458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Lanquist Crew - Assigned 754th Squadron - December 19, 1944

Crew Photo Needed

Flying at the End of Hostilities

Rank Name Serial # MOS Crew Pos / Job Title Date Status Comments
1Lt Ellis Lanquist 0830624 1024 Pilot 17-May-45 FEH Transf to 754th Sqdn
1Lt Robert J Smyth 0718790 1051 Co-Pilot 18-May-45 FEH Transf to 754th Sqdn
2Lt Charles S Ryder T133005 1034 Navigator 19-May-45 FEH Transf to 754th Sqdn
2Lt Kermit Q Greene T7044 1035 Bombardier 20-May-45 FEH Transf to 754th Sqdn
S/Sgt Frank J Willy, Jr 39920032 757 Radio Operator 21-May-45 FEH Transf to 754th Sqdn
T/Sgt John R Stephenson, Jr  34637487 748 Flight Engineer 22-May-45 FEH Transf to 754th Sqdn 
S/Sgt Chester R Davis, Jr 39135785 612 Armorer-Gunner 23-May-45 FEH Transf to 754th Sqdn
Sgt James L Hadley 34830168 611 Aerial Gunner 24-May-45 FEH Transf to 754th Sqdn
Sgt Wesley E Harper 42027872 611 Aerial Gunner 25-May-45 FEH Transf to 754th Sqdn
S/Sgt William A Howell 33746058 611 Aerial Gunner 26-May-45 FEH Transf to 754th Sqdn

The Lanquist crew was assigned to the 754th Bomb Squadron in mid-December 1944.  Pilot 2Lt Ellis Lanquist flew his first mission on January 31, 1945.  The crew flew five missions in February, including the raid on Peine/Hildesheim on the 22nd.  On this particular mission, the crew were flying an older B-24H named Old Doc’s Yacht on the aircraft’s 79th mission.  Two 458th aircraft were lost on this mission.  Lanquist’s crew witnessed the first, flown by 1Lt Joseph E. Szarko, take a “direct flak hit between the No. 3 and No. 4 [engines], wing came off, plane rolled into clockwise position and went right down. No chutes seen.”  The other aircraft lost belonged to 1Lt William A. Duke of the 754BS, flying just to the left of Lanquist.  They were forced to drop out of formation and bail out.  Of the ten men crew members, one died of his injuries, six were captured and three were murdered by German police.


On February 28, 1945 the crew was transferred to the 755th Bomb Squadron to be a lead crew.  After a brief respite, ostensibly for training, they were back to combat flying, going out eight times in March, although the mission on the 14th was recalled and they did not receive credit.  Their first lead was on March 30th to Wilhelmshaven with Captain James Gardner as command pilot.


The crew flew a total of seven missions in April, two of them as squadron lead – one on the 9th to the airfield at Lechfeld, Germany.  Lanquist flew in the lead in the fourth squadron on this mission.  Group records note the following:  On the 9th we paid a visit to our old friend LECHFELD A/F which we had attacked way back in March 1944.  The field was an important jet repair and equipment center, training and testing field.  Our leaders, MAJOR RUE, CAPT GARDNER, and LT’S JOHNSON and LANQUIST enjoyed a visual mission, leading 35 A/C over the target, dropping 384x100 GP’s, 146x250 GP’s and 322x260 GP’s with the following results: 18 A/C of first two squadrons obtained excellent hits on MPI as shown by SAV’s.  17 A/C of second two squadrons had very poor results, SAV’s showing their hits to be 4,000 to 6,000 feet from MPI.


By April 16th, Lanquist had completed 20 missions.  Nine days later, the Eighth Air Force flew its final combat mission of the war.  The 458th’s target on this date was a railroad installation near Bad Reichenhall.  S/Sgt William A. Howell, newly reclassified as a Radar Crewman (MOS 514), flew this last mission with a crew from the 754th Squadron.


The war ended on May 8, 1945.  The entire crew were transferred back to the 754th Squadron on May 17th.  It is possible that they participated in the Trolley Missions during May, but records confirming this are currently unavailable.  The crew was slated to ferry a Liberator back to the States in June 1945.  They drew the war weary Old Doc’s Yacht, on which they had flown three missions.


 Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn Cmd Pilot Ld  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name Comments
03-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 177 2     44-40126 L Z5 48 SPITTEN KITTEN / SKY TRAMP  
14-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 181 3     42-95018 J Z5 76 OLD DOC'S YACHT  
16-Feb-45 OSNABRUCK 183 4     42-100425 O 7V 54 THE BIRD REPLACED 199
22-Feb-45 PEINE-HILDESHEIM 186 5     42-95018 J Z5 79 OLD DOC'S YACHT  
23-Feb-45 GERA-REICHENBACH 187 6     42-95018 J Z5 80 OLD DOC'S YACHT  
10-Mar-45 ARNSBURG 201 7     42-50499 U J3 37 COOKIE/OPEN POST  
15-Mar-45 ZOSSEN 204 8     44-10618 T J3 9 UNKNOWN 038  
21-Mar-45 HESEPE 209 9     42-95557 H J3 38 LADY PEACE  
23-Mar-45 OSNABRUCK 211 10     42-51939 G J3 29 UNKNOWN 028  
24-Mar-45 NORDHORN 212 11     42-50740 Q J3 29 OUR BURMA  
25-Mar-45 HITZACKER 214 12 GARDNER L3 44-48837 L J3 20 UNKNOWN 041  
30-Mar-45 WILHELMSHAVEN 215 13   L4 44-48837 L J3 21 UNKNOWN 041  
05-Apr-45 PLAUEN 218 14     42-95628 K J3 25 UNKNOWN 038  
06-Apr-45 HALLE 219 15     42-95628 K J3 26 UNKNOWN 038  
08-Apr-45 UNTERSCHLAUERSBACH  221 16     41-28743 Z 7V 1 EASTERN BEAST  
09-Apr-45 LECHFELD 222 17   L4 42-51669 J J3 29 UNKNOWN 026  
11-Apr-45 REGENSBURG 224 18 ANDERSON L2 44-49261 A J3 18 UNKNOWN 042  
14-Apr-45 POINTE DE GRAVE 225 19 BLACK L4 42-95557 H J3 50 LADY PEACE  
16-Apr-45 LANDSHUT 227 20   L3 42-51936 I J3 33 UNKNOWN 027 TELETYPE

B-24H-20-FO 42-95018 Z5 J  "Old Doc's Yacht"

The Lanquist crew would fly this aircraft on three combat missions in February.  In June 1945 they would ferry it back to the States.

1Lt Ellis Lanquist - Pilot

1Lt Robert J. Smyth - Co-pilot

1944: Robert Smyth and his brother William, a Bombardier/Radioman/Gunner on Grumann TBFs in the Navy.

1943: Robert Smyth at S.A.A.C.C. during training; and at home in Cleveland with his father and brother.

(Photos courtesy: Dan Smyth)

Ferry Crew - June 1945

B-24H-20-FO 42-95018 Z5 J  Old Doc's Yacht

Standing (from left): Robert Smyth - N, Ellis Lanquist - P

Click photo to enlarge