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LT  Sylvester E. DITTBENNER

UNIT: 351st BOMB Sqdn POSITION: BOM

Sylvester Dittbenner Bomb on Lt Zapf Crew and then became a Lead Bombardier. Photo courtesy of Grandson Jesse Dittbenner 

SERIAL #: O-733031 STATUS: POW
MACR: 07814 CR: 07814

Comments1: 29 JUL 44 MERSEBERG

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

2ND LT ERNEST ZAPF                           P CPT    12 JUL 44 MUNICH        SN 0-689434
2ND LT WILLIAM D. LAWSON               CP CPT   12 JUL 44 MUNICH        SN 0-758585
2ND LT RAYMOND F. VAUGHN           NAV CPT   12 JUL 44 MUNICH        SN 0-703670
2ND LT SYLVESTER W. DITTBENNER BOM POW 29 JUL 44 MERSEBURG   SN 0-733031  (WITH R. J. SCHOMP CREW) 
S/SGT JACK RODEMICH                    ROG CPT   12 JUL 44 MUNICH        SN 35547157     
S/SGT CURTIS R. KOGER                  TTE CPT   12 JUL 44 MUNICH       SN 13119824
SGT FRANK A. LoBELLO                   BTG CPT   12 JUL 44 MUNICH       SN 32733515
SGT GLENN E. ANDERSON               RWG CPT   12 JUL 44 MUNICH       SN 17131216
S/SGT CHESTER J. GORLINSKI          LWG CPT   12 JUL 44 MUNICH       SN 36734423
SGT RALPH D. KREITZER                    TG CPT   12 JUL 44 MUNICH       SN 35635693

351ST SQDN.. CREW JOINED THE 100TH ON 17 MAR 1944  
This Crew was the Second Crew to fly missions in Piccadilly Lilly II.
Lt Dittbenner was taken off the crew to become a Lead Bombardier after flying an undetermined amount of missions, he was replaced on the Crew by Lt Herbert R. Greenberg (shot down with Lt L.G. Lacy Crew 28 May 44) from Lt Richard H. Helmick's Crew.  Replaced on the Crew by 2nd Lt Fred "Fearless Freddie" Chapin.
Lt Chapin went onto become a Lead Bombardier.  According to Lt Zapf, Lt Chapin was give an choice in the States "Court Martial or Combat"?  Seems that Lt Chapin was an instructor in the States and the reason he was being court marshaled was because he refused to be transferred to Instructor duty again, this was not a hard choice for him to make.   

Mission list of Lt Ernest Zapf (mpf 2002)

 DATE  TARGET

1.   08/04/44 QUACKENBRUCK, GER
2.   10/04/44 RHEIMS, FR
3.   11/04/44 ROSTOCK, GER
4.   12/04/44 LEIPZIG, GER
5.   13/04/44 AUGSBURG, GER
6.   18/04/44 BERLIN, GER
7.   22/04/44 HAMM, GER
8.   23/04/44 FRIEDRICKSHAFEN, GER
9.   28/04/44 SOTTEVAST, FR
10. 01/05/44 NO-BALL, FR
11. 09/05/44 COUVRON, FR
12. 11/05/44 LIEGE, BEL
13. 12/05/44 BRUX, CZECH.
14. 13/05/44 OSNABRUCK, GER
15. 19/05/44 BERLIN, GER
16. 24/05/44 BERLIN, GER
17. 25/05/44 BRUSSELS, BEL
18. 27/05/44 STRASSBOURG, FR
19. 28/05/44 MAGDEBURG, GER
20. 29/05/44 LEIPZIG, GER
21. 31/05/44 ONSABRUCK, GER
22. 02/06/44 BOULOGNE, FR
23. 04/06/44 BOULOGNE, FR
24. 05/06/44 BOULOGNE, FR
25. 06/06/44 COAST OF FR, D-DAY
26. 07/06/44 NANTES, FR
27. 14/06/44 LeCULOT, FR
28. 18/06/44 BRUNSBUTTLEKOOG, GER
29. 24/06/44 GRAND COURONNE, FR
30. 25/06/44 MAQUIS SUPPLY DROP, FR
31. 06/07/44 NO-BALL, FR
32. 07/07/44 BOHLEN, GER
33. 08/07/44 BOURTH LeLENTE, FR
34. 11/07/44 MUNICH, GER
35. 12/07/44 MUNICH, GER

From Telephone conversation with Lt Zapf (Sept 2002).
After completion of tour myself and  Lt Vaughn (who had only completed 30 missions at this time due too illness) signed up for another 35 missions.  We were shipped back too the States for a Month of R&R before being reassigned back to the ETO.  By the time I returned (Lt Vaughn stayed Stateside), Paris had been liberated and instead of being sent back to Thorpe Abbotts for combat duty,  I was reassigned to Paris to ferry high ranking officers around the continent and too England.  I was joined in this endeavour by Lt Glen Rake and Lt Carroll Woldt whom had both just completed their tour of duty (ironic is the fact that all three pilots completed their tours over Munich (Zapf and Rake on 12 Jul 44 and Woldt on 11 Jul 44...mpf). Glen procured a P-51 Mustang for his own personal use while in Paris (claims to have flown it under the Eiffel Tower...mpf)

A/C flown PICCADILLY LILLY II
From the Diary of Sgt Gorlinski"  who passed away Dec. 24, 1971
>
> Pilot                    -    2nd Lt. Ernest Zapf                  O-689434    - Portland, Oregon
> Co-Pilot               -    2nd Lt. William Lawson              O-758585    - New Rochelle, N.Y.
> Navigator             -    2nd Lt. Raymond Vaughn          O-703670    - Portland, Oregon
> Bombardier           -   2nd Lt. Sylvester Dittbenner      O-333031    - Minnesota
> Engineer              -    S/Sgt. Curtis Koger                13119824    - Roanoke, Virginia
> Radio Operator     -    S/Sgt. Jack Rodemich             35547157    - Toledo, Ohio
> Asst. R.O.           -    S/Sgt. Glenn Anderson            17131216    - Omaha, Nebraska
> Armorer               -    S/Sgt. Ralph Kreitzer               35635693    - Dayton, Ohio
> Gunner                -    S/Sgt. Frank LoBello                32733515    - Angola, N.Y.
> Asst. Eng      -    S/Sgt. Chester Gorlinski         36734423    - Chicago, IL
> It also lists 2nd Lt. Fred Chapin and a fellow only mentioned as Greenberg, both being Bombardiers.

CREW

2ND LT ROBERT J. SCHOMP  P POW  29 JUL 44 MERSEBURG (OIL)
2ND LT HENRY C. PREHER  CP POW  29 JUL 44 MERSEBURG (OIL)
2ND LT ROBERT W. CULWELL  NAV POW  29 JUL 44 MERSEBURG (OIL)
    F/O GEORGE F. CLASSE  BOM NOC
S/SGT JOHN P. HUNTER  ROG POW  29 JUL 44 MERSEBURG (OIL) (WIA)
S/SGT EDMUND J. RADKE  TTE POW  29 JUL 44 MERSEBURG (OIL)
   SGT JOSEPH ROSOLINO  BTG POW  29 JUL 44 MERSEBURG (OIL)
   SGT ELMER F. FLOOD  WG POW  29 JUL 44 MERSEBURG (OIL)
   SGT WAYNE R. HOGAN  WG NOC
   SGT ARTHUR J. MALANEY  TG POW  29 JUL 44 MERSEBURG (OIL)

351st Sqdn.. Crew, as a bove, joined the 100th on 12 Apr 1944.

On the Merseburg mission of 29 Jul 44, Classe was replaced by Lt. Sylvester Dittbenner from the crew of Ernest Zapf; he became a POW.  Hogan was probably removed from the crew when the reduction to a nine man crew was initiated in August 1944.

EYEWITNESS: "A/C #067 was hit by flak, jut after bombs away,  which punctured both wings. N0 #2 engine caught fire and the fire spread along    
the entire left wing. Pilot peeled off to left and appeared to put the ship under AFEC control. Nine chutes were counted coming from the aircraft. Ship flying steady when last see."

MACR indicates S/Sgt John P. Hunter was shot in the leg/hip area by German civilians after his parachute landing. A German report, vague and likely fictitious, states the airman was hospitalized with "wound with bullet in it, left thigh."  Duration of treatment 4 to 6 weeks, and normal progress of treatment."
 
   MACR #7814, Microfiche #2861   A/C #42-102667


Subj: Re: TAPS REPORT  Ernie Zapf
Date: 12/22/2002 3:39:24 PM Pacific Standard Time 
From: Tdavis262 
To: webmaster@100thbg.com 
CC: MPFaley 
 
I'm the one who submitted it on 14 December, but Ernie did pass away on Friday the 13...I'll never forget it. Fortunately, another veteran B-17 pilot from the 91st BG and I saw Ernie on Thursday, and he was in great form - popping off jokes and kidding the other pilot and me. His daughters told us that after we left, he laid down and never arose again.

He was a great guy, and extremely proud to have served with the 100th BG!

Most sincerely,

Thomas L. Davis
********************************************************************************************************

CURTIS R. KOGER, 86
BORN 04 AUGUST 1920
DIED 22 DECEMBER 2006  IN NORFOLK, VA  23502

MEMO 2:

From Crew of Ernest Zapf, he replaced George F. Classe on this mission.

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Merseburg DATE: 1944-07-29  
AIRCRAFT: "Super Rabbit" (42-102667) CAUSE: EAC - Explosion  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

Sylvester Dittbenner Bomb on Lt Zapf Crew  POW card.  He then became a Lead Bombardier. Photo courtesy of Grandson Jesse Dittbenner 

Front: Ernest Zapf (P), William D. Lawson (CP), Raymond F. Vaughn (NAV), Sylvester W. Dittbenner (BOM)
Back: Curtis R. Koger (TTE), Chester J. Gorlinski (LWG), Jack Rodemich (ROG)
Frank A. Lobello (BTG), Ralph D. Kreitzer (TG), Glenn E. Anderson (RWG)
Photo taken 17 Mar 44 in England in front of an unnamed B-17 which was flown across the Atlantic by this crew.
100th BG Photo Archives

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

Crew 2

ID: 1320