The Unger crew and "5 Grand" at Kearney, Nebraska. Standing (L to R): 1st LT Edward C. Unger (P), 2nd LT Richard L. Jacobson (CP), LT John H. Belay (N), LT George W. Y. Moller, Jr. (B). Front row (L to R): SGT Walter W. Giffith (FE), SGT Jack K. Boyce (RO), CPL Anthony T. Guercia (BG), CPL Louis Sendek, Jr (WG), CPL Robert A. Bohyer (TG), SGT John B. McBride (WG). (submitted by Guercia)
Unger's crew arrived in theater in style. Seeing the B17, "5 Grand," parked on the tarmac at Kearney, Nebraska, the pilots inquired about the aircraft and got the job of ferrying it across "the pond." This fortress was the 5,000th plane to roll off the assembly line at the Boeing plant in Washington. It was decorated with the signatures and well wishes of Boeing workers. Some of these included proposals of marriage and phone numbers. The weight of the paint used caused a 5 mph reduction in the cruise speed of the bomber.
During ceremonies on July 4th the crew was presented with the "5 Grand." Shortly thereafter the crew set out to transfer to the ETO and the 8th AF. Arriving at Gander, Newfoundland via Bangor, Maine, the crew rested for several days prior to the big hop. Eventually, they arrived at Nuts Corner, Ireland. Unfortunately, another bomb group needed B17s more badly than did the 486th, and the aircraft was transferred to the 96th BG. The crew continued their trip to England in a ship and arrived at Sudbury on the 28th of July.
Bohyer and Sendak never saw combat with the 486th. They were transferred on arrival to the 15th AF. SGT Guercia became a spare gunner and finished with 28 missions. LT Unger left the 486th after completing 28 missions to fly P51s. His first fighter sortie was Feb. 20, 1945.
|Name||Rank||Position||First Mission||Last Mission||Status|
|Ed Unger||CAPT||Pilot||08//44||01/13/44||Completed tour; 28 missions.|
|Dick Jacobsen||LT||Co-pilot||08//44||01/13/44||Completed tour; 28 missions|
|John Belay||LT||Navigator||08//44||01/23/44||Completed tour; 28 missions|
|George Moller||LT||Bombardier||08//44||01/13/44||Completed tour; 30 missions.|
|Dan Dennis||1st LT||Pin Pt. Nav.||08//44||01/13/44||Completed tour; 30 missions.|
|Reinhardt Zirbel||1st LT||Mickey Nav.||//44||01/13/44||Completed tour.|
|Walter Griffith||FE/Top||08//44||01/13/44||Completed tour.|
|Jack Boyce||Radio||08//44||01/13/44||Completed tour.|
|John MacBride||Waist||08//44||02/21/45||Completed tour; 30 missions.|
|Tony Guercia||Ball||08//44||12/29/44||Completed tour; 25 missions.|
|131||01/13/45||Baby Shoe III/Downbeat||PV||44-8218||B17G|
Completed 30 Missions
|Created 05/20/99||Modified 12/23/16|
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