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2nd Lt. George W. Ford

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Related Pages: William R. Flesh  |  Charles A. Brooks  |  Victor Reed  |  Albert F. Amireo  |  Earl Williams
  303rd Bomb Group

George W. Ford Crew (left to right)
Standing: Geroge W. Ford - Pilot, Nathan Cooper - BOM,
Glenn M. Lashbrook - NAV and Americus V. Combs - CP
Kneeling: Jack Kossin - WG, George N. Ofeish, Virgil F. Summers - BTG,
John P. Williams - TG and John J. Murphy - TTE.
Not pictured is Kennth C. Strough - WG who took this photo of FURLOUGH MYRTLE and her crew.
100th BG Photo Archives
 

2ND LT GEORGE W. FORD P POW 26-Nov-43 BREMEN
2ND LT AMERICUS V. COMBS CP XFER 482ND (PFF) 26-Nov-43 --
2ND LT GLENN M. LASHBROOK NAV XFER 482ND (PFF) 26-Nov-43 --
2ND LT NATHAN COOPER BOM XFER 482ND (PFF) 26-Nov-43 --
S/SGT GEORGE N. OFEISH ROG POW 4-Mar-44 BERLIN
S/SGT JOHN J. MURPHY TTE XFER 482ND (PFF) 26-Nov-43 --
SGT KENNTH C. STROUGH BTG XFER 482ND (PFF) 26-Nov-43 --
SGT VIRGIL F. SUMMERS WG KIA WITH A.F. AMIERO CREW
SGT JACK KOSSIN WG XFER 482ND (PFF) 26-Nov-43 --
SGT JOHN P. WILLIAMS TG XFER 482ND (PFF) 26-Nov-43 --

349th Sqdn. Crew, as above, arrived 349th sqdn. 12 Sep 1943 according to Glenn Lashbrook

2ND LT GEORGE W. FORD P POW 26 NOV 43 BREMEN
2ND LT JEAN B. PITNER CP EVA 26 NOV 43 BREMEN See letter below
2ND LT ARNO E. PILISCHKE NAV EVA 26 NOV 43 BREMEN
2ND LT ARTHUR G. BODEI BOM POW 26 NOV 43 BREMEN
T/SGT MAX S. NEWMAN ROG KIA 26 NOV 43 BREMEN
T/SGT ANDREW F. HATHAWAY TTE EVA 26 NOV 43 BREMEN
S/SGT GEORGE E. JONES BTG KIA 26 NOV 43 BREMEN
S/SGT LEO J. BIANCHI WG POW 26 NOV 43 BREMEN
S/SGT CARL G. GLASMEIER WG POW 26 NOV 43 BREMEN
S/SGT DELTON L. KING TG EVA 26 NOV 43 BREMEN

349th Sqdn. Crew, as above, apparently joined the 100th Group in Nov 1943 as this is believed to be their first mission.  MACR # 1394, Microfiche # 464, A/C # 42-31215

EYEWITNESS: A/C # 215 was hit in # 2 engine when two FW 190s attacked the low squadron at 1045 hrs. Fell out of formation and dived for cloud cover.  E/A followed but P-47s came to the rescue.  A/C was seen from time to time flying below the formation.  At 1048 hrs one chute was seen and at 1103 hrs nine more chutes were seen. At 1105 hrs it hit the ground and exploded, near 49 32N and 02 00E.  During the last few minutes of flight fire spread over the entire left wing.

That Pitner and Plischke were successful evades is evidenced by signing a report to the Adjutant General's office dated 5 Feb 44. This same report indicates Andrew Hathaway also returned to duty also evading. The record for Delton King is not clear; he may have been an evadee rather than a POW.

There remains some difficulty in determining G. W Ford's role with this crew.  (Letter to Jim Brown from Jean Pitner regarding this matter follows..

Dear Jim: (26 November 1990)

Forty seven years ago today, I was shot down.  Twenty seven days before that I signed in at the 100th. First, let me answer your specific question regarding Earl Williams and George Ford.  Earl was first pilot on my crew. I met him, as well as my navigator and bombardier, at Walla Walla, Washington.  Earl was an "old timer".  He had been an enlisted radio operator in Hawaii before the peacetime draft and during the attack of December 7, 1941.  When I met him he was a 1st Lt., married and no children.  The rest of us had just graduated from flying schools; in my case "travel time" from Blackland AAB, Waco, Texas, to Moses Lake, Washington, then on to Walla Walla. Earl and I flew a couple of local flights after we arrived at the 100th.  He, as well as all of the crew (except me), flew combat missions shortly after we arrived at the 100th. Each of them flew with different crews at different times as substitutes on various crews Our crew was scheduled to fly together for the first time on 26 November 1943.  I was not included.  An experienced multi-missioned pilot would "check out the crew and sign off Earl as combat ready.  I do not know what happened during the night to change the plans, but I was awakened early in the morning and told that I would fly and Earl would not.  Earl was as surprised as I. I met George Ford at briefing.  He was a captain, said very little, mentioned that he had flown fourteen (I think) missions. He also told me that this was a good starting mission for me (my first) and that it would be a "piece of cake" and a "milk run". The last time I saw George was as we were bailing out. I never believed, nor was I told, that George was a "new crew member" who would continue to fly with us.  I thought he was sort of a "check ride" for a new crew.  So much for George now back to Earl. The last time I saw Earl was when he came to London to make a personal identification of me for Army Intelligence. I recall that Earl had changed.  I thought he was "flak happy", and for a little while I thought he either did not know me, or would not make the identification.  He did, but the intelligence officers weren't satisfied.  Intelligence demanded two other officers from the 100th to come and make the identification. To shorten this phase, Intelligence had to accept Earl's ID because there were no officers in the 100th who knew me! I haven't said anything about my escape from France, and that is not an oversight.  There are two reasons:  (1)  It has been proven that the longer the time from the combat experience, the greater the distortion in the way the person describes that experience.  If the action is told frequently, that too will alter the facts. Often truth becomes fantasy. Most are unaware of what has happened and actually believe they are recalling the combat experience exactly as it happened.  (2) Even if I could recount my escape in accurate detail, there is no way that I can separate a part from the whole.  I am certain that it would be effortless for me to write hundreds of pages, single spaced with narrow margins, and probably leave out something. Even worse, I probably would exaggerate the facts.  It would be nothing but historical fiction at best.

Now you can understand why I opened this letter with those two observations, especially the forty seven years remark.  Come to think of it, I wonder what kind of a story I would tell about my last combat flying three years in Vietnam, including all campaigns of the entire conflict? This time I was shot up frequently, but not shot down.

I think that you have a difficult task before you in your research.  I suspect that time is running out. Oddly, in my 33 years of service, I've met only one person who was in the 100th.  I was lecturing at Brown University, Providence, RI, in the Fall of 1964, when I met a man named Brown.  He told me that he had been the historian of the 100th.  Coincidence? We talked at length, but we were not at the 100th at the same time.

I congratulate you on the work you are doing and hope you can bring the account to an end soon.  I know from personal experience how frustrating, tiring, and sometimes expensive research can be, especially oral and first person.  I know, too, the great satisfaction of completion.  I hope you experience that soon. Sincerely Yours,  Jean Pitner


Mike Faley compiled the following information on 30 Jul 2002. Extensive cross-referencing is required, so please see the following related crew pages:

Lt. William R. Flesh
F/O Charles A. Brooks
Lt. Victor Reed
Lt. Albert F. Amireo
Lt. Earl Williams

History of 2nd Lt Americus V. Combs (Lt George Ford Crew) and his missions with the 100th BG.

The log of Lt Lashbrook below really gives you a day by day history of this crew up until being shipped too the 482nd Bomb Group at Alchonbury on Nov 26, 1943. The original pilot (Lt Ford) was temporarily grounded two days after arriving at Thorpe Abbotts and was replaced by Lt Charles Brooks from the Victor Reed Crew. Lt Ford would be returned to pilot status and would be shot down on Nov 26, 1943 with the Crew of Lt Earl Williams. With Lt Brooks as pilot, this crew would fly 11 missions, (Lt Lashbrook flew a 12th mission with Magee Fuller). All missions and comments can be found in Lt Lashbrook’s log below). On November 26, 1943 this crew, as listed below (minus George Ofeish and Virgil Summers) were transferred (xfer) to the 482nd BG with Lt William Flesh as their pilot. As for what happened to this Crew when they were transferred to the 482nd BG, I would suggest you contact Lt Truman Hermansen, who was a pilot with the 100th Bomb Group for 13 missions, and then his crew was xfer to the 482nd BG also. Turns out he is the head of the 482nd BG Association and may be able to help you further.

What I can speculate, with a great deal of accuracy is that Lt Combs, as a copilot on a Pathfinder Crew (Radar Equipped B-17’s abbreviated PFF) would fly in the Tail Gunners position as a "Formation Officer". His job was to make sure that the Group was all in formation and relay this information to the Command Pilot (who flew in the Co-Pilot seat). The Command Pilot was usually a Major or higher in command and would be assigned to the Crew for only that particular mission. The Pathfinder Crews from 482nd BG would each be assigned to a different Bomb Group for each mission. Early each morning of a mission, they would fly from Alchonbury over to the Group they were assigned too (for sake of argument, lets say they went to 100th BG at Thorpe Abbotts) for briefing and pick up the Command pilot. This PFF would then fly the mission, return too Thorpe Abbotts to be debriefed then would fly back to 482nd BG base at Alchonbury and be debriefed again. This made for a real long day for the crews. I hope this information has helped you in your search for information on Lt Combs.

Regards,
Michael Faley
100th Bomb Group Photo Archives
100th Bomb Group Historian

2ND LT GEORGE W. FORD P POW 26 NOV 43 BREMEN (See notes below)
2ND LT AMERICUS V. COMBS CP XFER 26 NOV 43 482ND (PFF)
2ND LT GLENN M. LASHBROOK NAV XFER 26 NOV 43 482ND (PFF)
2ND LT NATHAN COOPER BOM XFER 26 NOV 43 482ND (PFF)
S/SGT GEORGE N, OFEISH ROG POW 4 MAR 44 BERLIN
S/SGT JOHN J. MURPHY TTE XFER 26 NOV 43 482ND (PFF)
SGT KENNTH C. STROUGH BTG XFER 26 NOV 43 482ND (PFF)
SGT VIRGIL F. SUMMERS WG KIA 6 MAR 44 BERLIN (A. F. AMIERO CREW)
SGT JACK KOSSIN WG XFER 26 NOV 43 482ND (PFF)
SGT JOHN P. WILLIAMS TG XFER 26 NOV 43 482ND (PFF)

349th Sqdn.

Crew, as above, arrived 349th Sqdn. 12 Sep 1943, according to Glenn Lashbrook. He also states that a day or two after arriving, Lt George Ford was replaced as first pilot on the Crew by Lt Charles A. Brooks from the Crew of Lt Victor Reed. Lt Ford was shot down with the Crew of Lt Earl Williams (see note below)

1ST LT VICTOR REED P WIA TRANSFERRED FROM 100TH
F/O CHARLES A. BROOKS CP CPT 16 DEC 43 BREMEN
2ND LT HOWARD D. BASSETT NAV CPT 14 JAN 44 FORET D’HESDIN
2ND LT JOSEPH P. ARMANINI BOM CPT UNK UNK
T/SGT GLENN N. ALBRIGHT TTE CPT 14 JAN 44 FORET D’HESDIN
S/SGT RICHARD O. DETWEILER WG CPT 13 FEB 44 LIVOSSART
T/SGT JAMES S. DOUGHERTY ROG CPT UNK UNK
S/SGT RICHARD M. PRICE BTG NOC -- --
S/SGT THOMAS D. BAER WG KIA 6 MAR 44 BERLIN
(A. F. AMIERO CREW)
S/SGT CLIFFORD T. MINER TG NOC -- --

349th Sqdn. This is an "Original" crew that flew over with the group. Charlie Brooks became 1st pilot on the Lt George W. Ford Crew and completed the tour.

MISSIONS OF 1ST LT. CHARLES A. BROOKS WITH CREW #37 (Copilot Lt Combs)

NBR DATE TARGET AIRCRAFT
12. 23/09/43 VANNES 25861 LADEN MAIDEN
13. 26/09/43 PARIS 25861 LADEN MAIDEN
14. 27/09/43 EMDEN 25861 LADEN MAIDEN
15. 02/10/43 EMDEN 230088 SQUAWKIN HAWK
16. 04/10/43 SAARLUIS, HANAU 230088 SQUAWKIN HAWK
17. 20/10/43 DUREN --
18. 03/11/43 WILHELMSHAVEN --
19. 05/11/43 GELSENKIRCHEN --
20. 07/11/43 DUREN --
21. 13/11/43 BREMEN --
22. 16/11/43 RJUKAN, NORWAY --

Wartime Diary Of Glenn M. Lashbrook (Nav. on Lt Ford Crew)

June 19, 1943
Graduated Mather Field, Calif. -- Class of 43-9 and given 10 day delay and 3 days travel time before reporting to first duty station.

July 2, 1943
Reported to 330th Bombardment Group, Biggs Field, El Paso, Texas - - Group did not need any navigators.

July 4, 1943
Re-assigned and reported to 333rd Bomb Gp, Dalhart Air Force Base, Dalhart, Texas.

July 5, 1943
Assigned to 466th Bomb Gp Squadron, Savoie Provisional Group as Navigator on Lt George Ford's crew, flying B-17s. Crew was then near end of second phase of it's training.

August 17, 1943
Left Dalhart for Scott Field, Illinois after having 8 day leave, which was spent in Santa Ana, Calif. with Barbara. (Wife of Glenn Lashbrook)

August 22, 1943
Left Scott Field for Dow Field, Bangor, Maine after completion of staging. Day before leaving, Mom, Dad, Irene, Richard, Isabel and Allan came down and we drove to St. Louis. . Flying time to Dow Field: 6½ hours.

August 25, 1943
Left Dow Field for Goose Bay, Labrador. Uneventful flight of 4½ hours. Pilot did let-down on Goose Bay radio because of heavy undercast and the country looked very green and beautiful when we broke through. Goose Bay is a combination American - Canadian field, many different uniforms were in evidence. The BOQ was very good.

August 26, 1943
Left Goose Bay for Blue West One on Greenland. Shot one sun line, the only celestial work on the whole trip, the rest DR from a flight plan with use of radio beams for course corrections. Arrived at Bluie West One, a small field at the end of a fjord, and all the enlisted men crowded into the nose for a good look. We received orders to proceed to Meeks Field, Iceland. Arrived Meeks Field after 10 hours in the air and it was dark so the lights were a welcome sight.

August 27, 1943
Flew from Meeks Field to Prestwick, Scotland by way of Stonoway, an uneventful 4 hour flight. Used Air Transport Command's book on the trip across and it provided great circle courses, distances, and variation so that it was only necessary to apply metro data to figure a flight plan.

August 28, 1943
Reported to Combat Crew Replacement Center No. #11 Bovingdon, near London after an all night trip from Scotland on the train.

September 12, 1943
Reported to the 100th Bombardment Group at Thorpe Abbotts near Diss. Norfolk. Assigned to the 349th Bombardment Squadron. Commanding Officer, Major Veal. Crew given a new first pilot, F/O Charles Brooks.

September 23, 1943
Flew as spare on raid to Vannes, France. Couldn't find group and returned to base from Portland Bill. Given credit for a combat mission through a clerical error.

September 24, 1943
On blind -- bombing practice mission over the North Sea. Were led too close to the Frisian Islands and ME-109s and FW-190s attacked the formation catching it completely off guard. 100th lost one ship (Gossage) and half the crew drowned when jumping into water. British E-Boat happened to be passing to raid the Dutch Coast and took five survivors with them.

September 26, 1943
Mission to Paris. Unable to bomb due to heavy undercast and jettisoned bombs in English Channel. Saw first flak from Amiens and Abbeville.

September 27, 1943
Mission to Emden. Flew on left wing of Col. Harding who was in a Pathfinder ship -- we were second ship over target. P-47 support very effective and saw no enemy fighters, although some ships in succeeding combat wings were lost. Bombing results were not too good, but mission was a great success for first long range support of fighters.

October 2, 1943
Emden again. Not in such good position and encountered fighter opposition. Didn't get to bombing altitude until reaching I. P.

October 4, 1943
Started to Frankfurt but never found it and bombed Saarlautern by mistake. Lead Navigator brought us back by way of Paris but weren't fired at. Reached England in a very lost condition.

October 9, 1943
Mission to Marienberg in East Prussia. Flew with Magee Fuller as first pilot and were in the air 11 hours, but never over 13, 000 feet. Focke-Wolf assembly plant almost completely destroyed - considered a most outstanding job of precision bombing. When the 100th reached the target huge columns of smoke were rising, but groups incendiaries missed target anyhow.

October 20, 1943
Mission to Duren, Germany. Flew as high as 30, 000 feet to rise above 10/10 cloud cumulo-Nimbus clouds above the Continent. Was very miserable from bends. Flak holes in ship.

November 3, 1943
Pathfinder mission to Wilhelmshaven. Good results.

November 5, 1943
Pathfinder mission to Gelsenkirchen in Ruhr Valley. Missed target completely. Encountered heavy flak and got small holes in wings.

November 7, 1943
Pathfinder mission to Duren

November 13, 1943
Pathfinder mission to Bremen. Equipment in lead ship went out and finally crossed unto Denmark near Island of Sylt. Turned back and encountered considerable fighter opposition. Jettisoned bombs in North Sea. Came back single ship with new crew on our right wing. Terrific headwinds so did considerable sweating before English Coast was sighted. Did a lousy job of navigating and was glad to get a QDM from the base.

November 16, 1943
Raid on power station at Rjukan, Norway, a ten hour mission. Led second element in lead squadron. Capt Barr led group (The 100th was led by Owen "Cowboy" Roane on this mission) Capt Payne "Bubbles" and Capt Peel were lead Navigator and Bombardier and both did excellent jobs and the mission was a success. Forced to climb to 18, 000 feet just off English Coast to go above a front upon returning.

November 26, 1943
Day after Thanksgiving. Moved from the 100th to the 482nd Bomb Gp at Alconbury, Huntingdonshire. Assigned to the 812th Squadron to learn "Mickey" system (H2X) of Pathfinder navigation. Lt Flesh became first pilot of the old 100th crew.

-end-