Bowers Crew - Assigned 753rd Squadron - August 10, 1944
|Capt||Waldo Bowers||0705299||Pilot||Apr-45||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|2Lt||William C Meyers, Jr||0771500||Co-pilot||23-Oct-44||UNK||Oct44 Trsfr to 755th Sqdn|
|1Lt||Robert F Allen||0718988||Navigator||Apr-45||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|1Lt||Thomas S Hackman||0773352||Bombardier||18-Mar-45||CT||Last Mission - Berlin|
|T/Sgt||Paul J Maurer||36822141||Radio Operator||Apr-45||CT||Trsf to 70 RD for return to ZI|
|T/Sgt||John L Petrovsky||33668950||Flight Engineer||27-Mar-45||UNK||TD to 492d Bomb Grp 9 weeks|
|S/Sgt||Joseph C Pfaff||6571293||Armorer-Gunner||12-Dec-44||UNK||Reclassified to Radar Obs (866)|
|Sgt||George A Bedard||31423534||Aerial Gunner||22-Mar-45||UNK||Promoted to Sgt|
|S/Sgt||John A Haines||32755921||Armorer-Gunner||21-Jan-45||UNK||Promoted to S/Sgt|
|S/Sgt||Melvin E VanSky||3673511||Aerial Gunner||21-Jan-45||UNK||Promoted to S/Sgt|
On October 23, 1944 the 458th assigned lead crews to the 755th Squadron. All lead crews were moved into the 755th, and those non-lead (wing) crews in the 755th were transferred into the other three squadrons. Bowers and crew were chosen to be a lead crew, however would not fly their first lead mission until the end of the year. As a lead crew they required additional crew members in the form of two extra navigators and a command pilot. While the Command Pilot would vary on most missions, the navigators usually became a part of the crew, however records show both Lt Richard I. Morrison from the crew of 1Lt Lester J. Skidmore, and Lt George Kovaka from the Capt Robert W.Hansen crew, flying with Bowers at different times.
The crew flew only lead missions in 1945, either as Deputy Lead or leading the group or one of the squadrons. On three separate occasions the Bowers crew received a 458th Group "Lead Crew Commendation" certificate for their efforts on a mission.
While group records do not indicate as much, it is most likely that the crew completed their combat tour in March or April 1945.
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Cmd Pilot||Ld||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|24-Aug-44||HANNOVER||117||ABT||42-110141||U||J4||--||BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN||GAS LEAK IN BOMB BAY|
|27-Aug-44||FINOW||121||2||41-29288||L||J3||47||BIG-TIME OPERATOR||MISSION CREDIT IN NOV|
|01-Sep-44||RAVENSTEIN, HOLLAND||AZ14||3||42-110141||U||J4||18||BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN|
|21-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR05||--||41-28705||X||J4||T2||YE OLDE HELLGATE||CARGO|
|23-Sep-44||HORSHAM to ST DIZIER||TR07||--||42-94996||G+||389BG||T1||LIBERTY BELLE||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|25-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR08-2||--||42-7629||A||755||T5||NOT 458TH SHIP||2ND FLIGHT|
|26-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR09||--||41-28721||G||753||T7||DOWNWIND-LEG||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|28-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR11||--||42-28739||D||T6||NOT 458TH SHIP - HETHEL||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|29-Sep-44||HORSHAM to LILLE||TR12||--||42-28739||D||T7||NOT 458TH SHIP - HETHEL||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|07-Oct-44||MAGDEBURG||130||4||42-110141||U||J4||19||BREEZY LADY / MARIE / SUPERMAN|
|17-Oct-44||COLOGNE||135||5||42-50768||A||Z5||13||ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME|
|30-Nov-44||HOMBURG||151||9||--||--||--||--||No FP - Sqdn Rec's|
|08-Feb-45||RHEINE M/Y||REC||--||QUINN||44-49743||F||J3||--||EASTERN BEAST||RECALL - WEATHER|
|17-Feb-45||ASCHAFFENBURG M/Y||REC||--||WILLIAMSON||44-48837||L||J3||--||UNKNOWN 041||RECALL - WEATHER|
|04-Mar-45||STUTTGART||196||24||L2||42-95557||H||J3||28||LADY PEACE||REPLACED SHIP #544|
|23-Mar-45||OSNABRUCK||211||29||HERZBERG||L1||42-51936||I||J3||24||UNKNOWN 027||BREEDING ON FP - CMD-P|
Lead Crew - 755th Squadron
Lead Crew Commendations
Mission Narrative - January 14, 1945
Our prayers for a visual run were answered on the 14th and our boys went out this day and showed what they really could do on a visual run. Lt Col Hogg, Major Speer and Capt Matze led our formation of 28 A/C in what was to be the best bombing by the group for the month of January. Today, the Hermann Goering Works at Hallendorf, which is important from the standpoint of its outputs of Benzol and various munitions, felt the weight of 293x500 GP’s and RDX’s, plus 3x2000 GP’s. About half way down the bomb run, the MPI was picked up visually as the ground wind was blowing the attempted smoke screen away. Our results today were classified as EXCELLENT with crews reporting many fires and one large explosion, and SAV’s showing a tight concentration on the MPI. It is rumored that when “Herman the Vermin” heard of these results he immediately donned his toga, chinned his violin and attempted an air from “Faust”.
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Mission Narrative - February 25, 1945
At last on 25 Feb we were favored with some fine weather and were able to bomb visually and see the results of our efforts. The A/F at Schwabisch-Hall engaged in major training and refitting as well as assembly of Jet A/C was to be our victim of the day. Major Rue, and Capt’s Williams and Goodfriend led our 27 A/C over and all 27 bombed the target visually, dropping 258x500 IB’s with very good results. On the bomb run a GH run was started. The middle third of the bomb run was covered with clouds. However, the target area was picked up visually when 14 miles out and the GH operator turned the A/C over to the Bombardier. The MPI was sighted from about 8 miles away. All three squadrons had good runs. A Good job done and something to be proud of.
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Mission Narrative - March 18, 1945
“Big B” was to feel the weight of the entire VIII AF on the 18th, and the 458th was going along for the big show. Our part in this gigantic operation was to attack the armament and heavy ordnance factory making guns, bombs, ammo and employing about 20,000 people and had not been hit since early 1944. The victim was located in the Tegel Area. Capt Quinn and Lt’s Helfrecht and Mitchell were chosen to lead our formation and placed 29 A/C over the target, dropping 1298 M47 IB’s on MPI and vicinity as well as 2000 FT south of MPI. Those of us who saw the newsreel on the attack were proud of being a member of the greatest Air Force in the world, and helping in our own small way to end this conflict started by those who are getting back 1000 fold what the attempted to give to the Allied countries.
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(Courtesy: Coleen Pittman)
A2 Fight Jacket
(Courtesy: James Knights)