Crew 76 - Assigned 755th Squadron - October 27, 1943
(Photo: I.B. Griffin)
|1Lt||Nelson R Stewart||0755974||Pilot||03-Jul-44||CT||Trsf to 12RD AAF 591 - Tour complete|
|1Lt||Bertram A Betts||0755503||Co-pilot||03-Jul-44||CT||Trsf to 12RD AAF 591 - Tour complete|
|1Lt||Kenneth A Enockson||0810602||Navigator||03-Jul-44||CT||Trsf to 12RD AAF 591 - Tour complete|
|1Lt||Harold P Fay||0752344||Bombardier||03-Jul-44||CT||Trsf to 12RD AAF 591 - Tour complete|
|T/Sgt||Elam H Behrens||36168653||Radio Operator||Jul-44||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|T/Sgt||Thomas B Brown||14092957||Flight Engineer||Aug-44||CT||Left for 8th AFRD at AAF 594|
|S/Sgt||Jon C Baker||14125929||Aerial Gunner/2E||Aug-44||CT||Left for 8th AFRD at AAF 595|
|S/Sgt||Ivy B Griffin||14084852||Aerial Gunner/2E||26-Jul-44||CT||Trsf to 753rd Squadron|
|Sgt||James Mitchell||32802715||Armorer-Gunner||26-Oct-43||UNK||Movement (SO fr Gowen Fld 29BG)|
|S/Sgt||George W Smith||33253859||Armorer-Gunner||Aug-44||CT||Left for 8th AFRD at AAF 595|
Crew 76 took their third phase training
with the 755th Squadron at Tonopah, Nevada in the winter of 1943. Originally assigned as navigator to the crew (shown on a set of movement orders dated October 26, 1943) was 2Lt Jesse H. Lack. At some point after they arrived at Tonopah, Lack was moved to the crew of 2Lt John D. Adamson, and 2Lt Kenneth Enockson took his place. This crew was lost on the March 8th raid on Berlin; Jesse Lack was one of the five crew members killed in action.
After picking up their brand new Liberator, B-24H-15-FO 42-52432, Crew 76 traveled the Southern Ferry Route to the ETO. They arrived at Horsham St. Faith on February 5, 1944 and began preparing for combat missions. Sgt James Mitchell, ball turret gunner, was replaced at that position by S/Sgt Frederick R. Robinson prior to the crew flying combat. Robinson completed his tour with Crew 76 and was awarded the DFC in July 1944.
Crew 76 participated in some of the
toughest missions that the 458th flew during the group's early combat
days. On the crew's first four missions in March 1944, two trips to
Berlin flanked two missions to Friedrichshafen, Germany in the space of a
two week period. In April a mission to Brunswick or "Braunschweig" was
followed the next day by a flight through very bad weather to Tutow,
Germany. The 458th flew through a heavy cloud bank over Keil Bay and
ME109's were waiting on the other side. Four Liberators (including Crew 76's #432) from the group
went down due to fierce enemy fighter attacks. Also in April, the
crew flew missions to Oschersleben, Brandenburg, and Mannheim. In May
they saw Brunswick twice more; Osnabruck, St. Trond Belgium, Bohlen and
Tutow again on the 13th (although the weather was much better this time,
it was still a long haul into Germany), and Mulhouse, France on May
Most of the crew completed their 30-mission combat tour on or
around D-Day. Co-pilot Bert Betts' mission log indicates that he flew
his 29th and 30th missions on June 6th - one in the morning to drop
bombs on the invasion beaches prior to the landings, and his last in the
afternoon to Avranches, France. The 755th Squadron records show that
pilot Nelson Stewart flew his last mission on June 8, 1944. It is notable that this crew did not abort from any of their missions.
Their combat tour complete, Crew 76 was broken up as were most of the crews who had the good fortune to come out of air war over Europe in one piece. The officers were sent to the 12th Replacement Control Depot at AAF 591 in Chorley (Lancashire) in July, and most of the enlisted men went either to Chorley or to AAF 594 Stone (Staffordshire) for further assignment.
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|22-Mar-44||BERLIN||11||4||42-52441||I||J3||8||LAST CARD LOUIE|
|24-Mar-44||ST. DIZIER||13||5||42-52432||P||J3||11||BACHELOR'S PARADISE|
|19-Apr-44||PADERBORN A/F||23||12||42-100311||A||7V||12||YOKUM BOY|
|25-Apr-44||MANNHEIM A/F||27||13||42-95008||R||J3||1||UNKNOWN 035|
|13-May-44||TUTOW A/F||41||22||42-95120||M||J3||4||HOOKEM COW / BETTY|
|25-May-44||MULHOUSE M/Y||47||24||42-100407||A||J3||18||LITTLE LAMBSY DIVEY|
|04-Jun-44||BOURGES A/F||54||27||42-51179||P||J3||3||DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE|
|06-Jun-44||COASTAL AREAS||56||28||41-29276||G||Z5||10||URGIN VIRGIN/The ROTTEN SOCK||MSN #1|
|06-Jun-44||PONTAUBAULT||58||29||42-95316||N||J3||14||PRINCESS PAT||MSN #3|
|05-Jul-44||LE COULET, BEL A/F||84||ASSY||--||--||--||--||NO A/C LISTED|
B-24H-1-FO 42-7516 J3 K Gator
Gator painting by Robert Peters with Crew 76 inset
(Courtesy: Bert Betts)
1Lt Bert A. Betts - Co-pilot
After his return to the States in July 1944, Bert was an Instructor and tested airplanes in engineering at Pecos, Texas, then to ATC in Long Beach, California. After his discharge in October 1945, he graduated from California Western University in Business Administration, and received his CPA certificate in November 1950, the principal in accounting firm Bert A. Betts & Co.
He was elected treasurer of California in 1958 and served until 1967. He received the City of Louisville Award from MFOA of United States and Canada as the most outstanding fiscal officer in those two nations in 1963.
Bert Betts' entry in Second Air Division, by Turner Publishing 1994
Every Warrior Has a Story: Bert A. Betts, B-24 bomber pilot
Published on Jun 19, 20141st Lt. Bert A. Betts was a U.S. B-24 Liberator bomber pilot in World War II who flew 30 combat missions out of England over enemy occupied Europe. This is his warrior story, told in his words. From the break out of war, to his training, to his combat, to his last two combat missions on D-Day, to his experiences after combat but before war's end, this video documents his war time experience, and is an example of the many civilians who became warriors with the U.S. 8th Air Force and throughout the service. Nearly 200 pictures and maps complement his words to paint a picture of what it was like to go from college freshman to combat pilot.
More info on Bert A. Betts can be found at http://tinyurl.com/BertBetts
Courtesy: Bruce Betts