
07-Apr-45 KRUMMEL 220 18 44-10602 E J4 45 TEN GUN DOTTIE  
08-Apr-45 UNTERSCHLAUERSBACH 221 WTHR 44-50539 B J4 -- UNKNOWN 045 WEATHER SHIP
09-Apr-45 LECHFELD 222 19 44-40285 H J4 82 TABLE STUFF  
10-Apr-45 RECHLIN/LARZ 223 20 44-40287 J J4 64 BACHELOR'S BEDLAM  
11-Apr-45 REGENSBURG 224 21 44-10602 E J4 47 TEN GUN DOTTIE  
15-Apr-45 ROYAN AREA 226 22 42-50555 A J4 43 BABY SHOES  
16-Apr-45 LANDSHUT 227 23 42-110141 U J4 59 BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN


Stateside 1944

February 1944 - Aviation Cadet John Rea - Lafayette, Louisiana
At the Brown Derby: William McCoy with his wife and mother, John Rea, Mike Lopez (bombardier)

(Photos: David Rea)

February 26, 1945

Ready for takeoff: McCoy and crew in Table Stuff on the group's 200th mission to Berlin.

(Courtesy: David Rea)

March 2, 1945

DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT

About 0922 on 2 March 1945, B24 J, 44-40134 piloted by Lt MC COY ran off the end of R/W 23 when landing causing nose wheel to collapse.  Ship landed with 6000 pounds of bombs and about 2300 gallons of gasoline, having aborted on operational mission two hours after take-off due to failure of an electric suit.

 

The caravan operator states that the ship came over the end of the R/W at 75 to 100 feet and touched down 1000 to 1500 feet from end of R/W.  Pilot states that he was not aware of landing long but soon realized he was going to have trouble stopping.

 

The plane came to rest about 100 feet past the end of the R/W with the nose wheel collapsed.  Nose section was damaged to such an extent that repair of A/C is impractical.  Assessment of responsibility: 100% pilot error.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

That in all cases where the pilot is in doubt about landing with a bomb load he should jettison bombs before attempting to land.  Pilots should be continually cautioned to use all available R/W when landing.

 

ROLLAND H. RUE,

Major, Air Corps,

Air Inspector

Members of the crew along with two curious civilians survey the damage to McCoy's Liberator
 

STATEMENT

WILLIAM R. MC COY JR, 2d Lt, 0-778526, 753d Bombardment Squadron, 458th Bombardment Group (H), AAF 123, APO 558.

 

Returned to field with bomb load and full load of gas.  Reason was to pick up electric suit for Navigator and return on Mission as soon as possible.  Navigator’s suit became inoperative in flight.  Made approach higher than necessary but made normal landing in the first third of the runway.  Possibly didn’t use brakes soon enough to stop and ran off end of runway.  The nose wheel buckled due to the rather high ridge at the end of the runway.  The weight and load of the ship was not anticipated after landing and speed was not killed soon and fast enough.

 

WILLIAM R. MC COY, JR

2d Lt, Air Corps, Pilot.



June 1945

Members of McCoy's crew, along with ground men prepare to embark for the States in Ten Gun Dottie.

Standing: 2nd & 4th from left are John Rea and William McCoy
(Click photo for closer view)