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T/SGT  Charles W. DINEEN

UNIT: 349th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: TOG/NG
SERIAL #: 16161626 STATUS: KIA
MACR: 13714 CR: 13714

Comments1: 31 MAR 45 BAD BERKA/ ZEITZ-OIL - BAD BERKA

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW
DATE: 31 March 1945          349th Sqdn.       A/C #44-6470

MISSION: Zeitz                                           MACR#13714,Microfiche#5010
  
1st Lt Arthur G.Larsen         P    KIA
1st Lt Thomas E.O'Neil       CP    KIA     (from Lt Carroll Crew)
2nd Lt Dale F.Watterson     NAV   KIA     (from Lt Sanford Crew)
T/Sgt Charles W,Dineen     TOG    KIA
T/Sgt Raymond R.Bazata    TTE    KIA     (from Lt Carroll Crew)
T/Sgt Joseph M.Popson      ROG   KIA     (from Lt Carroll Crew)
S/> Willard P.Bostrom      BTG   KIA
S/Sgt Marvin F.Barner         WG    KIA    (from Lt Wieland Crew)
S/5gt John E.Kaiser           TG    POW  (from Lt Carroll Crew)

349th Sqdn.  Crew,as above,was taken from microfilm of the original  MACR. However,Sgt Obuchowski (WG) was not aboard this A/C on 31/3/45. S/Sgt Marvin F.Barner was flying as WG and was KIA.

Of the above,O'Neill,Bazata,Popson and Kaiser were members of J.A.Carroll's crew which joined the 10Gth Group on 5/l0/44. Barner was from the crew of R.E.Wieland.

Arthur Larsen,Willard Bostrom & John Obuchowski were members of the John H.Williams crew when it joined the 100th on 23 Aug.1944. Larsen & Bostrom left that crew when it became a Pathfinder crew.

The Command Pilot for this mission was the 100th's unflappable "Air Boss",  Lt. Colonel Harry F. Cruver, shortly thereafter to become the Group Commander. Of interest is that the Command Navigator was Major Harry Crosby, the Group Navigator. Both of these "Harry's" are larger than life figures in the history of the 100th. 

EYEWITNESS:  " A/C 44-6470 was hit by flak immediately after bombs away.#3
             engine was knocked loose and dropped off the wing.The A/C nosed
             up;then leveled off and started for the undercast in a steep glide.
             At the Rally point pilot made a 180 degree turn and headed back
             toward Russia. He was heard over VHF saying that #4 prop was running away
             and that he would attempt to reach the Russian lines. The A/C was
             under control and there was no fire. One chute was seen to leave
             the A/C. Allied fighters were escorting A/C."

          STATEMENT OF S/SGT. JOHN E. KAISER.JR. 18243028

The following information was received by Captain Charles W.Terry,Station 139
Prisoner of War Officer on interrogation of S/Sgt.Kaiser 24 April 1945.S/Sgt
Kaiser, since this date has returned to the Zone of Interior.

    "On 31 March 1945,A/C 44-6470 was hit by flak while over the target at
Zeitz, Germany and its #3 engine was knocked out of its mount. It nosed up out
of the formation,levelled off,then started down in a steep glide. Just before
reaching the undercast,the pilot was heard to say he would try to reach the
Russian lines and the A/C went into the undercast on an easterly heading."

    S/Sgt Kaiser was flying as tail gunner and states that his A/C was hit twice.
After the flrst hit it remained in level flight and the engineer called on inter-
phone to ask if he was allright.There were noises from the front that sounded
like pieces of the plane were ripping away. When it was hit again a few seconds later,
the A/C started down in a steep glide. He fastened on his chute and called over in
interphone but no one answered. He looked back into the waist but could see nothing
because of smoke. The A/C was vibrating badly so he decided to get out. His cloth-
ing hung on the handle of the escape hatch and he was trapped there for about 30
seconds. He tried to climb back  nto the A/C but was ueak from lack of oxygen
and could not,so he pulled his-self up as far as possible and let go. This freed
him from the plane so he opened his chute and looked down. He floated across the
German Air Field located at 5059 N 1231 E. As he floated over the woods just east
of this A/F,he noticed that there were hundreds of E/A dispersed there. He landed in
an open field just east of the woods and was momentarily unconscious. When he came
to,he saw several soldiers (Luftwaffe) approaching,so he stood up with hls hands
over his head.

    After being captured and brought to a Prisoner of War Camp at Weimer he was
interrogated by a German Officer. The interrogator asked him the names of the
members of his crew. He gave him their last names end was told that his crew had
crashed a few miles away and all had been killed. As proof he produced a basket
containing the dog tags, bill folds, watches, and other personal property of the men.
Sgt.Kaiser was allowed to look through this equipment and when he found the wedd-
ing ring of his Pilot,1st Lt Arthur G.Larson,Jr. he asked the Interrogator if he
would not allow him to take it to Lt.Larsen's wife. He replied ''sure" and gave it
to him.

*************************************************************************************************************
Subj: Re Crash of # 44-6470  
Date: 7/4/2002 5:02:15 PM Pacific Daylight Time 
From: JaniceKay4 
To: MPFaley, GOODMANC@BU.EDU, janr@cei.net 
 
Holidays seem to give incentives to write, and this July 4th I have recently received letters which confirm the crash site. The researchers also express the real possibility that the crew were murdered by SS troops and we may never have formal documentation on what happened. In 1955, there were rosters for 131 American dead still believed to be interred in East Germany.

This note is for you three personally because you have all  done so much to help solve the mystery of my father's death.  Please do NOT publish the note in the Splasher Six.  Let's wait until after we have heard something definitive and official from the US Army Memorial Team.  I just want to keep you updated as the search continues.

July 4, 2002

RE: Crashsite of AC #44-6470

I have recently received letters from Europe which confirm the crashsite of AC #44-6470 near Oberlungwitz, Germany.
"I can now confirm definitely that the bomber that crashed at Oberlungwitz (for which Mr. Giegling and the Community of Ernstthal-Hohenstein have collected eye-witness accounts etc.)is the one piloted by Lt. Larsen because all other bomber losses on that day are now accounted for.  The burial of T/Sgt Dineen in Ernstthal can be considered as circumstantial evidence for this loss of the Larsen aircraft.  Wreckage of the B-17 near Oberlungwtz has been completely removed since." As for the crew, Mr. Hey believes the crewman could have been victims of a war crime. Earlier, I forwarded the reports that 4-7 parachutes were seen, followed by SS troops searching for the crew with dogs and warning the people of the area that they would be shot if they aided the airmen. Mr. Hey  gave me suggestions to follow documentation although in his records, there is NO entry for victims of the 31st of March, 1945 Ernstthal area.  Then, the War Crimes records do not always show the names of the victims.

My German correspondent, Mr. Horst Giegling, has been in touch with Mr. Hey and with the people of Chemnitz and also sent me an important update.  Mrs. Korbitz of Chemnitz had a childhood memory of a burial at an unmarked grave and has recently returned to the site. Mr. Giegling's  friend at the U.S. Army Memorial Affairs Activity-Europe called Horst and said that the office intends to visit the area in August and will contact Mrs. Korbitz.  After so many years, there is little hope of recovering the remains of Lt. Larsen's crew but steps are being taken to explore possiblities.

Although the crashed plane has been moved, Mr. Giegling has sent me photos of the field where the plane crashed.  He actually included a small piece of metal he found at the site, about the size of a dog tag (but definitely NOT a dog tag.)  Again, the consideration of the researchers involved have become an important part of the search for the air crew.

On days like today, we know the price that has been paid for our freedoms. Thank you all for your continuing support in the search for Lt. Larsen's crew.  
Sincerely, Janice

MEMO 2:

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Zeitz DATE: 1945-03-31  
AIRCRAFT: (44-6470) CAUSE: FLAK  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: D ROW: 36  
GRAVE: 21 CEMETERY: Lorraine Am Cemetery/St Avold  
ID: 1314