ROBERT I. MURRAY CREW - 358th BS
(crew assigned 358BS: 12 Feb 1945)
T/Sgt Carl O. Hammarlund (Tog-KIA)(**);
2Lt Richard Cochnar (N);
2Lt Robert I. "Boss" Murray (P-KIA);
F/O Robert Boardman (CP);
S/Sgt Vito J. "Sam" Brunale (E-POW)
S/Sgt Theodore A. Bates (R-KIA);
Sgt John R. Dantzler (WG);
Sgt Nicholas Rodock (BT-KIA);
Sgt Robert P. Rennie (TG-KIA)
ROBERT I. MURRAY CREW - 358th BS
(crew assigned 358BS: 12 Feb 1945)
Sgt Robert P. Rennie (TG)(KIA),
S/Sgt Raymond K. Kiser (CC),
2Lt Robert I. "Boss" Murray (P)(KIA),
Sgt O'Connell (GC),
S/Sgt Vito J. "Sam" Brunale (E)(POW)
S/Sgt Theodore A. Bates (R)(KIA),
Sgt Nicholas Rodock (BT)(KIA),
Sgt Walter A. Demansky (GC)
Twenty-two combat missions flown by the 2Lt Robert I. Murray:
321 (23 Feb 45), 323, 324, 325, 329, 330, 331, 334, 335, 336, 338, 339, 340, 344, 347, 348, 349, 350,
351, 355, 356, 357 (10 April 1945) - There were no mission abortions.
For mission dates and targets see the missions list.
Substitute and additional crewmen on the 10 Apr 1945 mission:
- 2Lt Robert I. Murray (P), S/Sgt Carl D. Hammarlund (B), S/Sgt Vito J.
Brunale (E), S/Sgt Theodore A. Bates (R), Sgt Nicholas Rodock (BTG) & Sgt Robert P. Rennie (TG) - Flew on all of the twenty-two Lt Murray missions.
- 2Lt Robert Boardman (CP) - Did not fly on mission 321. Substitute CP was
2Lt Joe M. Eby from the Lt Harry D. Gobrecht Crew. Flew on 18 Lt Murray crew missions but not on mission 357 where a substitute CoPilot was used. Lt Boardman flew on one mission with Lt Charles E. Garrett (P) - (321) and five missions with Lt Ernest A. Bailey, Jr. (P) - (358, 359, 360, 362, 364)
- 2Lt Richard Cochnar (N) - Flew on missions 321, 323, 324 & 325 with the Lt
Murray Crew. Flew no additional 303rd BG(H) missions. Murray crew used nine
different substitute Navigators on missions 329 thru 357.
- Sgt John A. Dantzler (WG) - Flew on 11 missions with the Murray crew
(321, 325, 329, 330, 338, 339, 340, 344, 347, 348, 349) and on two missions with other Pilots as a
Passenger (362 & 363). The Murray Crew did not utilize a Waist Gunner on 11 missions when crew size was reduced from 9 to 8 men (323, 324, 331, 334, 335, 336, 350, 351, 355, 356, 357).
- Sgt William C. Ready flew missions 323, 331, 339 and 340 with the Murray Crew as a Spot Jammer (SJ) - He flew on 19 credited combat missions and was originally assigned to the 1Lt Jerome Milman Crew.
- 2Lt Lawrence L. Fries, Jr. (CP))KIA) - Original member of 358th BS Ernest A. Bailey, Jr. Crew but flew no missions with this crew. Flew on two missions as CoPilot: Lt Rudolph L. Griffith (P) - 356; Lt Robert I. Murray (P) as a substitute CoPilot - 357
- F/O Harold S. Smith (N)(KIA) - Flew on 29 combat missions. Original member
of the 358th BS Lt Lawrence E. Poole crew. Flew on 16 missions with the Poole crew, 4 missions with the Lt Murray crew (336, 347, 348 & 357) and 9 missions with
seven other Pilots.
- Sgt Gerald V. Atkinson (Spot Jammer)(KIA). The Murray crew utilized Spot
Jammers on 17 missions - Sgt Atkinson on two missions (334 & 357). Sgt Atkinson flew
on 20 missions. Was the original Waist Gunner on the Lt Barton F. Walker, Jr.
Crew on five missions (309, 310, 311, 312, 317) Crew position was changed from Waist
Gunner to Spot Jammer (SJ), Voice Interpreter (VI) and Radio Control Measureman (RCM)
and flew in these positions for 15 missions with 11 different Pilots.
(KIA-POW) - On 10 April 1945 mission #357 to Oranienburg, Germany in B-17G #44-8427 Henn's Revenge (358BS) VK-E. An unexpected attack by six to eight ME-262s was encountered just after departing the target. 303rd Gunners claimed two destroyed. Henn's Revenge was hit by the attacking Me-262s coming in on the tail. It burst into flames between the #3 and #4 engines, held course for a few seconds, peeled up, slid over and down to the right, through the formation, apparently out of control. Henn's Revenge exploded at 2,000 feet and broke up into two main parts and
crashed in the small Gross Glasaow Lake between Gross Schonebeck and Liebenwalde
20 km northeast of the target Oranienburg and about 28 km north-northwest of
Berlin. A wing and engines fell in the upper part of the lake and the tail and part of the fuselage came
down in the lower part of the lake. The wreckage could be seen 50 to 150 feet
from the shore.
Fate of crewmen on the 10 April 1945 mission
- S/Sgt Vito J. Brunale (E)(POW)- Parachuted successfully, was captured and
became a POW.
- T/Sgt Carl O. Hammarlund (Tog)(POW-KIA) - Made a successful parachute jump.
landing near Emilienfelde, a farm area five km north of Liebenwalde (15 km northeast of Oranienburg). He located a German Paratrooper using the latrine of a farmer and holding a pistol demanded the Paratrooper's trousers, jacket and boots. While T/Sgt Hammarlund was removing his flight suit and dressing into the German uniform, the German Paratrooper managed to get away. T/Sgt Hammarlund then was pursued by a German patrol and captured. A German sergeant and staff sergeant got the
order to escort T/Sgt Hammarlund to the headquarters of a German nightfighter unit at
Liebenwalde. After departing, when it had already become pitch dark, the
German sergeants shot and killed T/Sgt Hammarlund claiming that he had
attempted to escape. He was buried at the spot he was killed. There was the
possibility that an atrocity was carried out and that T/Sgt Hammarlund was murdered but this
was never proven. In the late 1940s a German native of Liebenwalde gave a
statement to the International Red Cross at Geneva, Switzerland about the event and the
locality of the grave. A U.S. War Grave Commission unit recovered the body from the grave
near the small village of Hammer and identified it as T/Sgt Hammarlund. The body
was returned to his hometown at Janesville, Wisconsin at the request of his family.
- 1Lt Robert I. Murray (P)(KIA), F/O Harold S. Smith (N)(KIA) & Sgt Gerald V.
Atkinson (Spot Jammer)(KIA) - Bodies were never recovered and are believed
to be still in the wreckage of Henn's Revenge located about 12 feet deep in the lake
in which it crashed. Their names are commemorated on the Walls of the Missing at the
Netherlands American Cemetery near Margraten after an exhaustive search for
their bodies in Germany.
Due to the efforts of the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO), located near Washington, D.C., S/Sgt Atkinson's remains were recovered and identified by DNA testing. He was officially accounted for June 20, 2014. He was buried with full military honors Aug. 16, 2014, in the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Chattahoochee, Gadsden County, Florida.
- 2Lt Lawrence L. Fries (CP)(KIA) - In August 1951, a civilian woodcutter
found the remains of Lt Fries in a shallow grave, only partially buried, on the
northeast shore of Gross Glasgow Lake. His dogtag and an AGO card were turned over to
American authorities. His remains were take to Griesheim/Main Mauseleum in Germany
and, at the request of his next of kin, was buried in the Greenlawn Cemetery,
Plattsburg, Missouri in 1952.
- T/Sgt Theodore A. Bates (R)(KIA), Sgt Nicholas Rodock (BTG)(KIA) & Sgt
Robert P. Rennie (TG)(KIA). The bodies T/Sgt Bates and Sgt Rodock were
recovered from the tail section by Germans. Sgt Rennie's body later washed ashore. They
were buried in the cemetery at Gross Schonebeck with a fourth unidentified American
Serviceman. The body of Sgt Rodock was later buried at the Ardennes American Cemetery
12 miles SW of Liege, Belgium, that of Sgt Rennie at the Henri-Chappelle American
Cemetery 2 miles NW of Liege, Belgium and that of T/Sgt Bates in Wisconsin.
[Information on the fate of the Lt Murray Crewmen was reported in casualty and investigative reports obtained by Mr. John A. Hey, Henglo Holland in April 2003, by Mario Schulze at Oranienburg, Germany and the family of T/Sgt Carl Owen Hammarlund]
[photo courtesy of family of Carl Owen Hammarlund]
[Researched by Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]