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44-8605 Happy Warrior / Homesick Angel

B-17G-75-VE

 

October 31, 1944 Delivered to Lincoln

December 15, 1944 to Grenier

December 20, 1944 Assigned to 18th Squadron, 34th Bomb Group, Mendlesham

Lost March 25, 1945

 

According to Robert L. Steiner, Navigator on the Abrams crew, in a letter dated March 30, 2000, states that this plane was named Happy Warrior. Eddie Croom, one of the gunners, was a pretty accomplished artist and painted Happy Warrior flight jackets for the crew. Steiner eventually donated his flight jacket to the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH where

 

Renamed Homesick Angel sometime after the Abrams crew completed their tour.

According to Les Thompson, CP on the Buchanan crew, before they were assigned to "Tempest Turner" as their regular plane, they flew a ship named "Homesick Angel." "When we came back from a three day pass there was a B-17 scattered all over the field. It was the "Homesick Angel" that had gone in from a near miss with another plane." (From MM, March 1988, p.5) These details fit this plane, flown by the Buchanan crew on March 23, 1945. Their first mission with "Tempest Turner" was March 28th (after the three day pass) and in the meantime, "Homesick Angel" had crashed March 25th with the Bennett crew, all KIA, shortly after take-off for the mission that was recalled almost immediately due to bad weather.

 

MISSION LIST

Mission #121 February 9, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Raymond Happy Warrior

Mission #122 February 14, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #123 February 15, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #124 February 17, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #125 February 19, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Mueller Happy Warrior

Mission #126 February 20, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #127 February 21, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #128 February 22, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #129 February 24, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Raymond Happy Warrior

Mission #130 February 25, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Mann Happy Warrior

Mission #131 February 26, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #132 February 27, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #133 March 1, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #134 March 2, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior               Initial E/A claims: 1-0-0. Credit 1 damaged to Reo (WG)

Mission #135 March 3, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #136 March 4, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior               Leaflets only

Mission #137 March 7, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #138 March 8, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Bennett

Mission #139 March 10, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Butler

Mission #140 March 11, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Bennett

Mission #141 March 12, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Bolser

Mission #142 March 14, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Bennett

Mission #143 March 15, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Bolser

Mission #144 March 17, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Bennett

Mission #145 March 18, 1945 44-8605 B/H (scheduled for Bennett but replaced)

Mission #146 March 19, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Bennett

Mission #147 March 20, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Springer

Mission #148 March 21, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Tigges

Mission #149 March 22, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Mann

Mission #150 March 23, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Buchanan Homesick Angel

Mission #151 March 24, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Bennett Homesick Angel

 

 

MISSION DETAILS

Mission #121 February 9, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Raymond Happy Warrior

Mission #122 February 14, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #123 February 15, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #124 February 17, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #125 February 19, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Mueller Happy Warrior

Mission #126 February 20, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #127 February 21, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #128 February 22, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #129 February 24, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Raymond Happy Warrior

Mission #130 February 25, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Mann Happy Warrior

Mission #131 February 26, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #132 February 27, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #133 March 1, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #134 March 2, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior               Initial E/A claims: 1-0-0. Credit 1 damaged to Reo (WG)

Mission #135 March 3, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #136 March 4, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior               Leaflets only

Mission #137 March 7, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Abrams Happy Warrior

Mission #138 March 8, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Bennett

Mission #139 March 10, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Butler

Mission #140 March 11, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Bennett

Mission #141 March 12, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Bolser

Mission #142 March 14, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Bennett

Mission #143 March 15, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Bolser

Mission #144 March 17, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Bennett

Mission #145 March 18, 1945 44-8605 B/H (scheduled for Bennett but replaced)

Mission #146 March 19, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Bennett

Mission #147 March 20, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Springer

Mission #148 March 21, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Tigges

Mission #149 March 22, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Mann

Mission #150 March 23, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Buchanan Homesick Angel

Mission #151 March 24, 1945 44-8605 B/H 18BS Bennett Homesick Angel

 

                         March 25, 1945

3rd Air Division units, including the 34BG were recalled shortly after take-off due bad weather and the increasing possibility of adverse conditions upon return. Upon take-off one 34BG plane crashed near the base killing the crew of 9 airmen, according to Freeman, Mighty Eighth War Diary.

B-17G 44-8605 B/H Homesick Angel crashed shortly after take-off for the cancelled mission.

(5 photos in the 26 March 1945 file.)

KIA BENNETT LESTER S JR (P)                      1 LT        18            O-767466

KIA KARGER HENRY S (CP)                            2 LT        18            O-720082 (listed as dying 3-26-45)

KIA BERTINO LOUIS J (N)                               2 LT        18            O-1312870

KIA LEWMAN KENNETH W (Tog)               SGT        18            39341658

KIA DILLEY ROGER R (R)                                 T/SGT    18            32924461

KIA PICKETT OCKO P (E)                                T/SGT    18            36876916

KIA VERMAN RALPH C (BG)                          SGT        18            16275224

KIA JOHNSON WILLIAM T (WG)                  S/SGT     18            15140404

KIA KORDAS CHESTER J (TG)                       SGT        18            20630647

 

BENNETT LESTER S JR is buried at Cambridge American Cemetery, A-1-26.

JOHNSON WILLIAM T is buried at Cambridge American Cemetery, A-6-16.

 

From the files of Walter Sturdivan, quoted from MM, September 2004, p. 11. "Lt. Bennett took off in aircraft B-17G 44-8605 at 0601 hours on an operational mission. At 0615 the aircraft was seen to start into a spin and pull out. The tail section broke at Station 5 and the plane spun into the ground and exploded. The pilot is believed to have executed a violent maneuver to avoid collision with another aircraft, inadvertently stalling and starting into a spin. Due to the extremely low altitude, a sharp pullout was attempted causing the aircraft to break in two. The Yellow Squadron aircraft plummeted to earth between the bomb dump and the dispersed planes on the airdrome. After striking the ground, all but one of the bombs exploded. Ordinance personnel later removed said bomb. When the Fire Equipment came on scene there was little that could be done except cover the burning spot fires in the area. The fire fighters returned three times during the day to cover an engine with foam. The entire crew perished."