PHILIP O. BENHAM CREW - 358th BS
B-17G #42-97298The Floose 358BS (VK-H)
(crew assigned 358BS: 10 Apr 1944)
1Lt Telesphor Lojewski (CP)(KIS)(2),
1Lt Philip O. Benham (P)(1),
1Lt Willard A. Hamm (N)(3),
2Lt James A. McCamy (B)(KIA)(4)
T/Sgt Cornelius Van Drunen (E)(5),
T/Sgt Reginald Downs (R)(6),
S/Sgt Lenoir E. Dellinger (TG/WG)(7),
T/Sgt Robert L. Garcia (WG/TOG)(8),
S/Sgt Reginald L. Hill (BT)(9),
S/Sgt Robert E. Bonenberger (WG)(10)
(Officer ranks and EM Grades when combat missions were completed)
Lt Benham and Crew flew thirty-one credited mission - 303rd mission numbers:
145 (4/30/44), 146, 147, 151, 152, 154 (Spare Return- no
credit), 158, 159, 161, 163, 165, 171, 174, 175, 176, 177, 179, 180, 185, 187,
189, 190,193, 197, 200, 203, 209, 215, 217, 222, 223, 227 (13 Aug 1944). All missions
completed without an abortion. Last 15 missions (#180 through 227) were lead
crew missions. (No lead crew photos are available).
- 1Lt Philip O. Benham (P) - 1st two missions as CoPilot with orientation
pilot Lt. John H. Cook - Became a Lead Crew Pilot on 14 June 1944. Completed
combat tour on 13 August 1944 and transferred to 8thAF on 18 August 1944.
In fact, Joseph Lojewski was a POW and survived the war.
1Lt Telesphor Lojewski (CP)(KIS) - 1st three missions with Lt Frank
Maxey. Flew 14 missions as the Benham Crew CoPilot. Upgraded from CoPilot to
Pilot on 01 July 1944 and completed his combat tour on mission #202 12
July 1944. Transferred to Eighth Air Force P-51 Scouting Force Service at
Steeple Morden. Was flying with 1Lt Charles E. Wright (Previously CoPilot on the
358th BS Lt Harlan J. Johnson Crew) in an AT-6 trainer aircraft flight from
Steeple Morden to Molesworth on 01 Sept 1944. The aircraft had an engine failure and,
while in a steep bank to line up with an open field, a wing hit the ground,
cartwheeled and killing both pilots.
- 1Lt Willard A. Hamm (N) - Flew on ten missions
(#146, 147, 151, 152, 154, 158, 159, 171, 175, 176) with the Lt Benham crew. Completed his last 24 combat missions with ten other Pilots. Last mission #202 on 12 July 1944.
- 2Lt James A. McCamy (B)(KIA) - Flew seven missions with the Lt Benham
Crew. Last three missions with other Pilots. On mission #163, 28 May 1944
to Riotha, Germany, Lt A.G. Determan (P) in B-17G #42-107028 (no name)
358BS (VK-I) received a direct hit by flak on the right wing. During the fall the right wing and tail
came off and the B-17 crashed near Leipzig, Germany (7 KIA and 3 POW).
- T/Sgt Cornelius Van Drunen (E) - Flew three missions (#155, 164, 226)
with other Pilots. Combat tour completed on 13 Aug 1944. Transferred to USA
on 18 Aug 1944.
- T/Sgt Reginald Downs (R) - Flew four missions with other Pilots
(#194, 195, 224, 230). Transferred to USA on 11 Sept 1944 after completing
combat tour on 18 Aug 1944.
- S/Sgt Lenoir E. Dellinger (TG) - Flew one mission (#216) with another
pilot. Flew four missions as a Waist Gunner. Combat tour completed on mission
#223 18 Aug 1944. Transferred to USA on 11 Sept 1944.
- T/Sgt Robert L. Garcia (RWG) - Flew his first ten missions with the
Benham Crew. Second waist Gunner position deleted from crew and T/Sgt Garcia
completed his combat tour as a Togglier on 19 missions with 8 different pilots.
Last mission #271, 10 Nov 1944, and returned to USA.
- S/Sgt Reginald L. Hill (BT) - Flew his last mission (#230) with another
pilot on 18 Aug 1944. All other missions with the Lt. Benham Crew.
Transferred to USA on 11 September 1944.
- S/Sgt Robert E. Bonenberger (WG). Flew one mission (#216) with another
Pilot. Other missions with the Lt. Benham Crew. Last mission #227, 8 Sept
1944. Transferred to USA on 11 Sept 1944.
[photo courtesy of Robert E. Bonenberger] [clipping courtesy of Linda Blaser]
[Researched by Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]