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LT  John F. MASSOL

UNIT: 351st BOMB Sqdn POSITION: P
SERIAL #: STATUS: CPT
MACR:

Comments1: 7 JUN 44 NANTES

COMMENTS & NOTES

MEMO 1:

CREW  #13 see graphic

2ND LT JOHN F. MASSOL                               P CPT  07 JUN 44 NANTES, BRIDGES
2ND LT HAROLD D. "RANGER" GRANGER         CP CPT 04 JUN 44 BOULOGNE, SHORE DEFENSES
2ND LT EDWARD C. KING, JR                      NAV CPT WENT TO GROUP/LEAD NAV; RETIRED 1970 AS A COLONEL
2ND LT EDWIN A. STERN, JR                      BOM POW 24 MAY 44 BERLIN  (WITH CAPT J.R. GEARY CREW) see below 
SGT ASA A. SPENGLER                               ROG CPT  05 JUN 44 ABBEVILLE & BOULOGNE
SGT WILLIAM T. WESTLEY                         TTE CPT SEE MASSOL LETTER BELOW  (TAPS)
SGT WINFRED C. WILLIAMS                        BTG CPT 17 OCT 44 COLOGNE, MY
SGT OLIVER N. McCARTNEY                       LWG CPT 05 JUN 44 ABBEVILLE & BOULOGNE
SGT JAMES M. ROBERTS                            RWG CPT 04 AUG 44 HAMBURG, OIL REFINERY
SGT NEWMAN E. GARMON                            TG CPT 05 JUN 44 ABBEVILLE & BOULOGNE TAPS: 1986

351ST SQDN.. CREW, AS ABOVE, JOINED THE 100TH ON 01 DEC 1943

Excerpts from John Massol's November 1993 letter to Paul West:
King (Edward C. King, Jr.) was taken off our crew about 15th (March 15th, 1944) and sent to advanced navigation school. He went to Group and I think finished a tour. He stayed in the Air Force and retired in the 1970s as a Colonel. Stern (Edwin A. Stern, Jr.) off crew March 15th, 1944 and also sent to special school. As noted he was shot down with Geary (J. R. Geary) on 24 May 1944 mission to Berlin…Became a POW. Westley (William T. Westley) was grounded with back trouble but I think he completed a tour. Roberts (James M.Roberts) left the crew in March 1944 and completed his tour with another crew as a BTG. He was replaced on the crew by S/Sgt Reneau from Lt Lacy's Crew.  Williams (Winnefred C. Williams) missed a mission, completed with another crew and I do not know why."
	
	From Lt Ray Miller (Navigator) 
As I recall Harry Crosby made Ed King the group navigator when Harry had his R&R back to the states.  Ed was a big man (like Big Pete) and a good lead navigator.  He handled briefings for the navigators and supervised mission planning with the group bombardier.I am sure that the nav logs were for WW-II only.  Harry could give you a lot more on Ed.  

John Massol supplied this informaion on Edwin A. Stern..
Ed Sterns started in pilot school and was washed out for carrying a spin too low.  Sent to Bombardier school only to have the pilot get lost on his first training flight, bailed everyone out and tried to land out of gas, crashed and killed him self.  After graduating from Bombardier's school Stern was sent to Navigation school as a student officer.  Graduated and wound up with us as our Bombardier.  Before our crew became operational he was grabbed one morning for a mission.  Rough one, two men seriously injured and he gave first aid to them.  Flew eleven (11) or twelve (12) missions with us before the disaster with Geary. (refers to the 24 May 1944 Berlin mission on which the Command Pilot with the Geary crew was Major Maurice J. Fitzgerald).  Bad time in POW camp.  After the invasion (D - Day) the Germans marched them from one place to another constantly.  During one of these marches Stern and a Canadian POW escaped. Found themselves in the middle of a night artillery attack, the Canadian was killed.  Stern managed to hook up with the USA ground forces and got a uniform, bath and food.  After weeks of delay caught a  flight on a B-24 back to England.   Turned out the B-24 landed at a base near Thorpe Abbotts where a jeep returned Sterns to the 100th. 

Orders home, turned out to be aboard a landing craft !  Very rough trip of two or three weeks.  Arrived at a Virginia port to be demobilized. Told it would be weeks before they could get to him.  When asked it he would go to Texas to get seperated, Stern replied, "I will go anyplace to get out of this outfit."  ( this quote has likely been edited by Massol..pw)

John Massol considered Stern's tour one the roughest for one not putting holes in the skin..

Williams (Winnefred C. Williams) missed a mission, completed with another crew and I do not know why." 


LIST OF MISSIONS FOR CREW 13, 
PILOT JOHN MASSOL PLANE..FEVER BEAVER WAS IN HARDSTAND 13 AND FLEW 125 MISSIONS BEFORE RETURNING TO THE USA.

ALL MISSIONS FLOWN IN 1944
 In addition. We were briefed for 17 missions but did not get in air, scrubbed.
 9 Times after we were in air and recalled, no credit.
 During our missions, the group lost 13 bombers.Also during our missions the 
 Group was credited with shooting down 18 fighters.

#   DATE      TARGET               	COMMENT
1    	Jan 11,44	OSNABRUCK	
2    	Jan 29,44	FRANKFURT	
3    	Feb 13,1944	LIVOSSART & BOISMPRE	NO BALL
4    	Feb 21,1944	BRUNSWICK, ALHORN, & VORDEN AF	
5    	Feb 24,1944	ROSTOCK	
6    	Feb 25,1944	REGENSBURG	
7    	MAR 2, 1944	CHARTRES	
8    	MAR 4, 1944	BERLIN	
      	MAR 6, 1944	BERLIN 	abort, oxygen malfunction
9    	MAR 8,1944	BERLIN	
10  	MAR 18,1944	MUNICH	
11  	MAR 19,1944	MARQUISE, MIMOYEQUES	NO BALL
12  	MAR 22,1944	BERLIN	
13  	MAR 23,1944	BRUNSWICK	
14  	MAR 28,1944	CHATEAUDUN AF	
15    	APR 1,1944	LUDWIGSHAVEN	RECALL
16    	APR 8,1944	QUACKENBRUCK AF	
17  	APR 10,1944	RHEIMS	RECALL
18  	APR 11,1944	ROSTOCK	
19  	APR 13,1944	AUGSBURG, AC FACTORY	
20  	APR 20,1944	HAGUE	
21  	APR 22,1944	HAMM	
22  	APR 24,1944	FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, AC,	
23  	APR 25,1944	DIJON	
24   	MAY 1,1944	SAARGUEMINES, MY	
25 	MAY 19,1944	BERLIN	
26 	MAY 20,1944	BRUSSELS, MY	
27 	MAY 27,1944	STRASSBOURG, AERO ENGINES	
28  	JUN 4, 1944	BOULOGNE, SHORE DEFENSES	
29  	JUN 5, 1944	ABBEVILLE & BOULOGNE	
30  	JUN 7, 1944	NANTES	

CREW
Capt James R.Geary                  P   POW         24/5/44  BERLIN
Major  Maurice J.Fitzgerald    COMP   POW         24/5/44  BERLIN
1st Lt Arthur J.Harris              CP    POW          24/5/44  BERLIN      (Flying as Formation Officer in the Tail))
1st Lt A.Edwin Stern,Jr.      BOM     POW          24/5/44  BERLIN      (From the John Massol  crew) 
2nd Lt Dort B.Payne            NAV    POW          24/5/44  BERLIN
 T/Sgt Louis Paltrineri        ROG       POW(WIA) 24/5/44  BERLIN     (From the E.McKay crew)
 T/Sgt Francis Acker          BTG      POW          24/5/44  BERLIN     (From the E.McKay crew) 
 S/Sgt Carl F.Schuster         TTE     POW          24/5/44  BERLIN     (From the E.McKay crew)
 S/Sgt John E.Trout          RWG     POW(WIA)  24/5/44  BERLIN     (From the E.McKay crew)
 S/Sgt Jack W.Domenig     LWG     POW(WIA)  24/5/44  BERLIN      (From the E.McKay crew) 

350th Sqdn.  On 24/5/44 this was the lead ship of the Group formation.  Major Fitzgerald was C.O. of the 
350th and Capt Geary was a pilot who had completed a tour of operations with the 390th Bomb Group and 
then been assigned to the 100th.  Lt.A. J. Harris, as pilot of his own crew had been interned in Sweden on 
20/2/44 with his crew but apparently had gotten back to Thorpe Abbotts by some means.   It seems most 
unusual that he would have been allowed to fly over Europe again because,  for security reasons,  Evadees & 
Internees were invariably sent back to the U.S.A.

This crew bailed out over Ludwigslust,Germany and all were captured.

The 100th lost nine aircraft this day. MIGHTY EIGHTH WAR DIARY (p.249) says "Opposed by some 200 
E/A,100BG became separated from bomber stream by weather and contrails and were subjected to heavy 
attack."

 " Fever Beaver fought her way through weather, fighters and flak on
125 recorded missions.  Through the skill of her dedicated air and
ground crews, she reamined airworthy, and died quietly at home in the
summer of 1945.  John F. Massol, her first pilot, died peacefully at
home on August 28, 1998.   John was a notably proficient pilot, and a
quiet, respected crew commander, who instilled confidence, and garnered
respect through example.  He led with understated strength and enviable
courage.
    On his 25th mission to Big B, fighters and flak destroyed two
engines on the same side, set the radio room on fire, took a big chunk
out of the vertical stabilizer, tore out his oxygen system, and set the
plane afire.  While John artfully kept "The Beaver" airborne, copilot
Hal Granger, who shared same attributes of skill and mettle, fought the
fire to a standstill.
    After an almost impossible return to base, Fever Beaver was refitted
with two new engines, new gas tanks, a new wing, a rebuilt radio room,
new armor under the cockpit, 13 new machine guns, a new bombsight, all
new electronics equipment, and extensive reparis to the oxygen system
and vertical stabilizer.  The busy ground crew patched 540 holes.
    As the first bombardier on the "Massol Crew," it wasmy good fortune
to be present when John's leadership, strength and courage were brought
into play.    I was there when his cool head and demeanor ket an
anxious, frightened crew from panic.  I was there when his mastery
brought crippled and sputtering planes to safe landings.  I was there to
share his quiet humor and moments of controlled frustration.  When all
hands were shaking from the horror of the day, his confidence steadied
us.  He was a cheerful companion, and a welcome mentor."  --Ed Stern.
   I used most of this in John's TAPS in Splasher.  Hope you enjoy

MEMO 2:

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT INFORMATION:

TARGET: DATE:  
AIRCRAFT: CAUSE:  

BURIAL INFORMATION

PLOT: ROW:  
GRAVE: CEMETERY:  

PHOTOS:

 The 351st's famous "FEVER BEAVER" with parts of Lt Massol Flight and Ground Crew. (100th Photo Archives) 

 John F. Massol crew officers. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 From left: Harold D. Granger - CP, Edwin A. Stern, Jr. and Edward C. King, Jr. - NAV with the John F. Massol Crew. Stern's story is a remarkable one. Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 

 

SERVED IN:

Crew 1

Crew 2

ID: 3373