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S/SGT  Norman ASBORNSEN

UNIT: 349th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: WG

 Norman Asbornsen (l) with unknown crewman. Norman was KIA 25 JUN 43 on the Bremen mission. (Photo courtesy of Doris Richardson) Adams crew information 

Sgt Norman Absornsen 1942 (Photo courtesy of Doris Richardson, great-niece of Norman Asbornsen)

SERIAL #: 32305093 STATUS: KIA
MACR: 00271 CR: 00271

Comments1: 25 JUN 43 BREMEN (EAC) Original 100th, Crew #2

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

DATE: 25 June 1943, Bremen, Germany
349th Sqdn. A/C #42-3260 "ANGEL'S TIT"                 
MACR #271,   Micro-fiche 90

1st Lt Alonzo P.Adams III    P KIA
   F/O George Z.Krech        CP KIA
2nd Lt Nicholas Demchak    NAV POW
2nd Lt Jessie D.Gurley        BOM KIA
 T/Sgt John K.Sullivan        TTE KIA
 T/Sgt James D.Purcell       ROG KIA
 S/Sgt John G.Kruzich        BTG KIA
 S/Sgt Edmonde J.Walker   WG KIA
 S/Sgt Norman Asbornsen   WG KIA
 S/Sgt Bryant Hutchinson    TG KIA

According to Nick Demchak,sole survivor,they were jumped by fighters about 20 miles from the enemy coast. Demchak's statement: "My mind is a complete blank from the time we got the bail out signal until I regained Conciousness on a German boat. 2nd Lt.Gurley was in nose of ship and was not hurt when we received the bail out signal - I was firing my guns and did not hear the signal but Gurley informed me. I believe Adams and Krech were severely wounded or killed by a burst of machine gun fire which came quite close to me and from the angle appeared to enter the cockpit.Directly after that the bail out signal was given. I believe the plane exploded at that moment and the rest of the crew were killed by the explosion or rendered unconscious and unable to operate their chutes. The German boat that picked me up said they did not see anyone else."

The bodies of Adams and Asbornsen must have been recovered but all of the others appear on the Wall of The Missing at Madingly.

This was the 1st mission for this crew.

Message From: Mpinscher@aol.com 
To: fruffino@club-internet.fr 
Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2001 2:06 PM
Subject: Re: B-17: "Angel's Tit"

Franck, 
In a telephone conversation I had with Uncle Nick last night (he's in 
Massachusetts and I'm in Florida), he provided a bit of info that you might 
already have, but here goes...


"The inherent problem with the mission that "Angel's Tit" and the other planes were on was the fact that they had no escorts. The bombers could merely cruise and were way out maneuvered by the smaller, quicker Messerschmidts who were right on their tails. 
The Germans had open target practice on the B-17s and were able to pick them off at will. He was amazed at the amount of victories attributed to the fighter pilot who shot his plane down, and quickly acknowledged that each was just doing their job. "

Nicholas Demchak, last survivor of "Angel's tit" 's crew 
died on October 5, 2001 and was buried on October 10.
We shall never forget his bravery.

In one of his wartime letters written to family, my great-uncle, Norman Asbornsen (349th) reports that his squadron has been assigned a B-17, and named it "Angel's Tit." He goes on to explain, "it's not what you think. The bomber was named after a cocktail." Today my son-in-law surprised me with the drink. Cheers to Norman and all his buddies in the 349th. We remember you!

MEMO 2:

The Family Name was Asbjornsen Some chose to drop the J in Asbjornsen. Norman's parents never dropped it but apparently Norman chose to. Often people chose to Americanize their names. I don't know when he first changed the spelling or whether or not it was done so officially. Haven't looked into it. I do have Norman's will drawn 19 April 1942 at AAB Kearney, Nebraska which I'll include in my package. Name spelled Asbornsen....Doris Richardson, Great Niece of Norman


Norman Asbornsen was residing in Hudson County, New Jersey when he entered the military service. No NARA enlistment record has been located. He received basic training and then flexible aerial gunnery training. Upon completion of this course, he was assigned to a combat crew of the 100th Bomb Group and deployed to England with the unit in May 1943.

On June 25, 1943, Asbornsen was scheduled to take part in a bomb raid at Bremen, Germany. The formation was unescorted, and was soon heavily engaged by German fighters. A burst of machine gun fire evidently damaged the plane and wounded the pilot. The bail out signal was given but before the crew could respond, the aircraft exploded. There was only one survivor, who was picked up by a German rescue boat. Neither the survivor nor the German crew saw any parachutes. The wreckage fell approximately 30 km north of Langeoog, Germany.  German records state the B-17 was shot down by Feldwebel Edgar Dorre, flying a BF-109 from JG 29/9.

SSgt Asbornsen is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at the American War Cemetery at Margraten, Holland.
  The aircraft involved in this incident was B-17F # 42-3260, nicknamed "Angel's Tit," assigned to the 349th Bomb Squadron. No photo of the aircraft, containing nose art, has been found.

Missing Air Crew Report 271 applies, and states the crew consisted of:

1 Lt Alonzo P. Adams     p
F/O George Z. Krech    c-p
2 Lt Nicholas Demchak     nav
2 Lt Jessie G. Gurley     bomb
TSgt John K. Sullivan    eng/tt gun
TSgt James D. Percell     r/o
SSgt John C. Kruzich    btg
SSgt Edmonde J. Walker    lwg
SSgt Norman Asbornsen    rwg
SSgt Bryant Hutchinson    tail gun

Lt. Demchak was the only survivor, and was taken as a prisoner. All other crew members were killed and are remembered on the Tablets of the Missing at the American War Cemetery at Margraten, Holland. Evidently some bodies were later recovered, as known burial sites in addition to posting to the Tablets of the Missing are noted.

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Bremen DATE: 1943-06-25  
AIRCRAFT: "Angel's Tit" (42-3260) CAUSE: EAC  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: Wall/Misng CEMETERY: Netherland Cemetery/Margraten  

PHOTOS:

Norman Asbornsen   349th   WG   New Jersey   KIA   25 Jun 43   Bremen   Alonzo P. Adams, III Crew   (100th Photo Archives)

 Letter from Norman Asbornsen to his sister dated April 27, 1943. Two months later, Norman, along with 8 more of his crew were KIA on the 100th Bomb Group's first mission, to Bremen on 25 Jun 43. (Letter courtesy of Doris Richardson, great-niece of Norman Asbornsen) Adams crew information 

 Letter from Norman Asbornsen to his sister dated April 27, 1943. Two months later, Norman, along with 8 more of his crew were KIA on the 100th Bomb Group's first mission, to Bremen on 25 Jun 43. (Letter courtesy of Doris Richardson, great-niece of Norman Asbornsen) Adams crew information 

 Letter from Norman Asbornsen to his sister dated April 27, 1943. Two months later, Norman, along with 8 more of his crew were KIA on the 100th Bomb Group's first mission, to Bremen on 25 Jun 43. (Letter courtesy of Doris Richardson, great-niece of Norman Asbornsen) Adams crew information 

 Letter from Norman Asbornsen to his sister dated April 27, 1943. Two months later, Norman, along with 8 more of his crew were KIA on the 100th Bomb Group's first mission, to Bremen on 25 Jun 43. (Letter courtesy of Doris Richardson, great-niece of Norman Asbornsen) Adams crew information 

 Letter from Norman Asbornsen to his sister dated April 27, 1943. Two months later, Norman, along with 8 more of his crew were KIA on the 100th Bomb Group's first mission, to Bremen on 25 Jun 43. (Letter courtesy of Doris Richardson, great-niece of Norman Asbornsen) Adams crew information 

notice of missing in action, very rare to see this since this notice is usually sent from Washington  

Sgt Norman Asbornsen after being awarded his Gunners Wings.  (Photo courtesy of Doris Richardson, great-niece of Norman Asbornsen)  

Notice of Death from the War Department.  (Photo courtesy of Doris Richardson, great-niece of Norman Asbornsen) 

page 2 of Death Notice from the War Department.  (Photo courtesy of Doris Richardson, great-niece of Norman Asbornsen)  

First postcard from Training.   (Photo courtesy of Doris Richardson, great-niece of Norman Asbornsen) Adams crew information 

Postcard #2 from Training.  (Photo courtesy of Doris Richardson, great-niece of Norman Asbornsen) 

Post Card #3 from Training.   (Photo courtesy of Doris Richardson, great-niece of Norman Asbornsen) Adams crew information 

Postcard #4 from training.   (Photo courtesy of Doris Richardson, great-niece of Norman Asbornsen) 

MIA notice in Paper for Norman Asbornsen

Great shot of Norman.  MIA notice in Paper for Norman Asbornsen.  (Photo courtesy of Doris Richardson, great-niece of Norman Asbornsen)

Norman Asbornsen photo after he received his Gunners Wings. (Photo courtesy of Doris Richardson, great-niece of Norman Asbornsen)

Norman Asbornsen's Purple Heart Certificate (courtesy of Doris Richardson)

Lt Alanzo Adams III Crew 
My great uncle Norman Asbornsen (bottom far right) was lost along with 9 other crew members, and it appears there is no photo of this crew on the website. I understand 2nd Lt. Nicholas Demchak was the lone survivor......Doris Richardson   (Photo courtesy of Doris Richardson, great-niece of Norman Asbornsen)  

Lt Alonzo Adams III Crew photo Stateside. Norman Asbornsen is kneeling second from the Right. (Photo courtesy of Doris Richardson, great-niece of Norman Asbornsen)

Back Row (L-R): Nicholas Demchak, Norman Asbornsen, John Kruzich, Bryant Hutchinson, Front Row (L-R): Edmonde Walker, John Sullivan, Jesse Gurley, George Krech, James Purcell (photo courtesy of Doris Richardson)

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

ID: 135