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359th Holmes Crew
Alfred M. Holmes, Pilot
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ALFRED M. HOLMES CREW - 359th BS
(Assigned 359BS: 14 November 1944)

1Lt Alfred M. Holmes (P), 1Lt Eugene Haynes (CP),
2Lt Edward Albertson (N), 2Lt Thomas A. Donovan (B)

T/Sgt Wendell P. Sprague, Jr. (E), T/Sgt Joseph R. Prehanty (R),
T/Sgt Donovan E. Vowels (BTG), Sgt Earl Johnson, Jr. (WG),
Sgt Edward L. Bartkoski (TG)(POW)

(Ranks and Grades at time of last mission)

1Lt Alfred M. Holmes 35 combat missions:

  • With a combat orientation CoPilot & Crew (1 Mission) - 277 (26 Nov 1944)
  • With original Crew (21 missions) - 278 ( 27 Nov 1944), 279, 280, 284, 283, 285, 286, 287,291, 292, 294, 297, 298A, 298B, 299, 300, 302, 303, 304, 310, 312 (20 Jan 1945)
  • As a Squadron & Lead Crew Pilot (13 missions) - 306 (22 Jan 1945), 307, 317, 321, 329, 331, 333, 341, 343, 349, 358, 361, 362 (27 April 1945)

Crew Notes:

  • 1Lt Alfred M. Holmes (P) - Lead crew missions flown: As Deputy Lead Crew Pilot (7 missions - 306, 307, 317, 321, 329, 358, 362); As Group Lead Crew CoPilot (4 missions - 317, 331, 341, 349); As Squadron Lead Crew Pilot (2 missions 343, 361). 35 mission combat tour completed on 17 April 1945.
  • 1Lt Eugene Haynes (CP) - Flew as CoPilot with the Lt Holmes crew - 28 missions (277 through 321), As CoPilot with other Pilots (2 missions - 277 & 293). Upgraded from CoPilot to Pilot on 3 March 1945, Flew 12 missions as 1st Pilot (329, 330, 331, 332, 341, 342, 343, 346, 348, 349, 350, 353). Last three missions (358, 361, 362) as a Lead Crew CoPilot with Lt Alfred M. Holmes as Pilot. 35 mission combat tour completed on 17 April 1945.
  • 2Lt Edward Albertson (N) - Flew 21 missions with the 1Lt Holmes crew (277 through 304 & 310), Flew 14 missions with 11 different Pilots (281, 306, 311, 313, 315, 316, 317, 330, 331, 332, 333, 335, 337, 348). Promoted from Flight Officer to 2nd Lt following mission 337 on 15 March 1945. 35 mission combat tour completed on 30 March 1945.
  • 2Lt Thomas A. Donovan (B) - Flew 17 missions with the 1Lt Holmes Crew non-lead crew missions (277 through 294, 298B, 299, 300, 302). Substitute Bombardiers or Toggliers used on six missions (297, 298A, 303, 304, 310, 312). Flew on 12 additional missions as Bombarder with 9 different Pilots (290, 293, 295, 296, 297, 306, 311, 313, 316, 320, 335, 339). Total 29 missions. Did not complete his 35 mission combat tour.
  • T/Sgt Wendell P. Sprague (E) and T/Sgt Joseph R. Prehanty (R) - Flew 30 missions with the 1Lt Holmes Crew (Missions 277 through 333 and 343). Completed combat tour on 22 March 1945.
  • T/Sgt Donovan E. Vowels (BTG) - Flew 26 missions with the 1Lt Holmes Crew Ball Turret Gunner (Missions 277 through 286, 291 through 329). Four missions as Flight Engineer with 1Lt Holmes (349, 358, 361, 362). Flew 5 missions with other Pilots (293, 333, 342, 343, 349). Combat tour completed on 17 April 1945
  • Sgt Earl Johnson, Jr. (WG) - Flew one mission with the 1Lt Holmes crew (277). This was his only combat mission with the 303rd BG(H). Substitute Waist Gunners used on other missions.
  • Sgt Edward L. Bartkoski (TG)(POW) - Flew on 23 missions with the 1Lt Holmes crew (277 through 307 and 312). Became a POW on his only mission with another Pilot. Mission #313, 9 February 1945, to Lutzendorf, German,. Lt Jack W. Bailey Pilot, in B-17G #43-38764 (No name) 359BS (BN-C) [MACR 12230]. The B-17s #2 and #3 engines were hot by flak at "bombs away" and the Pilot was unable to keep up with the formation and maintain altitude. In the vicinity of Mulhausen, Germany the crew encountered 14 enemy aircraft and Lt Bailey ordered his crew to bail out. Seven crewmen bailed out and became POWs. While the CoPilot inspected the B-17 to ensure that the crew had bailed out four P-51s appeared and drove off the enemy aircraft. They Pilot and CoPilot then flew the damaged B-17 back to friendly territory. They bailed out near St. Trond, Belgium and were returned to Molesworth. The pilotless Fortress made a wheels up belly landing near the hamlet Boekholt of the city of Straelen in Germany, just a few miles from the Dutch border, and was reported as 90% damaged. See the 2Lt Jack W. Bailey crew page for additional information.

[Researched by Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]