MISSION NO. 162

COBLENZ, GERMANY

24 DECEMBER, 1944

The Eighth Air Force was unable to cope with the weather. 20 December to 23 December was a repeat of 16 to 18 December. A relentless and stubborn fog had moved in and had accomplished what the German Luftwaffe had been unable to do, keep the bombers on the ground.

The ground troops were desperate for air support. That was to finally come on Christmas Eve, when the Air Force meteorologists predicted a break in the weather. The Eighth Air Force planned what would be the largest air assault in the history of air warfare, 2,000 heavy bombers, plus fighter and other support units, with all groups putting up all airworthy planes. The 457th responded with 45 bombers. The assigned target was Coblenz, Germany. The 457th was to comprise the lead, low and high squadrons of the 94th A Combat Group, flying ninth in Division formation. The Air Commander was Captain Doherty with Captain Seesenguth as pilot.

Despite the meteorologists' predictions, the weather on Christmas Eve was just as miserable as the days before, snowing, foggy, with a coldness that penetrated the skin. In early morning, just before six o'clock, two bombs (V-I's) dropped south of the base, apparently intended for a nearby munitions plant. The explosion shook the base.

The crews flying the mission had an early morning briefing and proceeded to the planes. However, takeoff was delayed due to the weather. At 1024 hours, the planes did begin taking off. Six planes were airborne before the craft piloted by Lt. Carl P. Sundbaum crashed on takeoff,, claiming the life of one crew member. The explosion rocked the base for the second time that day. The crash closed the runways, because it was not visible in the fog, and crash equipment had difficulty finding it in the field off the end of the runway.

Two of the Group aircraft, having been diverted from the previous mission, took off from other bases and joined the six craft already airborne from Glatton. The eight craft assembled on the Glatton Buncher at 7,000 feet and continued to circle it, waiting for the other craft to assemble. Word was then received from the tower that the mission had been scrubbed and to proceed to Ridgewell and land. A little later a stand by was received and shortly thereafter the eight were directed to form with the 401St Bomb Group, and proceed with the mission. They were to fly as high-high squadron with the 40 1st.

The aircraft took interval behind the high squadron of the 40 1st Group, but the high-high lead craft was forced to abort after having been hit by antiaircraft fire, and turned the lead over to the No.3 position (the deputy was not able to take over because of mechanical difficulties). Because of this, the section became separated from the 401st and was not able to maintain formation.

A visual run was made on Coblenz. There was about one-tenth cloud coverage and visibility was fair. The MPI was not actually sighted because it was obscured by smoke and clouds, and bombing was done by triangulation, the bombs being released from 26,000 feet. No other difficulties were encountered. The lead craft attacked a target of opportunity and returned to base Individually.

The other seven aircraft, being unable to rally with the 40lst,joined the 398th Group formation and flew the return route without incident. All aircraft were diverted to other bases because of local weather conditions. A normal let down was made and they landed without further difficulty.

Thirty-four aircraft took off in the afternoon and assembled on the Glatton Buncher at 7,000 feet. No difficulties were encountered.

No Division assembly was accomplished. Because of the late takeoff, word was received to proceed to the Channel and jettison bombs in order to return to base by 1700 hours. After releasing bombs, the Group executed a 180 degree turn and flew back to the Glatton Buncher.

One crew went into enemy territory alone and bombed Daun, a target of opportunity.

Because of local weather conditions, all aircraft were diverted to Eye and Horham, where the crews spent a rather miserable Christmas.

Three craft that had been diverted from the 19 December mission departed from Knettishell and bombed with the 3 88th Bomb Group.

The Eighth Air Force was led on the mission by General Frederick W. Castle, Commanding Officer of the 4th Combat Wing. As General Castle's plane neared the front battle lines of the ground forces, No. 4 engine began to give trouble. A short time later a swarm of Me-I 09s appeared and attacked. No longer able to maintain its lead position, the plane pulled out of formation and was attacked again by the Me-I 09s. With the full bomb load still being carried; General Castle attempted to fly the plane to a spot where no damage could occur to Allied troops. The plane exploded and crashed in Belgium, killing General Castle and the pilot. For gallantry in action, above and beyond the call of duty, General Castle was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.


CREW LOADING LIST

December 24th, 1944
Mission No 162  Target  Coblenz, Germany

If you desire to see the original scanned loading lists, click on the respective blue squadron header below.
(If a very small image appears, click on the small image to enlarge.)

  748th Squadron 749th Squadron 750th Squadron 751th Squadron
  A/C # 219 A/C # 566 A/C # 765 A/C # 301
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Lt
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Sgt
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Donald L. Seesenguth
William K. Doherty
John C. Muir
William P. Meng
Basuil Felecisimo
Kenneth B. Taylor
Raymond D. Brodin
George R. Langowski
William M. Thacker, Jr
Josey N. Nelson
 
Lt
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Sgt
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Ray D. Hedrick, Jr
Robert C. Reid
John B. Parker
Robert E. Mattox
James L. Quarry
Edwin B. Benson
Robert E. Wills
Donald H. Gravelle
Vincent J. Fallon
John F. McGillian
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Sgt
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George L. Mathews
Albert A. Bean
Thomas S.Sajatovich
Thomas A. Dunn
William A. Allerdice
Fernando Urzanqui
James R. Boyle
Hubert H. Duckett
Duan E, Reich
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Lt
Lt
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Sgt
Sgt
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Ambrose W. Reese
James F. Stoner
Paul A. Brook
Joel  Lester
Edward F. Peters
Charles E. Kenney
James E. McCloskey
Percy C. Mack
Alfred C. Hetrick
 

  A/C #  152 A/C # 125 A/C # 518 A/C # 028
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Lon A. McCauley, Jr.
Robert C. Quincy
Harry J. Campbell
Henry L. Bartnowski
Bernard J. Carroll
Wilmer G. Boykin
Frederick F. Parlin
Elmer J. Markle
Ray M. Bechtel

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William F. Fiedler
Fredrick C. Ernest
Robert W. Pace
Edward R. Sage
Michael E. Attaway
George A. Steltzer
Joseph M. Mooney
Rudolph E. Stegeman
Gerald D. Stevens

Lt
Lt
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Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
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Sgt
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Ero E. Salo
Milton W. Casey
Adam E. Santora
Doyle H. Brown
Clifford C. Koeneman
Jonh P. Fulgham
Nicholas T. Benos
Sal Bachos
Casper J. Casciano
 
Lt
Lt
Lt
Lt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
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Arthur M. Ford
William L. Gibbons
William A. Moore
Maurice S. Wilks
Gene F. Skidmore
Melvin G. Shields
Robert B. Templin
Dancil J. Adams
Thoas W. Smith
 

  A/C # 885 A/C # 540 A/C # 934 A/C # 509
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Sgt
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Donald L. Zeiler
Sidney A. Bacon
William C. Oliver
Samuel J. Gelvin
Dominic F. Muscato
Donald A. Swisher
Stanley R. Patterson
James J. Rodel
Carl Lewis

Lt
Capt
Lt
Lt
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William T. Robertson
Edward B. Dozier
Marsh Hovey
John E. Martin
Vincento C. Acunto
Frank H. Pearman
Louis A. Dahle
Bernard Stutman
John F. Brown
 
Lt
Lt
F/O
Lt
Sgt
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 Henry S. Blach
Harold R. Hall
Leslie J. Tesdall
Otis N. Bennett
Edward V. Maculaitis
Samuel J. Williams
Robert F. Seastrand
Wendell H. Perry
Charles E. Sizemore

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Stephen L. Dewald
Lorenz M. Koch
Byron E. Francisco
Richard E. Hansen
Elias M. Remirez
Frank J. Spurchise
Frank Nowakowski
Paul H. Suer
Anthony S. Lanza
 

  A/C # 190 A/C # 540 A/C # 881 A/C # 909
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Victor F. Pfendler
Lyle E. Keran
Paul F. Lumbya
Vaughn D. Heidenreich
Normand R. Menard
Robert W. Edwards
Cleotis N. Helm
Sam E. Dike
Ralph D. Ice
Lt
Lt
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William R. McCall, Jr.
Thomas L. Gregory
Arthur M. Livingstone
George A. Cooke
George W. Perry
Robert J. Hayes
Linville Wills
Walter L. Slate
Larido A. Battisti
Lt
Lt
Lt
Sgt
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John R. Godwin
Edward R. Skyrms
Robert F. Kellow
Frank J. Clark
Andrew J. McCormick
George Kakeh
Vincent C. Liguori
Paul J. Bernstel
Harold H. Reynolds

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Sgt
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 John A. Fox
Gerald M. Russell
Jack R. Muth
Wilfred G. Finke
Alfred J. Rubino
Calvin Campbell
Richard J. Imhoff
Guy P. Wharton
Dorsia C. Stutler
Dorsia C. Stutler

  A/C #  826 A/C # 574 A/C # 114 A/C # 854
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Paul F. Gillman
Don E. Jensen
Thomas M. Karr
Robert W. Crowe
Samuel H. Schafstall
William S. Stanton
Donald F. Boyd
J. C. Arnold
John E. Walters
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Jack E. Wescott
Fred L. Steadman
Merrill H. Ross
Louis P. DeCinzo
Bernard L. Maki
Aber J. DeCoux
Billy K. Berry
James C. Gianacopolis
Harold A. Adams
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Ralph L. Hay
John P. Starnes
Joseph V. Johns
Ralph B. Julian
Carroll W. Gustafson
Clyde C. Patterson
Thomas F. McGonical
Donald M. Olson
Jay S. Harrison

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Lt
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Sgt
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 Worth G. Kirkman
Carol R. Wissmiller
George N. Blair
A. W. Bell
John P. Cervero
Roy F. Christensen
Herbert N. Hook
Walter F. Willig
Jack N. Gregory


  A/C #  591 A/C # 164 A/C # 113 A/C # 749
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Lauren M. Spleth
Alvin G. Hazlett
Eldon E. Smith
Robert L. Haynes
Edward J. Grybos
Norman T. Ozenberger
Karl Lambertson
John J. Briol
Harry J. Cornell

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Sgt
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Wallace F. Boyes Jr
Elmer W. Felgenhauser
Kenneth J. Furst
Merritt D. Turner
Francis J. Horan
Abraham Feldman
Frank Trapasi
Roy S. Duitman
Robert A. Dilley

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Lt
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Sgt
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Clyde R. Weid
George D. McCurry
Wayne W. Hanley
John J. Kearney
Charles H. Rogers
Franklin H. Kark
John H. Cheatham
Delbert A. Brookhart
John Sirmon
 
Lt
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Lt
Lt
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Sgt
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 Eugene C. Ricker
Donald E. Miller
William E. Seil
Richard M. Beck
Murray L. Cooper
William C, Lundy
Abe Venick
John K. McKinney
Howard H. Jacobson

  A/C # 394 A/C # 706 A/C # 887 A/C # 887
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George L. Hottle, Jr
Emile N. Racine
William J. Diehl
David W. Ellis
Roger R. Holden
James T. Bell, Jr
Francis C. Cupp
Ivory S. Cupp
George Zucker
Lt
Lt
Lt
Lt
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Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Loren G. Hampton
Orville K. Hocker
Neil C. Schroeder
Andrew R. Friesen
Maurice A. Diehl
Russell G. Karl
Thomas V. Farrell
Irving Feitel
Arthur J. Feldman
Lt
Lt
Lt
Lt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
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Sgt
Sgt
Donald C. Meyers
Wilbur S. Pursell
Maurice R. Keesling
Hollis D. Hudleston
William R. Watson
Robert D. Malloy
James D. Ransdell
Kenneth R. Vann
Stephen F. Esterholdt

Lt
Lt
Lt
Lt
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Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
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 Herbert A. Rochlitz
James P. Jenkins
John F. Kelly
Frank f. Miles
Thomas M. Davis
Wayne B. Bell
Barry D. Sallis
Kenneth R. Bostick
Vernon G. Whatley

  A/C # 582 A/C # 394 A/C # 855 A/C #
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Lt
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Sgt
Sgt
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Arthur G. Jellinek
James I. Christy
Jack A. Dressler
Frank J. Conti
Harry S. Jolly, Jr.
Joseph W. Farrow
William Moore
Harley Ernst, Jr.
Kenneth M. Beattie
Lt
Lt
Lt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Everett Park
Edward G. Palm
Dominick J. Gianuco
Donald C. Ward
Kenneth M. Garrison
Raymond L. Madgett
Joy J. Cappelle
Clifton J. Rabideaux
Steve Sobiaski
Capt
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Lt
Lt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Harold A. Schuler
Lawrence D. Wilde
Erwin Salnick
John LeVar
Victor  C. Johanson
Frank D. Russo
Louis A. Qualls
Robert F. Altmaier
James Valenti
Lt
Lt
Lt
Lt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
George W. Bobbitt
Howard T. Hampton
Julius G. Uhrlaub
Eugene L. Walker
John Sing
Leland M. Ford
William R. Hedge
Young W. Rainer
Frank M. Prado


  A/C # 101 A/C #  A/C # 540 A/C #
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Albert B  Gross
William P. O Connor
Robert J. Jacobson
Tommy M. Pruitt
James L. Gray
Harold P. Hubert
Frank E. Humphries
Hubert O. Newell
William D. Oden

Lt
Lt
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Sgt
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Oliver G. Burgess, Jr
Delmar L. Stanley
John E. Elwood
Charles M. Borland
Aldo Molestatore
George A. Parsons
Robert J. Burke
Herbert E. Dollar
Ernest D. Pappalardo
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F/O
Lt
Lt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
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Willmore Fluman
James M. Graves
Harry M. Kennedy
Edward T. Ambrose
Lawrence J. gallagher
Willard F. Beason
Billy E. DeBerry
Robert J. Gantz
John M. Gayden
 
Lt
Lt
Lt
Lt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
 


  A/C # 021 A/C # 231 A/C # 796 A/C #
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Edward J. Schorr
George M. Bobletts
Donald L. Neff
Robert R. Wheeler
William J. Dallas
Robert J. Engle
Hubert H. Akins
Anthony N. Kovac, Jr
Willard O. Arndt
 
Lt
Lt
Lt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Lloyd S. Gray
Charles G. Keiler
Peter H. Katz
James W. Brown
Rector L. Soder
Charles L. Carroll
John R. Boudreau
Clifton G. Bragden
Paul T. Harlan

Lt
Capt
Lt
Lt
Sgt
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Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Herbert A. Lawyer
Wade W. Knudson
Olin G. Wellborn
Sanford W. Lewin
Jerome Grossman
Peter Credidio
Edwin B. Hartley
Grant A. Hanson
Fernand G. Rupanian
 
Lt
Lt
Lt
Lt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
 

  A/C # 606 A/C # 825 A/C # 819   LOST A/C #
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 Raymond F. Rossner
Harmon E. Robertson
Milton Braverman
Stanley Zocks
Robert B. Black
Thomas C. Elliott
Henry W. Bennett
John R. Westhoff
Lt
Lt
Lt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
William S. Fisher
Wendell C. Tague
Robert Ekblom, Jr
Stanley P. Gillespie
David M. Peterson
Herman J. Ratica
Ernest L. Levonian
Cecil B. Brantley
Buford B. Lawson
 
Lt
Lt
Lt
Lt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Sgt
Carl P. Sundbaum
Galileo F. Bossio
Theodore F. Scanlon
Warren W. Nixon
John V. Brennan
Julian S. Smith
Edward J. Zeitz
Brooks H. Estes
Dnald r. Peacock

Lt
Lt
Lt
Lt
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Sgt
 

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