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T/SGT  Robert ARTHUR

UNIT: 349th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: TTE
SERIAL #: 32324940 STATUS: FEH
MACR:

Comments1: 14 MAR 45 SEELZE/RTN WITH MAJOR DAMAGE

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

2nd Lt Edward W. Aubuchon,Jr.     P   FEH  O-763894
2nd Lt Harold W.Higgs                  CP   FEH  O-929862
2nd Lt Oliver W . Dunn                NAV  FEH  O-2074571
2nd Lt Myron S.Alexander           BOM   FEH  O-929691
Sgt Robert Arthur                      TTE   FEH  32324940
Cpl Donald O.Bridge                    BTG   FEH  39718195
Cpl Albert A.Gillen                      ROG   FEH   39551392
Cpl Garland S.Miller                      WG    KIA 14/3/45 SEELZE  (FLAK) 33515319
Cpl Harold D. Hyde                       TG   FEH  31089616

349th Sqdn. Crew,as above,joined 100th Group on 18/2/45.

Flying in 43-38852 EP-N when hit by flak on 14 MAR 45.

Hi Mike; (All)….Here is what I have in my ongoing TA/1945 project files on the Lt.Edward Aubuchon crews missions….(I've got ten of their thirteen combat missions……their food drop mission,(s) ?... I'm also including an edited text (I've omitted personal comments from Hal to me)  from a letter from Hal Higgs  that explains three of the crews missions that is of interest…also at the very end a listing of Hal Higgs,as 1st Pilot… crew from the September, revised to October,1945  349th BS Operations Officer’s Combat Crews roster…I sent Hal a copy in 1993 and he commented that was the first document he had ever seen that proved he was a first pilot in command of his own ship………………

1 October,1993 letter from Hal Higgs-CP ….."I arrived at Thorpe Abbott I believe in February,1945. At that time I was a co-pilot on the crew whose pilot was Ed Aubuchon. We flew thirteen actual combat missions plus a food drop or two. Like most of the others I was quite young, age 20,and had not acquired a habit of keeping significant records.   There are three missions that are truly memorable to me. On our first mission our crew was chosen to haul & drop chaff (tinfoil strips). The purpose of this chaff was to jam German radar. On that day the 100th Bomb Group was the group to lead the entire 3rd Division.  The six aircraft hauling chaff had to fly ahead of the lead bomb group and their six aircraft had to spread out away from each other -so as to give the tinfoil a chance to cover a large area in jamming the radar. Normally all aircraft flew in very tight formation.   As we were going on the actual bomb run all of a sudden I felt what to me was severe vibration. My first impulse was to think we had a run away engine (exceeding its RPM). Then I realized our machine gunners were firing at enemy aircraft.  Just then I saw an ME-262  (Germanys' & the worlds first jet aircraft) go over our right wing & one under our right wing. The closest other 100th BG aircraft to us was piloted by Jack Thrasher.  He was ahead of us and on our left.  One or more of the ME-262s attacked Thrasher's aircraft after going by us and most unfortunately his aircraft exploded.  Fortunately for us our tail gunner, ball turret gunner and top turret gunner had opened up on the enemy and I'm certain that was most helpful in our surviving.  

 The second mission that sticks out in my memory was a mission to Frankfurt. As we were on the bomb run and approached the target all of a sudden it was discovered another Group was approaching Frankfurt at about the same altitude but from a different heading. The 100th BG leader had a tough decision to make. He chose to pull off the bomb run (and) take the entire group back to the I.P. (Initial Point) and make a run on Frankfurt again which we did. It is my understanding he was severely reprimanded for exposing his BG to this extreme exposure twice in a short time span. Had he not chosen to abort our first pass there very possibly would have been many mid air collisions of American aircraft.   

The third mission that is memorable is the one on which our aircraft was hit by flak and our waist gunner Garland Miller was struck by flak and perished. We were hit a fraction of a second after our bombardier had dropped the bombs. I knew that’s when it was because our aircraft was trimmed for a load & just after bombs are released the pilots would re-trim the aircraft to fly with a different weight load. We didn't have time to retrim. For the next three hours we flew the aircraft that was in a continuous stall position. In my judgment I was fortunate to fly as a co-pilot for Ed Aubuchon. When we were flying in formation we worked out a system whereby when one person was handling the controls the other person would handle the throttles & visa versa. This kept each person continuously occupied. It's my understanding few copilots were offered this treatment.  I was checked out as a first pilot for a B-17 in April of 1945. In the Fall of 1945 some of the pilots, self included of the 100th (Bomb Group) were sent to Munich for some strange reason. I was bored with inactivity and applied for a transfer to European Air Transport Service and sent to an airline instrument school and flew the corridors in and out of Berlin for EATS for about six months & then came home in August,1946"…..


MISSIONS OF LT AUBUCHON (from jack O’Leary) 

1.    # 271  3 MARCH,1945  BRUNSWICK       (aircraft info currently unknown)…. 
2.    # 275  9 MARCH,1945  FRANKFURT       44-8334  XR-B, Hardstand # 18  No Name , A-Sqdn, Low flgt # 2……
3..  # 276  10 MARCH,1945  DORTMUND      44-8680  LN-X                         "HURRI-KANE"……
4.   .#278  12 MARCH,1945  SWINEMUNDE 43-38383  LN-F  Hardstand # 30,  No Name, B-Sqdn,Low Flgt,# 4 (TEC)
5.   # 279  14 MARCH,1945  SEELZE          43-38852  EP-N  Hardstand #  6,  A-Sqdn,High Flgt……. 
6.   # 283  19 MARCH,1945  FULDA          43- 38681  XR-V  Hardstand # 24,  "GRUMBLIN GREMLIN  III " ,A-Sqdn,Lead Flgt,Element 2,# 2
7.   # 286  23 MARCH,1945  UNNA,             44-6811  XR-X  Hardstand # 18,  No Name   , C-Sqdn, Element 1, # 2
8.  .# 287  24 MARCH,1945  STEENWIJK   43-38602  XR-P  Hardstand # 16, "GRUMBLIN GREMLIN II" ,D-Sqdn, Element 1, # 2
9.  .# 292   3 APRIL,  1945  KIEL              43-38313  XR-S  Hardstand # 20,  "LIL  BUTCH" , B-Sqdn, Element 2,Lead.
10. # 293   4 APRIL,  1945  KIEL                44-6811  XR-X  Hardstand # 18,   No Name,  A-Sqdn, Element 2, Lead........ 


349th Bombardment Squadron (H) 
ARMY AIR FORCES 
Office of the Operations Officer 1 Sept 1945 revised 1 October,1945  
Combat Crew Asssignment    

Crew  # 6 Ship #  696-W   (# 42-97696  XR-W)  
 P - 2nd Lt. Higgs, Harold W.   Hut # 13
CP- 1st Lt. Watne, John M   Hut # 13
NAV- 2nd Lt. Kuyrkendall, Ray C. Jr.  Hut # 13
BOM- 2nd Lt. Lindh, John W.  Hut # 13
ROG- T/Sgt Volonnino, Frank  J.   Hut # 20
TTE- T/Sgt Clellen, Jack T.  Hut # 20
BTG-S/Sgt Hale, Richard S.  Hut # 20
WG- S/Sgt Warren,Frank E. Jr.   Hut # 20
TG-  S/Sgt Bennett,John F.  Hut # 20
ROG- Sgt Matthews, David H. (Spare)  Hut # 20

Crew # 8, Ship # 810-L   (44-8810  XR-L  "TARGET FOR TONIGHT")    
P-1st Lt Smith, William G.   Hut # 13............
CP- 2nd Lt. Groover, William T.  Hut # 13.......
NAV- 2nd Lt. Accinelli, John F.  Hut # 13........
CT- Sgt O'Leary, John J.     Hut # 33.......
ROG- S/Sgt Cumbaa,Delome (NMI) Jr.    Hut  # 33.........
TTE- S/Sgt Szalwinski, Stanley A. Jr.    Hut # 33........
BTG- Sgt Russo, Anthony R.    Hut  # 33.......
WG- S/Sgt Beyne, Russell O.    Hut # 33.....
TG-  Sgt Baugh, Earl J.    Hut # 33........
WG- Sgt Leffew, Henry (NMI) (Spare)   Hut # 33

MEMO 2:

Survivor

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: DATE:  
AIRCRAFT: CAUSE:  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

Edward Aubuchon Crew (Left to Right)
Standing: Hal Higgs, Ed Aubuchon, Oliver W. Dunn, Myron Alexander
Kneeling: Don Bridge, Garland Miller, Albert A."Duke" Gillen, Robert Arthur, Harold Hyde

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

ID: 134