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359th Mickle Crew
James D. Mickle, Pilot
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JAMES D. MICKLE CREW - 359th BS
(crew assigned 359BS: 06 Sep 1944 - photo: 8 Oct 1944)



JAMES D. MICKLE CREW - 359th BS
(crew assigned 359BS: 06 Sep 1944 - photo: Pyote, TX, June 1944)

(Back L-R) T/Sgt William B. Humphrey (E), T/Sgt A B McKinley (WG/BTG/TOG),
T/Sgt Dennis G. Eagon (R), S/Sgt Robert D. Wentz (WG),
S/Sgt Leonard A. Garcia (BTG/TOG/WG), S/Sgt Raymond J. Van Zile (TG/WG)

(Front L-R) 1Lt James D. Mickle (P), F/O Loren M. Clark (CP),
1Lt Benjamin L. O' Dell (N), 1Lt William A. Schulze (B)

(Ranks and grades at time of last combat mission)

Thirty-One dispatched (Thirty credited) missions flown by 1Lt James D. Mickle:
244 (19 Sept 1944), 245, 247, 249 (2 Oct 1944), 250, 251, 253, 258, 259 (FTO), 260, 261, 265 (1 Nov 1944), 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 272, 274, 275 (DLC), 276 (DLC), 277 (DLC), 278 (DLC), 279 (DLC), 280 (DLC) (2 Dec 1944), 283 (DLC), 284 (LC), 285, 288 (LC), 292 (LC), 297 (LC) (5 Jan 1945).
For Mission dates, targets and Mission Reports, see Combat Missions (FTO) Non-credited mission -- Failed to take-off (DLC) Deputy Lead Crew (LC) Lead Crew

Fourteen B-17Gs flown by 1Lt James D. Mickle on his thirty-one dispatched combat missions:

  • 43-38258 (P) Forget Me Not Olly (358BS) VK-H - Mission 244
  • 42-97944 (P) Daddy's Delight (359BS) BN-I - Mission 245
  • 43-38289 (P) Sweet La Rhonda (359BS) BN-J - Missions 247, 249, 253, 266
  • 43-38609 (No name) (359BS) BN-F - Mission 250
  • 44-6502 (No name) (359BS) BN-G - Missions 251, 260, 261, 265, 267, 268, 269, 270
  • 42-97781 (P) The '8' Ball Mk III (359BS) BN-O - Mission 258
  • 42-102411 (P) Miss Lace (427BS) GN-Y - mission 259 (FTO)
  • 42-102484 (P) Heller's Angel (P) (358BS) BN-K - Missions 272, 274
  • 44-8137 (No name)(PFF) (359BS) BN-Z - Missions 275 (DLC), 279 (DLC) , 283 (DLC)
  • 42-97311 (P) Shoo Shoo Baby aka Silver Fox (P) (427BS) GN-O - Mission 276 (DLC)
  • 44-6309 (P) Duchess' Granddaughter (P) (359BS) BN-T - Missions (277 (DLC), 278 (DLC)
  • 42-97058 (P) Scorchy II (P) 359BS) BN-V - Missions 280 (DLC), 285
  • 43-37537 (P) Queen of Hearts (PFF)(P) (359BS) BN-Q - Mission 288 (LC)
  • 44-8256 (P) Yankee Girl (PFF) (P) (359BS) BN-Y - Mission 292 (LC)
    (P) See Nose Art Photos (PFF) Pathfinder B-17G with no Ball Turret
Crew Notes:
  • 1Lt James D. Mickle (P) - Missions flown: Nineteen as a regular crew First Pilot - First mission with a Combat Orientation CoPilot, 2Lt Arthur R. Bergeron; Seven as Deputy Lead Pilot (275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 283); Three as Lead Crew Pilot (284, 288, 297); One Lead Crew CoPilot with Lt Col Edgar Snyder, Deputy Group Commanding Officer, as Pilot (292) Completed combat tour, 30 missions, on 5 Jan 1945 (Mission 297).
  • F/O Loren M. Clark (CP) - Missions flown: Twenty-six as 1Lt Mickle crew CoPilot - All Mickle crew missions except four on which he stood down (244, 284, 292, 197); Four with other Pilots - 3 as Lead crew CoPilot (286, 293, 295), one as a Lead Crew Tail Gunner/Observer (316). Completed combat tour, 30 missions, on 16 Feb 1845 (Mission 316).
  • 1Lt Benjamin J. O'Dell (N) - Missions flown: Twenty-four as 1Lt Mickle crew Navigator (All Mickle Crew missions except six - 276, 284, 285, 288, 292, 297); With other Pilots (252, 282, 288, 298B, 299, 300). Completed combat tour, 30 missions on 10 Jan 1945 (Mission 300). See Mission note below.
  • 1Lt William A. Schulze (B) - Missions flown: Ten with the 1Lt Mickle Crew: Regular missions (244, 245, 247, 249, 250, 251, 253); Lead Crew Bombardier (284, 288, 297); Twenty missions with other Pilots: Three on regular mission (252, 258, 259), Two as Deputy Lead Crew Bombardier (256, 260), Fifteen as Lead Crew Bombardier (262, 270, 272, 274, 277, 280, 286, 287, 295, 296, 303, 307, 309, 315, 317). Completed combat tour, 30 missions, on 19 Feb 1945 (Mission 317).
  • T/Sgt William B. Humphrey (E) - Missions flown: Twenty-nine with the 1Lt Mickle crew (All Mickle Crew missions except for one - 292; Three missions with other Pilots (300, 317, 313) Mission 300 on Lead Crew . Completed 32 credited mission combat tour on 9 Feb 1945 (Mission 313).
  • T/Sgt Dennis G. Eagon (R) - Missions flown: Twenty-nine with the 1Lt Mickle crew (All Mickle Crew missions except for one - 292. One Lead Crew mission (300) with another Pilot. Completed 30 mission combat tour on 10 Jan 1945 (Mission 300).
  • S/Sgt Leonard A. Garcia (BTG/ WG/Tog) - Missions flown: Sixteen with the 1Lt Mickle Crew as BTG (247, 250, 251, 253, 267, 268, 269, 270, 272, 274, 276, 277, 278, 280, 285, 188); Twenty-one missions with other Pilots - Seven as Togglier (249, 254, 257, 258, 264, 265, 266), Twelve as BTG (282, 283, 284, 286, 287, 349, 350, 351, 352, 357, 358, 360), two as a Lead Crew Waist Gunner (307, 309). Combat tour completed on 29 Jan 1945 (Mission 309) and then flew on seven additional missions. 37th and last mission on 15 April 1945 (Mission 360).
  • S/Sgt Robert D. Wentz (WG) - Missions flown: Twenty-seven with the 1Lt Mickle Crew (All Mickle crew missions except three (266, 284, 292); Five missions with other Pilots (263, 284, 293, 298B, 299). Completed combat tour (32 missions) on 8 Jan 1945 (Mission 299).
  • T/Sgt A B McKinley (WG/BTG/TOG) - Missions flown: Seven with the 1Lt Mickle Crew - Two as BTG (244, 245), Five as Togglier (260, 265, 266, 267, 268); Twenty-eight with other Pilots: As Togglier - 27 missions (249, 251, 252, 253, 254, 256, 258, 259, 261, 264, 269, 270, 271, 273, 278, 280, 283, 285, 295, 298A, 299, 304, 305, 308, 310, 314, 315, 316); As Tail Gunner - 1 mission (275). Completed combat tour (35 missions) on 16 Feb 1945 (Mission 316).
  • S/Sgt Raymond J. Van Zile (TG/WG) - Missions flown: Twenty-seven with the 1Lt Mickle Crew (All Mickle crew missions except three - 288, 292, 297). Two missions as Waist Gunner (284, 285) others as TG; Three missions with other Pilots as WG (285, 298B, 299). Completed combat tour (30 missions) on 8 Jan 1945 (Mission 299).
Mission Notes:

Mission 244, 19 Sept 1944 to Hamm Germany - 1Lt Mickle's crew first combat mission - After becoming airborne the crew discovered that they were short a flak suit for the Combat Orientation CoPilot, 2Lt Arthur Bergeron The Radio Operator, S/Sgt Dennis Eagon, brought up a spare flak suit to the cockpit. When coming through the bomb bay S/Sgt Eagon found the Engineer, S/Sgt William B. Humphrey unconscious, without an oxygen mask at 25,000 feet. As the CoPilot twisted around to help, his own oxygen mask connection pulled loose and he fell to the catwalk. The Navigator, Lt Benjamin O'Dell, helped the CoPilot and the Radio Operator assisted the Engineer. The two men without oxygen looked purple in the face and Lt James Mickle (P) thought that they both were goners. He was also flying poor formation - up and down - trying to see what was going on. Finally all were back on oxygen and all were OK. The efforts to provide adequate oxygen to all crewmen caused the oxygen pressure to be reduced to less and 200 pounds. Also, the left Tokyo Gas tank valve wouldn't flow and the B-17 was getting low on fuel When approaching the target the B-17 was hit by flak. A piece penetrated the nose and bounced off the Bombardier's flak jacket. The primary target at Hamm was hidden by clouds and the formation went to the secondary target at Osnabruck. After returning for home, the Engineer got the gas to flow again, but the oxygen supply was down to below 100 pounds. Lt Mickle called the Lead Crew Pilot to get permission to leave the Group and descend to a lower altitude.. He said to stay with the formation as we would all soon be descending. The 1Lt Mickle crew made an emergency landing at a P-47 base in England, overdue by over an hour. There were about 200 flak holes in thee Mickle crew's B-17. (Reported by 1Lt James D. Mickle)

Mission 300, 10 January 1945 - 1Lt Benjamin L. O'Dell (B) flying with 1Lt Cecil J. Gates (P) in B-17G 44-6502 (No Name) (359BS) BN-G. The B-17 was badly damaged and 1Lt Gates ordered his crew to bail out. 1Lt O'Dell went back to the waist where he assisted the six enlisted crewmen to bail out. (2 KIA, 3 POW and 1 Returned). He then returned to the nose where the four officers bailed out over friendly Belgium. The officers found friendly troops were returned to Molesworth. (See the 359th BS 1Lt Gates Crew web page for the complete mission story.

[photo courtesy of Benjamin L. O'Dell]
[Researched by Harry D. Gobrecht, 303rdBGA Historian Emeritus]