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LT  Leslie E. KASSEBAUM

UNIT: 350th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: P

 Official USAAF photo - Leslie E. Kassebaum. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

SERIAL #: STATUS: CPT
MACR:

Comments1: 28 SEP 44 MERSEBURG

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

1ST LT  LESLIE E. KASSEBAUM           P CPT 28 SEP 44 MERSEBURG, OIL REFINERY
2ND LT GILBERT C. MALCOM          CP CPT 17 SEP 44 DOES NOT MATCH A MISSION DATE
2ND LT LLOYD H. LUCKOW          NAV CPT 26 SEP 44 BREMEN, TANK WORKS
2ND LT WILSON M. McCREIGHT     BOM CPT 30 SEP 44 BIELEFELD, ORDNANCE DUMP
T/SGT CHARLES F. SCHWARK        ROG CPT 27 SEP 44 MIANZ, MY
T/SGT JAMES T. ROCHEFORD        TTE CPT 27 SEP 44 MIANZ, MY
S/SGT GEORGE G. ZIGENIS         BTG CPT 27 SEP 44 MIANZ, MY
T/SGT HOWARD L. PARRIS          LWG CPT 27 SEP 44 MIANZ, MY
S/SGT WILLIAM J. RUSSELL       RWG CPT 18 OCT 44 KASSEL, AERO ENGINES (TAKEN OFF CREW TO REDUCE TO 9 MEN, flew with Lt Baker Crew as Tog/NG on eight missions. completed with 25 missions)
S/SGT CHARLES J. PRICE              TG CPT 27 SEP 44 MIANZ, MY


S/SGT EUGENE R. WELLS  ?? CPT 12 DEC 44 DARMSTADT, MY??????????  SHOULD NOT BE LISTED HERE MPF-2009

350TH SQDN.. CREW JOINED THE 100TH MAY 31, 1944.  CREW FLEW A/C 337882 "HAPPY-GO-LUCKY" LN-W
March 21, 1944 Arrived in Dalhart TX 
April 3-26 flew 12 training missions with crew. 
May 31, 1944 is the date they arrived at Thorpe Abbotts That's all I can find at the moment is this what you wanted… 
Nina Steward (Lt Kassebaum's daughter)

WELLS CAME TO THE GROUP AS WG ON THE E.C. JONES CREW.  IT IS NOT KNOWN WHY HE IS LISTED HERE…jb
WELLS MAY HAVE FLOWN A FEW MISSIONS WITH THIS CREW AS A REPLACEMENT GUNNER.  HE WAS IN THE SPARE GUNNERS POOL AFTER HE WAS REMOVED FROM LT E.C. JONES CREW (CREW REDUCED TO NINE MEN).  SEE COMMENT FROM SGT CASSELL FROM EC JONES CREW.
Letter from Cassell 21/6/91 says Cordy Ramer replaced the original BOM,Ferrel O.Mason. Also that Eugene R.Wells was on crew when it came to the 100th but removed to reduce crew to nine men. 

Missions of Lt Leslie E. Kassebaum (mpf 2002).  All missions in 1944

1. June 11 Berck sur Mer-Gun installation-No flak-Easy
2. June 14 LeCulot,Airfield-Lots of flak-Ship shot up a little
3. June 18 Brunsbuttelkoog, Oil refinery-Engine shot out over target-Lots of flak
4. June 20 Fallersleben-Oil refinery-3 ME 109s-Heavy flak-Ship shot up
5. June 21 Berlin-Lots of flak-Holes in ship-Rough mission
6. June 22 Paris-God, What flak-Hit by FW 190-Ship shot up
7. June 24 Grand Couronne,France-Supposed to be easy-We lost a ship-Damned lead navigator
8. July 6 Fleury, Crepeuil-Buzz bomb target-Nice safe mission
9. July 7 Leipzig-Rough as hell-Hit third target-Ship shot up-Cut 4 engines over target
10. July 8 Bourth LeLente, Railway, we really hit it-Easy mission-2 no one(?)-We werent hit
11. July 17 Montgourney-Buzz bomb site-Flak was hell-Ship grounded
12. July 19 Schweinfurt-Went around it-Good mission-3rd no flak
13. July 20 Merseburg-Oil refinery-Elev. Trim tabs shot out-Not much flak but we got it
14. July 28 Merseburg-Nice mission-no hits-Third time over that target
15. July 29 Merseburg-Rougher than hell-We lost 8 ships-4th time over that target-Jones went down
16. July 31 Munich-Long mission-Ship grounded-Flak
17. August 2 Tergnier, LaFere, Railway-Good mission
18. August 13 Nantes, Gassicourt-Easy mission-Bombed roads to cut off enemy
19. August 18 Pacy sur Armancon, Oil dumps-Easy mission-Trim tabs shot out
20. August 24 Ruhland, Oil refinery-Good mission-Awful long
21. August 25 Politz,Oil refinery-Long mission-Just missed ME 109-Flak quite heavy
22. August 26 Brest-Guns, didn’t drop bombs-Bad weather-No flak
23. August 27 Started to Berlin-Hit front-Recall-No flak
24. Sept 1 Started for Mainz-Another front-Recall
25. Sept 5 Stuttgart-Light but accurate flak-Ship shot up
26. Sept 7 Mainz-Good mission-Bad weather-Poor bombing
27. Sept 9 Dusseldorf-Ruhr Valley-Good but there was flak-Ship was hit
28. Sept 10 Nurnberg Tank Works-Got hell shot out of us-No. 2 out, ship ggrounded
29. Sept 18 Warsaw-Supplies to Poles-On to Russia-Lots of flak, fighters
30. Sept 19 Szolnok Railway Yards-Easy mission-On to Italy
31. Sept 22 Home from Italy-No bombs-Just hell of a long ride
32. Sept 25 Ludwigshaven-Plenty of flak but we made it
33. Sept 26 Bremen-God but there was flak-Holes in ship
34. Sept 27 Mainz-Lots of flak-Ship OK
35. Sept 28 Merseburg-Rough as hell, shot out windshield in front of me-Fighter hit

DONE

                         WILLIAM J. RUSSELL, SR
                         20 SOUTH FIRST AVE
                         MINE HILL., NJ  07801-2911

Letter to John Miller dated 2/5/93

Dear John;
 I apologize for being so late and lax in joining the 100th Bomb
Group Association, should have joined long ago.
     I was member of Les Kassebaum's (KASSEBAUM L.E.) crew and flew
my first mission (BERCK sur MER, SHORE DEFENSES) on June 11, 1944 -
five days after D-Day.
     I was taken off our crew when it was decided the Radio
Operator's gun could be removed, as not being helpful.  All
Assistant Engineers were made Spare Gunners.
     I flew two missions as a Spare Gunner, was then trained as a
Toggler, and assigned to Lt Baker's crew, I believe for my last
eight missions dropping bombs.  I finished up with 25 missions, my
crew flew 35 missions.  My crew and I were very lucky in not
getting a scratch in combat.
     On the day our 350th Sqdr was wiped out completely (9/11/44
RUHLAND, OIL REFINERY) I had left the base early to go see my
cousin in another part of England, and my crew did not fly that
day. I met them in London later and was really shocked when they
told me.
     I was very happy to be picked as Flight Engineer for Colonel
Jeffrey (JEFFREY    T.S. COL  GP CO) when he flew down to see our
C.O., Major Rosenthal (ROSENTHAL   R.   MAJ  350TH CO) in the
hospital.  I'll never forget it. I think Major Revegno (ROVEGNO
E.LT COL) also went down, they tried to talk "Rosie" (ROSENTHAL
R.MAJ) into going home. He said no and couldn't wait to get back flying missons again.
     Our crew truly respresented the Unites States, being form 10
different states.  Massachusetts, New Jersy, California, Tennessee,
South Carolina, Minnesota, Texas, Illinois, Nebraska, and New
Mexico.
     Our Engineeer Howard Parris passed away quite a few years ago.
We are still in contact with his wife though.  Counting Howie's
(PARRIS   H.L.) wife, five of us are now in touch again.

NAME                            PRESENT (1993) LOCATION
KASSEBAUM L.E. LT          P           Oklahoma City, OK
MALCOM    C.G. LT            CP         Unk
LUCKOW    L.H. LT             NAV      Houston, TX
McCREIGHT W.H. LT          BOM     Unk
SCHWARK   C.F. S/SGT     ROG     Unk
ROCHEFORD J.T. S/SGT    TTE      Minneapolis, MINN
ZIGENIS   G.C. S/SGT       BTG       Unk
RUSSELL   W.J. S/SGT     RWG     Mine Hill, NJ
PARRIS    H.L. S/SGT        LWG     Deceased
PRICE     C.J. S/SGT         TG         Unk

Subj: Re: RJM Bomb Group  
Date: 4/8/2002 8:27:58 PM Pacific Daylight Time 
From: e-booksgen@e-booksgen.com (pat mullaney) 
To: MPFaley@aol.com, janr@cei.net 
Sent from the Internet (Details) 
 
Thought you guys might find this interesting. I heard from William J. Russell. He says: 
"I don't believe I can be of very much help to you, and I am sorry about that. Also I do not have a computer. I was the right waist gunner on Les Kassebaums crew. We started our combat missions in June 1944, and after 15 combat missions, was taken off my crew and made a spare gunner, as were the 10th man on every crew were of every B-17 in England. The reason being that the machine gun pointing to the tail of the plane wasn't of much use. This was the radio man's gun. So in case of an attack by German fighter planes the radio man would go to the right waist position and man that gun. So the B17s which had a crew of ten were reduced to a crew of nine. All spare gunners only had a chance to fly with another crew, if they happened to be short a man or men because of death or serious injury to anyone or more during combat missions, or drunkenness or any other cause of not being able to fly with their crew. My crew and all crews at that time had to fly 35 combat missions to be able to leave and come home. Spare gunners could go home after 25 mission because of the infrequency that we flew. 

I had 15 combat missions with Les Kassebaums crew when I was taken off and made a spare gunner and flew two missions with two different crews whom I can't remember. Then I, as many others were trained as togglers. We did the bombardiers job of dropping bombs etc. we did everything a bombardier did, except use the Norden Bomb Sight. The bombardier in the lead plane used the Bomb sight and also dropped a smoke bomb, which we dropped on. I now had 15 missions completed with my crew, and two as a spare gunner for a total of 17, at which time I was assigned to Baker's crew as a toggler, and completed my last 8 missions and came home after 25 missions. I flew four different positions on a B17. Tail gunner, right waist gunner, top turret gunner and toggler. My original crew finished 35 missions and come home in October of 44. I believe I came home in November after 25 missions. 

It could be possible that maybe Dick (Mullaney from Lt Dawson) wound up as I did, as a spare gunner. Maybe I am just guessing, he was never assigned to another crew? Maybe he was? I have no way of knowing. I am ashamed to admit I can't remember Dick. I must have known him for a very short time. I'm sure he was a wonderful young man, and as he mentioned I had 23 missions completed, needing two more to come home. Russ he mentioned could be me? I don't know. I don't know who Pat was? We flew in three plane elements that was wing to wing etc. Merseburg was an Oil Refinery, and a very dangerous Combat mission that really scared all of us. 

I am enclosing the address of Lloyd H. Luckow 1171 Olslenway Drive, Houston, Texas 77070-2809. Luke is our navigator and stayed at the base even after I came home. Tell him Bill Russell gave you his address. He may be able to help you? Maybe not at all.
********************************************************************************************************

FROM Mr & Mrs Wm J. Russell (wg on crew)
to Lt  KASSEBAUM Family on June 17, 2002

Dear Kass and Family,
I received your most welcome letter and was very glad to hear from you. I’m sorry that I'm so late answering it.  Thank you very much for the letter I wrote to your Dad in 1945, that’s over 57 years ago and being honest, I don't remember it. I was the right waist gunner on your Dad's Crew.  Believe me, your Dad was a very good B17 pilot. As far as I 'm concerned, one of the very best.  I told your sister Nina that on one of the early missions, we had an older B-17 and had trouble keeping up with the Group. At one point we were way behind and all of us on the crew were scared. Your Dad told us not to worry and that we'll be catching up and believe me, he did catch up before we got to the target.  
Shortly after we started flying combat missions, the air force decided that the Radio Gun, pointing towards the tail of the plane, was pretty useless so it was taken out. In case of an attack by German planes, the radio man would go to the right waist gun and man that.  

That meant that the other man on the every crew was taken off and became a spare gunner.  We only flew a mission on anyone’s crew when someone was injured, killed, drunk, or other reasons. I had 15 missions completed when I was designated a spare gunner.  Your Dad did everything in his power to keep me with the crew but could not.  I flew two missions with other crews. Then they trained me to become a Toggelier, dropping bombs.  We dropped our bombs on a smoke bomb that the lead Bombardier dropped to signal bombs away.  He used the Norden Bombsight, we did not. After those two missions as a spare, they assigned me to a crew as toggelier and flew regularly for I think about eight missions with Lt Bakers Crew.  So I had spare gunner status and finished up with 25 missions, you Dad & my original crew had to fly 35 missions!  

I flew 4 different positions on the B-17, RWG, TG, TTE, and 8 missions as a toggelier. I was stationed at Wright Field in Dayton OH when your Dad & Howie Parris were at Lockbourne in Columbus, but did not know it.  I truly hope that you and Nina really enjoy your trip to England and our base at Thorpe Abbotts.  I'm only sorry that I also have not been able to get back there. My Wife and I visited your Dad and Mom about four or five times while they were in Oklahoma City.  That was when our Son was in Oklahoma. He is now nearby in Pennsylvania, about 300 miles away.  If you ever get a chance and have the time, try to be sure to go to the Wright Field in Dayton Ohio, home of the Air Force Museum. They also have an Imax theater.  Also Savannah Georgia, the 8th Air Force Museum.  

I pray that you and Nina will have a wonderful and safe trip to England and home again.  I know that you both will thoroughly enjoy it.  

Much Love Always
Bill-Rt Waist & Elie Russell.

MEMO 2:

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: DATE:  
AIRCRAFT: CAUSE:  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

Leslie E. Kassebaum crew -"GOOD PICKIN "  Leslie E. Kassebaum Crew (left to right)
Standing: Leslie Kassebaum (P), Gilbert Malcom (CP), Lloyd Luckow (NAV), Wilson McCreight (BOM)
Kneeling: Howard Parris (WG), William Russell (WG), Charles Schwark (ROG)
James Rocheford (TTE), George Zigenis (BTG), Charles Price (TG)  

Part of the Leslie Kassebaum crew, standing from left to right, George "Ziggy" Zigenis - BTG, Jim "Rocky" Rockeford - TTG, Bill Russell - RWG, Charles Price - TG, in front, Howard "Howie" Parris - LWG, Charles "Tex" Schwark -ROG   (100th Photo Archives)

George E. Zigenis - Lucky Bastard's Club certificate.   (100th Photo Archives)

 Back left to right, Wilson McCreight, Mrs. Malcolm, Gilbert Malcolm, Lloyd Luckow, Howard Parris, kneeling, Charles Schwark, Bill Russell, James Rocheford of the Leslie Kassebaum crew Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 Lloyd H. Luckow -NAV and Leslie E. Kassebaum - P Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 Charles Price and Bill Russell of the Leslie Kassebaum crew Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

Leslie E. Kassebaum in his plane "HAPPY GO LUCKY".     (100th Photo Archives)

 Air Cadets (1943). Leslie E. Kassebaum is 3rd from left. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 Leslie E Kassebaum -Pilot - Happy Go Lucky Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

ID: 2703