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359th Ketner Crew
Wilbert L. Ketner, Pilot
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WILBERT L. KETNER CREW - 359th BS
(crew assigned 359BS: 07 April 1945 - photo taken at Gulfport, MS)

(Back L-R) 2Lt William G. Metsopolus (N)(3), 2Lt Wilbert L. Ketner (P)(1),
2Lt John R. McColl, Jr. (CP)(2), 2Lt Charles R. Hembree (B)(4)

(Front L-R) Sgt Glenn W. Sears (E)(5), Sgt James W. Wilkins (WG)(4),
Sgt Thomas A. Drennan (TG)(5), Sgt Harrison F. Cutter (BT)(5),
Sgt Joseph P. Geary (WG)(7), Sgt Grover C. Mohn (R)(6)

Crew Notes:
After arrival at Molesworth both Waist Gunner crew positions were eliminated and crew flew with a Togglier rather than a Bombardier. The 2Lt Wilbert L. Ketner Crew flew on the following missions:

  • #360 - 15 April 1945 to Royan, France - In B-17G-95-BO #43-38878 (No name) 359th BS (BN-D)
  • #361 - 16 April 1945 to Straubing, Germany - In B-17G-85-BO #43-38289 Sweet La Rhonda 359th BS (BN-J)
  • #362 - 17 April 1945 to Dresden, Germany In B-17G-90-BO #43-38645 (No name) 359th BS (BN-B)
  • #364 - 25 April 1945 to Pilsen, Czechoslovakia In B-17G-95-BO #43-38883 Lady Beth 359th BS (BN-A). Flew in the 427th BS formation as a 427th BS crew.
  1. 2Lt Wilbert L. Ketner (P) - Flew on four missions: As CoPilot on missions #360 (1Lt Warren F. Mauger Pilot) and #361 (2Lt Richard H. Rich Pilot); Flew as Pilot on missions #362 & #364
  2. 2Lt John R. McColl, Jr. (CP) - Flew on three missions: As CoPilot with the 1Lt Fred E. Call Crew on mission #360; As CoPilot with the Ketner Crew on missions #362 & 364
  3. 2Lt William G. Metsopolus (N) - Flew on one mission #364 with the Ketner Crew. 2Lt Ketner Crew substitute Navigators were: Missions #360 & 361 1Lt George E. Knox who became a POW on mission #364 with the 1Lt W.F. Mauger Crew; Mission #362 2Lt Irving Wort (Lt W.J. Lowry crewman) on his 6th mission.
  4. 2Lt Charles R. Hembree (B) and Sgt James W. Wilkins (WG) - Flew no missions with the Ketner Crew or 303rd BG(H).
  5. Sgt Glenn W. Sears (E), Sgt Thomas A. Drennan (TG), Sgt Harrison F. Cutter (BT) - Flew on four missions: #360, #361, #362 & #364 with 2Lt Ketner as CoPilot or Pilot.
  6. Sgt Grover C. Mohn (R) - Flew on three missions: #360 and #364 with 2Lt Ketner as CoPilot or Pilot; #363 with 427th BS 2Lt Lloyd J. Flannigan Pilot. Ketner Crew Radio Operator on mission #361 was Sgt William Reihl (358th BS) and on mission #362 T/Sgt Matthew W. Grden (359th BS)
  7. Sgt Joseph P. Geary (WG) - Crew position was changed from Waist Gunner to Togglier. Flew on four missions: #360 with 1Lt Jack E. Stocks Crew; #361, #361 & # 364 with the Lt Ketner Crew. The 2Lt Ketner Crew substitute Togglier on mission #360 was S/Sgt James W. Roberts on his only 303rd BG(H) mission.
Cadet Poem
by Wilbert L. Ketner (Pilot Class 44-C)

New skies to conquer, deeds to do,
A greater task is awaiting you;
Be not contented proud cadet,
You've not achieved the victory yet.

There are other hurdles yet to clear,
Though day by day you're drawing near;
You now can dream of greater things,
Of a coveted goal -- those silver wings.

Turn not you head for backward glance,
Keep looking up -- you must advance;
No gain is made, no battle won,
By dwelling on a job that's done.

Those you love are watching you,
Fighting friends are cheering, too;
Be resolved to do your best,
Then strive still more to do the rest.

Step forth, cadet, be on your way,
A weary world looks to that day;
When "Blood and sweat and tears" will be,
Freed by "wings" of liberty.

[photo courtesy of Richard Ketner]
[Researched by 303rdBGA Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]