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358th Viets Crew
John B. Viets, Pilot
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JOHN B. VIETS CREW - 358th BS
B-17G #42-97509 Old Hickory 358BS (VK-A)
(crew assigned 358BS: 22 Feb 1944 - photo: 02 March 1944)

(Back L-R) F/O David C. Heibert (N-POW), 2Lt John C. Bennett (CP-POW),
2Lt John B. Viets (P-POW-WIA), 2Lt Burton Rodgers (B-POW)

(Front L-R) S/Sgt Ambrose J. Holland (BT-POW), S/Sgt Donald J. Rademacher, Jr. (LWG-POW),
S/Sgt Franklin F. York (R-POW-WIA), S/Sgt Frank E. Robinson (E-POW-WIA),
S/Sgt Raymond N. Dean (TG), S/Sgt Michael Madarchik (RWG-POW)

Crew photo notes:
S/Sgt Raymond N. Dean (TG) - Original crew member - Flew no 303rd missions. Was transferred to 359th BS on 11 March 1944.
Sgt William R. Ferrell (TG)(Evd) - Substitute crewman for S/Sgt Dean-  Not in photo

Twelve credited 1944 combat missions flown by 2Lt John V. Viets:
121 - 3/16 to Augsburg, Gr, 122 - 3/18 to Lechfeld, Gr, 123 - 3/19 to Wizerness, Fr,
124 - 3/20 to Frankfurt, Gr, 125 - 3/22 to Berlin, Gr, 126 - 3/23 to Hamm, Gr,
130 - 3/28 to Dijon/Longvic, Fr, 131 - 3/29 to Stedorf, Gr, 132 - 4/09 to Marienburg, Gr,
133 - 4/10 to Brussels, Belg, 134 - 4/11 to Sorau, Gr,  135 - 4/13 to Schweinfurt, Gr
 
Three B-17Gs flown on the 2Lt John V. Viets twelve combat missions: 

  • 43-37893 Bam Bam (358BS) VK-O - Mission 121
  • 42-31669 Shoo Shoo Baby (358BS) VK-J - missions 132,133,134
  • 42-97617 (No name) (358BS) VK-D - Missions 122,123,124,125,126,130,131,135
  • (No combat missions flown in the crew photo B-17G Old Hickory)

Crew Notes:

  • 2Lt John B. Viets (P)(POW) - All missions flown as First Pilot
  • 2Lt John C. Bennett (CP)(POW) - Stood down on missions 121, 122.  Combat      experienced 2Lt Walter J. Ames, from the Lt Merle R. Hungerford crew,  flew as  CoPilot on  missions 121 and 122.
  • F/O David C. Heibert (N)(POW) - Flew on all twelve 2Lt Viets crew missions.  Also flew on  missions 120 with 2Lt Wendell Z. Ferguson (P)
  • S/Sgt Ambrose J. Holland (BTG)(POW) - Flew on eight 2Lt Viets crew missions (121, 122, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135) Substitute Ball Turret Gunners used on four missions (123, 124, 125, 126)
  • Sgt William R. Ferrell (TG)(Evd) - Not in crew photo - Flew on all twelve 2Lt Viets crew missions as replacement for S/Sgt Raymond N. Dean. Also flew on six missions with two other Pilots: 2Lt John N. Savage (110, 111, 112, 113, 115); 1Lt George H. Blossom (116). 
  • S/Sgt Raymond N. Dean (TG)  - Original 2Lt Viets Crew Tail Gunner. Flew no missions with the 358th BS and 2Lt Viets.  Was transferred to the 359th BS on 11 March 1944. Completed his combat tour and 31 missions  on 4 June 1944 (Mission #170). Flew his missions with three different 359th BS Pilots: 1Lt John N. Savage (10 missions (122, 123, 124, 127, 128, 129, 131, 132, 133, 134); 1Lt Richard K. Marsh -  Previously Lt Savage Crew  CoPilot (12 missions -134, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 146, 151, 152, 153, 154);  2Lt Arthur G. Carpenter (9 missions - 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 165, 168, 169, 170).
  • Other crewmen -  2Lt Burton Rodgers (B), S/Sgt Frank E, Robinson (E), S/Sgt Franklin F. York (R), S/Sgt Donald J. Rademacher (LWG), S/Sgt Michael Madarchik (RWG) - Flew on all twelve 2Lt Viets crew missions.  
Mission Notes:
  • Mission 123 - Credited abortive Sortie. Brought bombs back
  • Mission 124 -  Lost formation during a period of poor visibility and dropped bombs on a Target of Opportunity.
  • Mission 132 - Credited Abortive Sortie - #2 prop ran away. Abandoned mission and returned to Molesworth and 5 hours 50 Minutes.
  • Mission 135 (MACR 3770) - 1Lt  James B. Taylor (P) reported that Lt Viets B-17G, who  was flying in  the Number 7 "Tail-End Charlie" position in the 358th BS high formation, was hit during attacks by German Me-109s. Received 20  mm shell hits on the left Pilot's side.  The left side dinghy was seen to fall away from the B-17. On engine was smoking. It was heard to call for fighter support and fire flares. P-47 fighter support arrived after 2Lt Viets' B-17 fell out of the formation and was seen going down. The B-17 crashed at Mattendorf, 16 km west of Bittburg, Germany. 

    All crewmen, except Sgt William R. Ferrell were captured and made POWs. Three  wounded crewmen,  2Lt Viets (P), S/Sgt Robinson (E) and S/Sgt York (R) were hospitalized in a German  hospital.  S/Sgt Raymond N. Dean (TG) evaded capture and returned to England on 9 October 1944 (Escape & Evasion Report 1884)

[photo courtesy of John B. Viets]
[Researched by 303rdBGA Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]