Ringler's Crew

LT Ringler's crew.

Standing (L to R): William Ringler (P), Charles Mercer (CP), James Rodgers (N), Merle Medley (B). Front (L to R): William Krampe (FE), Bruce Gipson (R/O), Charles Loomer (WG), ? Gomez (extra crewman who transferred to LT Davis' crew), Gerald Dubs (BG), Charles Sibray (TG). This photo was taken stateside.

The crews 28th mission on Feb 22, '45 went well through bombs away. The primary target was overcast with a snow storm and the 486th proceeded to Ansbach as the secondary target. The formation bombed from a nominal altitude of 8,000 ft. Just after bombs-away the R/O reported a hit in the left wing. The ball gunner reported smoke from the engine. LT Ringler informed the crew to prepare to abandon ship. SGT Sibray, in the tail, had to disconnect himself form his interphone to get himself ready. By the time he had put his interphone back on he had missed the order to jump. SGT Sibray checked in with LT Ringler but received no response. Since the plane continued to fly straight and level SGT Sibray did not become concerned and resumed his station.

A P51 approached from behind which led SGT Sibray to believe the lack of response from the pilot was due to his communicating to the escort fighter. SGT Sibray picked up a lamp to flash at the 51, which soon left. At this point SGT Sibray noticed his interphone cord was disconnected. Curious, SGT Sibray worked his way forward only to find the waist area empty and the waist door gone. Entering the flight deck SGT Sibray was amazed to find no one at the controls and the auto pilot light blinking. Making his way back aft SGT Sibray hooked his chute to his harness, but failed to tie his shoes to his harness from growing concern for his safety. SGT Sibray finally "hit the silk" and landed behind friendly lines.

SGT Sibray has the distinction of crewing in a stricken B17 with only the autopilot working the controls for an hour and a half. Not only was he fortunate to have survived this episode, but his solo flight also put him over friendly territory when he jumped. The remainder of his crew jumped over Germany and were interred for the rest of the war. It was later learned that a tail gunner on another B17 had fired his guns and caused the damage to the plane Ringler's crew flew in.

Name Rank Position First Mission Last Mission Status
William H. Ringler LT Pilot ??/??/44 02/22/45 POW
Charles Mercer LT Copilot   02/22/45 POW
James Rodgers LT Navigator   02/22/45 POW
Merle Medley LT Bombardier   02/22/45 POW
William Krampe SGT Flight Engineer/Top   02/22/45 POW
Bruce Gipson SGT Radio Operator/Waist   02/22/45 POW
Charles Loomer SGT Waist   02/22/45 POW
Gerald Dubs SGT Ball   02/22/45 POW
Charles Sibray SGT Tail     Completed tour.
Mission Date Name ID S/N Type
104 11/09/44 Batchelor's Delight TR 43-38027 B17G
105 11/10/44   PT 43-37948 B17G
107 11/21/44 Vermont Maid/Cupcake ND 43-38246 B17G
109 11/27/44 The Last Roundup TG 43-37927 B17G
110 11/30/44   NE 42-97998 B17G
113 12/10/44 Flak Sack DL 44-8528 B17G
114 12/11/44   NH 43-38648 B17G
115 12/12/44 Rack and Ruin NT 43-37899 B17G
116 12/16/44 Homesick Angel DC 44-6312 B17G
118 12/24/44   DF 43-37998 B17G
120 12/28/44 Lady V DR 43-37856 B17G
121 12/29/44   PS 43-37970 B17G
122 12/30/44   TT 43-37820 B17G
125 01/02/45   NB 43-38001 B17G
126 01/03/45 Pursuit of Happiness TH 43-37931 B17G
127 01/05/45   PS 870 B17G
130 01/10/45   NE 42-97998 B17G
131 01/13/45   PC 43-37867 B17G
134 01/18/45 Vermont Maid/Cupcake ND 43-38246 B17G
135 01/20/45   PM 44-8595 B17G
140 02/03/45   PH 43-38163 B17G
144 02/15/45   PR 44-6599 B17G
147 02/19/45   PM 43-38163 B17G
148 02/21/45   PC 43-37867 B17G
146 02/17/45   TG 4x-xx059 B17G
149 02/22/45   PR 44-6599 B17G

Completed 26 Missions

Created 01/30/99 Modified 12/23/16

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