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T/SGT  William P. BURKHART

UNIT: 350th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: TTE
SERIAL #: STATUS: FEH
MACR:

Comments1: MISSOURI VALLEY, IA

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

1st Lt Calvin G.Guhse             P   FEH 
2nd Lt Robert G.Ball             CP  FEH    Taps 16 June 1951
2nd Lt Maurice H.Subilia      NAV  FEH
   Sgt Luther P.Bridgeman   ROG  FEH
   Sgt William P.Burkhart     TTE   FEH
   Sgt Virgil M.Coombs         NG   FEH
   Cpl Kenneth A.Hartley    BTG   FEH
   Cpl Jack Horne               WG   FEH
   Cpl Clinton E.Greene        TG   FEH

350th Sqdn.  Crew,as above,joined 100th Group on 30/3/45.
According to Sgt William Burkhart, the crew flew 3 missions and some Chowhound Missions
Flew A/C known as "Galloping Goose" (had nose art, a goose with a bomb In its mouth). (Believe this aircraft was flown overseas but taken away from Crew when they landed at Air Depot in Scotland….MPF)  LT. GUHSE Crew Known aircraft flown…JIMBO and HEAVEN SENT…..


PRACTICE MISSION….13 APRIL,1945               GUHSE   226   B   C-SQDN,  44-8226    LN-B  "JIMBO"  PFF  a/c  HARDSTAND  # 30 
COMBAT MISSION….. 14 APRIL,1945  ROYAN,  GUHSE   226   B   D-SQDN   44-8226   LN-B  "JIMBO" PFF  a/c   HARDSTAND  # 30
COMBAT MISSION….. 16 APRIL,1945  ROYAN   (FROM SGT BURKHART) 
PRACTICE MISSION..  19 APRIL,1945               GUHSE   414  Y   D-SQDN, 43-38414   LN-Y  " HEAVEN SENT"  HARDSTAND  # 32 
COMBAT MISSION….. 20 APRIL,1945  ORANIENBURG (FROM SGT BURKHART)
CHOWHOUND MISSION  7  MAY,1945              GUHSE   226  B   D-SQDN    44-8226   LN-B  "JIMBO"  PFF  a/c  HARDSTAND  # 30 

DP  FERRY FROM AUSTRIA TO PARIS, JUNE 3,1945     GUHSE   717   T   31   A-SQDN     …….ALL I HAVE FOR CREW…. NOTE;   717  LN-T   MIGHT BE   42-97717   a  482nd BG  PATHFINDER AIRCRAFT  (H2X)…Reason I mention it is the 100th BG received  42-97718  in MAY,1945   349th BS/100TH BG   XR-N….  Jack O'Leary.


Letter to Paul West from William W. Shilvey of the 95th BG (3175 Panocha St.  Las Vegas, NV  8912-2162) states that Robert Ball was killled in the crash of a F-84 which suffered a flame out over Augusta, Georgia and rather than ejecting over a populated area, Lt. Ball attempted a crash landing in a clear area and was KILLED. He was survived by his wife, Leona of Amarillo, Texas and his son, Glenn of Houston, Texas…

***************************************************************************************************************

During World War II, however, a kind of manmade goose galloped across the skies of Europe, dropping bombs.

The ''Galloping Goose'' was a B-17 Flying Fortress with William Burkhart, of Humboldt, aboard.

Burkhart was the flight engineer and top turret gunner on the plane. He flew three combat missions in the last months of the war. When the war was over, he flew humanitarian missions to drop food parcels to hungry civilians in Belgium.

The Missouri Valley native enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1944. He said he picked the Army Air Force because he figured it was ''probably the safest'' branch of the military to serve in.

Burkhart, 87, signed up in early 1944 and spent the rest of the year training at various bases in the United States. His first stop was basic training at Wichita Falls, Texas. Then he went to pilot training at Brookings, S.D.

He washed out of pilot training and was dispatched to Kingman, Ariz. There, he flew for the first time on the four-engine B-17.

At Kingman, he learned to shoot the twin .50 caliber machine guns which would be his weapons aboard the plane. Those guns were mounted in a glass turret on the top of the plane near the cockpit. Burkhart said he stood up just behind the pilot and co-pilot when he was in the turret.

Target practice, he said, took place in the air. While the B-17 was cruising over Arizona, Burkhart fired at a large sack being towed by another plane. The target looked like the wind socks found at airports today, he said.

More training at Amarillo, Texas, and St. Petersburg, Fla., followed.

Upon completing his training, Burkhart became part of a B-17 crew assigned to the 350th Bomb Squadron of the 100th Bomb Group in Britain.

The ''Galloping Goose'' took off from Atlanta, Ga., and flew to Britain, with stops in Canada and Iceland. The plane landed at an airfield near Thorpe Abbotts, which is about 100 miles north of London. That airfield became the crew's base. Burkhart said the crew arrived in Britain during the last week of December 1944. (This is wrong, the crew arrived at Thorpe Abbotts in late March 1945…MPF) 

Hitting a German U-boat base on the French coast was the bomber's first mission. Burkhart said the crew got up at 3 a.m. on the day of the mission. They had breakfast and were briefed on the target. (First Mission was to Royan, France hitting Ground Defenses…MPF)
He said all of his missions involved at least eight hours of flying, which included the flight to the target, the bombing run over the target and the return to Britain. Burkhart didn't have to shoot at any German planes on that mission or the two that followed. ''It was late in the war,'' he said, explaining that by 1945, the German Air Force was basically destroyed.

He added that even if there were any German planes in the air, the P-51 Mustang fighters that accompanied the bombers would have taken care of them. What the Germans did have, he said, were anti-aircraft guns. He said the shells from those guns came up to 35,000 feet in the air.
''I saw quite a bit of that,'' Burkhart said.  On its second mission, the ''Galloping Goose'' bombed German positions east of Berlin to help advancing Soviet troops. (Second mission was also to Royan France bombing German Ground Defenses…MPF)

The plane's third mission was to blast a railroad yard in Berlin (ORANIENBURG…MPFALY), Burkhart said.

He was in Britain when the Germans surrendered in May 1945. He said he went to London to celebrate.

Shortly after the surrender, the bomber was in the air again. But this time it was loaded with food rather than explosives. The food was dropped to starving civilians in Holland .One of the food parcels got caught in the bomb bay. Burkhart said he lay down on the catwalk over the bomb bay and reached down with a knife to cut the parcel free. At the time, the plane was in the air with the bomb bay doors open.

In early 1946, the crew of the ''Galloping Goose'' was discharged from the military.

MEMO 2:

William P. Burkhart 350th Squadron March 30, 2016Bill arrived at Thorpe Abbotts on March 30, 1945 - 71 years to the day before he died.  He was Top Turret Engineer on the Calvin Guhse crew, flying 3 combat missions followed by Chowhound humanitarian food drop missions to Holland.

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

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ID: 651