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S/SGT  Thomas S. ELLIOTT

UNIT: 349th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: TOG/NG
SERIAL #: 38161496 STATUS: KIA
MACR: 03019 CR: 03019

Comments1: 6 MAR 44 BERLIN (EXP) (ON LT AMIERO'S 2ND CREW)

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

1st Lt Albert F.Amiero      P   KIA   6/3/44  BERLIN
F/O Howard L.Kilmer         CP  KIA   6/3/44  BERLIN
2nd Lt Albert P.Rule       NAV  KIA   6/3/44  BERLIN (from Lt. Leon Morgan Crew)
S/Sgt Thomas S.Elliott   TOG  KIA   6/3/44  BERLIN
T/Sgt John J.Kovacs      ROG  KIA   6/3/44  BERLIN (original 100th air echelon)
T/Sgt Russell G.Gilbert    TTE  KIA   6/3/44  BERLIN (from original Lt Amiero Crew)
S/Sgt Virgil F.Summers      BTG  KIA   6/3/44  BERLIN (from Lt Ford Crew)
S/Sgt Hobart H.Spires    WG  KIA     6/3/44  BERLIN (from original Sammy Barr Crew)
S/Sgt Owen D.Stockton  WG  POW  6/3/44  BERLIN (from Lt J.W. Brown Crew)
S/Sgt Thomas D.Baer         TG  KIA   6/3/44  BERLIN (from Lt Victor Reed Crew)

349th Sqdn.   See MACR #3019 (Micro fiche #1021).  Flying A/C #42 31731 on 6/3/44

This appears to be a "pick up" crew. Kilmer joined the 100th on 26/2/44 as an individual. Baer was from the original crew of Lt V.Reed. Kovacs was a "spare" on original 100th Air echelon. Stockton was from the crew of J.W.Brown. Hobart Spires (flying his 24th mission) was from the original crew of Sam L. Barr.
S/Sgt Virgil Summers was from the original Crew of Lt Ford. 2nd Lt A.P.Rule on original crew of Leon R.Morgan.

Mike
Let me tell you a bit more of the story.  This is how Owen Stockton's
widow related the story to me.  

As you know from the MACR, Owen Stockton was the left waist gunner on
Capt Amerio's pick up crew.  (Amerio must have just pinned on Captain as
the records before that show him as a 1Lt.)  On the first encounter with
German fighters, the tail gunner, "Teddy" Baer was mortally wounded.
Someone from the crew dragged him out of the tail and up on to the floor
of the radio compartment.  Apparently he was shot up pretty badly as the
crew didn't think that they could help him other than to give him a
morphine injection to ease his pain.  Somehow it was determined that
someone else would go back and man the tail gun.  (I don't know if that
was a pre-mission decision, or who made that call.  Maybe it was some
sort of "pecking order" thing among the waist gunners. Maybe it was
whoever was the smallest in stature.  In any case, she didn't know if
the aircraft blew apart, or spiraled down, but the stress on the
fuselage, in any case, caused the tail section to break off.  (I
understand this was not necessarily an unusual occurrence)  Owen
Stockton stayed with the tail section.  He told his wife that he
couldn't get out.  (I suspect the G-forces of the tumbling tail section
may have precluded his getting to and hooking up his parachute - I
understand that the chute was kept behind the tail gunner's back rest)
Apparently the tail section landed in some trees and Owen Stockton's
back was broken (in two places).  I suspect there was some initial
confusion on the part of the Germans because there must have been some
distance between where the tail "fluttered" down and where the rest of
the aircraft crashed.  Besides, as I'm certain your book will recount,
there were a number of aircraft falling out of the sky at that point.
Mr. Stockton was immobile from his injuries and, once captured by the
Germans, was taken to a hospital along with other POWs.  Mrs. Stockton
told me that he spent the better part of a year in the hospital before
being transferred to a Lueftstalag (she didn't know which one) for the
remainder of the war.  She indicated that he had chronic back problems
for the rest of his life.  She also told me that he had significant
psychological issues because he was the only one form his crew to have
survived.  (I'm a bit confused about that as it was a pick-up crew.
They didn't have much time to have bonded)  Regardless, she told me that
he lived with those demons for all his remaining life and that he rarely
talked about the mission on March 6th.  He was, however, a member of the
100th Bomb Group Foundation.  That's about all I know about what
happened inside that aircraft on that mission.   

I have read a bit about that mission and things certainly didn't go
well.  In one account I read, it said, "After the mission, there was
talk of lynching the lead navigator."  The break in the bomber stream
certainly proved fatal to the 100th.  I've also been to the area where
the target (Bosch magneto works) was located in Berlin.  That was a bit
spicy as it was East Berlin when I was there.  Unfortunately, at that
time, we weren't allowed to take photos.

I would love to have the opportunity to buy your book.  My wife is the
director of the Scott AFB Base Library and they have an outstanding WWII
collection.  I know that she'll buy one for the library also.  See -
you've got two sold already.  If there's anything I can do to help you -
manuscript proof reading, etc. - I'd be glad to help.

When you get a chance, I'd appreciate any additional info about Virgil
Summers - like mission log, etc.

Cheers
Craig


CRAIG L. KOONTZ
Contractor Support to USTC-PA
(618) 229-4746 (DSN 779)

MEMO 2:

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: Berlin DATE: 1944-03-06  
AIRCRAFT: (42-31731) CAUSE: EAC & Explosion  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  
ID: 1491