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Personnel

S/Sgt

Archie W. BUNTING

Archie Bunting

S/Sgt Archie Bunting , TG on Capt John P. "49 Missions" Gibbons with Little Mike. Photo Courtesy of Bud Buschmeier by way of Matt Mabe.

Assigned to the 100th Bombardment Group
Location:
Unit: 350th Bombardment Squadron
Rank:
Position: Tail Gunner

Additional 100th Service Notes

Status: RFS
Comments: AIRMAN

Comments and Notes

Memo 1:
CREW

2ND LT JOHN P. '49 MISSIONS" GIBBONS P CPT 14 APR 45 ROYAN (FLEW TWO TOURS - CPT SECOND TOUR 14 APR 1945 ROYAN)
2ND LT ROBERT DYKEMAN CP KIA 29 JUL 44 MERSEBURG (with Lt Fitzroy Crew, Hanged by Civilians)
2ND LT EVERETT M. "E-Max" JOHNSON NAV CPT 21 JUL 44 REGENSBURG
2ND LT STERLING B. "RED" BLAKEMAN BOM CPT 25 JUL 44 ST LO
T/SGT EDWARD F. WALKER, JR ROG KIA 19 MAR 44 MARQUIS/ MIMOYEQUES (NO BALL)
S/SGT IRA L. ARNOLD TTE KIA 29 JUL 44 MERSEBURG (with Lt Fitzroy Crew, Hanged by Civilians)
SGT BERNARD L. "BERNIE" SPRAGG BTG POW 29 JUL 44 MERSEBURG (with Lt Fitzroy Crew)
SGT MYRON J. "TY" ETTUS RWG CPT 19 JUL 44 SCHWEINFURT/DUREN
S/SGT FRANK W. "BUD" BUSCHMEIER LWG POW 29 JUL 44 MERSEBURG (with Lt Fitzroy Crew)
SGT ARCHIE W. "BUGS" BUNTING TG RFS REMOVED FROM FLYING STATUS AFTER FLYING 12 MISSIONS (nicknamed Bugs Bunny)

350TH SQDN… CREW, AS ABOVE, JOINED THE 100TH ON 24 FEB 1944.
CAPT JOHN P. GIBBONS WENT ON TO BE 350TH OPERATIONS OFFICER IN MID DECEMBER 1944. AFTER HOSTILITIES, HE WAS MADE 418TH BS C.O.
CPL WALTER WAGGONER WAS THE ORIGINAL ROG ON THE CREW STATESIDE BUT CAUGHT VD FROM HIS WIFE AND DID NOT GO OVERSEAS WITH THE CREW. HE WAS REPLACED BY ED WALKER WHO WAS KIA ON MARCH 19, 1944. .
S/SGT CARMINE ROBERTO REPLACED ED WALKER ON LT JOHN GIBBONS CREW AND WAS KIA WITH THE W.T. FITZROY CREW
ON 29 JUL 44. DYKEMAN, ARNOLD, BUSCHMEIRER, AND SPRAGG WERE ALSO WITH THE CREW OF W.T. FITZROY ON 29 JUL 44 MERSEBURG MISSION.
2ND LT MAURICE H. CAIN BOM flew March 8, 1944 Berlin mission with this Crew.
THE ENLISTED MEN WERE BUNKED WITH THE LAKIN CREW.

ON MARCH 19, 1944 DURING A NOBALL MISSION, AN 88MM MADE A DIRECT HIT AND TORE THE ENTIRE FLOOR AND RIGHT SIDE OF THE RADIO ROOM AWAY. ED WALKER WAS BLOWN OUT BY THE EXPLOSION. S/SGT CARMINE ROBERTO REPLACED ED WALKER ON THIS CREW AND WAS KIA WITH THE W.T. FITZROY CREW ON 29 JUL 44. W.T. FITZROY STATED HE SAW 12 AMERICANS HANGED AND SHOT BY THE GERMANS ON 29 JUL 44; AMONG THEM WERE DYKEMAN, ARNOLD, AND FLOYD DOUGLAS.

Stories related by Lt John P. Gibbons to mpf (2002)

"While in the States on the way to his next phase of flight training , John Gibbons was reading Lt Col Lay's article "I Saw Regensburg Destroyed" (about the 100th BG and Maj. Gale Cleven's ordeal on August 17, 1943). His recollections were " I am not this type of guy". Three months later, he was assigned to the 100thBG, 350th BS (Clevens old Bomb Squadron) and his first mission was too REGENSBURG on
25 Feb 44"!

"We flew the first three missions to BERLIN. On the first, March 4, 1944, we flew as a composite with the 95th BG. We received the recall but the Group leader in the 95th heard it differently. Being a young Second Lt, I was not going to break radio silence to tell him differently. We also flew the March 6th and March 8th missions to Berlin. I think I ended up going to Berlin a total of 7 times." Once while returning from BERLIN on the deck (with my windshield was shot out), we were escorted by a P-51 named "OLD CROW" (flown by Maj Bud Anderson of 357th Fighter Group). We would meet again on a train while I was on leave in the States in between my first and second tour.

"The aircraft we flew on my 5th mission was MISS IRISH, named by our Crew Chief Chandler. The date was March 19, 1944, and we were to hit a NO BALL in France. My plane was hit by an 88mm shell, blowing a huge hole in the radio compartment and killing my ROG, Sgt Walker. So much for Milk Runs!" MISS IRISH was salvaged. I flew MISS IRISH II, once again named by Chandler. on my 6th mission then requested that I would like to name my next aircraft which I did. It was called "LITTLE MIKE".

"We flew our first 5 missions as "Tail End Charlie" as was the custom for all new crews. Once on a practice mission, I was flying so close to my squadron CO, he accused me of trying to kill him!

"I completed my first tour, then went stateside for 30 days. Why would someone sign up for another tour, guess I felt we had a job to complete. When I returned to the Group (along with Chadwick and Glen Rake who had also signed up for another tour of duty), I was not assigned a permenant crew nor did I have a specific job but was flying missions as a deputy leader with the 350th BS. During this time I flew my 36th mission, flying deputy lead on a mission over the Ruhr (Happy Valley as it was nick named) and we had gone over the target twice and still had not dropped our bombs. I asked my bombardier if he saw the target and upon getting the affirmative decided to break radio silence. As a green second Lt, I did not speak up on the Berlin mission, but with 35 missions under my belt, I told the other crews to form up on me and we hit the target"

"I was appointed 350th BS Operations officer by Maj Rosenthal and I would fly my remaining 14 missions as a Command Pilot. My final mission was April 7, 1945 to Buchen. After hostilities ceased, I was made CO of the 418th BS."

7 Apr 1945: Maj. John P. Gibbons, Command pilot, and Capt David Hutchinson with the following crew were leading the formation on the raid to Buchen:

Gibbons, J.P. Command pilot
Hutchinson, D.E. Pilot
Patterson, P.B. Co-Pilot (Flying the TG positon as Formation Officer wth the Command Pilot aboard in the right seat)
Graham, N.S. Navigator
Zemski, A.R. Bombardier
Sapper, A.C. TTE
Fagan, T.H. ROG
Mast, G.D. BTG
Kamper, J.W. RWG

They were involved in the fracas that .the 100th lost Calder ( LT. ARTHUR R. CALDER) and Howard's (LT WILLIAM E. HOWARD) aircraft. It was also the mission in which two 100th B-17s lost half of their stablizers and still came home to Thorpe Abbotts. One of the A/C was "GOLD BRICK." that collided with debris. Other was 43-38514 that was a victim of a collision with a downed ME 109. There is some question as to "GOLD BRICK." This ship was reported to have it's stablizer knocked off by the severed wing of the ME 109 that crashed into 43-38514 - and was flown by Lt Joe King. Both pilots were awarded DFC's for their fete of bringing both ships home. Griswold (Lt Griswold Smith) reports that the ME 109 that crashed into Calder's aircraft was diverted by intense fire from the formation's gunners.

The crew of J.C. Martin's (Lt Joe Carl Martin) aircraft confirmed that Joe King's aircraft was hit and damaged by the severed wing of the ME 109.

"Miss Irish" and the "MILK RUN REVISITED" March 19, 1944 (No Ball target in France)
Miss Irish" 42-31968-This mission was supposed to be a "Milk Run"

Do you remember a contest about fifteen years ago to see which safely-landed plane had the most damage? So far, "Miss Irish" has remained unrivaled in this category. With information from the Maxwell Air Force Research Agency, which many of you are now discovering, and after numerous phone calls and recollection sessions in Little Rock, the "Miss Irish" crew has finally reached a consensus and produced a "more comprehensive and factual picture" of what happened to their plane. Having spent their first four missions on daylight bombing strikes over Berlin, the crew hoped their fifth would be a milk run. Flying Tailend Charlie in the high squadron (350th) of the 100th, heading for Dungeness, the crew went through the usual routine: test-fire guns, arm bombs, open bomb-bay doors, prepare to drop. Little black puufs of smoke over the coast of France looked "kind of like the 4th of July." As STERLING BLAKEMAN recalls, "there was a dramatic change in flak . . . All at once we found ourselves surrounded by big black oily smudges with angry red cores, all zeroed in on our plane. The big hit, when it came, created a new directional force on the plane, lifting it straight upward." Sterling hurried to the cockpit where pilot JOHN GIBBONS asked for damage assessment. Sterling and flight engineer IRA ARNOLD discovered that "a direct 88mm hit had torn out the whole floor and right side of the radio room, killing radio operator ED WALKER. Six of our twelve 500-lb. G. P. bombs were hung up in their twisted racks."

FRANK BUSCHMEIER remembers sitting in the back half of the plane "by my waist gun when I heard a burst of flak in front
of the nose, then another one under the tail. There was a terrific explosion in the radio room, blowing the rear door out and
sending it to where it ended up between my legs." Ed had "already fallen through the gaping hole that had been the floor." In
the cockpit, John took the news "with amazing calm for a pilot who was now flying an aircraft divided at its middle almost in
half." According to Sterling, "aware that the oxygen system had been knocked out, [John] was already nursing the plane down
from our 21,000-ft. bomb run altitude. He and co-pilot BOB DYKEMAN were having trouble with the controls to the shredded
right elevator and the rudder." Fortunately, all four engines were operational.

In the ball turret, the side windows were smashed and the front window gone, but the crew got BERNIE SPRAGG safely
out. Busch spliced the cables of the elevator and rudder controls and then assisted waist gunner TY ETTUS in holding Bernie's
legs while he leaned out over the hole in the radio room to pull back the shroud lines of Ed Walker's "flak-ridden and billowing
chute." The trailing lines had snagged a walk-around oxygen bottle and were creating an extra drag factor. In between repairs,
the "Back Half Crew," joined by tail gunner"BUGS" BUNTING, began lightening the load by throwing out as much as possible.
Having fallen away from the formation and flying without any P-47 escorts, navigator MAX JOHNSON "set the shortest
course to England." But over the Channel, only three bombs dropped with the conventional release mechanism. Arnold and
Sterling stood on the bomb bay catwalk and worked with pliers and screwdrivers, against time and a heavy draft, to work the
other three bombs loose. "Thanks mainly to Arnold's talent for solving mechanical problems not covered in service manuals, all
three were finally jettisoned, the last one just moments before we reached the English Coast," recalls Sterling.

In addition to the mid-section slice, "Miss Irish" sustained over 400 flak holes. Her brakes were out, and the crew had no radio
communication. Over England, no one opted to jump. Flak had rendered several chutes useless, and most of the crew
remembered when John had landed them safely at Moses Lake, Washington, with collapsed right landing gear. They approached
a P-47 base at Raydon, near Ipswich, firing red flares. Sterling notes that "since anything but the smoothest of touchdowns
would break the plane in half, it had to be a perfect landing. It was." The Raydon personnel could not believe their eyes. Their flight surgeon showed up with bottles of Scotch and gin which were "put to good use in bringing sleep to nine weary but emotionally keyed up survivors." Someone commented, "If this is what milk runs are like, I'd rather go back to Big B. again."

But, as Rosie says, "If you came back, it was a milk run."

Note: This is Lt William Fitzroy's original crew, which was shot down at Merseburg 29 Jul 44.

Lt. William T. "Buzz" Fitzroy P POW was on 35th mission
Lt. Robert Dykeman CP KIA Killed by German civilians, hanged
Lt. Floyd F. Hartman NAV POW
T/Sgt Floyd O. Douglas TOGG KIA Killed by German civilians, hanged
T/Sgt Carmine V. Roberto ROG KIA Killed by 20mm shell
T/Sgt Ira L. Arnold TTE KIA Killed by German civilians, hanged
S/Sgt Bernard L. Spragg BTG POW
Sgt Frank W. Buschmeier WG POW
Sgt Joseph P. O' Donnell TG POW

This appears to have been a "Pick - Up" crew. A/C 42-31537 LN-S "Randie Lou" Plane was named by Lt Randell Chadwick after his Daughter (she was named after Randell and his Wife Louise "Randie Lou")

W.T. FITZROY STATED HE SAW 12 AMERICANS HANGED AND SHOT BY THE GERMANS ON 29 JUL 44; AMONG THEM WERE DYKEMAN, ARNOLD, AND FLOYD DOUGLAS.

Lt Dykeman, T/Sgt Arnold, Buschmeier and Spragg were from Lt John P.Gibbons crew. O'Donnell from Lt J.M.Shelly crew and of course Fitzroy was the original co-pilot of the Randel T. Chadwick crew when it joined the 100th on 24 Feb 1944.

On July 29, 1944, for the second day in a row, B-17's set out for the oil plant at Merseburg. The formation was led by 1st Lt Herbert Howard and Austin Dunlap on a faulty course which went over Leipzig. The 100th "A" Group followed the 390th BG. The formation flew on a southernly course towards Merseburg and was hit in a barrage of extremely heavy flak. In the next few minutes, the low squadron of the 100th Lead was hard hit, losing 5 of 6 B-17's. Crew members believe FW 190's and ME 109's wee radioing the formations altitude while flying in their own flak. The "A" Group dropped wide, "B" Group hit the target. The entire low squadron of the 100th "A" Group failed to return. There was a 6 8/10th's cloud cover at the target. The lead A/C was hit by flak before the target causing a formation breakup and many stragglers. All were presumable lost to enemy fighters after passing over targets of opportunity. Witnesses: Lt Kasselbaum and Lt George Allen reported Lt Fitzroy's A/C blowing up after being hit. German records indicate that 5 bodies were recovered.

EYEWITNESS: "No specific information concerning the loss of this A/C is available. The formation leader for this squadron suffered flak damage prior to the target and was forced to jettison his bombs. This may have led to the beaking up of the formation for all became more of less stragglers. All were lost, presumaby to E/A after passing over the target of opportunity."
Floyd F. Hartman

Hartman's statement also indicates S/Sgt Carmine V. Roberto was killed before the crew bailed out over Leipzig at approx. 1045 hours. Lt Fitzroy stated that he had seen 12 Americans Hanged and shot by Germans on the 29th of July, 1944. Lt Dykeman, T/Sgt Douglas and T/Sgt Ira Arnold were among them

Crew List

1st Crew List

Use your thumb to scroll through the results box below.

Rank Name Pos Status
MAJ GIBBONS, John P. P CPT
Lt DYKEMAN, Robert CP KIA
LT JOHNSON, Everett M. NAV CPT
LT BLAKEMAN, Sterling B. BOM CPT
T/SGT ARNOLD, Ira L. TTE KIA
T/SGT WALKER, Edward F. ROG KIA
SGT SPRAGG, Bernard L. BTG POW
S/SGT BUSCHMEIER, Frank W. WG POW
S/SGT ETTUS, Myron J. WG CPT
S/SGT BUNTING, Archie W. TG RFS