458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Besten Crew - Assigned 754th Squadron - August 13, 1944

Standing: George Spencer - G, Beryl Christiansen - E, Frederick Fuhrman - RO, Edgar Kingsbourough - G, Charles Domek - G, John MacQuarrie - G
Kneeling: Emil Besten - P, Edgar Suiter - N, Arthur Krueger - B, Millens Taft - CP

(Photo: Fold3)

Completed Tour

Rank Name Serial # Crew Pos Date Status Comments
1Lt Emil B Besten 0705001 Pilot 8-Mar-45 CT Completed Tour
1Lt Millens W Taft, Jr 0824992 Co-pilot 22-Feb-45  WIA Hit by flak in neck 
1Lt Edgar O Suiter 0722389 Navigator Mar-45 CT Completed Tour
1Lt Arthur C Krueger 0716737 Bombardier Mar-45 CT Completed Tour
T/Sgt  Frederick J Fuhrman 16116444 Radio Operator Mar-45 CT Completed Tour
T/Sgt Beryl C Christiansen 37663228 Flight Engineer Mar-45 CT Completed Tour
S/Sgt John R MacQuarrie 39082555 Armorer-Gunner  Mar-45 CT Completed Tour
S/Sgt Charles G Domek, Jr 36697275 Aerial Gunner Mar-45 CT Completed Tour
S/Sgt Edgar L Kingsborough  33241690 Aerial Gunner Mar-45 CT Completed Tour
S/Sgt George F Spencer 14193821 Aerial Gunner Mar-45 CT Completed Tour

Emil Besten’s crew was assigned to the 458th Bomb Group on August 13, 1944 and placed in the 754BS.  They would remain in this squadron throughout their combat tour.

They flew their first mission on August 25, 1944 in one of the squadron’s original aircraft, Old Doc’s Yacht.  This was a two-mission day for the 458th, and Besten and crew flew the first to the Dornier Aircraft Factory at Lubeck, Germany.  They flew the next two consecutive days to round out their combat flights for August and were selected to fly three missions in the beginning of September.  After their sixth mission on September 9th, the group was pulled off of combat operations in order to ferry gasoline to the Continent.

Between September 21 and 30, Besten flew eight of these “Truckin’ Missions”, hauling gas to Patton’s army in France.  These flights consisted of the pilot, co-pilot, navigator, radio operator, flight engineer, and at least one gunner.  There may have also been some “passengers” along for the ride.  These flights did not count towards a crew’s mission total, even though many of the airmen felt that loading a B-24 Liberator with thousands of gallons of fuel in specially made tanks was more dangerous than combat flying ever was!  The 458th lost seven aircraft and two full crews on these flights.

The group resumed combat flying in early October and Besten’s first mission was on October 7th to Magdeburg, when the crew were forced to abort due to engine problems.  According to the “Aircraft Not Attacking Report” for this date, “Pilot reported RPM fluctuating on #2 and 4 engines during climb while transferring fuel.  A/C test hopped and found OK. Probable cause was air in gas lines due to transferring fuel while climbing with auxiliary tanks nearly empty.”

Before the end of the year, Besten and crew had completed 20 missions, including the Eight Air Force’s “Maximum Effort” on December 24th, Christmas Eve.  The group put up 56 aircraft, of which 53 made it to the target area.  One loss marred the day’s mission: that of Lt Charles A. Giesen and crew who took a direct flak hit over the target.

The crew flew six missions in January and seven in February, although they were forced to abort on February 9th run to Magdeburg, again with engine problems.  On February 22nd the group split the formation into an “A” Group to hit the marshaling yards at Peine, Germany and a “B” Group to hit the marshaling yards Hildesheim.  Besten’s Crew did not fly on this date, but co-pilot, Millens Taft flew with the crew of Lt John Rosen in the lead squadron of the “A” Group and was wounded in action, hit in the neck by flak.  The extent of his wounds are not detailed, and it is unknown if he flew any further combat missions.

 Most of the crew finished their combat tour of 35 missions on March 8, 1945.


Date Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn A/C Name Comments
25-Aug-44 LUBECK 118 1 42-95018 J Z5 39 OLD DOC'S YACHT  
26-Aug-44 DULMEN 120 2 42-95108 M Z5 34 ENVY OF 'EM ALL II  
27-Aug-44 FINOW 121 3 41-29340 N 7V 51 YANKEE BUZZ BOMB CRED NOV
05-Sep-44 KARLSRUHE 122 4 44-40126 L Z5 22 SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP  
08-Sep-44 KARLSRUHE 123 5 41-29596 R Z5 52 HELL'S ANGEL'S  
09-Sep-44 MAINZ 124 6 42-110059 T Z5 38 UNKNOWN 056  
21-Sep-44 HSF to LILLE TR05 -- 42-95001 Z 44BG T3 TS TESSIE TRUCKIN'
23-Sep-44 HSF to ST DIZIER TR07 -- 42-97972 I   T1 NOT 458TH SHIP - HETHEL TRUCKIN'
25-Sep-44 HSF to LILLE TR08-1 -- 41-28682 I Z5 T5 NO NAME or NAME UNKNOWN 1ST FLIGHT
26-Sep-44 HSF to LILLE TR09 -- 44-40475 M 755 T8 JOLLY ROGER TRUCKIN'
27-Sep-44 HSF to LILLE TR10 -- 41-29475 M 44BG T1 SHIPDAM HI SCHOOL TRUCKIN'
28-Sep-44 HSF to LILLE TR11 -- 41-29305 N 754 T4 I'LL BE BACK TRUCKIN'
29-Sep-44 HSF to LILLE TR12 -- 41-29305 N 754 T5 I'LL BE BACK TRUCKIN'
30-Sep-44 HSF to LILLE TR13 -- 41-28610 X+ 453BG T1 CURLY A/C ON LOAN
07-Oct-44 MAGDEBURG 130 ABT 42-95018 J Z5 -- OLD DOC'S YACHT ABORT-ENG
09-Oct-44 KOBLENZ 131 7 42-95120 M J3 46 HOOKEM COW / BETTY  
17-Oct-44 COLOGNE 135 8 42-100366 H Z5 54 MIZPAH  
19-Oct-44 MAINZ 136 9 42-51199 U Z5 7 UNKNOWN 023  
22-Oct-44 HAMM 137 10 44-40298 E Z5 5 THE SHACK  
04-Nov-44 MISBURG 141 11 42-110059 T Z5 43 UNKNOWN 056  
05-Nov-44 KARLSRUHE 142 12 44-40298 E Z5 10 THE SHACK  
08-Nov-44 RHEINE 144 13 42-50640 O Z5 10 BUGS BUNNY  
10-Nov-44 HANAU A/F 146 14 42-50640 O Z5 12 BUGS BUNNY  
25-Nov-44 BINGEN 149 15 42-100366 H Z5 61 MIZPAH  
04-Dec-44 BEBRA 152 16 42-50456 D Z5 15 DOROTHY KAY SPECIAL  
11-Dec-44 HANAU 155 17 42-50640 O Z5 18 BUGS BUNNY  
12-Dec-44 HANAU 156 18 44-40298 E Z5 18 THE SHACK  
18-Dec-44 KOBLENZ REC -- 41-29596 R Z5 -- HELL'S ANGEL'S RECALL
24-Dec-44 SCHONECKEN 157 19 44-40298 E Z5 19 THE SHACK  
27-Dec-44 NEUNKIRCHEN 159 20 42-95183 U Z5 65 BRINEY MARLIN  
02-Jan-45 REMAGEN 164 21 42-50640 O Z5 25 BUGS BUNNY  
03-Jan-45 NEUNKIRCHEN 165 22 42-110070 K Z5 50 ELMER  
08-Jan-45 STADTKYLL 167 23 41-29596 R Z5 80 HELL'S ANGEL'S LAND OFF LOC
14-Jan-45 HALLENDORF 170 24 41-29305 N Z5 42 I'LL BE BACK/HYPOCHONDRIAC  
16-Jan-45 MAGDEBURG 171 25 41-28980 V J4 19 UNKNOWN 009  
29-Jan-45 MUNSTER 175 26 42-95120 M Z5 65 HOOKEM COW / BETTY  
03-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 177 MSHL -- -- -- --   MARSHALING
06-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 178 27 42-95108 B Z5 58 ENVY OF 'EM ALL II  
09-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 179 ABT 42-110059 T Z5 -- UNKNOWN 056 ABORT-ENG
16-Feb-45 OSNABRUCK 183 28 42-95108 B Z5 60 ENVY OF 'EM ALL II  
20-Feb-45 NUREMBURG REC -- 42-95108 B Z5 -- ENVY OF 'EM ALL II RECALL
21-Feb-45 NUREMBERG 185 29 42-95108 B Z5 62 ENVY OF 'EM ALL II  
23-Feb-45 GERA-REICHENBACH 187 30 44-40126 L Z5 54 SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP  
25-Feb-45 SCHWABISCH-HALL 189 31 42-51199 A Z5 28 UNKNOWN 023  
27-Feb-45 HALLE 191 32 42-51179 P Z5 65 DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE  
01-Mar-45 INGOLSTADT 193 33 44-40126 L Z5 60 SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP  
05-Mar-45 HARBURG 197 34 42-95120 M Z5 80 HOOKEM COW / BETTY  
08-Mar-45 DILLENBURG 199 35 42-50456 D Z5 42 DOROTHY KAY SPECIAL

B-24H-25-FO 42-95219 7V W  Patchie

The crew are not listed as having flown Patchie on a combat mission.  This could have been taken after a practice mission.

Standing: Arthur Krueger, Ed Kingsbourough, Fred Fuhrman, Emil Besten, George Spencer
Kneeling: Beryl Christiansen, Edgar Suiter, Millens Taft, Chuck Domek, John MacQuarrie

(Photo: Charles Domek)

S/Sgt Charles G. Domek - Gunner

Posing with B-24JAZ-155-CO 44-40287 J4 J  Bachelor's Bedlam from the 753BS

Domek (L) with S/Sgt William M. Cuculich, gunner on the crew of Lt Lester J. Skidmore

Artwork in barracks
B-24J-5-FO 42-50912 J4 D  The Travlin Bag

Domek and Cuculich with Princess Pat

(Photos: Charles Domek)