Walthall's Crew

LT Walthall's Crew at Rapid City, ND before deploying overseas.

Standing (L to R): Quentin F. Ingerson (N), Harvey M. Walthall (P), William J. Myers (CP), Howard S. Graham (B). Front (L to R): Kazmer Rachak (FE), J. Hesner (WG), Kenneth Faber (RO), James W. Danno (BG), William W. Lambertus (TG), William F. Dold (WG). Photo courtesy of Quentin Ingerson.

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The 486th Heavy Bombardment Group wrapped up combat operations in the Consolidated B-24 “Liberator” during July 1944 and began transitioning to the Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress." Some crews opted to stay with their B-24s while some weren’t given the choice. All of these crews needed to be replaced. The replaclement crews, trained to fly the B17, arrived during the last 10 days of the month and had only a week to train and prepare for combat. They had one, or two, flights to familiarize themselves with East Anglia, formation training and a practice bomb run, or two, at The Wash. Among these crews were two commanded by lieutenants Leland Harper and Harvey Walthall, both assigned to the 832nd Heavy Bombardment Squadron.

The 486th’s first flight in B17s occurred on 01 August 1944 and consisted of an all out effort of the veteran crews, with the pilot's of new crews flying along. This was done to show new airplane commanders how combat operations were performed with a minimum of stress. This made them more effective leaders when they took their crews into combat. Three days later, on their second missions with their crews, the 18 men of the Harper and Walthall crews would not return.

Sunrise 04AUG44 occurred at 0423 zulu, or 0623 Double British Summer Time, but a blanket of fog over East Anglia obscured this fact from earthbound observers. The Charges of Quarters rousted the crews out of their bunks to start their pre-mission routine of breakfast, ablutions, briefings, and dressing out.


[Webmaster's Note: The above information was taken from an interview with LT Ingerson, SGT Rachak, LT Scully, documents provided by Dr. Bryan Vansweringen, US Forces Liaison Officer, American Embassy Berlin, the War Stories of the O & W (page 300) and MACR 7711.

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The March Harper Crew

Name Rank Position First Mission Last Mission Status
Harvey M. Walthall 2nd LT Pilot 08/01/44 08/04/44 KIA
William J. Myers 2nd LT Co-pilot 08/02/44 08/04/44 KIA
Quentin F. Ingerson 2nd LT Navigator 08/02/44 08/04/44 POW
Howard S. Graham 2nd LT Bombardier 08/02/44 08/04/44 KIA
Kazmer Rachak SGT Engineer/Top 08/02/44 08/04/44 POW
Kenneth Faber SGT Radioman 08/02/44 08/04/44 KIA
James W. Danno SGT Ball Gunner 08/02/44 08/04/44 KIA
William F. Dold SGT Waist Gunner 08/02/44 08/04/44 KIA
William W. Lambertus SGT Tail Gunner 08/02/44 08/04/44 KIA
051 08/02/44 Miss Anthricite DP 43-38020 B17G-75-BO
053 08/04/44   TB 43-37909 B17G-75-BO

Created 01/18/99 Modified 01/14/17

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