458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Crew 64 - Assigned 755th Squadron - October 7, 1943

Standing: Harold "Dixie" Howell - CP, Henry Piasecki - B, William Thorp - N, Frank Herzik - P
Kneeling: Harold Craddock - E, Anthony Konarski - G/2E, Roy Downer - G/E, George Kulikowski - TG, Jack Donahue - G, Deral Hartle - RO

(Photo: AFHRA; Identities: Jack Herzik, Eleonora Donahue & LeAnn Wilcox Plutnicki)

Missing In Action March 3, 1944 (MACR #3347)

1Lt Frank W Herzik 0663519 Pilot 03-Mar-44  DED Lost in English Channel
2Lt Harold H Howell 0747418 Co-pilot 03-Mar-44 DED Lost in English Channel
2Lt William L Thorpe 0812008 Navigator 03-Mar-44 DED Lost in English Channel
2Lt Henry J Piasecki 0751840 Bombardier 03-Mar-44 DED Lost in English Channel
Sgt Jack F Donahue 37499710 Radio Operator 03-Mar-44 DED Lost in English Channel
Sgt Anthony L Konarski 32012519 Top Turret Gunner 03-Mar-44 DED Lost in English Channel
Sgt Roy H Downer 18098007 Ball Turret Gunner 03-Mar-44 DED Lost in English Channel
S/Sgt Harold C Craddock 15338346 Aerial Gunner, 2/E 03-Mar-44 DED Lost in English Channel
S/Sgt Deral D Hartle 37405503 Waist Gunner 03-Mar-44 DED Lost in English Channel
S/Sgt George T Kulikowski 36719296 Tail Turret Gunner 03-Mar-44 DED Lost in English Channel

The Herzik Crew was the first aircraft of the 458th lost on a combat mission.  The March 3, 1944 mission to Berlin was recalled due to extremely poor weather conditions.  Flying B-24H 41-29298 Ole Satan, this crew simply did not return.  Their loss was the group's first combat loss and is recorded in Missing Air Crew Report 3347.

Harold McDonald, navigator on Crew 63 (Brudos) related the following: "We were over the middle of the English Channel heading towards the enemy coast when Herzik, maintaining radio silence, signaled that he had trouble and was returning to base.  We waved to them as they left formation and continued on.  When we returned to base we were shocked that Herzik was not back yet.  They must have gone down in the Channel." 

The entire crew was declared deceased (DED) in 1946.  Their names are on the Tablets of the Missing at Cambridge American Cemetery in Cambridge, England.

Lost on first mission


1Lt Frank W. Herzik

Photos: Jack Herzik

B-24H-10-FO 42-52160 J3 "Ski-Nose"

Flown to England by Herzik, this aircraft was later transferred to the 392nd BG, flew 27 combat missions and was lost on July 7, 1944.

2Lt James H. Birnie's (Bombardier) Diary entry for March 3, 1944

"No. 1 - Fri Mar. 3   Started for Berlin via Northern route at 22,000 - temp -65° and contrails terrible - awfully tough forming, three wings aborted over North Sea.  We were off course and caught heavy, accurate flak at Cuxhaven where Bruno [Major Bruno Fieling, Group Ops Officer] had us do a 180° in the stuff and return.  Wasn't a bit scared - just looked like fireworks and instead of dropping eggs, we brought 52-M47A1 bombs back.  Beeze [Capt Royce B. Glenn, Crew 73 pilot] flew dep. lead to [illegible].  Herzik in "Old Satan" [sic] lost - probably ditched and froze as radio got no call from him and he had no flimsy - seas too high for A-S Rescue."

Courtesy: Greg Birnie

B-24H-10-CF 41-29298 J3 G "Ole Satan"

Herzik's Crew flew this aircraft on March 3,1944
Photo & Painting: Wendell Cook - original artist for this aircraft

2Lt John Woodworth

"I remember Frank Herzik very well.  He was a 'class' guy.  Well educated, well spoken, interesting to talk to for a 19 year old (a few weeks before my 20th birthday).  That day [March 3rd] was the coldest we ever saw.  It was the nastiest weather.  The North Sea looked like a cauldron from 20,000 feet above it.  They had a breakdown of some sort and went into the sea.  They didn't have a chance of surviving.  We also aborted, but I realized much later that it was Mattson looking for a way to avoid going on.  My log is confusing because I was confused at the time."

- 2Lt John Woodworth, navigator Crew 75