• 25 March 1945
  • Mission #270
  • Target: Hitzacker

The underground oil storage depot was assigned for a target with (20) bombers being committed and crews receiving their general briefings at 0300 hours. At 0545, all started their take-off rolls with (16) finally going over the target. Another unfortunate accident happened during assembly which saw the weather conditions poor. From the 578th, Lieutenant Kaiser’s ship #42-50804 had a mid-air collision with Lieutenant Markuson’s of the 579th Squadron flying in #42-51340, both bombers crashing and killing all but (2) crewmembers on each. Staff Sergeants B. D. Haskins and W. W. Smith survived from Lieutenant Kaiser’s crew and Technical Sergeant P. L. Cain with Lieutenant H. W. Hutchcroft managed to safely escape from Lieutenant Markuson’s ship. The remaining force continued on to bomb the target visually with excellent results. The load of (351) 250# bombs impacted on the aiming point with (99) percent hitting within a 2000 foot radius of the MPI, including (90) percent well under 1000 foot. Returning crews recovered back at Wendling around 1315 hours.

To read more about the collision with two personal accounts on this crash by CLICKING HERE

crash 25 Mar 45
The wreckage of #42-51340.

CASUALTIES NOT LISTED IN MACR

2/Lt Kaiser, Phillip W. (P) 578th KIA

2/Lt Perry, Robert Jr (NMI) (CP) 578th KIA

1/Lt Ott, John W. (N) 578th KIA

2/Lt Parish, John K. (B) 578th KIA

T/Sgt Louizides, Solomon (NMI) (R/O) 578th KIA

T/Sgt Slama, Alex R. (EnG) 578th KIA

S/Sgt Killea, Kevin B. (G) 578th KIA

S/Sgt Simpson, Vernon H. (S-27) 578th KIA

This mission to Hitzocker, Germany saw another tragic mishap occur during formation join-up assembly over England when Lt. Kaiser’s aircraft and that of 1 /Lt. Markuson’s from the 576th come together in a mid-air collision with both ships going down. On the Kaiser crew, two (2) crew members bailed out and survived.

S/Sgt W. W. Smith and S/Sgt B. D. Haskins. This crew was flying B-24J Model #42-50804, Call Letter "I-Bar" and nicknamed "PLEASANT SURPRISE II". The plane had completed a total of (28) combat missions up to this accident which had Lt. Kaiser flying on the right wing of Lt. Markuson’s ship in the high right element of the Lead Squadron. The crash location of this ship was at Hall Farm, Buxton Lamas, England. Two (2) members of the Kaiser aircrew are buried at CAMBRIDGE, England: Lt. John K. Parish in Grave D-4-20 with awards of an Air medal with (2) Oak Leaf Clusters, however, no Purple Heart citation is indicated. His home State was Michigan. Sgt. Kevin B. Killea is also buried there in Grave F-2-139 and his awards were an Air Medal with (4) Oak Leaf Clusters but no Purple Heart is listed as a citation for him also. His home State was New York. 1/Lt Ott is interred in Gettysburg National Military Park, Section 2, Sitte 471. T/Sgt Slama is interred in Golden Gate National Cemetery, Section C, Site 173. No information is available on the interments of the other deceased members.

NOTE: 1/Lt Ott, 2/Lt Parish, T/Sgt Louizides, and T/Sgt Slama had been interned in Sweden on 18 November 1943 while serving on 2/Lt Fogarty's crew.

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Pleasant Surprise crash 25 Mar 45
Pleasant Surprise II, after a mid-air collision due to poor visibility at assembly altitude.
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1/Lt Markuson, Clifford O. (P) 576th KIA

2/Lt Maceyra, Edward (N) 576th KIA

S/Sgt Hunter, Elmer R. (NG) 576th KIA

T/Sgt Burke, James E. (R/O) 576th KIA

S/Sgt Monaghan, Tomyns D. (RW) 576th KIA

S/Sgt Howard, James B. (LW) 576th KIA

S/Sgt Horn, John E. Jr (TG) 576th KIA

S/Sgt Hill, Theodore J. (RCM) 576th KIA

The Markuson crew was flying in the high right element lead ship position of the Lead Squadron with Lt. Kaiser’s plane on the right wing in the formation join-up plan during Group assembly operations. After the collision, the Markuson plane, B-24J Model #42-51340, Call Letter "M", no nickname, crashed at Skeyton, England, with two (2) crew members managing to bail out safely: 2/Lt. Harold W. Hutchcroft, the Co-Pilot, and T/Sgt. Paul L. Cain, the Flight Engineer. This aircraft had flown a total of (65) combat missions when this accident occurred. One member of the Markuson crew is buried at CAMBRIDGE, England cemetery site: Lt. Edward Maceyra in Grave F-5-135. He is shown to have been awarded the Air Medal with (4) Oak Leaf Clusters, but no Purple Heart citation is noted. The home State for Lt. Maceyra was Texas. No information is available from this research on the subsequent interments of the other deceased crewmen.

The accident happened at 0715 hours when there was poor visibility at assembly altitude. In fact, the Report of Aircraft Accident said responsibility for the accident was "100% Weather."

A statement by 2/Lt Hutchcroft said:

"We just finished the Group assembly and started out to the Wing assembly. I was on the controls when we entered the clouds.

We were leading the high element in the lead squadron. We were in position and the 578th Sqdn plane took our wing position which had not been filled. Upon entering the cloud, Markuson took over the controls, but lost sight of the sqdn. I looked out and could see our wing man still in position. I then looked at the instruments and noticed we were starting to descend so switched to interphone and told the pilot I would help keep the altitude and heading while he looked for the main formation. We were both on the controls at the time. I then looked out to see if our wing man was still with us, but couldn't see him in the clouds anymore. I looked back at the instruments and then heard a bump on our plane. I looked out and saw the wing man pulling away in a bank and noticed the No. 4 engine gone. I turned to the pilot and reached for the C1 [autopilot] which was on and set up. Markuson was fighting the controls and our plane seemed to stay straight and level for several seconds. I yelled at Markuson twice to see if he wanted me to turn the C1 on, but evidently he didn't hear me. We started into a spin to the right I think, and Markuson yelled, "Bail out" so I rang the bell and waited a few seconds. Markuson yelled three more times to bail out so I rang the bell again and started to get out. Just then the plane went into a more violent spin and either pinned me to the seat or ceiling. I think it was the seat. I managed to pull myself out of the seat and could see Markuson trying to pull himself out. I crawled over the radio operator's legs and also the radar man's legs and went out the bomb bays. Sgt Cain, the engineer, was transferring gas at the time and as soon as we were hit, he opened the bomb bays and put his chute on and went out with part of the bombs.

When I hit the slip-stream, I flipped over six or eight times and pulled the rip cord. The chute opened immediately. I saw a string of bombs coming out of the plane just as my chute opened, but my back was turned after my chute opened.

Our altitude, at time of being hit, was 12,500 feet and I expect we were 5,000 to 6,000 feet when I jumped. I came down right over the crashed plane and flames seemed to be a good 500 feet high. I landed with the wind to my back about a quarter mile from the crash in an open field. I could see the flames from the crash and hear the bombs going off. The pins in the bombs had been pulled."

This mission was supposed to be 2/Lt Maceyra's final mission. 2/Lt Anthony Marcelli, navigator on the Cerrato crew, shared a hut with 2/Lt Maceyra. Marcelli recalled, "Eddie Maceyra flew 34 missions successfully and invited me to have breakfast with him on his 35th and last mission. During breakfast, Eddie turned to me and said, 'This is my last mission, one way or another.' Marcelli later visited copilot Hutchcroft in the infirmary. There, Hutchcroft recounted that he had told Maceyra to bail out as controlling the plane impossible. Maceyra refused to bail out until he had freed the nose gunner from his turret. According to Hutchcroft, there was only a minute or so to get out before the plane went into a spinning dive, making escape impossible.

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CREW LOADING LIST - MISSION #270

25 Mar 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 589
P DePalma, F.T. 1st Lt.
CP Austin, G.E. 1st Lt.
N Oppenheim, R. 2nd Lt.
B Margarones, J.J. 2nd Lt.
R Corbosiero, J.L. T/Sgt.
E Betterini, A. T/Sgt.
RW Bryan, C.F. S/Sgt.
LW Mowery, H.J. S/Sgt.
TG Ferdinando, A.P. S/Sgt.
25 Mar 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 340 (crashed; no
mission credit)
P Markuson, C.O. 1st Lt. (KIA)
CP Hutchcroft, H.W. 2nd Lt.
N Maceyra, E. 2nd Lt. (KIA)
B Hunter, E.R. S/Sgt. (KIA)
R Burke, J.E. T/Sgt. (KIA)
E Cain, P.L. T/Sgt.
RW Monaghan, T.D. S/Sgt. (KIA)
LW Howard, J.B. S/Sgt. (KIA)
TG Horn, J.E. S/Sgt. (KIA)
RCM Hill, T.J. S/Sgt. (KIA)
25 Mar 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 571 (no mission credit)
P Smith, W.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Malmborg, F.L. 2nd Lt.
N Hazard, A.R. 2nd Lt.
B Linderman, W.T. S/Sgt.
R Kroll, M.E. S/Sgt.
E Lyon, H.H. S/Sgt.
RW Devish, M.G. S/Sgt.
LW Werner, W.T. Sgt.
TG Farley, R.L. Pfc.
25 Mar 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 650
P Ault, D.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Maloney, J.P. F/O
N Lang, H.A. F/O
B Brown, H.F. Cpl.
R Buglewicz, G.J. Cpl.
E Dehart, R.J. Cpl.
RW Waters, R.D. Cpl.
LW Huffer, J.O. Cpl.
TG Hoffman, R.L. Cpl.
RCM Malone, H.Q. S/Sgt.
25 Mar 1945 576th Sqdn.
A/C 505
P Raczko, W. 2nd Lt.
CP McGill, C.L. 2nd Lt.
N Cline, A.P. F/O
B Holland, J.R. S/Sgt.
R VanDeven, J.K. T/Sgt.
E Reynolds, J.R. T/Sgt.
RW Parker, R.J. S/Sgt.
LW Kracker, E.A. S/Sgt.
TG Adkins, J.E. S/Sgt.
25 Mar 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 697
P Pope, L.S. 2nd Lt.
CP Snowhill, T.B. 2nd Lt.
N Rodstein, B. 2nd Lt.
B Lane, T.C. S/Sgt.
R Reed, D.F. T/Sgt.
E Turrisi, J.R. T/Sgt.
RW Fuller, M.A. S/Sgt.
LW Dardano, F.A. S/Sgt.
TG Keach, G.T. S/Sgt.
S-27 Krohn, O.G. T/Sgt.
25 Mar 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 507
P Harding, W.A. 1st Lt.
CP Morrow, E.T. 2nd Lt.
N Parrish, J.D. 2nd Lt.
B Fisher, J.G. Sgt.
R Dollar, W.H. Sgt.
E Butler, C.E. Sgt.
RW Silliman, E. Sgt.
LW Smith, R.L. Jr. Sgt.
TG Neumann, H.J. Sgt.
25 Mar 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 753
P Jordan, T.J. 1st Lt.
CP Osojnicki, E.S. 2nd Lt.
N Sprosty, A.O. 1st Lt.
B Faust, L.E. 2nd Lt.
R Brown, L.E. T/Sgt.
E Kinzler, S.J. S/Sgt.
RW Davis, T.N. S/Sgt.
LW Meister, R.H. S/Sgt.
TG Kwiatowski, L.P. S/Sgt.
NV Washabau, C.B. 2nd Lt.
25 Mar 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 522
P Prater, W.K. 2nd Lt.
CP Levin, R.J. 2nd Lt.
N Pilcher, W.L. 2nd Lt.
B Venuti, L.C. Sgt.
R Killian, C.J. S/Sgt.
E Lawrence, L.J. S/Sgt.
RW Kegler, S.D. Sgt.
LW Healey, J. S/Sgt.
TG Deshantz, D. S/Sgt.
25 Mar 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 792
P Dodson, G.H. 2nd Lt.
CP LeFevre, L.P. 2nd Lt.
N Fletcher, W.J. 2nd Lt.
B Hochard, H.H. S/Sgt.
R Green, J.M. S/Sgt.
E Herrera, D.R. S/Sgt.
RW Allendorf, V.G. S/Sgt.
LW Peterson, F.H. S/Sgt.
TG Jenkins, C.E. S/Sgt.
25 Mar 1945 577th Sqdn.
A/C 901
P Shaw, B.R. 2nd Lt.
CP Bachman, L.W. 2nd Lt.
N Anstey, M.P. F/O
B Hoover, R.C. S/Sgt.
R Sturm, W.A. T/Sgt.
E Kedenburg, J.H. T/Sgt.
RW Rice, W.W. S/Sgt.
LW Perlingiero, C.P. S/Sgt.
TG Schunke, C.W. S/Sgt.
RCM Taylor, J.L. S/Sgt.
25 Mar 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 511
P Cerrato, V.H. 1st Lt.
CP Addison, A.E. 1st Lt.
N Marcelli, A.F. 1st Lt.
B Ramos, R.W. Jr. 1st Lt.
R Ewell, A.J. T/Sgt.
E Lee, R.M. T/Sgt.
RW Burrell, M.L. S/Sgt.
LW Lamson, P.M. S/Sgt.
TG Warwick, F.W. Sgt.
25 Mar 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 568
P Henning, J.C. 2nd Lt.
CP Moser, F.E. 2nd Lt.
N Humiston, M.R. 2nd Lt.
B Regan, J.H. Sgt.
R Wilkins, R.A. Sgt.
E Regester, R.B. Sgt.
RW Stockard, J.C. Sgt.
LW McLaughlin, E.J. Sgt.
TG Davis, G.L. Sgt.
25 Mar 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 804 (crashed; no
mission credit)
P Kaiser, P.W. 2nd Lt. (KIA)
CP Perry, R. Jr.2nd Lt. (KIA)
N Ott, J.W. 1st Lt. (KIA)
B Parish, J.K. 2nd Lt. (KIA)
R Louizides, S. T/Sgt. (KIA)
E Slama, A.R. T/Sgt. (KIA)
RW Smith, W.W. S/Sgt.
LW Haskins, B.D. S/Sgt.
TG Killea, K.B. S/Sgt. (KIA)
S-27 Simpson, V.H. S/Sgt. (KIA)
25 Mar 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 495
P Garcia, A.R. 1st Lt.
CP Pollack, M. 2nd Lt.
N Hoffman, W.A. F/O
B Westlund, J.K. S/Sgt.
R Nelson, D.A. T/Sgt.
E Landes, I.B. T/Sgt.
RW Pennington, M.E. S/Sgt.
LW Merda, A.J. S/Sgt.
TG Rauscher, J.G. S/Sgt.
25 Mar 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 205
P Sisson, T.M. 2nd Lt.
CP Cranson, W.N. 2nd Lt.
N Greening, D.J. 2nd Lt.
B White, E.D. Sgt.
R Strausbaugh, R.L. Sgt.
E Robinson, J.C. Sgt.
RW Jones, M.R. Sgt.
LW VanAmburg, C.C. Sgt.
TG Kruse, E.K. Sgt.
S-27 Allen, P. S/Sgt.
25 Mar 1945 578th Sqdn.
A/C 313
P Bell, W.M. Capt.
CP Pope, C.H. 1st Lt.
N Cole, R.W. 1st Lt.
B Bross, J.H. S/Sgt.
R McKim, L.D. Sgt.
E Morse, J.H. T/Sgt.
RW Case, R.F. S/Sgt.
LW Onstot, P.O. S/Sgt.
TG Divers, C.B. S/Sgt.
SCS Slater, R.E. S/Sgt.
25 Mar 1945 579th Sqdn.
A/C 899
P Steck, R.O. 2nd Lt.
CP Quinn, E.J. 2nd Lt.
N Jost, E.G. 2nd Lt.
B Gross, E.B. 2nd Lt.
R Parker, R.M. S/Sgt.
E Lewis, M.M. S/Sgt.
RW Thompson, W.J. Sgt.
LW Jacobson, C.R. Sgt.
TG Peters, R.P. Sgt.
PN Johnson, F. 2nd Lt.
NV Milrod, M. 2nd Lt.
25 Mar 1945 579th Sqdn.
A/C 459 (no mission credit)
P Teipel, H.N. 1st Lt.
CP Karas, M. 2nd Lt.
N Polansky, M.L. 2nd Lt.
B Flory, D.L. 2nd Lt.
R Goodson, E. T/Sgt.
E Rabine, V.A. T/Sgt.
RW Conrad, D.E. S/Sgt.
LW Hodoian, J.C. S/Sgt.
TG McConnell, H.M. S/Sgt.
NV Vasconcellos, H.M. 1st Lt.
NN Moss, J.R. 2nd Lt.
25 Mar 1945 579th Sqdn.
A/C 519
CA Pennypacker, J.E. Capt.
P McClellan, H.B. Capt.
CP Carleton, D. 1st Lt.
N Havel, E.E. 1st Lt.
B Snoden, C.A. 1st Lt.
R Kingston, D.B. T/Sgt.
E Berger, R.F. T/Sgt.
RW Markle, J.M. S/Sgt.
LW Conn, J.G. S/Sgt.
TG Manville, F.E. S/Sgt.
MV Fowler, R.T. 1st Lt.
PN Lipman, B.D. 1st Lt.