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LT  Victor E. FIENUP

UNIT: 351st BOMB Sqdn POSITION: P

SERIAL #: O-729837 STATUS: POW
MACR: 00686 CR: 00686

Comments1: 3 SEP 43 BEAUMONT Le ROGER (MID-AIR COL /# 42-30089)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW
                             ORGINAL 100TH PILOT

CREW #21    A/C #42-30086  "BLACKJACK"

1ST LT  VICTOR E. FIENUP                         P; POW  3 SEP 43 PARIS RENAULT PLANT
2ND LT  EUGENE V. MULHOLLAND           CP;   EVA   3 SEP 43 PARIS RENAULT PLANT
1ST LT  PAUL PASCAL                           NAV; EVA   3 SEP 43 PARIS RENAULT PLANT
2ND LT  BLANTON G. BARNES               BOM;  POW  3 SEP 43 PARIS RENAULT PLANT
T/SGT   ROY A. EVENSON                    TTE;  POW   3 SEP 43 PARIS RENAULT PLANT
S/SGT   MARVIN E. MILLER                    WG;  KIA     3 SEP 43 PARIS RENAULT PLANT
S/SGT   WALTER L. PROBST                  ROG; CPT     Replaced by C.F. Wright
S/SGT   NORMAN D. KREITENSTEIN        BTG; EVA    3 SEP 43 PARIS RENAULT PLANT
S/SGT   CHARLES T. DANIELS                 TG;  KIA     3 SEP 43 PARIS RENAULT PLANT 
S/SGT   ROBERT H. BROWN                   WG  POW   3 SEP 43 PARIS RENAULT PLANT
S/SGT   SMITH J. YOUNG                        WG; KIA  10 OCT 43 MUNSTER (Replaced by Robert H. Brown  on the 3 Sep 43 Paris Mission)

351ST SQDN.. ORIGNAL CREW..


MISSIONS OF LT VICTOR FIENUP CREW:

1.  04/07/43   LaPALLICE        a/c 230086  BLACK JACK
2.  10/07/43   LeBOURGET     a/c 230086  BLACK JACK
3.  14/07/43   LeBOURGET     a/c 230086  BLACK JACK
4.  17/07/43   HAMBURG        a/c 230086  BLACK JACK
5.  24/07/43   TRONDHEIM     a/c 230086  BLACK JACK
6.  25/07/43   KIEL                a/c 23271   NINE LITTLE YANKS AND A JERK
7.  26/07/43   HANOVER        a/c 230086  BLACK JACK
8.  29/07/43   WARNEMUNDE a/c 230086  BLACK JACK
9.  30/07/43   KASSEL           a/c 230086  BLACK JACK
10. 12/08/43   WESSELING    a/c 230086  BLACK JACK
11. 15/08/43   MERVILLE       a/c 25865   JANIE
12. 17/08/43   REGENSBURG  a/c 230086  BLACK JACK
13. 03/09/43   PARIS            a/c 25865   JANIE
 
ON 3 SEP 43, WALTER PROBST AND SMITH YOUNG WERE REPLACED BY T/SGT CHARLES F. WRIGHT AND S/SGT ROBERT H. BROWN RESPECTIVELY. BOTH WRIGHT AND BROWN BAILED OUT SUCCESSFULLY AND BECAME POWS ALONG WITH BARNES AND FIENUP. PROBST COMPLETED HIS TOUR BUT SMITH J. YOUNG WAS KILLED ON THE MUNSTER MISSION  FLYING WITH THE LT MAURICE BEATTY CREW. HE WAS BURIED 13 OCT 43 IN THE DOORNENBURG CEMETERY, DOORNENBURG, HOLLAND--ROW #7, GRAVE #8.  

Crash Information:
The third aircraft to be involved in a massive mid-air collision in the Paris, France area. A salvoed bomb (from the high group) hit the No# 3 engine of aircraft 42-30059 piloted by 1/Lt Charles Floyd, which collided with aircraft 42-5865 piloted by Lt Victor Fienup, resulting in loss of control. The aircraft piloted by Lt. Richard King received a diredt falk burst amidships and sudden moved upward striking aircraft piloted by Lt Charles Floyd, this aircraft exploded.

FIENUP'S CREW #21 MAY HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN THE MID-AIR AS A CREW MAN LATER STATED, "THE SHIP ON OUR RIGHT CRASHED INTO OUR TAIL, PROABLY KILLING MARVIN MILLER."

WITH THE PLANE UNCONTROLLABLE, FIENUP GAVE THE BAIL-OUT ORDER AND ALL EXCEPT MILLER GOT OUT. DANIELS WAS SEVERELY WOUNDED PRIOR TO THE BAIL-OUT ORDER. A EYEWITNESS SAW ONE CHUTE BURST INTO FLAMES.  THE GERMANS THOUGHT THAT DANEILS HAD COME DOWN WITH A DAMAGE CHUTE. HE WAS BURIED IN THE SOUVERNIX FRANCAIS EVREUX CEMETERY; GRAVE #220 ROW #7.

Crew #21          M.A.C.R. #686

Mission: Paris - Renault Plant
Aircraft #42-5865 "JAINE"
3 Sept.1943
351st Sqdn.
Time 0925
A/C last seen: 10 mi. SE of Paris
Cause: Flak

1st Lt Victor E.Fienup           P    POW
2nd Lt Eugene V.Mulholland  CP   EVADEE
1st Lt Paul Pascal                 NAV EVADEE
2nd Lt Blanton G.Barnes       BOM POW
 T/Sgt Charles F.Wright        ROG POW
 T/Sgt Roy A.Evenson          TTE POW
 S/Sgt Nolan D.Kreitenstein   BTG EVADEE
  Sgt Marvin Miller                 TG KIA
 S/Sgt Charles T.Daniels        WG KIA
 S/Sgt Robert H.Brown         WG POW

Of the above,Sgt.Wright was a replacement for S/Sgt Walter L,Probst and Sgt. Brown a replacement
for S/Sgt Smith T.Young. Eyewitness Report: "Just before reaching Paris,observed Fienup's ship 
with #4 engine afire. Saw 3 or 4 men bail out and chutes opened. Ship was going down but seemingly 
under control." There actually appears to have been a mid-air collision between 3 Or 4 ships of 
the 100th on this mission. An A/C did strike the tail section of this plane and this may have 
killed or wounded Miller. Wright's statement at end of the war says that Daniels was badly 
wounded by flak & Wright helped him put on his chute. Wright believod Daniels waa probably "blown
out of the ship when it exploded". A 351st crewman said he saw a chute break into flames 
and "Germans said that Daniels had come down without a full chute. Brown was wounded and 
in a field hospital. Daniels buried in the Souvernix Francais Evreux cemetary -Row 7,grave 200.
***************************************************************************************************************

	Vet recalls his service during World War I
I
Victor Fienup’s eyes lit up when the pilot asked if he would like to sit in the cockpit of the plane.
Fienup, a 7-year-old in 1927, had accompanied his father to view their first airplane, albeit at a distance. Then, an unexpected thing happened. The pilot, a tall blond man dressed in jacquard pants, goggles, helmet, and flight jacket, walked over to the chain fence and asked Fienup’s father if his son would like to take a closer look at the plane’s interior.
The man wasn’t just any pilot — and the plane wasn’t just any plane. It was Charles A. Lindbergh, and the plane was the Spirit of St. Louis!
The experience had a lasting impression on Fienup, who lived only two miles from the airport. “It was an experience I will never forget. The most amazing thing was the plane had no windshield. While I was his captive audience, he showed me how he landed the plane by sticking his head out the side cockpit window. The plane was equipped with a periscope in the front for additional visibility. I was hooked. I knew, then, I wanted to be a pilot,” he adds.
Because Fienup’s father was a plumber, he expected Vic to join the family plumbing business. The young man finished high school at 17, his sights still set on flying.
During the day, he worked for his father and acquired his journeyman plumber’s license. That allowed him to earn the money he needed to take flying lessons.
“I was mechanical-minded, and liked flying airplanes. It was a good mix,” he recalls today. “I wanted to get enough flying credits so I could go into the Army Air Corps, which was a division of the Army Signal Corps. (The Air Force was not created as a special branch of military until after World War II).

“My father was against me entering the military because he knew more about the war than I. He thought if I were in the plumbing business I would avoid the draft. I had different ideas, though. My reasoning was simple. Why should I continue to pay for flying lessons when the government could teach me, and I could fly around and have a lot of fun on the weekends?”
Fienup had earned 60 credit hours, but didn’t have quite enough to join the Air Corps. “I was in good physical condition with 20/20 vision, so I took a written exam, passed, and enlisted.”
Following the entrance exam, he and a friend/classmate were put on a waiting list for military training. They were called to active duty Dec. 19, 1941, right after Pearl Harbor was bombed.
At 21, he and the friend drove from St. Louis to California for preflight training. After graduating pilot school, they went to Salt Lake City, checked into the base, only to learn they had been transferred to Boise, Idaho.
They arrived at the Boise base late in the afternoon and, by 7 p.m., found themselves in a B-17.
“It was the largest thing we’d ever seen. It looked immense and, in the dark like that, we weren’t flying, but were undergoing training and acting as co-pilots. That’s how fast things moved in those days. After extensive training in the states, though, we were assigned to the 100th Bomb Group.”

He recalls his first commanding officer, Col. Darr Alkire, during training in Boise, where they trained on 18 planes. During one training mission, a cold front penetration prevented them from seeing each other in the air. “We became separated from the formation and some of the aircraft may have experienced mechanical problems.
“Coincidentally, some planes landed near one of the crew members’ hometowns. There was talk of court martialing them, thinking they did it on purpose; but, that didn’t materialize. We were disbanded and declared not ready for the discipline required for combat. We were not reunited, however, until the spring of ’43, when we served as experienced aircraft commanders,” he says.
“Prior to that, in the fall of ’42 at 22, I was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant and became a commander of a B-17 bomber with the 100th Bomber Group. The 100th reported for active duty and followed a North Atlantic route from Maine-to-Iceland-to Scotland-to northeast England.
“We had 40 new pilots in 43B when we went overseas, but only four finished the 25 missions, either being killed, captured or seriously wounded. They had a 90 percent attrition rate.”
Later, this group became known as the Bloody Hundredth, not because they lost more planes and crews than other outfits, but when they were hit, it was big.

On the Munster Mission, Oct. 10, 1943, of the 13 planes sent out, only one — Rosie’s Riveters — returned. “Because we did not have long-range fighter cover, we lost as many as 20 percent of our planes per day,” says Fienup commander of Janie.
“It wasn’t unusual to lose aircraft while ferrying them across the Atlantic. I don’t recall if we lost any. We began our daylight bombing raids shortly after our arrival in England. Both the British and Germans doubted our success as the high loss of planes and crews was going to be unacceptable due to intense air and ground fire.
“We were told at briefings before missions to get the target at any cost. ‘If you destroy the objective, no matter what our losses, the mission would be considered a success.’ ”
“Glen Dye, one of my cadet classmates, and his crew, were the only ones of the original group to complete their 25 missions completely intact. My crew remained mostly together for 15 missions before being shot down. It was Sept. 3, 1943. Our aircraft was the third one in formation, flying about 23,000 feet over Évre, France, just south of Paris, when something went awry.”
History has not established whether the aircraft was accidentally hit by a U.S. plane or possibly enemy gunfire. In most cases, however, debriefing indicated how aircraft were lost.
“There were too many conflicting stories,” he adds. “It could have been that one plane dropped a bomb that knocked off the tail of our plane.
“We heard a loud crash and the plane went straight up (the tail went down). Instantly, the oxygen tanks in the compartment exploded, and everything was blazing with fire. We were at 23,000 feet and the crew was without oxygen. The bomb bay doors were open and I gave the bailout order for the crew to jump. The engineer was hesitant, so I pushed the co-pilot who pushed the engineer.
“I couldn’t stand the heat any longer, so I went back to the cockpit with my chest parachute on and stuck my head and shoulders out the window. Obviously, this was not a recognized emergency exit position. As I was attempting to pull myself through the opening and began losing consciousness, I thought of my dad who didn’t approve of me joining the military to fly. As I got my head and shoulders out, I felt the explosion and completely lost consciousness. The aircraft had blown apart and set me free.
“When I regained consciousness, I found myself floating through space, pulled on my rip cord, and passed out again. It was so peaceful when I regained consciousness the second time. There were no guns or engine noise. No birds singing, no crickets chirping, no sensation of falling. I only heard the ripples of the parachute and pressure from the parachute harness on my crotch. I didn’t have the sensation that I was falling, it was as if the earth came up to meet me.
“I’ll never forget that day. I was being blown backwards over a forest, and landed in a ditch with quite a jolt on my backside. I looked around and saw haystacks and began gathering up my chute. I spotted a young French farm boy and thought he would help me, but he ran the other way. My hands and wrists were badly burned and resembled red claws. The tissue was actually gone from my wrists. Within minutes, however, the Germans and their dogs found me. They told me, ‘For you, the war is over’.
“All captured airmen were first taken to Dulag Luft near Frankfurt for interrogation and solitary confinement. We were required by the Geneva Convention to give only our name, rank, and serial number to be considered prisoners of war and not spies. When interrogators were convinced we wouldn’t give any more information, they left us alone. At that point, we were sent to various camps.
“I lost two men — Marvin Miller and Charles Daniels — during that mishap. Eugene Mulholland, Paul Pascal and Nolan Kreitenstein were evades. Crew members who were captured include Blanton Barnes, Charles Wright, Roy Evenson, and Robert Brown. Those of us remaining were German POWs for the remainder of the war in Europe. I was the only one seriously wounded.”
Fienup spent weeks in a German hospital staffed by British doctors and says he received excellent treatment. The doctors put tannic acid on the wounds (to slough off dead tissue) and kept them bandaged with wet gauze,” he says, holding up hands which show no scaring 68 years later.
Before Christmas, Fienup was taken to Stalag Luft III, an air camp in Sagan, Germany.
“Considering the circumstances, it was a pretty decent camp. The Germans were members of the Geneva Convention, and while it was a prisoner of war camp, it was a pretty decent one for officers only. The Red Cross brought us parcels of food and I remember the effort was pretty well-organized.
“German propaganda led their people to believe that the aircrews were Luft gangsters hired to bomb mothers, children, churches, etc., when our objectives were to destroy their production of war-making material. Our propaganda would lead us to believe that all Germans were fanatic Nazi Jew killers. The Allied and German newspapers gave a 180-degree difference in the picture they painted to the public.
“In camp, they counted us every morning and night to see if anyone had escaped or they had miscalculated. We were kept outside in parade position for hours not knowing whether or not we were going to get back with all our faculties. There were a lot of people in the same boat, and those of us who kept a positive attitude, did pretty well.
“They were difficult times, but we managed pretty well,” he says. “We only got showers every month or so. Then, in January 1945, we could hear the Russian guns and thought the Russians were going to liberate us. Instead, we were called out one morning before daybreak and they told us we were going on a march. We gathered up food and began marching through the snow. We marched all day and night and we slept on the floor in churches, barns, factories, or wherever we could. It was bitterly cold. This continued for four or five days. Our resistance was running low due to lack of nutrition and adequate living conditions. We weren’t in the same physical condition we were at the time we were found or shot down.
“When, we got to the train, we were put in 48 boxcars — more than 40 people to a car – with no room to sit. We stood like vertical cordwood, and we managed to drill a hole in the floor to take care of our needs. They put us on siding for three days, and then bombers came and bombed the tracks. That was worse than marching.
“When we arrived at the camp in Moosburg, there were thousands of people — Americans, East Indians, Russians, and Africans. The conditions were bad. The Germans were short on food. We were fed barley and potatoes (no meat). Sometimes, we found foreign objects like mice in the barley. If a cat or dog came to the compound, it was history.”
According to Fienup, the Americans played the numbers games during the war. “We produced planes, ships, tanks, trucks, and other necessary supplies, as well as trained people in huge quantities in a matter of months. Japan and Germany had years to prepare. In late 1944, the B-29 super fortress bomber was put into combat operation with the 20th Air Force in Asia. This aircraft almost tripled the capability of the B-17. The B-29s were stationed at Guam, Saipan, and Tinian, two islands in the Marianas, to bomb the mainland of Japan.”
When he developed heart problems in his 40s, he lost his command and was transferred to Donaldson Air Force Base in Greenville. Still, Fienup was a well-decorated airman, logging over 13,000 hours of flying time in various aircraft.
He was involved in three major wars and numerous conflicts. In June 1948, he flew to Germany and completed 10 months of flying in the Berlin airlift; and, later did bush work, flying airlift missions on the DEW line in Alaska.
He spent four years with Special Air Missions, on numerous assignments, where he flew two vice presidents – Alben Barkley and Richard Nixon – and other dignitaries from Washington. Twenty years after high school he earned his B. A. in economics.
The now 91-year-old served at Donaldson, which closed in 1963. Upon that closure, the entire transport wing was relocated to Savannah. He retired and returned to Greenville, where he resides with his wife, Jeanette.

MEMO 2:

Original 100th, Crew #21

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Beaumont Le Roger DATE: 1943-09-03  
AIRCRAFT: "Janie" (42-5865) CAUSE: Collided with 42-30089  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

 Victor Fienup Crew from the 351st. Standing from left: Walter L. Probst, Smith J. Young, Norman D. Kreitenstein, Roy A. Evenson, Charles T. Daniels: Kneeling from left: Blanton G. Barnes, Paul Pascal, Victor Fienup and Eugene V. Mulholland. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

Victor Fienup at the Cleveland Reunion - 2011

Victor Fienup in the pilot's seat at the Cleveland Reunion - 2011

 Low on fuel, 351st aircraft struggle to reach North Africa after the Regensburg mission on 17 Aug 43. The low plane is A/C 230086 Black Jack flown by Victor Fienup and Eugene Mulholland. This crew was later shot down on 3 Sep 43 with 2 KIA. (Photo courtesy of Big Joe Armanini) Fienup crew information | Regensburg mission information 

 Lt. Col. Kidd (Group Opns. Officer). Look at that board and the names, you are looking September 3, 1943, from that list the following crews will be missing that day. Winkelman, Fineup, Floyd and not on the board yet is Richard C King. Henington will ditch in the Channel.  (100th Photo Archives) 

Never before seen Photos from Regensburg Mission. Courtesy of Jim Blakely, Forkner Photo collection and Matt Mabe . Yeah, that is Just a Snappin (Blakely Crew), Stymie (Brady Crew), and Black Jack (Fienup Crew)  heading into Africa August 17, 1943.

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

ID: 1615