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LT  George A. BROWNING

UNIT: 350th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: NAV

SERIAL #: O-685315 STATUS: POW
MACR: 02761 CR: 02761

Comments1: 21 FEB 44 ALHORN & VORDEN (CL)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW 

1st Lt Wiliam H. Fletcher            P   POW    21/2/44   Burnswick
2nd Lt Richard M.Roper            CP   POW      21/2/44   Brunswick
2nd Lt George A.Browning     NAV   POW      21/2/44   Brunswick
2nd Lt Howard D.Venzie        BOM   POW      21/2/44   Brunswick
 T/Sgt James H.Whitton        TTE  Injured in crash after about 7 missions 
 T/Sgt George A.Reid            ROG   POW      21/2/44   Brunswick
 S/Sgt Pietro J.Giaquinto        BTG   POW      21/2/44   Brunswick
 S/Sgt John J.Seman            RWG   POW      21/2/44   Brunswick
 S/Sgt Alexander Sosik         LWG   POW      21/2/44   Brunswick
 S/Sgt David V.Robb,Jr.          TG   POW       21/2/44   Brunswick

 MACR #276l Micro fiche #924    A/C #42 37796

350th Sqdn. Crew,as above,joined 100th Group in early Oct.1943

On 21/2/44,T/Sgt Leo T.Callahan,from the "Original" crew of B.DeMarco,was aboard in place of 
Sgt.James Whitton and became a POW. See p.184 MIGHTY EIGHTH WAR DIARY for picture and story of 
21/2/44  Also letter from Fletcher's nephew,Joseph M.Lee (1983) --PRESENT ADDRES IS 3 SYCAMORE STATION,
DECATUR, GA 30030 PHONE (404) 373-1336..paul west (nov 1993)

On 4/12/43 Fletcher was flying with the crew of Martian Tashjian newly arrived) to check them 
out on local landmarks and procedure. Sgt.Whitton & Reid were also on the flight. There was a 
landing crash on the field and Fletcher,Whitton & Reid received injuries. However,it is 
believed that Whitton did not fly further combat duty.

The flight was in Fletcher's A/C 42 39791,Fletcher's Castoria,which was totally destroyed.

See: "THEY NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD" p.103/104


   MISSIONS FLOWN BY WILLIAM H. FLETCHER

WILHEMSHAVEN  03 NOV 43
GELSENKIRCHEN  05 NOV 43
DUREN    07 NOV 43
BREMEN   13 NOV 43
RJUKEN, NORWAY  16 NOV 43
PARIS, FRANCE  26 NOV 43
BREMEN   29 NOV 43
KIEL    13 DEC 43
BREMEN   20 DEC 43
MUNSTER   22 DEC 43
PARIS, FRANCE  31 DEC 43
KIEL    04 JAN 44
"CROSSBOW"   21 JAN 44  (NoBall - Bois D' Esquerdes)
FRANKFURT   24 JAN 44  (Recall)
FRANKFURT   29 JAN 44
BRUNSWICK   30 JAN 44
WILHENSHAVEN  02 FEB 44
"CROSSBOW"   13 FEB 44 (NoBall - Livossart : Bois Rempre)
ARNIMSWALDE  20 FEB 44
BRUNSWICK   21 FEB 44 (MIA )




OPERATIONAL NARRATIVE, FEB 21, 1944
TARGET OF OPPORTUNITY

 1. General Narrative - 100th "A" Group: 19 aircraft took off this base; the first at 0915 hours, the last at 0929       hours. the Group assembled over the base by 0950 hours in good formation.

   Fighter support - P-38s, P-47s, P-51s - was good. Flak light and inaccurate.

 2. Aircraft Not Attacking: 19 aircraft were airborne from this base; 16 aircraft were dispatched and attacked the target. Aircraft     #42-31256 turned back 18 miles south of Comer from 23,000 feet. #42-38011 turned back at 1223 from 23,000 feet. Aircraft     #42-37796 is missing in action. No further particulars are available at this time.

 1. General Narrative - 100th "B" Group: 21 aircraft took off from this base, the first at 0930 hours. By 0958 hours we had      assembled on good formation over the base. We flew low position in the 13th "B" Combat Wing. Our formation was good     throughout the mission.  Flak was meager and inaccurate. Fighter support was very good. Other than the fact that we     did not bomb the primary target, there was nothing unusual during our flight.

 2. Aircraft Not Attacking:  21 aircraft departed this base in formation. 19 aircraft were dispatched. #42-30088 turned back at     1330 hours from 21,000 feet, #42-3107 at 1300 hours from 21,500 feet. All aircraft of this Group formation returned to base.

ADDITIONAL NARRATIVE
 
 An initial rendezvous was made due to faulty equipment, namely failure of the fluxgate compass, in the lead ship of "A" Group. The 100th "A" Group left England 10 minutes late and picked up the 100th "B" Group approximately a the coast. The 13th "B" Combat Wing then joined a wing immediately ahead of it and proceeded along the briefed route, 12 minutes behind schedule. At 1344 hours the lead wing turned to the South leaving our course. As we could not proceed along to our target and we did no know their target we decided to bomb and airfield and withdraw with this wing. the airfield at 31.51N, 08 25E was bombed on APCE from an indicate altitude of 22,800 feet.

 An unidentified airdrome was bombed with good results. Photos show bombs hit in buildings along railroad that passes airdrome. Bomb burst indicate severe damage to both railroad and runways of the airdrome. Crew believe the airport to be located near Vechta.

 No fighters attacked either "A" or "B" Groups though some enemy aircraft were seen engaged by our escort. Flak encountered was light to medium and inaccurate at Osnalbruck, Enschedi and Rheine.

 At 1347 hours out aircraft #796 straggled from formation but followed us over target and continued behind our formation until 1430 hours when we were at 5230N and 0515E. It had one engine feathered and another smoking. There were lots of friendly fighters about when this aircraft disappeared in the undercast. Members of this crew were:  Lt's W H Fletcher, R M Roper, G A Browning, HD Venzie, T/Sgt's G A Reid, L T Callahan, S/Sgt's P J Giaquinto, J J Seman, A Sosik, D V Robb..


Letter from Lt. George A. Browning to May Dicus, daughter of his beloved Aunt, Mrs. W.A. Disus.
England 
3 December, 1943

Dear May,

 To show you how glad I was to get your letter I am sitting down almost immediately to answer your letter. Your airmail came yesterday, just nine days after your mailed it in Laurens it was delivered to me. That is quick service, isn't it, it was as fast as any V-Mail I ever received, it evidently hit everything just right.

 Everything is going pretty well but I am at last showing my age and getting toothless. I had an abscessed tooth which had been giving me a fit for the past couple of days but I had it pulled this morning so that is that. It is one of my back molars so I will still be able to grin at you when I get back.

 A couple of days ago I had a letter from Tom with his new address. He told me how he had been trying to get me by telephone with  no luck. But that is the way it is for the English telephone system is a wonder to behold. I should be having a 48 hour pass coming up sometime within the next two weeks and I hope to go down to see him then. We are supposed to get a 48 hour pass every two weeks but as with everything else it doesn't usually work out and you are lucky to get one a month.

  They gave us the Air Medal the other night. It is a nice-looking medal and I am mailing it on to Grandmother, along with the citation. I am proud of it, but it doesn't mean anything I did individually. It is just that I went along as a member of a crew which made five operational missions over Germany and occupied territory. For each additional five missions we get an oak leaf cluster to wear on our Air Medal ribbon. My crew has a total of seven missions. Just the number doesn't seem like much but when you look back upon them they add up. We let the ground crew name our ship since they take such good care of it and as Fletcher is the pilot they named it "Fletcher's Castoria." But everybody else has added their bit and it looks more like a Barum and Baily Circus wagon than it does a Fortress. The Gremlins must take on look at her and wonder what the hell is coming now. The tail gunner had painted a girl dropping bombs on either side of the tail  and named her "Semolian Babe." I have never exactly understood the significance. Under his window Fletcher has painted "Gloria E," which is the name of his girl. There are more names and what not over the fuselage. We are having a gremlin painted on either side, he is a nice fat gremlin flying along with a bomb strapped on his belly and looking around with a pair of opera glasses. My ball-turret gunner is good at sketching, I'll have him do a sketch and send it to you. You were wanting to know the names of all my crew, Bill Fletcher, Pilot; Dick Roper, Co-Pilot; Howard Venzie, Bombardier; Herbert Whitten, Engineer; John Seman, Waist Gunner; Alex Sosik, Waist Gunner; George Reid, Radio-Operator; Pietro Giaquinto, Ball Turret Gunner; Dave Robb, Tail Gunner. Bill is from Augusta, Dick is from Berkeley, Calif., Howard is from Philadelphia; Whitten from Rock HIll (he is a cousin or something of Mary Bailey Owen's husband), Seman and Reid are both from some place near Pittsburg, Sosik and Giaquinto are from New York while Robb is from Philadelphia. Except for Dick we are pretty well divided between the East and South. We had some pictures taken but haven't been able to get hold of any of them. When I do I will send one home so you can see what a motley crew we are.

 The public relations officer here takes pictures of us in case we ever do anything. They usually don't take but one however and the  first shot they thought I moved so they took a second. I am sending both the results on home. One of them is not too bad but I don't know why in the world I have such a distressed look on my face.

 I weakened and opened my Christmas packages. I needed some paper to wrap a package so I took the outer wrapping from Dodies. When I had gone that far I started shaking and rattling it, finally I dived into it. It was a case containing two decks of cards and poker chips. They are very nice and will come in handy. (The current has been turned off and I am writing this by candlelight) There was also a new picture of Pi Pi which is one of the best I have ever seen. But come what may I am saving the rest of them to open on Christmas morning. There is one thing I would like you to send me, I have been pretty hungry for popcorn, could you find some of the kernel that is packed in cans and ready to pop. I can pop it in my mess kit on the stove. If you can find them also throw in a couple of bottles of olives, either stuffed or not. What kind of request do you have to have to send us anything, is the above sufficient ?

 I'm glad you had such a good time at Maxwell. It has been a long time since I have been to a dance but we are planning a big party New Year's Eve. I am saving a pint of Bourbon and I hope to scare up a couple of fresh eggs to make a Christmas eggnog.
 Has Tish's baby arrived yet, if so what was the result. Tell her hello for me next time you see her.

 I think your were right about Frank.

 I was sorry to hear about Mr. Milling, please tell Mena how sorry I was to learn it and how much I sympathize with her.

 Time to be going to bed. Write again whenever you get the time for I always like to hear from you. Give my love to all the family and have yourself a good time with the gadgets.

Love
George A. Browning
       -30-

Clinton South Carolina Newspaper 
( Name of newspaper not mentioned)
March 11, 1944

Lt. Browning is Missing in Action
CLINTON, March 11-- Mrs. M.E. Browning of this city was notified this week by the War Department that her grandson, Lieut. George Alfred Browning, has been missing in action since February 21. (1944)
 The telegram signed by the Adjutant General reads, "The Secretary of War desires to express his deepest regret that your grandson, 2nd Lieut.. George Alfred Browning, has been reported missing in action since February 21 over the coast of Holland. If further details or other information are received you will be promptly notified.
 Lieut. Browning is the son of the late George A. and Lilliam Burns Browning. Since their death, when he was a small lad, he had lived with his grandmother, Mrs. Browning, and Aunt, Mrs. W.A. Dicus. He was graduated from the University of South Carolina and was pursuing work for his M.A. degree at the University of Chicago when inducted into the service three years ago.
 Lieut. Browning was stationed at Fort Jackson for a while with a medical detachment after which he was transferred to the Air Corps. He received his navigator's "wings" in Hondo, Texas, in June past. His base was in England with the air force. He had been on overseas duty for several months as a navigator on a Flying Fortress.
 Mrs. Browning and Mrs. Dicus received a letter from Lieut. Browning written on February 20 in which he said he was "very tired." The next day he was reported missing and it is believed his entire crew went down at the time.

      -30-

MEMO 2:

Crew opted to crash land in Holland rather than bail out.

BROWNING, GEORGE

George Alfred Browning, III, Col USAF retired passed peacefully from this life at his home in Montgomery, AL February 25, 2015. He was the son of George A. Browning, Jr and Lillian Burns Browning and born in Goldville (now Joanna), SC on August 8, 1917, the town founded by his great grandfather, James S. Blalock. After losing his parents at an early age he was raised by his dearly beloved grandmother, Medora Browning, and aunt, Mattie Ban Dicus, along with his sisters, Burns Anderson and Dodie Piper as well as many cousins. The first job he held was as a water boy for the road crew of his Uncle William Dicus. He graduated from the University of South Carolina where he was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order and attended graduate school at the University of Chicago. He taught high school French and English in Ludowici, GA prior to being drafted in 1940. After commissioning he was assigned to the 350th Bomb Squadron of the Bloody 100th Bomb Group and was the bombardier/navigator on the B-17 'Fletcher's Castoria.' After crash landing in Holland, Col Browning was captured and interned at Stalag Luft I near Barth, Germany until he was liberated by the Soviet Army and later airlifted to France. After a long and successful career in the Air Force, which included service in Vietnam, he retired to Montgomery, AL.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 50 years, Mildred Doty and his son George A. Browning, IV. He is survived by his children, Medora E. Browning, Kathryn B. Chamberlain, and Raymond K. Browning (Renee Mick); granddaughters Anne C. Chamberlain (Richard Atkinson), Burns C. Eckert (Matthew); and great grandson Finn Eckert.

Also mourning his loss and to whom much is owed for years of loving care are Mrs. Mary Wright, Miss Andria Brown, and Mr. Johnny Pitts with his wife Eurania. Without their care and attention Col Browning's quality of life would have been severely reduced.

Col Browning will long be remembered for his knowledge of all things, wit, droll sense of humor, and unfailing kindness to all who crossed his path. To his family he was a dedicated and loving father, husband, and grandfather. Papa, we all miss you!

A memorial service will be held at a future date in Montgomery and he will be interred in the family plot in Clinton, SC. In lieu of flowers or donations, he would prefer a kind deed be performed in his honor. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/montgomeryadvertiser/obituary.aspx?n=george-alfred-iii-browning&pid=174341353&fhid=11619#sthash.Pub7roKV.BnBmKqNM.dpuf

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Alhorn & Vorden DATE: 1944-02-21  
AIRCRAFT: (42-37796) CAUSE: Mechanical Problem in 3 Engines  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

Crew of "FLETCHER'S CASTORIA": Standing from left; David V. Robb, Jr - TG, Richard M. Roper - CP, James Herbert Whitton - TTE, William H. Fletcher the Pilot, and George A. Browning - NAV.. Kneeling from left; George A. Reid - ROG, John J. Seman - WG, Howard D. Venzie - BOM, Alexander (NMI) Sosik - WG and Pietro J. "Pete" Giaquinto - BTG.   (100th Photo Archives)

1982 Myrtle Beach 100th Reunion; From left: George Reid, George Browning, Bill Fletcher and Howard Venzie.  (100th Photo Archives)

1982 Myrtle Beach 100th Reunion; From Left; Harvey H. Pledger, 2110th Fire Fighting Brigade, Thorpe Abbotts, Bill Fletcher and George Browning.  (100th Photo Archives)

June, 1994 "FLETCHER'S CASTORIA" reunion at Cleveland, Ohio; From left; William H. Fletcher, Jules Wesselink, Pete Van Loon, George Browning, John Seman and Howard Venzie.  (100th Photo Archives)

Myrtle Beach 1982 100th reunion; From left; Howard Venzie, George Browning, William H. Fletcher, Bud Buschmeier and John Gibbons who flew two combat tours with the 350th.   Joe Lee Collection

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

ID: 593