458th Bombardment Group (H)

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

Hiner Crew - Assigned 752nd Squadron - December 24, 1944

Standing: James Hiner - P, Steve Greco - WG, Paul Moore - TG, Herman Rotz - CP, Joe Kennedy - E, John Gebhardt - N
Kneeling: John Marlos - RO, Bob McAnulty - WG, Mel McGhee - NG

(Photo: Kirk Hiner & Nicholas Moore)

Flying at the End of Hostilities

 Rank  Name  Serial #  Pos Date  Status  Comments
1Lt James S Hiner 0718639 Pilot May-45 FEH Promoted to 1st Lt
2Lt Herman H Rotz 02062052 Co-Pilot 24-Dec-44 UNK Assigned from 467BG
2Lt John C Gebhardt 02068993 Navigator 24-Dec-44 UNK Assigned from 467BG 
T/Sgt John T Marlos 35610584 Radio Operator May-45 FEH Promoted to T/Sgt
T/Sgt Joseph T Kennedy 32979816  Flight Engineer May-45 FEH Promoted to T/Sgt
S/Sgt Steve B Greco 16031358 Aerial Gunner May-45 FEH Promoted to S/Sgt
S/Sgt Robert M McAnulty  7021097 Armorer-Gunner May-45 FEH Promoted to S/Sgt
S/Sgt  Melbern C McGhee 39291774 Aerial Gunner May-45 FEH Promoted to S/Sgt
S/Sgt Paul D Moore 36898052 Armorer-Gunner  23-Apr-45 FEH Reclassified 611 to 612

James Hiner and most of his crew were assigned to the 458th on December 24, 1944.  Records indicate that flight engineer Joseph T. Kennedy did not arrive at Horsham St. Faith until January 3, 1945.  The crew flew their first combat mission on January 17th to an oil refinery near Harburg, Germany.  According to the formation plans and corroborated by notes kept by gunner Paul Moore (see map below), the crew landed at Woodbridge “without hydraulics.”

On their sixth mission, February 21, 1945, the crew were forced to land at Merville, France, south of Lille for “repairs and refueling”.  It is not known what caused the need for these repairs.

The crew flew a variety of aircraft on their missions, the two most predominant being Princess Pat and The Pied Piper.  This latter aircraft was flown by the crew on seven of their missions.  On this aircraft’s 38th mission on February 22, 1945, the crew of 2Lt Merlin Tebbs had a close call in The Pied Piper.  Flying at the low altitude of 10,000 feet, the group formation came under heavy German anti-aircraft fire.  One of the flak bursts hit the ship of 2Lt Joseph Szarko.  The hit completely blew apart their aircraft in mid-air, one of the wings taking off half of Tebbs’ left rudder and most of the left horizontal stabilizer.  Tebbs made it back to base safely, and enough cannot be said about the hard-working ground crews.  They had this aircraft ready for the next day’s mission.

Towards the end of March and early April in 1945, Hiner and crew flew Princess Pat on six credited missions in a row. On April 9th, they were assigned a different ship and the crew of 1Lt Robert W. Burman drew Princess Pat.  Not pleased with this switch, Hiner sought out a superior officer and pleaded his case.  Evidently Burman was just as adamant about the subject, and the officer told them, "I'm not going to screw up the entire Eighth Air Force just because you two don't want to switch planes!"  Later that day, Burman (in Princess Pat) was forced to make an emergency landing on the Continent due to a flak hit in the waist area that killed two gunners.

Hiner and crew were able to get in 25 missions prior to war’s end, the last of these to Zweisel on April 20, 1945.  The crew would fly home in The Pied Piper in June 1945.


Date  Target 458th Msn Pilot Msn  Serial RCL Sqdn A/C Msn  A/C Name  Comments
17-Jan-45 HARBURG 172 1 41-28980 V J4 20 UNKNOWN 009 LANDED OFF LOCATION
03-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 177 3 42-51270 A 7V 6 MY BUNNIE II COMPOSITE SQDN w/466
14-Feb-45 MAGDEBURG 181 4 42-100425 O 7V 52 THE BIRD  
16-Feb-45 OSNABRUCK 183 5 42-51206 S 7V 35 THE PIED PIPER  
24-Feb-45 BIELEFELD 188 7 42-51206 S 7V 40 THE PIED PIPER  
27-Feb-45 HALLE 191 8 42-95316 H 7V 83 PRINCESS PAT  
03-Mar-45 NIENBURG 195 9 42-95316 H 7V 87 PRINCESS PAT  
07-Mar-45 SOEST 198 10 42-51206 S 7V 48 THE PIED PIPER  
10-Mar-45 ARNSBURG 201 11 42-95316 H 7V 91 PRINCESS PAT  
14-Mar-45 HOLZWICKEDE 203 12 41-29567 G 7V 16 MY BUNNIE / BAMBI  
23-Mar-45 OSNABRUCK 211 13 42-95316 H 7V 95 PRINCESS PAT  
24-Mar-45 KIRKOFF 213 14 42-95316 H 7V 96 PRINCESS PAT  
25-Mar-45 HITZACKER 214 15 42-95316 H 7V 97 PRINCESS PAT DROP 12mi OFF TARGET
30-Mar-45 WILHELMSHAVEN 215 16 42-95316 H 7V 98 PRINCESS PAT  
04-Apr-45 PERLEBERG 217 17 42-95316 H 7V 99 PRINCESS PAT  
08-Apr-45 UNTERSCHLAUERSBACH 221 18 42-95316 H 7V 102 PRINCESS PAT  
09-Apr-45 LECHFELD 222 19 42-50504 L 7V 35 UNKNOWN 019  
10-Apr-45 RECHLIN/LARZ 223 20 42-50499 U J3 42 COOKIE/OPEN POST  
11-Apr-45 REGENSBURG 224 21 42-51514 B 7V 36 BIG CHIEF LIL' BEAVER  
15-Apr-45 ROYAN AREA 226 22 42-51206 S 7V 57 THE PIED PIPER  
16-Apr-45 LANDSHUT 227 23 42-51206 S 7V 58 THE PIED PIPER  
18-Apr-45 PASSAU 228 24 42-51206 S 7V 59 THE PIED PIPER  
20-Apr-45 ZWIESEL 229 25 42-51206 S 7V 60 THE PIED PIPER

1Lt James S. Hiner - Pilot

Left: Pilot training.
Above: September 2013 interview with local news.

Courtesy: Kirk Hiner & Damian Kussian

S/Sgt Paul D. Moore - Tail Turret Gunner

Paul Moore marked the location of each of his missions on the map above.  Click the map to see details.

Courtesy: Nicholas Moore

B-24H-30-DT 42-51206  7V S The Pied Piper

The aircraft is shown (late fall 1944?) at left with new artwork and a shiny non-metallic finish. At right (spring 1945?), after numerous trips over the Continent, the pilot's anti-glare panel has seen better days and most of the artwork has been painted over with the ship's last three.  Hiner and crew flew this aircraft back to the States when the war ended.

June 1945

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

Back Row:
James Hiner, John Gebhardt, Herman Rotz
Middle Row (from Left): (#2) John Marlos, (#3) Mel McGhee, (#5) Paul Moore, (#7) Joe Kennedy
Front Row (from Left): (#2) Steve Greco, (#3) Gene Hunt - Camera Technician, (#4) Bob McAnulty
If you can identify any of the others in this photo, please contact me.
Operations Order Number 3

7 June 1945

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 asgd.  TDN 212/50425  FSA 1942-45  60-136  P-431-02.

Shipment No. 10060-TZ  T-M-S: B-24H  A/C Serial No. 42-51206  Crew No. 2 of 18
 Name  Grade Arm/Svc  ASN  Crew Spec/Job MOS  Home
Hiner, James S 1Lt AC 0718639 Pilot 1092 Grand Meadow, MN
Rotz, Herman H 2Lt AC 02062052 Co-pilot 1092 Racine, WI
Gebhardt, John C 2Lt AC 02068993  Navigator 1034 Brooklyn NY
Hastings, Jim M Sgt AC 18086575 Gunner 612 Broken Bow, OK
Kennedy, Joseph T T/Sgt AC 32979816 Engineer 748 Bronx, NY
Marlos, John T T/Sgt AC 35610584 Radio Operator 757 Campbell, OH
McGhee, Melbern C S/Sgt AC 39291774 Gunner 612 Wilmington, CA
McAnulty, Robert M S/Sgt AC 7021097 Gunner 612 Homer City, PA
Greco, Steve B  S/Sgt AC 16031258 Gunner 612 Coloma, MI
Moore, Paul D S/Sgt AC 36898052 Gunner 612 Flint, MI
Broda, Paul M/Sgt AC 32432723 Crew Chief 750 Woodside Long Is, NY
Colvard, William R Sgt AC 34598772 Airplane/Engine Mech 747 Crumpler, NC
Lichtblau, David Cpl AC 32625540 Radio Operator, AAF
756 Bronx, NY
Hooper, Robert W Sgt AC 38182111 Radar Mech, Bombdmnt
867 Thomas, OK
Hunt, Gene W Sgt AC 36594034 Camera Technician
941 Pontiac, MI
Smith, Charles F, Jr M/Sgt AC 14045595 Crew Chief 750 Columbus, GA
Lubnick, Andrew Pfc AC 35609673 Clerk, General  055 Canton, OH
King, Evans L Sgt AC 33210015 Pwr Turret, Gunsight Mech
678 Christiansburg, VA
Ballard, Hugh P Sgt AC 32385857 Airplane Instrument Mech
686 Elizabeth NJ
Roush, Charles A Sgt AC 15324740 Airplane/Engine Mech 747 Marietta, OH