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359th Gaines Crew
Edmund W. Gaines, Pilot
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EDMUND W. GAINES CREW - 359th BS
(Assigned 359BS: 07 August 1944 - photo: 16 Sep 1944)

(Back L-R) Sgt James J. Heffran (WG)(KIA), 2Lt Edmund W. Gaines (P)(KIA),
2Lt Ralph A. Lewtas (N), 2Lt Arthur A. Bergeron (CP)(KIA), S/Sgt Ray Tartaglia (TOG)(POW)

(Front L-R) Sgt Elmo O. Tisdale (BTG)(KIA), S/Sgt Glenn Fragasso (E)(KIA),
Sgt James F. Shrader (TG)(KIA), S/Sgt Lucien P. Lawson (R)(KIA), Sgt Leonardus T. Inkelaar, Jr. (WG)

Original Bombardier: 2Lt Bernard A. Hanley (not in photo)

Seven missions flown by the 2Lt Gaines Crew:
230 (18 Aug 1944), 231, 248, 249, 250, 251, 257 (15 Oct 1944)
For mission dates and targets see the mission list.

Original Crew Notes:

  • 2Lt Edmund W. Gaines (P) - Flew on mission #230 as CoPilot with the 2Lt John W. Parker Crew. Other missions flown as his Crew 1st Pilot

  • 2Lt Arthur A. Bergeron (CP) - Did not fly on mission #230. Flew with the 2Lt Gaines crew on five missions (231, 248, 249, 251, 257). The 2Lt Gaines crew used a substitute CoPilot on one mission (250). 2Lt Bergeron flew on 10 missions with other Pilots: Seven missions As CoPilot (233, 234, 235, 236, 240, 244, 253; Two missions as a Lead Crew Tail Gunner/Observer (250, 252); One mission (252) as a 1st Pilot with another crew.

  • 1Lt Ralph A. Lewtas (N) - Flew on six missions - 231, 235, 251, 255, 262 and 284. Only mission 231 was with the Gaines Crew.

  • 2Lt Bernard A. Hanley (B) - Flew on two missions - (230, 231) as the 2Lt Gaines crew Bombardier. Substitute Bombardiers or Toggliers used on the other five missions. Flew on five additional missions as a Bombardier with four other Pilots (232, 233, 234, 235, 238)

  • Sgt Leonardus T. Inkelaar, Jr. (WG) - Flew no 303rd BG(H) missions. The second Waist Gunner position was deleted from the 2Lt Gaines crew.

  • S/Sgt Glenn Fragasso (E), S/Sgt Lucien P. Lawson (R), Sgt Elmo O. Tisdale (BTG), Sgt James J. Heffran (WG), Sgt James F. Shrader (TG) - Crew mission exceptions - Did not fly on mission #230. Flew on four missions with other Pilots: 2Lt Robert D. Quiggle (234, 235, 236); 2Lt Arthur H. Bergeron's only mission as 1st Pilot (256). Sgt Lawson (R) also flew on mission 254 with another Pilot. Sgt Shrader did not fly on mission 250, a substitute Tail Gunner was used.
Last mission of the 2Lt Gaines Crew [MACR 9472]
Mission #257, 15 Oct 1944 to Cologne, Germany in B-17G #43-38604 (No name) (359BS) (BN-B). Was lost after being hit by flak over the target. Received a direct hit between engines #1 & #2. It caught fire and flames enveloped the entire wing. The B-17 started down, made a complete turn, losing altitude as it did so, went down in a steep dive and blew up at about 10,000 feet. Seven of the original 2Lt Gaines crew members were killed - 2Lt Gaines (P), 2Lt Bergeron (CP), S/Sgt Fragasso (E), S/Sgt Lawson (R), Sgt Tisdale (BTG), Sgt Heffran (WG) and Sgt Shrader (TG). Substitute Navigator, 2Lt Harrison K. Beder, was also killed. Substitute Togglier, S/Sgt Raymond Tartaglia, was blown out of the B-17s nose during the explosion. By some miracle, the parachute that he was wearing was open when he regained consciousness. He had no memory of pulling the rip cord. He was captured and became a POW.

[Photo courtesy of Tony Lewtas - Researched by Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]