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S/SGT  Willard P. BOSTROM

UNIT: 349th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: BTG
SERIAL #: 37569877 STATUS: KIA
MACR: 13714 CR: 13714

Comments1: 31 MAY 45 ZEITZ (FLAK)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

 LT JOHN H. WILLIAMS                 P CPT 5 APR 45 NURNBURG
 LT ARTHUR G. LARSEN, JR.      CP KIA 31 MAR 45 ZEITZ, OIL REFINERY
 LT JACK E. WILD                   NAV CPT 5 APR 45 NURNBURG
 LT  JOSEPH J. ORENDORF      BOM CPT 5 APR 45 NURNBURG
SGT DON O.R. SELLWOOD      TTE CPT 5 APR 45 NURNBURG
SGT STEPHEN J. MAJCHRZAK  ROG CPT 5 APR 45 NURNBURG
SGT WILLARD P. BOSTROM    BTG KIA 31 MAR 45 ZEITZ, OIL REFINERY
SGT AUGUST J. KOCIOLEK      WG CPT 5 APR 45 NURNBURG
SGT JOHN J. OBUCHOWSKI    WG CPT 5 APR 45 NURNBURG
SGT GEORGE E. SLAWIK          TG CPT 5 APR 45 NURNBURG

349th Sqdn.  This crew, as above joined the 100th Group on 23 Aug 44. Flew nine missions as a "regular" crew and 20 missions as a Pathfinder Crew.  When named a PFF crew (4 Dec 44), Art Larsen & Will Bostrom were removed form the crew, Larsen to take over his own crew and since the BTG was not carried on the PFF aircraft Bostrom went with Larsen. Both were KIA the last day of March 1945 at Zeitz.

Crew left the U.S. from Camp Kilmer, N.J. aboard the S.S. Brazil & ten days later docked in Liverpool, Eng. Returing to states, left South Hampton, Eng on V.E. Day, aboard the USS Kingfisher bound for Boston.

 Will Bostrom flew nine (9) missions with this crew before going with Art Larsen when he got a crew and  the Williams crew went to Pathfinders, which did not carry a BTG..

MISSION LOG FOLLOWS  
03 OCT 44 NURNBURG  
09 OCT 44 MAINZ    
12 OCT 44 BREMEN   
15 OCT 44 COLOGNE
17 OCT 44 COLOGNE
18 OCT 44 KASSEL
19 OCT 44 MANNHEIM
30 OCT 44 MEPPEN
09 NOV 44 SAARBRUCKEN

Hi Janice; Here's what I current have on 1st Lt. Arthur G. Larsen....(Combat missions)....Just an FYI on how the 100th BG flew Group formations....On missions listed, the 100th flew 3 Squadron formations, A,B,C, Squadrons, with a LEAD,LOW, and HIGH FLGT. in each...with the exception of 28 & 31 March which are 4 Squadron formations, A,B,C,D...(The Group went to a 4 squadron formation as early as  23 March,1945  from what I've seen,flying 3 Squadron formations as late as 19 March,1945   Jack O'Leary     

# 276  10 MARCH,1945  DORTMUND,RAIL YARDS  C SQUADRON,LEAD FLGT, LARSEN  470  T  13A   (HARDSTAND 13A, AIRCRAFT 
          # 44-6470 XR-T )  
# 278  12 MARCH,1945  SWINEMUNDE,DOCKS   B SQUADRON,HIGH FLGT,LARSEN  470  T  13A , 
# 279 14 MARCH,1945  HANOVER,RAIL YARDS, A SQUADRON, HIGH FLGT , LARSEN  470  T  13A, 
# 280   15  MARCH,1945  BERLIN,ORANIENBURG, RAIL YARDS,  C SQUADRON, HIGH FLGT, LARSEN  945  F  48  (HARDSTAND 48, AIRCRAFT 
           43-38945  LD-F)  
# 282  18 MARCH,1945  BERLIN, RAIL YARDS,  B SQUADRON, LEAD FLGT,  LARSEN  470  T  13A,  
# 289  HANOVER,TANK PLANT 28 MARCH,1945  A SQUADRON, LARSEN  514  J   22  ( HARDSTAND 22, AIRCRAFT 43-38514  XR-J )  
# 291  ZEITZ/BAD BERKA  OIL REFINERIES  31 MARCH,1945  ,D SQUADRON, LARSEN  470  T  13A 


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   TOGG    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: ROW:  
GRAVE: Wall/Misng CEMETERY: Henri-Chapelle Am Cemetery  

PHOTOS:

Willard P. Bostrom   349th   BTG   Minnesota   KIA   31 Mar 45   Zeitz   Arthur G. Larsen Crew

John H. Williams Crew: Standing from left: John H. Williams, Arthur G. Larsen, Jr. - CP, Jack E. Wild - NAV and Joseph J. Orendorff - BOM: Kneeling: Donald O. R. Sellwood - TTE, Willard P. Bostrom - BTG, George E. Slawik - TG, August J. Kociolek - WG, John J. Obuchowski - WG and Stephen J. Mazchrzak - ROG     Detailed Information   (100th Photo Archives)

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

Crew 2

ID: 452