458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Johnson Crew - Assigned 753rd Squadron - December 19, 1944

Standing: Joseph VanBibber - B, Charles Bosshardt - N, Leo Hecht - CP, Cecil Johnson - P
Kneeling: James Scott - E, George MacArthur - TG, Charles Walker - RO, Leslie Karl - WG, William Gann - WG, Ernest DeVries - NTG

(Photo: Glenn Bosshardt)

Flying at the End of Hostilities

Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date Status  Comments
1Lt Cecil G Johnson 0829488 Pilot 25-Apr-45 FEH Mission Load List
2Lt Leo W Hecht, Jr 0832140 Co-Pilot 14-Jan-45 KIA Crash/Battle Damage - DIEHL Crew 
1Lt Charles J Bosshardt 02068577 Navigator 25-Apr-45 FEH Mission Load List
1Lt Joseph M VanBibber  0785443 Bombardier 25-Apr-45 FEH Mission Load List
T/Sgt Charles M Walker 39416040 Radio Operator 25-Apr-45 FEH Mission Load List
T/Sgt James H Scott 39452486 Flight Engineer 25-Apr-45 FEH Mission Load List
S/Sgt Leslie E Karl 32084376 Radar Crewman 25-Apr-45 FEH Mission Load List
S/Sgt Ernest G DeVries 39927473 Armorer-Gunner  25-Apr-45 FEH Mission Load List
S/Sgt William M Gann 36779041 Aerial Gunner 25-Apr-45 FEH Mission Load List
S/Sgt George J McArthur 39927385 Armorer-Gunner 25-Apr-45 FEH Mission Load List

Cecil Johnson and crew arrived at Horsham at the end of December 1944 and were assigned to the 753rd Squadron.  They flew their first mission on January 14, 1945.  The crew's co-pilot, 2Lt Leo Hecht flew with the Diehl Crew on this date and was killed when their aircraft crashed (due to battle damage) in Norwich on the return flight.

The Johnson Crew was transferred to the 755th Squadron in early March 1945 and flew a number of lead missions, most notably the raid of April 7th to the Krummel Munitions Factory, for which they were awarded a "Lead Crew Commendation" for their part in the mission.  An available load list shows that the crew also flew on the Eighth Air Force's last combat operation of the war to Bad Reichenhall on April 25, 1945.

On May 17, in preparation for return to the United States, the entire crew was transferred back into the 753rd Squadron.  In June, the crew were assigned to fly Howling Banshee back to the U.S.


 Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn Ld  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
14-Jan-45 HALLENDORF 170 1   42-50449 W J4 34 HEAVENLY HIDEAWAY  
03-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 177 2   44-40134 R J4 47 UNKNOWN 039  
09-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 179 3   42-50912 D J4 9 THE TRAVLIN' BAG  
14-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 181 4   42-50555 A J4 17 BABY SHOES  
15-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 182 5   42-50912 D J4 11 THE TRAVLIN' BAG  
22-Feb-45 PEINE-HILDESHEIM 186 6   44-40118 S J4 38 WE'LL GET BY  
24-Feb-45 BIELEFELD 188 7   42-50555 A J4 22 BABY SHOES OT - #4 ENG FAIL
26-Feb-45 BERLIN 190 8   44-40118 S J4 42 WE'LL GET BY GRP 200TH MSN
27-Feb-45 HALLE 191 MSHL   -- -- -- --   MARSHALING CHIEF
28-Feb-45 BIELEFELD 192 9   44-40277 P J4 46 MISS USED  
10-Mar-45 ARNSBURG 201 10   44-10618 T J3 8 UNKNOWN 038  
17-Mar-45 HANNOVER 205 11   42-50499 U J3 39 COOKIE/OPEN POST  
19-Mar-45 LEIPHEIM 207 12   42-50516 V J3 28 STARDUST  
21-Mar-45 HESEPE 209 13   44-49743 F J3 26 EASTERN BEAST  
24-Mar-45 KIRKOFF 213 14   44-48837 L J3 19 UNKNOWN 041  
31-Mar-45 BRUNSWICK 216 15   44-49743 F J3 30 EASTERN BEAST  
02-Apr-45 TIRSTROP ABN -- L3 44-48837 L J3 -- UNKNOWN 041 ABANDONED
04-Apr-45 PERLEBERG 217 16 L3 44-48837 L J3 23 UNKNOWN 041 BRECKENRIDGE CMD P
06-Apr-45 HALLE 219 17   44-48837 L J3 25 UNKNOWN 041  
07-Apr-45 KRUMMEL 220 18   42-95628 K J3 27 UNKNOWN 038 LEAD CREW COMM
09-Apr-45 LECHFELD 222 19 L2 44-49743 F J3 35 EASTERN BEAST  
19-Apr-45 ZWIESEL SCR -- L2 42-51936 I J3 -- UNKNOWN 027 SCRUBBED
20-Apr-45 ZWIESEL 229 20 D1 44-49902 M J3 8 UNKNOWN 043 ANDERSON CMD P
25-Apr-45 BAD REICHENHALL 230 21   44-49544 E J3 10 OH MONA!

April 7, 1945 - Lead Crew Commendation

Courtesy: Glenn Bosshardt

June 1945

Members of the Johnson Crew and ground men gather for a photo prior to departing Horsham St Faith for the U.S.A.

Standing: Cecil Johnson, Charles Bosshardt, Ben Drenth, Joseph VanBibber
Kneeling, 2nd from left, William Abrams, 4th from left: William Gann

If you can identify any of the others in this photo, please contact me.

Operations Order Number 21

Under authority contained in Letter ETOUSA, Subject: “Movement Orders, Shipment 10060”, File No. AG 370.5, OPGC, Dated 27 May 1945, the following A/C and personnel assigned thereto will proceed via Valley A/D by best available air route to Bradley Field, Windsor Locks, Connecticut, thence to Camp Miles Standish, Boston, POE.  Personnel will report to the AAF Base Commander at Bradley Field.  AAF personnel are being returned for the purpose of authorized TD for rest and recuperation and for further assignment.  Personnel listed on this order are on Detached Service and are being accounted for on Morning Report of the Air Echelon of the Squadron to which they are assigned.  TDN 212/50425  FSA 1942-45  60-136  P-431-02.

Shipment No. 10060-UZ  T-M-S: B-24J  A/C Serial No. 44-40273  Crew No. 2 of 18
Name Grade Arm/Svc ASN Crew Spec/Job MOS Home (v)
Johnson, Cecil G 1Lt AC 0829488 Pilot, B-24 1092 Mobile, AL
Drenth, Ben E 1Lt AC 0553533 Pilot, B-24 1092 Cedar Falls, IA
Bosshardt, Charles J 1Lt AC 02068577 Navigator 1034 Atlanta, GA
VanBibber, Joseph M 1Lt AC 0785443 Bombardier 1035 Tucson, AZ
Scott, James H T/Sgt AC 39452486 Engineer 748 Reubens, ID
Walker, Charles M T/Sgt AC 39416040 Radio Operator 757 San Carlos, CA
Karl, Leslie S/Sgt AC 32084376 Gunner 514 Bronx, NY
Gann, William N S/Sgt AC 36779041 Gunner 612 Granite City, IL
McArthur, George J S/Sgt AC 39927385 Gunner 612 Anthony, ID
DeVries, Ernest G S/Sgt AC 39927473 Gunner 612 Roberts, MT
Yost, Edward C M/Sgt AC 13031021 Crew Chief 750 Mauch Chunk, PA
Honneycutt, Robbie B Sgt AC 18216049 Airplane Instrument Mech 686 Waco, TX
Bardell, Harold J S/Sgt AC 32466584 Radio Mechanic AAF 754 Tenack, NJ
Metzler, William G M/Sgt AC 37094319 Crew Chief 750 Alsen, ND
Abrams, Jr, William F T/Sgt AC 20416048 Intelligence NCO 631 York, AL
Dzambo, Edward J Cpl AC 13171201 Clerk-Typist 405 Mt Pleasant, PA
Lautenschlager, Henry E  S/Sgt AC 36248373 Power Turret & Gunsight Mech  678 Oshkosh, WI
Geary, Timothy J Cpl AC 31271196 Cryptographic Technician 805 Boston, MA
Koval, John G Cpl AC 32857010 Special Vehicle Operator 932 Stillwater, NY
Sparkman, Leo W Pfc AC 18097775 Airplane Armorer 911 Gilmer, TX