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SGT  Fred E. APPLEBY

UNIT: 349th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: TG
SERIAL #: STATUS: FEH
MACR:

Comments1: EL PASO, TX NICKNAME "TEX"

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

CREW FLYING AT END OF HOSTILITIES

2nd Lt Raymond N.Wieland        P  CPT  TAPS: 23 MAY 1965
2nd Lt Paul L.Valentine          CT   CPT   20/4/45  ORANIENBURG, MY (100TH LAST COMBAT MISSION) moved to J.W. King Crew
2nd Lt Anthony J.Pranger     NAV  FEH
Cpl David E.Clowe                TTE    FEH
Cpl Arthur A. Edmonston      ROG    FEH
Cpl Marvin F.Barner               BTG   KIA   31/3/45 (With crew of A.G.Larson) see below
Cpl Robert F.Joyce,             TOG    FEH TAPS 5 MAY 1990
Cpl John C.Ciaccia                WG   FEH  TAPS: 26 OCT 1986
Cpl Fred E. "Tex" Appleby,Jr. TG   FEH

349th Sqdn.  Crew,as above,joined the 100th Group on 3/12/44.  Paul Valentine joined the crew of J.W.King and 
finished with them according to a letter to this writer by Robert Culp...jb

With some changes, this became a Lead Crew.  On April 3, 1945 this crew's makeup was as follows

Maj. J.B. Milling                      Command Pilot  (351st BS C.O.)
Lt Raymond Wieland              Pilot
Lt Paul Valentine                   Co-Pilot (formation officer)
Lt Pranger                            Navigator
Lt Jack Tolliver                       Bombardier (originally on Lt Joseph King Crew)
T/Sgt David Clowe                 Top Turret Engineer
T/Sgt Arthur Edmonston         Radio Operator Gunner
Lt Ray Decker                        Mickey Operator (originally a Bombardier on Lt Walter Charles Crew, reclassifed to Radar Operator)
S/Sgt Ciaccia                         Waist Gunner
S/Sgt Fred "Tex" Appleby Jr.  Tail Gunner


"Our first mission on my return from leave was a tough one.  There were many flak guns guarding the target and several German fighter airfields near our route to the target.  For this mission there would be a full colonel for division flying in my position.  Out squadron will be flying group lead.  In this position our plane is equiped with Mickey, a through the clouds bombsight.  The target is Nuremberg.  Meteorology has guarenteed a beautiful clear day, all day.  Today, I am supposed to ride in the tail as group fromation control officer. I didn't go there. I told our regular tail gunner to take his normal position.  In case of fighter attack he is the best man for that position.  The flight to the buncer beacon was pleasent and uneventful and the planes formed quickly into formation.  Our group entered the bomber steram on time and in the correct position.  The trip to the target was routine.  The sky was blue and the sun was bright.  The bombing altitude was twenty thousand feet.  This is the lowest I can ever recall going on a bomb run, since I have been with the group.
    When we reached the I.P. and turned on the bomb run, all hell broke lose.  There was heavy flak and German fighters coming in form all over.  I was manning a waist gun.  The next thing I remember was a big bang and the sound of shattering plywood and tin being crumbled up.  On the intercom, the radar operator in the radio room screamed, 'I have been hit.'  He came stumbling through a large hole where the partition and the door to the radio room used to be, between the waist and the radio room. There was a large hole through the radio room floor and the skin of the airplane.  About half of the radio room floor was gone.  The oxygen tanks were located in that area and the shell that hit us blew up the tanks, causing more damage to the plane.  The radio operator, sitting beside the radar operator, was perfectly all right.  I think that was a miracle.  He stayed at his postion and continued on whth his work, with half the radio room gone.
    At this late time on the bomb run, there was no way that we could abort the group lead position.  We had no oxygen and had to breath the air at this altitude.  The atmospher at twentythousand feet is sufficent to survive on without extra oxygen.  However, you would have to restrict your physical activity to an absolute minimum.  If we were to get excited or have physical activity, we could become light headed and even pass out.  It appeared to us that the Mickey operator had some small pieces of flak in the calf of his leg.  We made him as comfortable as we could back in the waist.  Our lives had been spared by the low altitude for this mission.  Had we been at twenty six or thirty thousand feet, where most of the missions I had been on were flown, we would have had to abort the formation and dive for a lower altitued.  Leaving the safety fo the group fire power would have given the fighters easy access to our crippled B-17. 
    As we started our long let down on the return trip, the lower the altitued, the easier it was to breath.  We had radioed ahead and after landing there was an ambulance waitinf for the Mickey operator.  He had some small pieces of metal removed from his leg and there was no after effects.  When he was back on his feet, the public relations officer had the radio operator and the radar operator stand on the ground with their heads and shoulders up through the hole into the radio room for a picture. 
    Once again everything worked out to our best advantage.   A hit a few feet in any direction would have been a tragic disaster.  Reality agin, that this is war, that men and and equipment are expendable.  The Air Force doctrin, 'We never miss a target because of enemy opposition.'


Hope the information wasn't too long.  Harry Valentine

MEMO 2:

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: DATE:  
AIRCRAFT: CAUSE:  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

 The Raymond N. Wieland crew. After this crew left Ardmore, OK, and completed their Phase Training, I believe this photo was taken as the Replacement Center in Lincoln, NE after the crew received their new flying clothing. (Note Clowe's TTE light colored fur collar.) L to R Rear: Waist Gunner John C. Ciaccia, Ball Turret Gunner Marvin F. Barner, Radio Operator Gunner Arthur A. Edmonston, Nose Gunner Robert F. Joyce, and Top Turret Engineer David E. Clowe. L to R Front: Tail Gunner Fred E. "Tex" Appleby, Jr., Co-Pilot Paul L. Valentine, Navigator Anthony J. Pranger, and Pilot Raymond N. Wieland. Wieland Crew Information. (Photo courtesy of Harry Valentine, son of Paul Valentine) 

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

ID: 110