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358th Lake Crew
Lester A. Lake, Jr., Pilot
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B-17F 42-29635 Augerhead (358BS) VK-M
(Lt Lake assigned 358th BS: 11 June 1943 - Photo: 11 Nov 1943)
(Lt Lake upgraded from CoPilot to Pilot on orders dated 26 October 1943)

(Back L-R) 2Lt John G. Leverton (B-POW)(4)(*), 2Lt Lester A. Lake, Jr. (P)(1),
2Lt Arnold A. Litman (CP-Evd)(2)(*), 2Lt Lawrence C. Merthan (N)(3)(*)

(Front L-R) Sgt Victor H. Miller (WG), T/Sgt George A. Smith (E)(*),
S/Sgt Buenaventura L. Castillo (TG), T/Sgt Francis Ebbighausen (R)(*),
Unidentified, Sgt Paul M. Gibbs (TG)(*)

Unidentified: Sgt Eugene C. Donovan (BT) or Sgt Charles G. Escobedo (WG),

(Photo: 29 Jan 1944 - Crew's Final Mission)

(*) Became members of the Capt Arnold S. Litman Crew on 13 Dec 44.

Lt Lester Lake combat missions:
As CoPilot: Lt John R. Johnston Crew: 15 Credited missions - 41 (11 June 43), 54, 56(A), 57, 58, 60, 61, 64, 66, 70, 71, 72, 73, 75(A), 76, 80 & 81 (5 Nov 43)
As First Pilot: 14 credited missions - 73 (2 Oct 43), 75(A), 76, 80, 81, 83, 84, 86(AS), 87, 88(Spare), 93(AS), 94(AS), 95(A), 96(A), 97, 99, 100(AS) & 101 (29 Jan 44)
(A) Non-credited abortive mission -- (AS) Credited abortive Sortie - No bombs dropped -- (Spare) Non-Credited Spare B-17 - Not required - returned to Molesworth
For mission dates and targets see the missions list.

Lt Lester Lake Combat Crew:
Crewmen identified and unidentified in the crew photo flew on combat missions with Lt Lake as follows:
2Lt Litman (CP), Lt Merthan (N), T/Sgt Smith (E), T/Sgt Ebbighausen (R), Sgt Miller (WG) and S/Sgt Castillo (TG - 3 missions (83, 84, 86); 2Lt Leverton (B) & Sgt Donovan (BT) - 2 missions (83, 84); Sgt Escobedo (WG) - 1 mission (83). Pick-up crewmen used on Lt Lake's other First Pilot missions

  1. 2Lt Lester A. Lake, Jr. (P) - Upgraded from CoPilot to Pilot on orders dated 26 October 1943 and flew his first of 14 credited missions as First Pilot on 26 November 1943. Combat tour completed on 29 January 1944.
  2. 2Lt Arnold A. Litman (CP) - Upgraded from CoPilot to Pilot on mission #88 13 Dec 44. Became a Lead Crew Pilot on mission #109 20 Feb 1944. Completed combat tour on 18 Apr 1944. Volunteered for a second combat tour as a Lead Crew Pilot on 17 July 1944. On 10 August 1944 Capt Litman (P) and 2Lt G.L. Conley (CP) were on a local transition flight in B-17 #42-97298 The Floose with a six man crew. The Co-Pilot was practicing landings and made a hard tail-first landing. Capt Litman immediately applied full power and went around for another approach. The tail wheel was inspected and was found to be damaged. Capt Litman then made a wheels first landing, the tail wheel collapsed when it made runway contact, and the tail was dragged long enough to clear the runway. Capt Litman was an Evadee on the 15 August 1944 mission #229 to Wiesbaden, Germany in B-17 #42-37838 Fearless Fosdick (358BS) VK-A. His B-17 went down in flames after a flak hit in the nose that mortally wounded the Bombardier (1 KIA & 8 Evd).
  3. 2Lt Lawrence C. Merthan (N) - Became a lead crew Navigator.
  4. 2Lt John G. Leverton (B) - Became a POW on 11 January 1944 mission #98 to Oschersleben, Germany (2Lt Jack W. Watson Crew) in B-17 #42-29524 Meat Hound (358BS) VK-K (4 KIA, 3 POW, 1 Evd, 1 Returned).

[photo from the 303rdBGA Archives]
[Researched by 303rdBGA Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]