• 27 March 1944
  • Mission #58
  • Target: Mont-De-Marsan A/F

This mission was another long one. The target, a German airfield at Mont-de-Marsan, France, was only about 70 miles from Spain. It was a final phase single-engine operational training base with a few long-range bombers as well.

At the briefing, crews were advised that if they had to land in Spain, they should tell their captors they had been on an Air-Sea Rescue mission or patrol. They were also informed there was a race course just a half mile northwest of the target. The briefer also warned them to be careful of bombing over France-only airfields were legitimate targets.

The 44th BG, loaded with 500-pound General Purpose bombs, would lead the 14th Combat Wing followed by the 392nd BG with fragmentation bombs.

Eighteen aircraft were launched around 0830 hours; two later aborted due to mechanical problems. The 578th Squadron was assigned lead with 1/Lt Joachim, Lead Bombardier. Take-off weather was hampered by low visibilities down to 100 yards. Enroute and in the target area no enemy opposition was experienced.

Weather at the target was clear with unlimited visibility. All squadrons bombed visually with excellent results and a total of 638 M1A1bombs impacted the target. In its Analysis of Bombing, the 2nd Air Division reported that after "bombing in one section" the 392nd "obtained excellent results on the Mont-De-Marsan Airfield. They covered 90% of the assigned rectangle with fragmentation bombs. 12 enemy aircraft on the ground seem to be within the effective range of the bombs."

Recovery weather in England continued to be poor upon return which forced all aircraft to divert to other bases. Most crews (Matthias, Conneran, Johnson, Slipp, Abell, Brauer, Edwards, Schildknecht, Reade, Morefield, Cohen, Nugent, Darnell, and Lotterhos) landed at 1820 hours at Boscombe Downe, an RAF base about 80 miles west of London where their British counterparts entertained in grand fashion. Meighen landed at Shipdham at 1855, refueled, and landed at Sculthorpe, Norfolk, at 2005, where the crew was interrogated. Goodwin landed at Chipping Ongar in Essex. All crews returned to Wendling by 1520 the next day.

According to the 577th Sqdn history, "Capt Copp and his crew had a very narrow escape on [this mission]. During assembly a fire broke out on the flight deck. When it appeared that they would be unable to put out the fire, five members of the crew including Lt. Rapenport bailed out, all landing safely. The fire was then brought under control and the plane landed safely at Bungay.

Click on images to enlarge.

CREW LOADING LIST - MISSION #9

27 Mar 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 433
P Mathias, W.E. 1st Lt.
CP Jones, L.C. 2nd Lt.
N Mateyka, M.R. 2nd Lt.
B Tudor, J.R. 2nd Lt.
E Chambless, S.L. T/Sgt.
R Slyhoff, K.G. T/Sgt.
RW Blackwell, R.B. S/Sgt.
LW Burke, W.N. S/Sgt.
BT Smock, J.M. S/Sgt.
TG Weverka, J.E. S/Sgt.
27 Mar 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 560
P Meighen, W.E. 2nd Lt.
CP Mason, J.J. 2nd Lt.
N Plunkett, F.A. 2nd Lt.
B Anderson, C.S. S/Sgt.
E Austin, L.D. S/Sgt.
R Epstein, B.B. S/Sgt.
RW Bode, J.E. Sgt.
LW MacDonell, K.A.. Sgt.
BT Kuhns, R.H. Sgt
TG Cuevas, D.E. Sgt.
27 Mar 1944 576th Sqdn.
A/C 511
P Conneran, E.J. 2nd Lt.
CP Callaghan, G.P. 2nd Lt.
N Kramer, L.G. 2nd Lt.
B Gragg, S.J. 2nd Lt.
E Sooy, H.B. S/Sgt.
R Still, J.T. S/Sgt.
RW Horey, E.N. Sgt.
LW Repley, C.A. Sgt.
BT Wimberly, W.G. Sgt.
TG Hanna, W.W. S/Sgt.
27 Mar 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 759 (no mission credit)
P Scheltens, G.A. 2nd Lt.
CP Vaughan, H.C. 2nd Lt.
N Coward, D.M. 2nd Lt.
NG Sackeli, A. Sgt.
E Morr, R.J. T/Sgt.
R Borden, K.L. S/Sgt.
RW Mandelkow, E. S/Sgt.
LW Crotty, W.L. S/Sgt.
BT Thompson, I.F. S/Sgt.
TG Freeman, J.B. Sgt.
27 Mar 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 754
P Slipp, F.E. 1st Lt.
CP Jensen, A.H. 1st Lt.
N Beatson, R.J. 1st Lt.
B Gray, W.L. 1st Lt.
E McKinley, W.C. T/Sgt.
R Lorenzen, W.H. T/Sgt.
RW Kolczynski, W.J. S/Sgt.
LW White, F.A. S/Sgt.
BT Buzick, J.M. S/Sgt.
TG Cordick, D.H. Sgt.
Hurley, W.F. T/Sgt.
27 Mar 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 505
P Brauer, G.M. 1st Lt.
CP Clifford, J.F. 2nd Lt.
N McGough, J.G. 2nd Lt.
NG Lindsay, E.L. S/Sgt.
E LaRue, E.W. T/Sgt.
R Abraham, H.F. T/Sgt.
RW Stogner, O.T. S/Sgt.
LW Keller, L.D. S/Sgt.
BT Branciforte, N. S/Sgt.
TG Rachell, W.W. S/Sgt.
27 Mar 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 427
P Abell, G.W. 2nd Lt.
CP Eldridge, M.C. 2nd Lt.
N Cohen, J.M. 2nd Lt.
NG Macklin, C.D. S/Sgt.
E Tryboski, L.E. T/Sgt.
R Sichau, W.R. T/Sgt.
RW Horton, H.E. Sgt.
LW Roper, D.W. Sgt.
BT Manville, F.E. S/Sgt.
TG Moore, J.R. S/Sgt.
27 Mar 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 704
P Johnson, O.P. 2nd Lt.
CP Tedford, L.W. 2nd Lt.
N Roberts, M.E. 2nd Lt.
B Feagan, H.C. 1st Lt.
E Whitson, M.D. S/Sgt.
R Perlberg, A.C. S/Sgt.
RW Barnard, C.F. S/Sgt.
LW Joyce, R. S/Sgt.
BT Kaeble, R.R. S/Sgt.
TG Marchuk, J. S/Sgt.
27 Mar 1944 577th Sqdn.
A/C 649 (no mission credit)
P Copp, R.D. Capt.
CP Meyers, J.W. 1st Lt.
N Gries, R.F. 1st Lt.
B Rapenport, R. 1st Lt.
E Hodge, G.L. T/Sgt.
R Bisnett, B.R. T/Sgt.
RW Matthews. A.D. S/Sgt.
LW Hohman, H. S/Sgt.
BT Nowicki, M.M. T/Sgt.
TG Noone, T.E. Jr. S/Sgt.
27 Mar 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 466
P Edwards, C.E. Capt.
CP Polking, W.A. Maj.
N Untiedt, L.F. Capt.
NG Westbrook, J.W. Jr. 1st Lt.
B Joachim, W.F. 1st Lt.
E Mellow, N.J. T/Sgt.
R Braddock, W.A. T/Sgt.
RW LeBleu, L.W. S/Sgt.
LW Medel, M.N. Sgt.
BT Hill, R.E. S/Sgt.
TG Phelps, G.A. S/Sgt.
27 Mar 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 478
Obs Caley, P.B. Maj.
P Reade, J.J. Capt.
CP Smith, R.L. 1st Lt.
N Planche, M.M. 1st Lt.
B Ziccarelli, J.A. 1st Lt.
E Edwards, C.E. T/Sgt.
R Whitmore, B. T/Sgt.
RW Sikoff, H. S/Sgt.
LW Bauer, W.E. S/Sgt.
BT Wagner, D.R. S/Sgt.
TG Turner, L.F. S/Sgt.
Schwabel, C.A. T/Sgt.
27 Mar 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 896
P Cohen, S. 1st Lt.
CP Shoenhair, R.D. 1st Lt.
N Mardirosian, A. 2nd Lt.
B Valker, G.E. 2nd Lt.
E Dellinger, T.C. S/Sgt.
R Buckley, G.J. T/Sgt.
RW Hayes, F.W. T/Sgt.
LW Carr, H.L. S/Sgt.
BT Thrower, W.E. S/Sgt.
TG McGee, R.C. S/Sgt.
27 Mar 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 485
P Morefield, H.F. 1st Lt.
CP Grisell, R. 2nd Lt.
N Kaufman, K.S. 2nd Lt.
NG Bluejacket, J.W. S/Sgt.
E Betterley, E.C. S/Sgt.
R Gerrard, R.W. T/Sgt.
RW Kottke, A.H. T/Sgt.
LW Breithaupt, H.A. S/Sgt.
BT Adago, D.R. S/Sgt.
TG Wilk, H. S/Sgt.
27 Mar 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 688
P Goodwin, R.K. 2nd Lt.
CP McGee, R.E. 2nd Lt.
N Wettig, C.O. 2nd Lt.
B Gerrish, R.J. 2nd Lt.
E Chacon, M.J. S/Sgt.
R Roberts, E.M. S/Sgt.
RW Maxwell, R.J. Sgt.
LW Parsley, H.D. Sgt.
BT Durand, R.E. S/Sgt.
TG Krueger, R.C. Sgt.
27 Mar 1944 578th Sqdn.
A/C 187
P Schildknecht, H.E. 1st Lt.
CP Long, J.D. Jr. 2nd Lt.
N Hersh, A. 2nd Lt.
B Wasowicz, M.V. 2nd Lt.
E Sadler, R.S. T/Sgt.
R Begley, J.F. T/Sgt.
RW Reade, G.J. S/Sgt.
LW Gegere, G.P. Sgt.
BT Reid, H.A. S/Sgt.
TG Reed, B.P. S/Sgt.
27 Mar 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 261
P Nugent, W.A. 1st Lt.
CP Burciaga, L.R. 2nd Lt.
N Davis, W.X. 2nd Lt.
B Krause, W.N. 2nd Lt.
E O'Brien, J.J. T/Sgt.
R Demming, F.H. T/Sgt.
RW Pawlyshyn, M.J. S/Sgt.
LW McGahey, G.L. S/Sgt.
BT Lander, W. S/Sgt.
TG Sowers, D.R. S/Sgt.
27 Mar 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 510
P Lotterhos, R.H. Jr. 1st Lt.
CP Zolomy, E.M. 2nd Lt.
N Healing, K.A. 2nd Lt.
NG Durant, W. S/Sgt.
E Thompson, R.L. T/Sgt.
R Garay, M.W. T/Sgt.
RW Ward, W.D. S/Sgt.
LW Rebiejo, F. S/Sgt
BT Bunyea, E.W. S/Sgt.
TG Moody, C.B. S/Sgt.
27 Mar 1944 579th Sqdn.
A/C 789
P Darnell, J.F. Jr. 1st Lt.
CP Slagle, E.E. 2nd Lt.
N Stasney, A.J. 2nd Lt.
B Lory, R.C. 2nd Lt.
E Whitaker, J.W. S/Sgt.
R Mandel, R.F. T/Sgt.
RW Rego, M.A. S/Sgt.
LW Sundo, J.R. S/Sgt.
BT Courtney, E.J. Sgt.
TG Ward, L.E. Sgt.