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LT  Truman HERMANSEN

UNIT: 350th BOMB Sqdn POSITION: P
SERIAL #: STATUS: XFR
MACR:

Comments1: TO PFF(482ND) APR 44 AFTER 13 MISSIONS

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW

2nd Lt Truman Hermansen     P 
2nd Lt CLifford W.Sellon       CP
2nd Lt Henry C.Griffis         NAV  EVADEE
2nd Lt Jerry E.Brian           BOM 
 S/Sgt George A.Keller        TTE
   Sgt Emil Dihlmann           ROG
   Sgt Robert N.LaRue         BTG
S/Sgt James D.Madden        WG  
  Sgt Harold R.Dorr              WG 
  Sgt Burke D.Hyatt             TG

350th Sqdn.  Crew,as above,joined the 100th Group on 28/11/43

A letter from Hermansen (April 1984) says that after 13 missions with the 100th Group, the crew (minus Griffis) was transferred to the 482BG as a Pathfinder crew. They continued at Alconbury until 29 May 1945 when all came back to the U.S. together. According to Sgt Burke Hyatt, the crew had "Werewolves" painted on their jackets.  

Griffis "was shot down over lowlands of Holland and escaped the Germans through help of patriots who hid him in a room above an Inn until liberated by the Allies." He returned to Thorpe Abbotts briefly before returning to the States. See info below.

Crew of Lt Truman Hermansen when transferred to 482nd Bomb Group, 812 Bomb Squadron,  Alconbury ( Lt Griffis transferred out of 482nd BG back to 100th BG so he could complete his missions sooner.  S/Sgt George A. Keller is replaced by Sgt Palmer at 482nd BG, reason unknown)mpf 2001

Lt Truman Hermansen      P
Lt Clifford W. Sellon        CP
Lt Harry Sparrow           NAV 
Lt Jerry E. Brian            BOM
T/Sgt Burke D. Hyatt     TTE
Sgt Emil Dihlmann          ROG
Sgt W. Palmer              BTG
S/Sgt James D. Madden  WG
Sgt Robert N. LaRue     WG
Sgt Harold R. Dorr         TG

CREW
                                              Pathfinder Aircraft

DATE: 20 July 1944  418th Sqdn.                      A/C #42-97564

MISSION: Merseburg,Ger.                             MACR #7414,Micro-fiche #2701


 Major MaGee C.Fuller          Com. P      POW
  Capt Francis C.Kincannon         P       POW
1st Lt Bernard L.Farnum          CP       POW
  Capt Robert E.Nance        BOM      EVADEE
1st Lt Louis H.Abromowitz     NAV      EVADEE
  Capt Henry C.Griffis      Rad/NAV      EVADEE (see Hermansen crew/ 350th Sqdn.)
1st Lt George E.Bonitz       NAV      EVADEE
T/Sgt Daniel B.Deason           TTE       POW
T/Sgt Oscar L.Edge             ROG      POW
 S/Sgt Glen E.Snider           RW      POW
 S/Sgt Vaniel M.Cargile        LW       EVAVEE
 S/Sgt Robert D.Chavez       TG         POW

This A/C  was leading the mission in a Pathfinder ship which accounts for the
seven officers aboard. Major Fuller,who had flown overseas as pilot of a 349th
Sqdn. Crew in June 1943, was now C.O. of the 418th.

EYEWITNESS:  "Just as bombs were released A/C #564 received a direct hit by AA fire between #2 engine and fuselage.Shell did not explode but a large hole was torn in the wing and gasoline poured from the tanks. #2 engine feathered and A/C pulled out of formation directing deputy
leader to take over. A/C fell behind and was escorted by fighters and it was reported that #564 was heard to tell fighters over radio that it was all-right." This is all the information that interrogation of 100th "A" Group crews revealed.

From Bottisham (fighter base) to PFF War room to 100th BG the following report was received: "A/C #564 called for fighter support
after it began to lag and contact was made over channel "C" with the fighters which gave it cover. Subsequentlythe PFF had to crash
land near Louvain just east of Brusselsand prearranged plan (over channel "C") as soon as the crew had cleared the A/C the fighter
strafed and set fire to the ship. Fighter did not see PFF explode  but stated definitely that it was afire,and that all the crew was safe.

MEMO 2:

Q&A: WWII pilot recalls bombing runs over Germany
By Amanda Williamson Fri, Feb 6, 2015 @ 2:07 pm | updated Mon, Feb 9, 2015 @ 9:45 am

Truman Hermansen, a resident of Fleet Landing in Atlantic Beach, sits in the navigator's seat of a B-17G Flying Fortress, known as the Aluminum Outcast, at Cecil Field Airport. Hermansen piloted a B-17 bomber during World War II, flying unescorted campaigns into German airspace.
For 300 miles one-way, Truman Hermansen flew his United States B-17 bomber unescorted through German air space. He still remembers the clouds of smoke, so thick he thought maybe he could walk on them, outside his plane. He fondly recalls the stories of his comrades.
For most, War World II is a chapter in a history textbook. For those who fought, it stands powerfully in their memories. Hermansen was young, just 24 years old, when the war began, but he knew he needed to help. He began training as an aviation cadet, and eventually earned his wings.

They carried him to several military bases in Britain, including one in East Anglia. He spent three years abroad, piloting bomber planes to military targets. He missed his wife, and he missed the birth of his oldest daughter. The war ended in 1945.

After living for a while in North Carolina, the Hermansens decided to move to Atlantic Beach’s Fleet Landing, a retirement community, at the time, for military. Hermansen was one of the first residents. About 25 years later, he’s still there, tinkering with his golf cart, playing billiards and reminiscing on days past. Hermansen spoke with Shorelines earlier this week.

 Where were you born?

There were two of us that day. My twin brother and I were born in the Bronx, N.Y., in 1917, during [World War I]. I had an uncle in WWI, and he was a bugler. The Germans had laid mustard gas in the trenches in Chateau Thierry, France, and he contracted that gas in his lungs. For the rest of his life, he had that. I worked for him for several years in New York City as an advisor in his electrical contracting with Loew’s Theaters.

Well, we lived in New York and Westchester County, just north of New York City, between New Rochelle and Mount Vernon, in the town of Pelham. That’s where I grew up. In my early years, I lived there and became engaged to my future wife. We were engaged for five years. Then the war came about.

Naturally, I left to go to flying school. Of course, I learned to fly before I went out in the service. When I was working in New York City, I used to make $25 a week, and I wanted to learn to fly. We weren’t in the war. But I wanted to get involved in the war, go to England and fly.

I learned to fly at the field where Lindbergh took off for Paris. I took off exactly where he took off for my solo flight. He went straight to Paris; I didn’t follow him. I didn’t fly again until I was called up to go to the Army Air Corp to learn to fly with them. Most of my flying schools were in California. For my advance flying school, that was in Douglas, Ariz.

Two days before I got my wings, I called up my fiancée in Pelham and told her to come out and marry me. She said I have to ask my father’s permission. So, she came by train all by herself. Two days before I graduated, we got married at the chapel.

 Were you in the military at this point?

I was a cadet, an aviation cadet. After I got my wings, graduated, two days later I had my first assignment as a pilot to go to Moses Lake, Wash., to learn to fly my first airplane as a flying officer. To my surprise, that was a B-17, which I really didn’t want to fly. I wanted to fly B-25s. However, that was the airplane I learned to fly in.

 What inspired you to join the military?

Well, the British were doing it alone. America had not entered the war at all, and we knew that Hitler was the type the world could do without. The thing that I tell people — if all of our combat missions into Germany, we used to bomb the Ruhr Valley. One time, we had an opportunity to bomb Berlin. That was my ultimate aim. That’s where Hitler was, and we wanted to get rid of Hitler for the world.

 Were you immediately thrown into the war effort when you reached England?

So when we left New York for England, we went aboard a steam ship. It was fast across the Atlantic. We didn’t go in a convoy because it was so fast. We could avoid the Germans. We landed at Liverpool, England. At Liverpool, we took the train to my first bomber base, which was in East Anglia. So, we went over to East Anglia, next to the Cliffs of Dover on the east coast. My first bomber base was with the 100th bomb group in the Third Division. We flew out of there.

The men and I thought it was for the rest of the war. We were there, and then they started to get extra equipment on the airplane. They thought with my ability they needed me at another bomb base to do my flying with a British bombing system. It is called the “Mickey,” a radar system the British use for night bombing in Germany. They couldn’t see the targets at nighttime, so they used this radar system. After completing 13 missions with the 100th bomb group, they decided to move me and my crew to another base — at Alconbury. The 42nd bomb group.

 Did the airplane really play a crucial role in WWII?

Absolutely. Absolutely. That’s how we got the Germans to surrender because of the efforts of the formations that went to Germany in the daytime raids. They were all B-17s and B-24s that dropped the bombs on the major manufacturing area: Ruhr Valley. If they weren’t able to manufacture things, then they would lose their ability to be effective in their efforts against the Allies. With the Ruhr Valley as our top primary target, we were able to decrease the Germans’ ability to continue the war.

When the Germans surrendered, they wanted to bring all of our flying forces back to the states to head for combat with the Japanese. ...

From Greenland, I flew non-stop to Hartford, Conn., to a field known as Bradley Field. I landed there and stayed overnight with my grandmother. So I called my wife, and said come down to the railroad station at Pelham tomorrow morning and I will be there. The next day, I took the train from Hartford, through New Haven and down along the coast. We got to Pelham, the train stopped and I got out of the train. Here’s my dear wife. The first time I had seen her in three years. And, here’s my daughter, who I had never seen, even during birth. I saw her for the first time in my life. That was my oldest daughter, Gail, who lives up in New York. Her sister lives in Connecticut.

 When you were flying your missions, how many were escorted?

We could have [Royal Air Force] escorts, P-51 escorts, up to continental Europe. On the east side of the North Sea. From there on, we couldn’t because of the limitations of fuel. We had no protection from there on. The fighters, the RAF and their Spitfires, and the U.S. and their 
P-51s, could escort us up to the German border. From there on, we couldn’t have any outside escort. We had to have control within the formations.

 Well, that sounds dangerous.

There was the flak — these cannon shells that shoot from the ground, and explode at certain altitudes. It used to explode at our altitude, and we would fly into these big puffs of smoke. We always head the expression: There was so much flak out there, you could get out and walk on it. That was our biggest hazard, those bursting bombs.

 I heard the other day you went to look at some B-17s. What was it like sitting in the plane again?

It was a wonderful opportunity. It brings back a lot of emotional memories of the times I had flying that airplane. I always remember flying in combat. [The navigator] used to have his table down below me, in the nose of the airplane. Well, of course, when we were in combat, he wasn’t at the table. He was shooting a gun. One piece of that flak came right up through his desk and into the panel in front of me.

 It almost hit you?

That was the worst thing we had, that damn flak.

 Did that happen frequently?

Personally no, because the flak would hit the airplane and we wouldn’t be near it. But it was there, and it was just that we were lucky.

Amanda Williamson: 

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: DATE:  
AIRCRAFT: CAUSE:  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

Truman Hermansen Crew (left to right)
Standing: J. Brian (B), T. Hermansen (P), C. Sellon (CP), H. Griffis (N) is not pictured.
Kneeling: H. Dorr (TG), E. Dihlmann (R), J. Madden (WG), R. LaRue (WG), W. Palmer (BT), B. Hyatt (E)

This photo was taken at Alconbury, 482nd BG after the crew was transferred there to become a Pathfinder Crew.
 Photo courtesy of Sgt Burke Hyatt.

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

Crew 2

ID: 2304