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John A. Miller

S/SGT JOHN A. MILLER

S/SGT JOHN A. MILLER COMPLETED 35 MISSIONS ON 17 JULY 44 AND HAD HIT “BIG B” SIX TIMES, 5 WITH LT LAWRENCE TOWNSEND’S CREW. HE HAD SEEN COL. KELLY’S SHIP “BL0W UP”, HAD FLOWN THE FIRST RUSSIAN SHUTTLE MISSION, WAS CREDITED WITH SHOOTING DOWN AN ME 410, WAS AWARDED THE DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS, AIR MEDAL, AND HE WAS STILL ONLY 17 YEARS OLD “GOING ON FORTY”. HIS PARENTS SIGNED HIS ENLISTEMENT PAPERS WHEN HE ENLISTED IN INDIANA IN OCTOBER 1943.  HE WAS JUST 16 YEARS OLD.  HE CELEBRATED HIS 18TH BIRTHDAY ON JULY 22, 1944″

John arrived at Thorpe Abbotts with the Montgomery crew, but did not fly a mission with them. He originally trained for B-24’s and was waiting with his B-24 crew to fly overseas when an officer came in and said, “Is there a John Miller here?  Get your things you’re coming with us.”  He was led to a waiting B-17 that was headed for England because S/Sgt Billy Joe Bates, WG on the Montgomery crew, decided he did not want to fly and refused to go overseas with the crew. John A Miller was dispatched from his own crew and was assigned to Montgomery Crew on the spot. John had never flown on a B-17 up to this point, and his first introduction was to hit his head on the Wing!

CREW

2ND LT COY I. MONTGOMERY

P

KIA

6 MAR 44

BERLIN

2ND LT ROBERT F. CONNAWAY

CP

POW

6 MAR 44

BERLIN

2ND LT FRANK C LAVER

NAV

POW

6 MAR 44

BERLIN

2ND LT JAMES D. FULTON

BOM

POW

6 MAR 44

BERLIN

S/SGT LOLA D. FLORIDA

TTE

POW

4 FEB 44

FRANKFURT (with Lt John Brown Crew)

S/SGT GEORGE D. TOOMEY JR

ROG

POW

4 FEB 44

FRANKFURT (with Lt John Brown Crew)

S/SGT LOUIS P. SAVELLE BTG POW 6 MAR 44 BERLIN (

SGT JOHN A. MILLER

RWG

CPT

17 JUL 44

MONTGOURNEY (NO-BALL)

SGT JUNIOR L. BUCHER

LWG

POW

6 MAR 44

BERLIN

SGT EARL W. RITTER

TG

POW

6 MAR 44

BERLIN

349th Sqdn. Crew, as above, joined the 100th Group on 6 Jan 44 (Crew #40)

On 6 Mar 44, Lt Frank C. Laver was the Navigator and a POW; Sgt Wilbur Trembley, (from Lt Stout Crew) was the ROG and a POW; T/Sgt George W. Burton was the TTE and a POW; S/Sgt Anthony Ruda was the RWG and a POW, and S/Sgt Louis P. Savell was the BTG and a POW . They were flying A/C #42-30170 which had flown under three names: TORCHY 2ND, HOT SPIT, and MISS CARRIAGE

Eyewitness Account: “At 1215 hours just north of Hanover an A/C believed to be #170 was attacked by enemy fighters & was shot down. Four or five chutes were seen.  I.D. of this aircraft is not positive; it may have been #051.”…………Lt. Chadwick

John Miller never flew a mission with the Montgomery Crew and was placed in the spare gunners pool. In the beginning of March 1944, he flew two missions with the Lt Clement Cowen crew on March 2nd and March 3rd.

CREW

LT CLEMENT H. COWAN

P

NOC

LT HANK A. DIBBERN

CP

CPT

LT FRED W. ROBERTSON

NAV

CPT

LT HAROLD L. HEYNEMAN

BOM

WIA

16 MAR 44 AUGSBURG (FLAK)

T/SGT SHERWYN W. “SPARKY” MEYERS

ROG

KIA

16 MAR 44 AUGSBURG

T/SGT MURRAY W. HOLDITCH

TTE

NOC

S/SGT WILLIAM A. GEIGLE

BTG

NOC

S/SGT ROBERT PATRICK

RWG

NOC

S/SGT ADAM C. STOPPEL

LWG

NOC

S/SGT HORACE R. KEMBLE

TG

CPT

Crew joined the 100th BG, 349th BS on 8 Jan 44. This Crew flew “SPARKY” a/c 231723 XR-R.

After the horrendous losses the 100th Bomb Group sustained over Berlin on March, 3, 4, 6, 8, 1944, John found himself alone in his Nissan hut. All of the other spare gunners were either KIA or MIA over Europe. After a week of staring at empty beds and belongings being carted away, John spoke up to Capt. Sumner Reeder, (temp CO, 349th BS) who immediately gave him a pass to London. When John returned from London on the Morning of March 22, 1944, the sentries asked him what he was doing off base! John had been scheduled for a mission that day (even though he had a pass and had just returned). He ran and grabbed all his gear and headed out to his assigned crew he was to fill in for that day. He just nearly made it. Throwing everything onboard he settled in and when the time was right he asked where they were headed? The response back was, “The target for today is BERLIN!” John felt sick; all his buddies had gone down over this target. That day, and for the rest of his tour, John A. Miller would be flying with the Lt Lawrence Townsend crew.

CREW

2nd Lt Lawrence E. Townsend

P

POW

25/7/44 ST LO

2nd Lt Edward H. Fehrenkamp

CP

REC

11/9/44 RUHLAND

(with Lt Herres Crew)

2nd Lt Arnold I. Holmes

NAV

EVA

25/7/44 ST LO

2nd Lt George D. Gardner

BOM

POW

25/7/44 ST LO

Cpl.Tracey Fisher

TTE

DIED

FEB 1944

Anoxia on way over to England, Died upon landing. See Kolar notes below

S/Sgt Robert H. Dunbar

ROG

NOC

On Crew till April 12, transferred to Lt G.S. Allen Crew

Sgt Chalmers M. Anderson

BTG

POW

25/7/44 ST LO

S/Sgt Gordon M. Lane

WG

POW

25/7/44 ST LO

Sgt Walter W. Kolar

WG

EVA

25/7/44 ST LO

(became TTE when Fisher died, )

Sgt Earl C. Milam

TG

POW

25/7/44 ST LO

349th Sqdn. Crew, as above, joined the 100th Group on 9/3/44.

Lt Burkhart was from the crew of S.D. Eichen and replaced Lt Edward H. Fehrenkamp 25 Jul 1944. T/Sgt Glasser (from Lt Frank Harte Crew) took over as ROG on the crew on May 7, 1944 Berlin mission and completed his tour with Townsend Crew. S/Sgt Robert H. Dunbar flew missions with Townsend crew until April 12, 1944 then went with Lt G.S. Allen crew. T/Sgt Glasser became an EVADEE and 2nd Lt Andrew J. Burkhart was a POW.

Lt Fehrenkamp flies 9 missions with this crew and then is replaced with different CP’s from 1 May 44 until 19 Jun 44. He returns to the Crew on 20 June 44 and continues flying missions with this crew until 14 June 44. He is replaced on the Crew by Lt Burkhart from the crew of S.D. Eichen.Lt Fehrenkamp flew his last mission with Lt Herres on Sept 11, 1944 mission to Ruhland. S/Sgt John A. Miller took over as WG when Walter Kolar became TTE.

During May and early June, the following co-pilots flew with the Lt Townsend crew:

F/O P.V. Lammers May 1, 1944
Lt F.W. Craft- May 7, 1944
Lt H.A. Debbern May 8, 1944
Lt P.L. Mitchell May 12, 1944 & June 6, 7, 1944
Lt D.L. Roth May 13, 19, 20, 1944 & June 2, 1944

Missions of S/Sgt John A. Miller

01.

3/2/1944

231723 “SPARKY”

CHARTES, AF

(flew with Lt Cowan Crew)

02.

3/3/1944

231723 “SPARKY”

BERLIN

(Flew with Lt Cowan Crew)

03.

3/22/1944

957 Horny II

ORANIENBURG (BERLIN)

1st mission with Townsend Crew

04

3/23/1944

710 The Savage

BRUNSWICK/ WAGGUM

05.

3/28/1944

088 Squawkin Hawk

CHATEAUDUN/ EVREUX

06.

4/1/1944

347 Billy Boy

LUDWIGSHAFEN

4/7/1944

347 Billy Boy

QUACKENBRUCK

SCRUBBED

07.

4/8/1944

347 Billy Boy

QUACKENBRUCK

4/9/1944

347 Billy Boy

KRZESINKI (POSEN)

(RECALL)

08.

4/10/1944

347 Billy Boy

RHEIMS/ CHAMPAGNE

09.

4/11/1944

347 Billy Boy

POSEN / ROSTOCK T.O.

4/12/1944

347 Billy Boy

SCHEUDITZ

RECALL)

10.

4/18/1944

BERLIN

11.

4/19/1944

LIPPSTADT

12.

4/20/1944

MARQUENVILLE & FLOTTEMANVILLE-HAGUE

13.

4/22/1944

HAMM

14.

4/24/1944

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN

We come home alone on the Deck from this one)

15.

4/28/1944

SOTTEVAST (NOBALL)

LOST COL KELLY Our Group CO of 9 days KIA, his first Mission)

16.

5/1/1944

957 Horny II

SAARGUEMINES/WIZERNES

17.

5/7/1944

107230 Yehudi

BERLIN

18.

5/8/1944

107230 Yehudi

BERLIN

19.

5/12/1944

107230 Yehudi

BRUX, OIL REFINERY

20.

5/13/1944

107230 Yehudi

OSNABRUCK

21.

5/19/1944

107230 Yehudi

BERLIN

22.

5/20/1944

31987 Shilaylee

BRUSSELS

23.

6/3/1944

BOLOUGNE

24.

6/6/1944

102416 Lady Luck

FALAISE/OUISTREHAM

25.

6/7/1944

102416 Lady Luck

NANTES (BRIDGES)

26.

6/19/1944

102416 Lady Luck

CORME ECLUSE, AF

27.

6/20/1944

102416 Lady Luck

FALLERSLEBEN

28.

6/21/1944

102416 Lady Luck

RUHLAND

(START OF RUSSIAN SHUTTLE)

29.

6/26/1944

102416 Lady Luck

DROHOBYCZ (POLAND)

(from Russia)

30.

7/3/1944

102416 Lady Luck

ARAD (RUMANIA)

(from Russia, Landed in Italy)

31.

7/5/1944

102416 Lady Luck

BEZIER

(from Italy, Landed in England)

32.

7/7/1944

102416 Lady Luck

BOHLEN/MERSEBURG

33.

7/12/1944

102416 Lady Luck

MUNICH

34.

7/14/1944

97806 Now An’ Then

SOUTH OF FRANCE

35.

7/17/1944

97806 Now An’ Then

AUXERRE & MONTGOURNOY

SOME BRIEF NOTES ON
T/SGT WALTER W. KOLAR
TTE WITH LARRY TOWNSEND CREW

After Pearl Harbor, Walter W. Kolar enlisted on September 29, 1942, at Camp New Cumberland Gap, PA.  He decided to join the Air Corp and did his basic training at Miami, attending a series of gunnery schools.  From May to June 1943 he was at Lowrey Field, and from July to September at Laredo, Texas. In November of 1943 he was at the 395th Combat Crew School in Ardmore, Okla. before joining the Larry Townsend crew

After a series of training flights in the United States, on March 7, 1944, the crew of Larry Townsend embarked for England and the Eighth Air Force. The crew at that time was made up of the following:

Pilot

Lawrence E. Townsend

Co-Pilot

Edward H. Fehrenkamp

Navigator

Arnold I. Holmes

Bombardier

George D. Gardner

Radio

Robert H. Dunbar

Engineer

Tracey Fisher

Waist Gunner

Gordon M. Lane

Waist Gunner

Walter W. Kolar

Tail Gunner

Earl C. Milam

Ball Turret

Chalmers Anderson

On the flight over the North Atlantic, from Goose Bay Labrador, the plane ran into a sever thunderstorm and was forced to climb to an altitude of 35, 000 feet. The entire crew was on oxygen during this time. At one point, without informing anybody, Mr. Fisher climbed out of his top turret position and proceeded to move toward the waist of the plane. He was half-way there when he collapsed from lack of oxygen.

He was noticed by both Mr. Lane and Mr. Kolar when he collapsed and they both moved to assist Mr. Fisher and get an extra oxygen mask on him. The pilot immediately began a step descent to get down to about 10, 00 feet where oxygen would not be necessary. Both Mr. Kolar and Mr. Lane began CPR on Mr. Fisher and worked on him constantly until an emergency landing was made in Ireland at which time emergency medical personnel were waiting to take over the revitalization of Mr. Fisher. Unfortunately, all attempts were unsuccessful and Tracey Fisher became the first casualty of the Larry Townsend crew.

On March 9, 1944, the crew flew into Thorpe Abbotts, near Diss, and became officially attached to the 100 Bomb Group, 349th Squadron. Walter W. Kolar was made Engineer/Top Turret Gunner at that point. John A. Miller joined the crew as the second waist gunner. Thus, the make-up of the crew when it began flying missions was:

Pilot

Lawrence E. Townsend

Co-Pilot

Edward H. Fehrenkamp

Navigator

Arnold I. Holmes

Bombardier

George D. Gardener

Engineer/TTE

Walter W. Kolar

Radio

Robert H. Dunbar

Waist Gunner

Gordon M. Lane

Waist Gunner

John A. Miller

Tail Gunner

Earl C. Milam

Ball Turret Gunner

Chalmers Anderson

After a week of practice missions the Larry Townsend crew undertook its very first mission into enemy territory, joining the 8th Air Force in bombing Berlin on March 22, 1944. According to the personal diary of Walter Kolar, the crew flew on 35 official missions and was subsequently shot down by enemy flak on the 25th of July, 1944 while providing ground support for ground troops in and around St. Lo, France. One of the early planes for the Townsend crew was “Miss Minookie”. During these missions, Kolar was credited with shooting down one and one-half German planes.