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Personnel

Lt

Donald G. SMITH

Army Serial Number: O-741943
Assigned to the 100th Bombardment Group
Location:
Unit: 350th Bombardment Squadron
Rank:
Position: Copilot

Additional 100th Service Notes

Status: EVA
MACR: 00645
CR: 00645
Comments: 15 SEP 43 PARIS (BILLINGS, MT)

Comments and Notes

Memo 1:
CREW

2ND LT ARTHUR M. VETTER P EVADEE 15 SEP 43 PARIS SN# O-795862
2ND LT DONALD G. SMITH CP EVADEE 15 SEP 43 PARIS SN# O-741943
2ND LT WENDELL K. McCONNAHA NAV KILLED IN EVADING DEC 10, 1943 SN# O-734944
2ND LT JAMES G. BORMUTH BOM EVADEE 15 SEP 43 PARIS SN# O-676542
T/SGT ORVAL L. PARSONS TTE WIA/POW 15 SEP 43 PARIS SN# 35333680
T/SGT JOHN M. WAGNER ROG EVADEE 15 SEP 43 PARIS SN# 33237317
S/SGT EDWARD W. FONTAINE BTG EVADEE 15 SEP 43 PARIS SN# 31172594
S/SGT HOBART C. TRIGG RWG EVADEE 15 SEP 43 PARIS SN# 16073581
S/SGT WILLIAM D. EDWARDS LWG POW 4 OCT 43 HANAU SN# 19083107 (with Capt. Harold "Pinky" Helstrom Crew)
S/SGT EDWARD M. DALY TG EVADEE 15 SEP 43 PARIS SN# 32560807

350TH SQDN..CREW, AS ABOVE, JOINED THE 100TH ON 25 AUG 1943.
THIS WAS THE FOURTH MISSION FOR THIS CREW, WITH THE RENAULT WORKS AT PARIS AS THE TARGET.

EYEWITNESS: "A/C 452 (42-3452 LN-Z..SEE MACR 645, MICRO-FICHE 213) WAS HIT IN THE #2 ENGINE AT 1900 BETWEEN THE IP AND THE PT AND THE RALLY POINT (RIGHT OVER PARIS). NO CHUTES, NO EAC, BELIEVE HE DROPPED HIS BOMBS. LAST SEEN DROPPING BACK APPARENTLY UNDER CONTROL." LT GROMLEY

"AT 1901 OVER LAGNY, RIGHT WING (VETTER) LOST ALTITIUDE. #2 AND @3 ENGINES SMOKING. DISAPPEARED INTO CLOUDS"… CAPT DeMARCO

ON 15 SEP 43 T/SGT ORVAL L. PARSONS WAS FLYING AS TTE, HE WAS WOUNDED IN THE LEG BEFORE BAILING OUT AND WAS TAKEN POW. S/SGT WARREN G. LUSH WAS FLYING AS A REPLACEMENT FOR W.D. EDWARDS AND BECAME AN EVADEE. LUSH WAS FROM THE J.T. GRIFFIN CREW. APPARENTLY McCONNAHA DIED OF EXPOSURE WHEN HE FELL FROM A CLIFF IN THE PYRENES AS HE WAS GOING INTO SPAIN.

From"THEY NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD" by Jack Sheridan page 83, "A Mission to Stuttgart on 9/6/1943 was pretty much routine, though the target was obscured. They dumped their bombs on the airfield at Evereaux and trotted back over the channel to home. After the noses were counted two more crews were listed as missing. Lieutenant Grenier and Lieutenant Vetter. A half hour later the word came through that Vetter had landed in the South of England undamaged. His Story was the story of the day. He had been knocked out of formation over Stuttgart unable to maintain his attitude. Realizing his chances of remaining at fighter level were extremely ill-advised, he decided to go on the deck and dropped the big ship to about a hundred feet or so off the ground. And began a mad careening dash 250 miles an hour at tree-top level across the face of France. They zoomed past villages and towns, across farm lands and rivers, following the rail lines and the roads. They'd contented themselves taking explosive bursts at anything and everybody they saw and, now and then, they'd come racing upon a startled German anti-aircraft battery and bust them wide open before the bewildered Germans could retaliate. The plane was too low for fighter attack and not high enough for the AA gunners to get a line on them before they were away and down the road."


MISSIONS OF CREW:

03/09/43 PARIS
06/09/43 STUTTGART
09/09/43 BEAUVAIS-TILLE, AF
15/09/43 PARIS (SHOT DOWN)

Wendell K. Mc Connaha
Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
Service # O-734944
350th Bomber Squadron, 100th Bomber Group, Heavy
Entered the Service from: Nebraska
Died: 10-Dec-43
Buried at: Plot C Row 1 Grave 11
Netherlands American Cemetery
Margraten, Netherlands
Awards: Purple Heart

Buried - Netherlands (C-1-11). McConnaha actually died on December the 10th, 1943 - thought to have been lost in the Pryness Mountains on the escape route. He had evaded capture.

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CREW

2nd Lt John T.Griffin P CPT
2nd Lt Elbert W.Johnson CP WIA 8 Oct 43-Bremen (transferred to non combat job after this mission)
2nd Lt Thomas R.Kizak NAV CPT
2nd Lt Edward L.Dunlap BOM CPT
T/Sgt Raymond M.Harjo TTE WIA (Purple Heart awarded for 0ct. 8, 1943, returned to States)
T/Sgt Roy O.Howell ROG CPT
S/Sgt Pascal A.Delpriorre BTG CPT
S/Sgt Berbard G.Siegel WG CPT
S/Sgt Sldney L.Nicholas WG NOC
S/Sgt Warren G.Lush TG EVADEE (15/9/43 with crew of A.M.Vetter) Paris

351st Sqdn. This crew, as above, joined the 100th Group on 12/9/43.
See photo of crew on p.212 of "CONTRAILS". Also see p.21/23 SOC .

Lt. Kizak appears on crew of R.V.Monrad on 8/3/44.

Wrote J.T.Griffin 20/3/84 and received reply 14/6/84. " Nicholas did not complete tour,I do not know what happened to him. Harjo was returned to USA. Johnson was replaced on crew by Lt.Earl Williams and completed tour. Replacements on this crew were Don L.Pilgrim -WIA. Arthur L. Olsen,and A. (Alfred??) Hunt who completed their tours. There positions not definetly but believe Pilgrim a TG and Hunt & Olsen WGs.

Partial list of Missions Flown by Lt John Griffin Crew (from Frank Murphy book Luck of the Draw" mpf 2003)

1. 15/09/43 PARIS A/C 42-30087 "SHACK RAT"
2. 16/09/43 BORDEAUX/MERIGNAC A/C 42-30358 "PHARTZAC" (highly unusual since this is a 350th BS aircraft, possible mistake)
3. 23/09/43 VANNES A/C 42-30796 "SUNNY II"
4. 26/09/43 PARIS A/C 42-3474 "KING BEE"
5. 02/10/43 EMDEN A/C 42-30796 "SUNNY II"
6. 08/10/43 BREMEN A/C 42-30796 "SUNNY II"

***************************************************************************************************************
To: 100th Bomb Group Foundation
December 31, 2008

Dear Sir,

I am the son-in-law of the late 2nd Lt. Arthur M. Vetter, veteran B-17
pilot of 350th Bombardment Squadron. Recently, my son Victor, in
doing research on his grandfathers WWII biography discovered your
exceptional website. Our family was delighted to see, not only a
wartime portrait of their grandfather in uniform, but a complete
listing of his crew, and some details of his last mission prior to
being shot down over occupied France on Sept. 15th, 1943.

The real story only begins here for he did survive, and with the help
of the a French family dedicated to the cause of resistance, he and
several of his crew managed to escape overland by walking across the
Pyrenees Range during the winter of 1943 into Spain. We understand
that crew member 2ND LT Wendell K. McConnaha perished during the
ordeal, as confirmed by the data page of Lt. Vetter's crew. Prior to
reading this information on your website, we did not know this
airman's name.

Ironically, Arthur Vetter died in 1970 of complications from Rocky
Mountain Spotted Tick Fever in his home state of Idaho. I will always
regret that I never had the honor of meeting Lt. Vetter, because it
was much later following his death that I met and married his youngest
daughter, Molly Vetter, in 1983.

Lt. Vetter was survived by his wife, Alice Vetter, and four children.
Mrs. Vetter resided in Boise for many years and left her family many
wonderful memories and thrilling stories of her WWII years with her
husband Arthur. Over the years she remained close friends with the
French family (Odette Gastone) that -- under great risk to themselves
-- hid Lt. Vetter and his crew from the Nazi's, helped them evade
capture, and provisioned them for their journey across the border into
Spain. Alice Vetter died in 1999. Among her personal effects, she
left this photo (attached) of Lt. Vetter's flight crew, which we are
pleased to provide to you (as requested on the website) for your use
in enhancing 100th BG foundation records, and efforts to preserve the
historical legacy of the 100th. In addition, we have included a copy
of the original letter to Alice Vetter from CO Major Gale Cleven
informing her of her husbands MIA status, dated Oct 3, 1943. Clearly,
this is a historic and relevant document that will be of interest to
the 100th Bomb Group Foundation.

I'm sorry we cannot identify any other crew member names to match the
faces in the photo. (except for Lt. Vetter himself-- 1st on the left,
bottom row) If anyone there can help with further individual
identification of crew members, please let us know.

Please know that we recognize and salute you for the important work
you are doing, that future generations may know of these airmen, and
the many sacrifices made by this great generation of Americans. If I
can be of further service to you in anyway, please feel free to call
on me.

Respectfully,

Marcus A. Smith
Kooskia, Idaho
marcus@qroidaho.net

Mr. Marcus Smith
345 Too Kush Rd.
Kooskia, Idaho 83539


*******************************************

Dear Michael,

THRILLED! We are absolutely astonished -- breathless! -- to receive
your reply, and to read Arthur Vetter's Escape and Evasion documents
that we never knew existed! What a gold mine of information you have
provide us. Thank you a million times over. Lt. Vetter's living
children -- two daughters, two sons, and seven grandchildren -- will
be simply astounded when I share your information with them. My son,
Victor, is already filling out a 100th Foundation membership
application, which can be expected shortly, and we will be seeking a
source for the mentioned Jack Sheridan book as well. It is nothing
short of amazing what the internet has done to connect people, restore
individual histories, and even provide closure to families so many
years after events otherwise unknown and forgotten. Bravo!

As to Lt. Vetter's disposition after he returned from his ordeal, my
wife states she believes he was returned to and hospitalized in
England (where the E & E reports must have been obtained?) -- then
promptly returned to states where he underwent extensive treatment for
frost-bitten feet and other sustained traumas. She does not know when
or where he was discharged from service, but perhaps this information
can be obtained from other family members or official service
records. After the war, he became a mechanical engineer by trade. It
is said that he, as with many other veterans, refrained from
discussing his wartime experiences with his family, and for years
after suffered from some form of post-traumatic-stress affliction.
However, as previously mentioned, the Vetter's continued to maintain
contact with the Gastone family, who sheltered and aided Arthur in his
escape from occupied France.

I am certain you will be getting at least some supplemental
information within the next several weeks, as I share these findings
with Arthur Vetter's sons, Mike Vetter (Boise, ID) and Art Vetter
(Seattle, WA) I believe they may, perhaps, provide you with more
details than I have available to me. I will also extend to them your
invitation to join the 100th Bomb Group Foundation with a membership.

Again, I thank you, heartily, for your most astonishing reply, for
previously unknown facts, and for the provided identities of Lt.
Vetter's crew -- on behalf of the entire Vetter family, our gratitude
to you, Sir.

Sincerely,
Marcus Smith marcus@qroidaho.net

KIA / MIA / EVA / INT Information:

Target:
Paris
Aircraft:
(42-3452)
Date:
1943-09-15
Cause:
FLAK

Crew List

1st Crew List

Use your thumb to scroll through the results box below.

Rank Name Pos Status
LT VETTER, Arthur M. P EVA
LT SMITH, Donald G. CP EVA
LT MCCONNAHA, Wendell K. NAV EVA
LT BORMUTH, James G. BOM EVA
T/Sgt PARSONS, Orval L. TTE POW
T/SGT WAGNER, John M. ROG EVA
S/SGT EDWARDS, William D. BTG POW
S/SGT FONTAINE, Edward W. BTG EVA
S/Sgt TRIGG, Hobart C. WG EVA
S/Sgt DALY, Edward TG EVA