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358th Gmernicki Crew
Richard H. Gmernicki, Pilot
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RICHARD H. GMERNICKI CREW - 358th BS
(crew assigned 358BS: 28 Sep 1944)

(Back L-R) T/Sgt Elwood A. Griffith (E)(WIA), T/Sgt Ray R. Cooper (WG/Tog)(POW),
T/Sgt Raymond N. Calenberg (R), S/Sgt Bernard Greenberg (BTG),
S/Sgt John W. McClymont (WG), S/Sgt Thomas A. Henn (TG)(WIA)

(Front L-R) 1Lt Richard H. Gmernicki (P), 1Lt Chester G. Judd (CP),
F/O Joseph C. Guerrieri (B), 2Lt William M. Jones (N)

(Ranks and Grades at time of last combat mission)

[photo from the 303rdBGA Archives]



RICHARD H. GMERNICKI CREW - 358th BS
(photo: 06 Oct 1944)

(Back L-R) 1Lt Richard H. Gmernicki (P), 1Lt Chester G. Judd (CP),
2Lt William M. Jones (N), F/O Joseph C. Guerrieri (B)

(Front L-R) S/Sgt Thomas A. Henn (TG), S/Sgt Bernard Greenberg (BT),
S/Sgt John W. McClymont (ARM), T/Sgt Ray R. Cooper (WG),
T/Sgt Raymond N. Calenberg (R), T/Sgt Elwood A. Griffith (E)

36 dispatched (35 credited) combat missions flown by 1Lt Richard H. Gmernicki:
254 (9 Oct 44), 256, 257, 258, 261, 263, 264, 265(A), 266, 271, 272, 273, 274, 275, 277, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 287, 294, 296, 297, 298A, 298B, 300, 301, 303, 306, 308, 310, 311, 313, 315 (15 Feb 1945). (A) Non-credited mechanical aborted mission - voltage regulator malfunctioned. For Mission dates, targets and Mission Reports, see Combat Missions.

Crew Notes:

  • 1Lt Richard H. Gmernicki (P) - All missions flown as First Pilot. First two missions were flown by experienced combat crew CoPilots. Completed 35 mission combat tour on 15 Feb 1945 (mission 315).
  • 1Lt Chester G. Judd (CP) - Flew on all of the 1Lt Gmernicki missions except for four missions were substitute CoPilots were used (254, 256, 298A, 310). Flew on four missions with other Pilots: As a Lead Crew Tail Gunner/Observer (255); As CoPilot (256, 284, 298A). Completed 35 mission combat tour on 15 Feb 1945 (mission 315).
  • 2Lt William M. Jones (N), T/Sgt Raymond N. Calenberg (R), S/Sgt Bernard Greenberg (BTG) - All missions flown with 1Lt Gmernicki. Completed 35 mission combat tours on 15 Feb 1945 (mission 315).
  • F/O Joseph C. Guerrieri (B) - Flew on 26 credited missions with 1Lt Gmernicki (254, 256, 257, 258, 261, 263, 264, 266, 271, 272, 274, 275, 277, 279, 281, 282, 287, 294, 295, 296, 297, 298A, 298B, 300, 301, 303) and ten missions with other Pilots (283, 307, 309, 310, 311, 313, 314, 315, 316, 338). Completed his 35 mission combat tour on 17 March 1945 (mission 338). The 1Lt Gmernicki crew used Toggliers on nine missions: Sgt Glenn J. Demming (280, 283, 306, 308, 311, 315); Others (273, 310, 313).
  • T/Sgt Elwood A. Griffith (E)(WIA) & S/Sgt Thomas A. Henn (TG)(WIA) - Flew all of their 30 missions with 1Lt Gmernicki (Missions 254 through 306). Both were wounded on mission 306, 22 January 1945 to Sterkrade Germany. T/Sgt Griffith Suffered a wound on his leg and S/Sgt Henn was wounded on his head and arms. The B17 first aid kits were squashed by the flak hits and were of no use. Both were hospitalized in the 303rd Station Hospital and were returned to the USA following their hospitalization. The crew named the 358th BS B-17G #44-8427, in which they had flown 20 missions, "Henn's Revenge."
  • S/Sgt John W. McClymont (WG) - Flew on 31 credited missions with 1Lt Gmernicki (All of the 1Lt Gmernicki missions except four - 263, 310, 311, 313). Flew on four missions with other Pilots (309, 310, 311, 313). Completed his 35 mission combat tour on 15 February 1945 (mission 315).
  • T/Sgt Ray R. Cooper (WG/Tog) - Flew no missions with the 1Lt Gmernicki crew when second Waist Gunner was deleted from combat crews. Was Transferred to the 358BS Lt Clyde E. Freeman Crew and became a POW on 22 Jan 1945, mission 306) while flying as Togglier for the 1Lt William H. Woodson Crew.

Nine different B-17G's flown by 1Lt Gmernicki on his 36 dispatched combat missions:
See our Nose Art for photos of the named B-17s

Serial No. Aircraft Name Squadron ID-Code Missions flown
43-38563 Jackie (360BS) PU-H 258
42-97298 The Floose (358BS) VK-H 261
43-37590 Neva - The Silver Lady (358BS) VK-Q 263
43-38462 Teddy's Rough Riders (358BS) VK-I 300, 301, 308, 310
43-38442 (No name) (358BS) VK-F 254, 256
42-97949 (No name) (358BS) VK-O 257, 287
44-6006 (No name) (358BS) VK-D 266
43-38764 (No name) (358BS) VK-C 281
44-8427 Henn's Revenge (358BS) VK-E 264, 265(A), 271, 272, 273, 274, 275,
277, 279, 280, 282, 283, 294, 295, 296,
297, 298A, 298B, 303, 306, 311, 313, 315

The 1Lt Gmernicki Crew named the no name B-17G 44-8427 "Henn's Revenge" following mission 306 on 22 January 1945 in honor of S/Sgt Thomas A. Henn (TG), who was seriously wounded on mission 306. "Henn's Revenge" flew as a no-name B-17 on 36 missions and then on an additional 39 missions before being lost on mission 348 on 10 April 1945 on a mission to Orienburg, Germany. It crashed near Orienburg with 8 crewmen KIA and 1 crewman who became a POW. It was hit by attacking ME-262 German jet fighters.

S/Sgt Thomas A. Henn's Injury:
On January 22, 1945, on the 1Lt Gmernicki crew's 30th mission, S/Sgt Henn was seriously injured. Their B-17 had flown in intense flak for 20 minutes, and during this time a piece ripped into the tail section cutting through S/Sgt Henn's flak helmet and leather helmet and knocking away his oxygen mask. He immediately became unconscious and slumped forward. and his oxygen mask miraculously swung back into place, thus saving his life until crew members could come to his aid. The crew made it back to Molesworth. S/Sgt Henn was immediately taken to the 303rd Station Hospital where a leading neurosurgeon performed surgery. A good size piece of flak had entered his skull just above his right ear, resting precariously closer to delicate brain tissue. The surgeon removed the flak and placed a titanium plate over the injured skull. S/Sgt Henn experienced severe paralysis of his entire left side as a result of his injury. After several weeks of recovery and therapy in England, his mobility improved. Later he was sent to DeWitt Hospital in Auburn, CA for more rehab before being discharged in May. A partial paralysis of his left side remained a factor for all of his life, leaving no sensitivity in his fingers and weakness of arm and leg mussels. He remained thankful to God for sparing his life when his oxygen mask swung back into place and for having such a great crew whose friendship and concern supported him for all of his days.

Tom's wife noted that he became a teacher and school administrator whose life touched countless others. He influenced young lives and became a popular leader in his community. He was a natural athlete, and in spite of his handicap, excelled in tennis, skiing and golf. He loved life, music, nature, friends and family. [From HANL, August 1997, page 19]

[photo courtesy of George T. Mackin]
[Researched by Harry D. Gobrecht, 303rdBGA Historian Emeritus]