392nd Bomb Group

Target: St. Jean D'Angely, France - 31 December 1943 - Mission #21

On the last mission flown in 1943, the 14th Combat Wing accomplished an excellent bombing task. The target was an airfield southeast of St. Jean D'Angely, France. The Intelligence Annex to Field Order No. 173 stated that the target was "a continuation of the attack on the Luftwaffe only attacking it in its training stages rather than production or finished products."

The 392nd led the 2nd Bomb Division with 27 ships taking off and 23 bombing the briefed target. They released 274 M64 500-pound General Purpose bombs. Per the 392nd's teletype to the 2nd Bombardment Division, "Returning crews described the bombing attack as excellent. Initial photographic interpretation reveals that at least 2 hangars and adjacent buildings blanketed. 10 to 12 airplanes which were seen on hangar aprons immediately before bomb bursts are no doubt destroyed. Some bombs were observed striking a small village about 1000 yards short of the MPI."

Fifteen mostly single engine enemy fighters were encountered, including 6 Me-109s, 7 FW-190s, and 3 JU-88s. #42-7605 exploded going into the target area due to this fighter action.

One a/c, 576th plane #42-7537, suffered a landing accident near RAF Swanton Morley, Norfolk, England. 392nd BG crew chief Ernie Barber later recalled, "At one of our reunions here in the States I was talking to the Co-Pilot 2/Lt Robert M. Berger and he said that at the time of the landing as it was skidding towards the house everybody on board was hollering St-o-o-o-o-p and it came to a stop with the leading edge of the left wing right in front of the front door. All got out. One of them went up to the front door and knocked and an elderly lady came to the door where he told her he was sorry but he was so happy that they didn't harm her house and that they would send someone after the plane."

On 1 January 1944, the 392nd received this teletype: "The following message was received from the CG 2D Division; Quote Congratulations on the splendid performance today of the 14th Combat Wing. The record of the 44th 392 in putting 47 airplanes over the target out of 47 airborne is a glowing tribute to leadership and to the efficiency of combat and maintenance personnel. Also it gives me extreme satisfaction to tell you that your bombing today was the finest example of precision bombing yet accomplished by the Division. We are proud of all of you. Please pass this message to Fred Dent and Bull Rendle with my hearty if somewhat selfish wish for continued successes during the New Year. Signed General Hodges. Unquote. Needless to say, I am also proud of all of you. [signed] General Leon W. Johnson"

These photos show just how close 42-7537, Jungle Princess, came to the house.
Click on images to enlarge.


MISSING AIRCREW REPORT: #01676 AIRCRAFT: #42-7605 (NO NICKNAME) "T-Bar" 1st Mission
P   1/LT McKee, Thomas R.     KIA
CP  2/LT Walker, Thomas G.    KlA
N   2/LT Dinsmore, Robert S.  KIA
B   2/LT Simons, Lee (NMI)    KlA
R/O T/S  Morrison, Thomas C.  KIA
EnG T/S  Sackal, Ward M.      KIA
WG  S/S  Murphy, Horace G. Jr KIA
WG  SGT  Nuzum, Marion E.     KIA
BG  S/S  Painter, Richard E.  KIA
TG  S/S  Malavasic, Anthony F.POW

MISSION LOSS CIRCUMSTANCES: The single line remark on the eye-witness account of a returning Group crew man was "ship #605 blew up going to target area; no chutes seen." Sgt. Malavasic’s later ‘Casualty Questionnaire’ report after the war noted the following brief remarks: Their ship left the bomber formation over the target at about 1215 hours, altitude 18,000 feet; (though not available in this single page report, it is presumed that enemy fighter attacks caused this aircrew’s downing); that all other crewmen were in their respective positions either seriously wounded or dead at the time of this plane’s destruction; and that the aircraft struck the ground about (20) miles from the target.

INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS OF CREWMEN FATES: The only existing report on this aircrew’s loss is the account of Sgt. Malavasic noted above. He was taken as a POW, however no German reports are appended in this MACR regarding his capture, nor any record on the crash of this plane.

According to French researcher Bernard Ballanger, 1st Lt McKee was flying near the end of the 445th Bomb Group formation when they were attacked by a band of German fighters coming from all directions. A French eyewitness saw his B-24 start to smoke and then leave the formation. It exploded into several pieces. A burning wing fell on the home of Mrs. Yvonne Bourdejeau, who died on Jan. 20, 1944 from burns.

Another eyewitness saw one of the crew fall to earth in his turret, held in place by his safety harness and seemingly asleep at his guns. Two parachutes were seen and an observer watched in horror as one of them was strafed by the fighters and killed. The other parachutist was tail gunner Sgt Anthony Malavasic, the sole survivor. He was captured within an hour of landing.

BURIAL RECORDS: The crewman who was strafed was buried initially in the village cemetery in Bédenac, France; the rest of the crew was buried initially in the cemetery of St. Vivien. U.S. Cemetery lists record the following; At the RHONE Cemetery, (28) miles west of Cannes and (16) miles inland (France): McKee (Grave C-11-1); Walker (Grave D-6-6); Dinsmore (Grave A-6-19); and Sackal (Grave A-12-5);Simons (Grave D-1-24). No records exist on any of the other deceased crew members, German or U.S. On recorded citations, On recorded citations, McKee, Walker, and Simons are noted as having been awarded an Air Medal and the Purple Heart; Sackal was given awards of an Air Medal with (2) Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart; and Dinsmore, the Purple Heart.

NEXT OF KIN DATA IN WWII: The following record is given in this MACR: McKee (Wife, Mrs. Thomas R. of Lebanon, Tennessee) Walker (Mother, Mary G. Walker, Roswell, Pennsylvania); Dinsmore (Mother, Ada Dinsmore, New Kensington, Pennsylvania); Simons (Wife, Adrienne of Brookline, Massachusetts); Morrison (Wife, Marjorie, Marshall,, Pennsylvania); Sackel (Father, George J., Norwalk, Connecticut); Murphy (Wife, Myra Jane of Kilgore, Texas); Musum (Wife, Fay W, Wheeling, West Virginia); Painter (Mother, Anna J, Dale, Indiana); and Malavasic (Mother, Frances, Cleveland, Ohio).

A memorial to the McKee crew near their crash site was unveiled on December 31, 1947 by the organization French Memory. Each anniversary since then, flowers have been laid at the memorial and at Mrs. Boudejeau's grave. In another tribute to the McKee crew and other Allied airmen who participated in that mission, a street in Montlieu-la Garde was renamed "Rue du 31 Décembre 1943."

Click on images to enlarge.


31 Dec 1943 576th Sqdn.
A/C 492
P Becker. J.R. 1st Lt.
CP Roddy, W.H. 2nd Lt.
N Feller, L. 1st Lt.
B Miller, D.A. 1st Lt.
E Patterson, H.C. Jr. T/Sgt.
R Vovos, A.D. T/Sgt.
AE Deal, F.F. Jr. S/Sgt.
AR Williams, A.L. Jr. S/Sgt.
AG Ross, H.J. S/Sgt.
G Schilter, N.J. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 576th Sqdn.
A/C 487
P Johns, M.T. 1st Lt.
CP Henderson, M.A. 2nd Lt.
N Silvasy, F.A. 2nd Lt.
B Sriver, E.R. 2nd Lt.
E Indahl, J.M. T/Sgt.
R Gressler, E.J. T/Sgt.
AE Przeniczny, W. S/Sgt.
AR Kenyon, C.L. S/Sgt.
AG Zerangue, F.A. S/Sgt.
G Sanchez, I.V. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 576th Sqdn.
A/C 511
P Connery, W.R. 1st Lt.
CP Cooper, R.W. 2nd Lt.
N Porter, C.V. 2nd Lt.
B Breck, J.H. Jr. 2nd Lt.
E Shilling, R.E. T/Sgt.
R Allen, I.M. S/Sgt.
AE Heller, L.M. T/Sgt.
AR Leibow, G. Sgt.
AG Smith, J.W. S/Sgt.
G Glende, B.I. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 576th Sqdn.
A/C 598
P Miller, H.W. 1st Lt.
CP Hurd, E.A. Jr. 2nd Lt.
N Murray, F.P. 2nd Lt.
B Greene, D.R. 2nd Lt.
E Megenhardt, J.F. T/Sgt.
R Mallamaci, J.T. T/Sgt.
AE McCombs, A.D. S/Sgt.
AR Lorine, J.R. S/Sgt.
AG Wheeler, M. S/Sgt.
G Rausch, T.A. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 576th Sqdn.
A/C 129
P Rouse, M.S. 2nd Lt.
CP Schumacher, R.L. 2nd Lt.
N Henderson, D.T. 2nd Lt.
B Henderson, A.D. 2nd Lt.
E Nilson, T.N. T/Sgt.
R Gorman, E.P. T/Sgt.
AE Beaulieu, J.F. S/Sgt.
AR Walters, J.S. S/Sgt.
AG Lancaster, P.M. S/Sgt.
G Mezo, C.L. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 576th Sqdn.
A/C 537
P Neff, C.L. 2nd Lt.
CP Simpson, H.L. 2nd Lt.
N Smith, C.W. 2nd Lt.
B Hadeka, A.A. 2nd Lt.
E Benham, C.E. S/Sgt.
R Diaz, C.A. S/Sgt.
AE Pennington, E.B. Sgt.
AR Hale, J.L. S/Sgt.
AG Walter, C.D. Sgt.
G Ware, J.W. Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 576th Sqdn.
A/C 435
P Wittel, E.F. 2nd Lt.
CP Marsters, W.R. 2nd Lt.
N Karl, J.F. 2nd Lt.
B Zuk, J.C. 2nd Lt.
E Polovich, J. T/Sgt.
R Jeffcoat, C.M. T/Sgt.
AE Cannada, V.P. S/Sgt.
AR Twitchell, F.O. Sgt.
AG Miller, D.D. S/Sgt.
G Ross, L.K. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 577th Sqdn.
A/C 489
CA Gilbert, L.G. Maj.
P Gonseth, F. 1st Lt.
CP Slipp, F.E. 1st Lt.
N Paddock, K.Q. Capt.
N Delach, J.J. 1st Lt.
B Colburn, R.F. 1st Lt.
E Jennings, H.C. T/Sgt.
R Kirkpatrick, H.L. T/Sgt.
AE Driver, D.M. S/Sgt.
AR Feller, N.L. S/Sgt.
AG Warren, J.D. S/Sgt.
G Whalen, J.S. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 577th Sqdn.
A/C 546
P Peterson, L.G. 1st Lt.
CP Lidgard, W.V. 2nd Lt.
N Long, A.L. 2nd Lt.
B Salsberg, M. 2nd Lt.
E Lawrence, H.F. T/Sgt.
R Bellerive, R.D. T/Sgt.
AE Opsahl, R.C. S/Sgt.
AR Smith, A.C. S/Sgt.
AG Apgar, D.R. S/Sgt.
G Stevens, R.K. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 577th Sqdn.
A/C 495
CA Schoolmaster, C.F. Capt.
P Lambert, R.P. 1st Lt.
CP Haviland, A.F. 1st Lt.
N Kapp, R.A. 1st Lt.
B Whittaker, J.B. Capt.
B Godfrey, H.M. 1st Lt.
E Reese, W.J. T/Sgt.
R Brown, J.S. T/Sgt.
AE Tantum, W.R. S/Sgt.
AR Day, W.N. S/Sgt.
AG Schulz, W.G. Sgt.
G Pfeifer, A. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 577th Sqdn.
A/C 174
P Brauer, G.M. 2nd Lt.
CP Clifford, J.F. 2nd Lt.
N McGough, J.G. 2nd Lt.
B McBrayer, J.N. 2nd Lt.
E Larue, E.W. T/Sgt.
R Abraham, H.F. T/Sgt.
AE Branciforte, N. S/Sgt.
AR Whited, J.A. S/Sgt.
AG Keller, L.D. S/Sgt.
G Rachell, W.W. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 577th Sqdn.
A/C 480
P Layton, S.H. Jr. 1st Lt.
CP Jensen, A.H. 1st Lt.
N Donaldson, C.D. 2nd Lt.
B Feagan, H.C. 2nd Lt.
E Johnson, J.C. T/Sgt.
R Gibbs, R.R. T/Sgt.
AE Gottschalk, G.W. S/Sgt.
AR Daughtry, A.Z. S/Sgt.
AG Boomhower, A. S/Sgt.
G Constabile, F.R. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 577th Sqdn.
A/C 482
P Egan, R.L. 1st Lt.
CP Basham, F.G. 2nd Lt.
N Harris, W.B. 2nd Lt.
B Gray, W.L. 2nd Lt.
E Hurley, W.F. T/Sgt.
R Pope, F.B. S/Sgt.
AE Hurley, A. S/Sgt.
AR Stogner, O.T. S/Sgt.
AG Salisbury, J.F. S/Sgt.
G Kennedy, B.S. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 577th Sqdn.
A/C 479
P Usry, W.F. 2nd Lt.
CP Turner, D.L. 2nd Lt.
N Snyder, R.D. 2nd Lt.
B Floyd, C.E. 2nd Lt.
E Morr, R.J. T/Sgt.
R Howard, R.E. T/Sgt.
AE Matta, I.D. S/Sgt.
AR Horowitz, G. S/Sgt.
AG Dunlap, V.M. S/Sgt.
G Matthews. A.D. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 578th Sqdn.
A/C 466
P Stauder, J.B. 1st Lt.
CP Johnson, R.L. 1st Lt.
N Haenzi, W.R. 2nd Lt.
B Hunter, R.M. 1st Lt.
E Kottke, A.H. T/Sgt.
R Whitmore, B. Jr. T/Sgt.
AE Reynolds, H.D. S/Sgt.
AR Rider, F.D. S/Sgt.
AG Jones, N.J.E. Jr. S/Sgt.
G Milliken, E.W. S/Sgt.
X Harris, J.N. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 578th Sqdn.
A/C 485
P Lishka, A. Jr. 1st Lt.
CP Feld, B.H. 2nd Lt.
N Moorehead, J.C. 2nd Lt.
B Brockway, O.E. 2nd Lt.
E Carlson, C.E. T/Sgt.
R Clark, F.C. S/Sgt.
AE Halstead, H.C. S/Sgt.
AR Dohm, H.E. S/Sgt.
AG Drylie, J. Jr. S/Sgt.
G Dedmon, S.E. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 578th Sqdn.
A/C 605
P McKee, T.R. 1st Lt.
CP Walker, T.G. 2nd Lt.
N Dinsmore, R.S. 2nd Lt.
B Simons, L. 2nd Lt.
E Nuzum, M.E. Sgt.
R Murphy, H.G. Jr. S/Sgt.
AE Sackal, W.M. T/Sgt.
AR Morrison, T.C. T/Sgt.
AG Painter, R.E. S/Sgt.
G Malavasic, A.F. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 578th Sqdn.
A/C 624
P George, F.A. 1st Lt.
CP Stephens, L.M. 2nd Lt.
N Sweeney, P.J. 2nd Lt.
B Kelly, F.B. 2nd Lt.
E Parker, J.D. T/Sgt.
R Sweeney, L.F. T/Sgt.
AE Ellingson, H.E. S/Sgt.
AR Sheppard, W.B. S/Sgt.
AG Goodall, W.J. S/Sgt.
G Theodore, R.N. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 578th Sqdn.
A/C 596
P Cohen, S. 2nd Lt.
CP Shoenhair, R.D. 2nd Lt.
N Mardirosian, A. 2nd Lt.
B Valker, G.E. 2nd Lt.
E Hayes, F.W. S/Sgt.
R Buckley, G.J. S/Sgt.
AE Carr, H.L. Sgt.
AR Dellinger, T.C. Sgt.
AG Thrower, W.E. Sgt.
G McGee, R.C. Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 578th Sqdn.
A/C 518
P Carnine, G.D. 1st Lt.
CP Spears, K.E. 2nd Lt.
N Mastron, V. 2nd Lt.
B Ziccarelli, J.A. 2nd Lt.
E Hopson, N.A. T/Sgt.
R Barbee, B.B. T/Sgt.
AE Ostroski, L.B. S/Sgt.
AR Norby, M.W. S/Sgt.
AG Knies, G.R. S/Sgt.
G Kwasnycia, N. S/Sgt.
G Murphy, E.R. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 578th Sqdn.
A/C 478
P Young, M.N. 2nd Lt.
CP Goodwin, J.J. 2nd Lt.
N Dunphy, R.J. 2nd Lt.
B Thomson, V.E. 2nd Lt.
E Triplett, W.F. S/Sgt.
R Garcia, P.J. S/Sgt.
AE Teater, R.S. S/Sgt.
AR Porter, C.C. S/Sgt.
AG Doub, J.H. S/Sgt.
G Rickey, J.J. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 579th Sqdn.
A/C 570
P Everhart, W.C. 1st Lt.
CP Sassaman, F.J. 2nd Lt.
N Lowder, L.L. 2nd Lt.
B Chatten, J.F. 1st Lt.
E Fowler, R.G. S/Sgt.
R Beard, J.W. S/Sgt.
AE Darling, L. Sgt.
AR Veit, F.L. S/Sgt.
AG Gaudreau, H.P. S/Sgt.
G Dudley, W.R. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 579th Sqdn.
A/C 472
P Stukus, J. 1st Lt.
CP Moffat, J.E. 2nd Lt.
N Lindlow, R.R. 2nd Lt.
B Gentry, L.E. 2nd Lt.
E Mattson, W.R. T/Sgt.
R Dykes, J.R. T/Sgt.
AE Paolantonio, A.L. S/Sgt.
AR Rosati, L.P. S/Sgt.
AG McCrary, J.E. S/Sgt.
G McGinley, W.C. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 579th Sqdn.
A/C 473
P Spartage, G. 2nd Lt.
CP Kern, R.B. 2nd Lt.
N Tauskey, W.A. 2nd Lt.
B Campbell, R.A. 2nd Lt.
E Burns, R.N. S/Sgt.
R Worthington, P.A. S/Sgt.
AE Warren, O.J. Sgt.
AR Helmke, E.F. Sgt.
AG Riedlinger, A.J. Sgt.
G Ridgeway, J.W. Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 579th Sqdn.
A/C 083
P Hull, R.L. 1st Lt.
CP Durrance, E.E. 2nd Lt.
N Coleman, V.B. 2nd Lt.
B Lessey, J.E. 2nd Lt.
E Hay, W.R. T/Sgt.
R Johnson, J.F. T/Sgt.
AE Surls, D.L. S/Sgt.
AR Griffin, E.F. S/Sgt.
AG Buchert, W.L. S/Sgt.
G Vasquez, R. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 579th Sqdn.
A/C 127
P Detrick, J.W. 1st Lt.
CP Schneider, J.E. 2nd Lt.
N Connolly, J.D. 1st Lt.
B Hall, H.P. 1st Lt.
E Owen, E.D. T/Sgt.
R Castle, O.D. S/Sgt.
AE Ross, J.R. S/Sgt.
AR LaBonte, F.J. T/Sgt.
AG Dill, W.F. S/Sgt.
G Bacon, G.W. S/Sgt.
31 Dec 1943 579th Sqdn.
A/C 529
P Higgins, J.A. Jr. 1st Lt.
CP Wharton, P. 2nd Lt.
N Casey, H.W. 2nd Lt.
B Broyles, C. Jr. 2nd Lt.
E Boerschinger, M.F. T/Sgt.
R Cauble, W.R. T/Sgt.
AE Bookout, R.J. S/Sgt.
AR Sumlin, T.E. S/Sgt.
AG York, D.L. S/Sgt.
G Piper, C.A. S/Sgt.