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Robert J. SHOENS

Army Serial Number: O-746440
Assigned to the 100th Bombardment Group
Unit: 351st Bombardment Squadron
Position: Pilot

Additional 100th Service Notes

Status: CPT
Comments: 1 MAY 44 ST OMER, FRANCE

Comments and Notes

Memo 1:
CREW (see graphic)

2nd Lt Robert J. Shoens P CPT 1 MAY 44 ST. OMAR, FRANCE
2nd Lt Duncan R "UNKADUNK" Shand CP CPT 1 MAY 44 ST. OMAR, FRANCE TAPS: 1992
2nd Lt Raymond E. Hanson NAV RFS XFER TO 95TH OR 390TH (CONTROL TOWER DUTY) TAPS: JAN 1996
2nd Lt Glen Hudson BOM CPT 1 MAY 44 ST. OMAR FRANCE TAPS: 28 MAR 1990
Sgt William Eresman TTE CPT 1 MAY 44 ST. OMAR, FRANCE
Sgt Donald B. Hammond ROG CPT 1 MAY 44 ST. OMAR, FRANCE
Sgt Virgil H. Warders LWG CPT 1 MAY 44 ST. OMAR, FRANCE TAPS: 1999
Sgt William W. Wright RWG CPT 1 MAY 44 ST. OMAR, FRANCE
Sgt Don L. Blair TG CPT 1 MAY 44 ST. OMAR, FRANCE

351st Sqdn. Crew, as above, joined the 100th Group on 1/12/43.
Crew flew on "Our Gal Sal" 42-31767 EP-E. This a/c flew a total of 125 missions with 27 different crews and ended up at Kingman AZ boneyard.
Lt Glenn Hudson ended up being both Nav and Bomb for this crew when Lt Hudson was grounded due to illness and a suitable replacement Navigator could not be agreed upon. (Bob Shoens mpf 2001)

Master Sgt Waldrick was the Crew Chief on Our Gal Sal

On crew roster of 3/3/44, a Sgt. Edward R. Silverstone (changed his last name to Stone after the war) was on crew as BTG and Lt. H. Greenberg was the Navigator (Greenberg was a fill in Nav. Until decided Lt Hudson would handle both Nav. And Bomb. Duties).
A S/Sgt Chester P. Coulam (may have been togg on this mission) who CPT on 27/5/44 appears on this crew roster of 8/3/44.

Sgt. Genevese- from NYC. At Kearny Nebraska, he could not take flying and was constantly ill during training. He went overseas with the Crew. In Training missions at Thorpe Abbotts, his illness continued and Lt Shoens asked the Squadron CO Ollie Turner for a replacement. Sgt Edward R. Silverstone was picked from the gunners pool and flew all missions with this crew. Sgt Genevese was transferred to a ground job. (Bob Shoens, mpf 2001)

Mission Log of Capt. Robert Shoens (mpf 2001)

1. 5/01/44 Neuss, Gr 066-Fools Rush In #3, Element 2, High Squadron 5:15hrs
6/01/44 France-Mission Scrubbed
2. 7/01/44 Ludwigshaven 256-King Bee II #2, Element 2, Lead Squadron 6:40hrs
14/01/44 Helberstadt-Scrubbed
20/01/44 France-Mission Scrubbed
3. 21/01/44 St Omer 056-Call Her Savage #7, -------------- High Squadron 4:00hrs
4. 24/01/44 Frankfurt 056-Call Her Savage #3, Element 1, Low Squadron 5:45hrs
26/01/44 Frankfurt- Scrubbed 051-Goin Jessies #3, Element 2, Lead Squadron
5. 29/01/44 Frankfurt 412-Mason and Dixon #2, Element 2, Lead Squadron 7:30hrs
6. 30/01/44 Brunswick 800-Piccadilly Lilly II #3, Element 2, Low Squadron 6:30hrs
31/01/44 Frankfurt-Scrubbed #3, Element 1, High Squadron
7. 4/02/44 Frankfurt 767 #2, Element 2, High Squadron 7:10hrs
8. 6/02/44 Evreux, France 767-Our Gal Sal #3, Element 2, Low Squadron 6:30hrs
9/02/44 Helberstadt-Scrubbed 767-Our Gal Sal #3, Element 3, High Squadron
9. 10/02/44 Brunswick 767-Our Gal Sal #3, Element 1, High Squadron 7:20hrs
10. 13/02/44 No-Ball 767-Our Gal Sal #7, --------------- Lead Squadron 3:15hrs
11. 21/02/44 Vorden AF 767-Our Gal Sal #2, Element 2, High Squadron 7:00hrs
22/02/44 Schweinfurt-Recall 767-Our Gal Sal #3, Element 2, High Squadron
23/02/44 Schweinfurt-Scrubbed 767-Our Gal Sal #3, Element 2, High Squadron
12. 24/02/44 Rostock 767-Our Gal Sal #2, Element 2, Low Squadron 10:35hrs
13. 25/02/44 Regensburg 767-Our Gal Sal #3, Element 1, Lead Squadron 9:45hrs
14. 28/02/44 No-Ball, France 056-Call Her Savage #2, Element 1, High Squadron 5:00hrs
29/02/44 Brunswick-Abort 767-Our Gal Sal #3, Element 2, Lead Squadron
15. 2/03/44 Chartres 767-Our Gal Sal #3, Element 2, Lead Squadron 5:15hrs
16. 3/03/44 BERLIN-Recall 767-Our Gal Sal #2, Element 2, High Squadron 7:15hrs
4/03/44 BERLIN-Abort-Lost Oxygen 767 #2, Element 1, Lead Squadron
17. 6/03/44 BERLIN 767-Our Gal Sal #3, Element 2, Lead Squadron 8:05hrs
16 Missing (actually 15) two confrimed Enemy A/C shot down
18. 8/03/44 BERLIN 936-All American Girl #2, Element 2, High Squadron 9:30hrs One confirmed Enemy A/C shot down
19. 15/03/44 Brunswick 767-Our Gal Sal #3, Element 1, High Squadron 7:20hrs
16/03/44 Augsburg 767-Our Gal Sal Spare A/C, returned to field
17/03/44 Munich-scrubbed 767-Our Gal Sal #3, Element 1, High Squadron
17/03/44 Frankfurt-scrubbed 767-Our Gal Sal #3, Element 1, High Squadron
20. 18/03/44 Munich 767-Our Gal Sal #2, Element 1, High Squadron 10:10hrs
21. 19/03/44 No-Ball 767-Our Gal Sal #2, Element 1, Low Squadron 4:15hrs
22. 22/03/44 BERLIN 767-Our Gal Sal #1, Element 2, Low Squadron 8:25hrs
26/03/44 Leipzig-Scrubbed 767-Our Gal Sal #1, Element 2, High Squadron
23. 27/03/44 Bordeaux 767-Our Gal Sal #1, Element 2, High Squadron 8:45hrs
24. 28/03/44 Chateaudun 767-Our Gal Sal #1, Element 2, Lead Squadron 6:20hrs
25. 11/04/44 Rostock 767-Our Gal Sal #3, Element 1, Lead Squadron 10:25hrs
26. 12/04/44 Leipzig-Recall 018-Wat-i-Care? #1, Element 2, High Squadron 4:40hrs
27. 13/04/44 Augsburg 708-Skipper #3, Element 1, High Squadron 8:30hrs
28. 1/05/44 St Omer 767-Our Gal Sal #1, Element 1, Low Squadron 6:45hrs

Total Combat Hours: 197:55

Medals and Ribbons earned by Lt Robert Shoens

Air Medal (with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters),
American Defense,
American Campaign,
ETO (with one or two battle Stars).
Now if you received the Purple Heart, then that ribbon would have gone between the DFC and Air Medal. If you received the Silver Star, or DSC, that would have went before the DFC. These all would have been displayed on the left breast of your tunic. You also would have been eligible to wear the PUC (Presidential Unit Citation) with Oak Leaf Cluster on the right side of your tunic.

Thanks Mike, I did not get the Purple Heart, thank goodness, nor the DSC. It is good to have a list of what I did get………Bob Shoens

Mike, all of the ones you mentioned except the two I excluded. Bob Shoens
Nice Job Bob, You got the Silver Star, was that for the Berlin action or other action? Mike

Finally, an answer! Yes, I think it was Berlin. As I said, your message was a memory jogger. I don't think I could have named them all before that.
Bob Shoens

Mike, on March 6 there was a 13A Air Division and a 13B AD. In 13A the 390th was lead group and the 95th was the low group.
In 13B the 100thA group was lead and 100thB was low group. The 100th B was the group I was in and it was all 100th airplanes. The 100thA group had 15 airplanes from the 100th and 6 from the 390th but, I don't know where they were in the formation. I have the mission flimsy for the B group but not for the A group. The flimsy would tell you where they were, if you can find it. Some one must have it, or a copy.

Mike, I remember the incident but, not the name. After the March 23 flight by Eichen in OGS the ground crew called my copilot and me out to
look at the airplane. It looked like a pig sty with trash scattered around and coffee cans with you-know-what in them. We spoke to Col.
Turner about it and that was the end of that……Bob Shoens

According to my log book, we started a mission in Our Gal Sal 25 times, but only 15 counted as completed missions…..Bob Shoens
In my log book I counted the, " Our Gal Sal" lines, missing the first mission when she was just plain 231767. Total 16….Bob Shoens

Mike, it looks good to me and much better than the original, with
apologies to Luc. In my case the crew check during flight was made by
the copilot, not the navigator. Also Mike, I think I told you some time
ago that our single loss on Mar. 4 was the crew of Stanley Seaton, whom
I gone through training with and who was my best man when I got married
upon completion of Flight School in Roswell, N.M. Sam Barrick also
graduated with me.

There were a couple of typos, which you may find if you give it a final

Bob shoesns

Geez, I had forgotten about that mess! Greenberg replaced Hanson for one raid. He got tossed because, when we got over the North Sea on the way home, he came up with the brilliant observation that he thought we were going the wrong way!!! This guy was a nut and I think his remark was intentional to get off combat. We weren't too happy about getting him assigned to us in the first place. Mar. 4th and 6th we had only Hudson. Mar.8 we tried going with a togglier and Hudson as Nav. After we got back Hudson said I can do both. Since he had training in both, I decided to give it a try. I told Maj. Turner, and he said it was up to me and the crew. It worked for the rest of our tour… BOB SHOENS

You can also add to your archives that, one time when the Group was in the process of taking off, the plane in front of us took the runway and held for the green light. At that moment the nose door dropped open and someone dropped out and began running down the runway! We found out later that it was Greenberg!


It isn't all flak, Me109s and FW190s.



Off the subject of PT-17's but more on Maxwell Field. I was there for
two weeks in Feb. 45 on tdy from Biggs Field, El Paso, Tex. One day it
had been raining all morning and into the afternoon. The barracks, which
were one floor. Had a covered porch along one side. I was standing there
watching the rain and I could see the flight line with several B-29s
sitting there. Suddenly, beyond the flight line a tornado appeared! I
was stunned! I had never seen one before and, my first thought was that
I was going to see a flock of big airplanes flying through the air that
were supposed to be on the ground. The tornado came to the boundary
fence and turned to follow the fence and missed the airplanes. I
continued to watch it as it went by. About two or three miles west of me
it went through a lumber yard and it looked like someone had tossed a
handful of tooth picks into the air. Later we found out that it went
through Montgomery following a railyard where it tossed rail cars around
like toy trains. My wife back in El Paso tried for two hours before she
was able to get through to me to find out if I was ok. As I said, Jack,
not on the subject of PY 17s. Just another day at Maxwell Field.

Bob Shoens
Jack, Frank Valesh was in my barracks at Thorpe Abbotts and I can tell you lots of stories. The best one came in January 1944 when I was told there was a new airplane for my crew on Frank Valesh's hard stand. Frank was livid and told me I could have the airplane, but not his ground crew. I said you had better go see Ollie Turner, the squadron commander. He did and found out he was transferred to a mickey group.Turner had enough of Valesh.

Bob Shoens


ROBERT SHOENS-PILOT OUR GAL SAL 351ST " The experience of flight was practically nonexistent, and to do it at 25,000 ft. was Buck Rogers stuff. When Ijoined the AAF, I was the only one of all my friends to do so. When I came home, I had no one to talk to, neither friends nor family, with the exception off my wife, who went through training with me. Even she could not conceive the experience of combat in the air. Some examples; You are lined up on the perimeter track moving to take off. You line up on the runway and the plane ahead of you is rolling down the runway but, he doesn't make it. He blows up right in front of you. You are all familiar with the Mar. 6, 1944 Berlin Raid. We took off on a gorgeous morning, climbing up along with the rising sun. Cloudless out over the North Sea and then, Europe laid out before us like a road map. You know the rest! On another mission, we headed south going to Bourdeaux. Again a gorgeous, clear sunny day. We could imagine sun bathers on the white beaches of France. We turned into the estuary leading to our target. Suddenly our Group Lead and, our brand new Commander are blown out of the sky."

-----Original Message-----

Back to "Scared". I'll give you a brief sketch of what I could have
said. When I got into Cadet flight training, I learned early on that
when you get into the pilot's seat you are scared, scared because you
are going to be leaving the ground, something almost nobody had done at
that time. In addition I had to depend on an engine, wings and me to get
back safely. When we arrived at Camp Kilomer , I was scared, because I
was going to get on the Queen Mary and go out on to the North Atlantic,
which was infested with U Boats. When I arrive at Thorpe Abbotts I was
scared, because now I was on the front line of aerial combat. When I got
out of that big 4X6, and walked across the hardstand to my airplane I
was scared, because I had to get into the pilot's seat and get 65,000
lbs. of airplane off the ground, including 5,000 lbs. of bombs, over
1200 gallons of high octane fuel and 9 men, get to the target, drop the
bombs and get home safely.

It isn't a question of how you handled it, you lived with everyday.

Memo 2:
Stories from Robert Shoens: 

Jimmie McRaven
After completing B17 transition at Rosewell, a group of us were sent to Moses Lake, Wa. That is another story.

After about 2 weeks at Moses Lake, we got on a train again heading East. We ended up at Kearney, Neb., the jumping off point for combat assignment. Almost no first phase and no second phase training. At Kearney we began to hear rumors about the heavy losses in England by the 8th AF. That explained the shortened training.

At Kearney we joined up with other crews from other bases. Among them was a pilot named, Jimmie McRaven. He had gotten married at his graduation just as I had. Our connection began when my wife met his wife in Kearney looking for a place to stay. Her name was Bonnie. We were free to go off base when off duty and, that is when Jimmie and I got acquainted, through the friendship our wives had begun. From then on we were together a lot. Jimmie was in the same squadron as me so, our flying times and off duty times were the same. Our flying was just practice to occupy our time until transportation became available for us to move on.

About the second week were in Kearney we were on daytime duty. Our Operations Officer was a young redhead Second Lt with no wings, a non-flying officer. He thought he was pretty important and like to give orders. There were 10 crews in our Flight and on this day there were only 7 B17s available. Our young Ops Officer delighted in assigning airplanes. Jimmie’s crew, my crew and another one were put on standby.

Down the ramp about 100 yds was a Maintenance Hangar. On the ramp in front of that hangar was a B17. Obviously, there was something wrong with it. Our Ops Officer spotted it and told me and my crew to go fly it. I said it’s in front of Maintenance. It’s probably not flyable. He said. “There’s nothing wrong with it, Go”. I didn’t argue because I thought maybe he knew more about it than I did. So, my crew and I began to walk toward it.

My engineer was on one side of me an my copilot on the other, both of them saying we can’t fly that thing. I said, I know that so, we have find out what is wrong with it. Before we got all the way there, my engineer said, “I know what’s wrong!” He said he could see no. 3 booster pump leaking. It was really leaking, almost a steady stream of fuel! Way beyond specs for a booster pump. We went back to the ready room and told the Ops Officer we couldn’t fly it and why. He said, “Well, someone is going to fly it”, so, he held up 3 sticks and said the short one flies it.

I drew the long one and Jimmie drew the short one. I shook my head and said don’t fly it. The Ops Officer told me he was in charge and he was telling him to fly it. Jimmie and his crew got together. He looked at me and I shook my head again but, they headed toward that airplane. I was sure he and his crew would see what we saw and come back but, they didn’t. Instead, they started tossing their equipment in the hatches. I was dumbfounded. About that time the Ops Officer told us to go home, he was locking up, so we left. I went into town and met my wife and, I explained to her what had happened. She had listened to me talk for quite a while by now so, she understood and, was stunned as I was. We decide to go for a walk around downtown Kearny. While we were walking, a black cloud appeared in the direction of the airbase. I stopped and stared. My wife saw it too and she asked, “Is it Jimmie ?”. I shook my head yes. She put here arms around me and, I put mine around her and, we just stood there. Both of us had tears running down our cheek.
After a few minutes she said she had to tell Bonnie. I told her no, let the airbase do that. They must have gotten to her right away, because we never saw her again. My wife wished she could have gone with her so she wouldn’t be alone.

I was ready to go back to the base and kill that young Ops Officer. When I did go back the next day, he was gone. I hoped he would get court marshaled.

Mike, I have never forgotten that day. And, I will always wonder why Jimmie didn’t refuse to fly that airplane. I would have backed him up. We could have gone to that hangar and found someone to back us up.


Here is another one for you but, less tragic. You know Stanley Seaton and I went all the way through Cadets and to the 100th BG together. Stanley had a friend, Terry Slayton who went through Cadets with us. The two of them were regular Army before Cadets and, they were both at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. I think it was when Roswell switched to B17 transition that Terry was sent to some other field in the Northwest for transition. While he was there we heard he got Rocky Mountain Fever and later, we heard that he had died from it.

Terry was from Biloxis Miss. He had a typical deep South accent.


DECEMBER 7, 1941

Mike, I sent this to my family yesterday.

75 yrs ago we were sitting around the living room listening to the radio and reading the Sunday paper. We had been to church, come home and had our Sunday dinner. It was a typical lazy Sunday in December. Suddenly that all changed! Pearl Harbor had been bombed! By who? The Japanese? Where did they come from? Pearl harbor? Where is that? There was a scramble for an atlas and maps. Roosevelt came on the air and announced it as, "A day that would go down in infamy"!

The Country had a progressive new President but, a right wing, isolationist Congress. The belief was that we had two oceans as protection. Let those Europeans fight it out. Nobody expected a little island like Japan to be a problem. Our military strength was in our Navy and that security had just been punctured. However, we did have a draft in effect and boys like me were registered. Roosevelt with his foresight had gotten our manufacturers into building modern military equipment, including unknown aircraft manufacturers like Boeing and Consolidated into building 4 engine long range bombers.

Needles to say, the conversation from then on was about what next. My dad got on the ration board and my mother got on the draft board. The neighborhood got into having buckets of sand and water stored in vulnerable places around the house in case of attack. There were neighborhood patrols and aircraft spotters organized. We were suddenly in a war and our security of two oceans was gone.

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