COMMENTS & NOTES
LT ROBERT D. VOLLMER P POW 3 MAR 44 BERLIN
LT JOHN W. ADAMS III CP KIA 3 MAR 44 BERLIN
LT EDWARD G. SULLIVAN NAV POW 3 MAR 44 BERLIN
LT ROBERT S. CONNELLY BOM NOC
SGT RICHARD C. HULL TTE NOC
T/SGT ELIAS M. JOHNSON ROG KIA 3 MAR 44 BERLIN
S/SGT DON GUTHRIE BTG POW 3 MAR 44 BERLIN
S/SGT DONALD W. BECKER RWG KIA 3 MAR 44 BERLIN
S/SGT THOMAS H. MULLENIX LWG POW 3 MAR 44 BERLIN
S/SGT GEORGE W. WOOD TG KIA 3 MAR 44 BERLIN
349th Sqdn. Crew, as above, joined the 100th on 28 Nov 1943.
MACR #3029, Microfiche # 1026, A/C #42-39817 "MURDERER'S ROW"
On 3 Mar 43 T/SGT ERNEST B. CLARK was flying as Toggalier in place of Connelly and was KIA. T/SGT WILLIAM S. HUMPHREY was flying in place of Sgt Hull and became a POW
When this crew joined the 100th GP on 28/11/43,Lt.Robert S. Connelly was the Bombardier and Sgt.Richard C.Hull the TTE. Nothing further is known of them.
Eyewitness Report: A/C #817 was #3 in lead element,lead squadron. Near 5410 N 0910 E the leader flew into a dense layer of clouds. The leader of the second element pulled up above the overcast and his wing men peeled off right and left. None of these crews saw the leading element agaln. Crews in the 100th B group flying in the combat wing behind turned back before entering the cloud bank. Most of the crews observed a large explosion behind them and slightly above the formation. altitude. It is believed that A/C 970 and A/C 817 collided and exploded and that A/C 017 which is missing was damaged by explosion.
A VHF sigral was received from A/C 017 a short time later saying that the pilot intended to try to reach Sweden.
A somewhat clearer picture of events is given in a letter from Vollmer to John Miller (1980/81). "Our element remained together and broke out on top of the clouds at 31,000 feet. For the next five or ten minutes it looked like the mighty 8th Air Forc.,consisting now of only three B-17s,was going to try to make the first strike on Big B. It didn't last long. A bunch of FWs hit us from about 2 o'clock high and got all of us. Two shells exploded in the cockpit,starting a fire in front of the rudder pedals and causing flames to come through my oxygen mask. At that altitude,I was unsble to secure the walk around bottle before losing conciousness. The plane then dived and climbed alternately until it finally broke up. I don't know how I got out,but I did parachute with debris falling all around me. Five of the men on my crew died that day." ". . . B0b Lohof was leading the 349th. John Gossage was on right wing,and I was on the left. Lohof was leading the 100th. His radio operator did not receive the recall message and we were unable to convince him,so we continued . . . .".
John W. Adams III was born in 1923 in Nebraska (www.findagrave states 1922 Kansas) to John W., Jr and Olive M. Adams.The Us Census 1930 lists the family in Kickapoo, Kansas (Leavenworth Military Reservation.) He graduated from Leavenworth High School in 1941. Adams joined the US Army in July, 1941 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas as a private in the Infantry. Shortly thereafter, he attended the West Point Preparatory Course at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. On November 21, 1942, he married Helen Bielecki of Sumter City, California.
Adams transferred to the Army Air Corps in July, 1943, and was accepted for pilot training. He received crew training with the newly formed 100th Bomb Group in Ephrata, and Geiger Field, Washington. He departed for overseas duty on October 21, 1943. As part of an original crew arriving in England, he was classified as a co-pilot on a B-17. According to sources, he flew 10 missions. On March 3, 1944, the target area was Berlin, Germany. The formation made its way to the target as weather closed in. Apparently, two of the aircraft entered a cloud bank at the same time and collided, causing both aircraft to crash.
According to reports, five of the crew were taken prisoner, evidently having parachuted out. Five dead were recovered, and buried locally. After the war, Lt Adams was moved to the Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium where he lies in Plot A, Row 41, Grave 24
Lt John W. Adams III was performing duties as co-pilot on B-17G # 42-39817, named "Murderer's Row," assigned to the 349th Bomb Squadron.
Missing Air Crew Report 3029 accounts for this loss. Mission loading lists show the crew as:
1 Lt Robert D. Vollmer p
2 Lt John W. Adams III c-p
2 Lt Edward G. Sullivan nav
TSgt Ernest B. Clark tog
TSgt William S. Humphrey eng/tt gun
TSgt Elias M. Johnson r/o
SSgt Don Guthrie btg
SSgt Donald N. Becker wg
SSgt Thomas H. Mullenix wg
SSgt George W. Wood tail gun
Ranks and grades as of mission date.
TSgt Clark was a replacement for Lt Robert S. Connelly (original crew) and TSgt Humphrey replaced Sgt Hull (original crew.) These two crewmen were removed from the crew for unknown reasons, and nothing else about them appears in 100th Bomb Group records.
Lt Adams, Sgts Johnson, Clark, Wood, and Becker were killed.