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359th Miller Crew
William F. Miller, Pilot
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WILLIAM F. MILLER CREW - 359th BS
B-17G #42-97781 The '8' Ball Mk III (359BS) BN-O
(crew assigned 359BS: 29 Aug 1944 - photo: 10 Sep 1944)

(Back L-R) 2Lt Arthur A. Conn, Jr (N)(POW/KIA-Murdered)(*) 1Lt Teddy A. Smith (B)(POW/KIA-Murdered),
2Lt John D. Hill, Jr. (CP)(POW), 2Lt William F. Miller (P)(POW)

(Front L-R) Sgt Leo F. Waldron (E)(POW/KIA- Murdered)(*), Sgt Anthony D. Zelnio (WG)(WIA/POW),
Sgt Warren G. Ball (BT)(KIA)(*), Cpl Max Smolar (R)(WIA), Cpl Johnny C. Hutson (TG)(WIA)

Ranks and Grades at time of last combat mission.
(*) Buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery at Margraten, Netherlands.


Seven dispatched and credited combat missions flown by 2Lt William F. Miller:
241 (12 September 1944), 242 (AS), 243, 244, 245, 247(AS) and 248 (28 September 1944).
(AS) Credited abortive Sorties -- For Mission dates, targets and Mission Reports, see Combat Missions.

Three B-17Gs flown by 2Lt William F. Miller on his 7 dispatched combat missions:

  • 42-107206 Old Black Magic (359BS) BN-R - Missions 241, 242 (AS), 244, 245, 247(AS)
  • 42-102496 (P) Special Delivery (359BS) BN-M - Mission 243
  • 42-97187 (P) Miss Umbriago (359BS) PU-I - Mission 248
    See: Nose Art Photos
Crew Notes:

Original 1Lt Miller Crewmen in crew photo:
  • 2Lt William F. Miller (P)(POW) - 7 credited mission flown: First mission (241) flown with combat orientation CoPilot 2Lt Duane C. Ward. Other missions flown as First Pilot. POW on 28 September 1944 (Mission 248). Was captured by a German Soldier after making a successful parachute jump. German civilians tried to kill him but were prevented from doing so by the German soldier who captured him.

  • 2Lt John D. Hill, Jr. (CP)(POW) - 7 credited missions flown: 6 with 2Lt Miller (242, 243, 244, 245, 247, 248); 1 with 1Lt Robert O. Akers (246). POW on 28 September 1944 (Mission 248) after making a successful parachute jump.

  • 2Lt Arthur A. Conn, Jr. (N)(POW/KIA)(*) - 7 credited missions flown - All with 1Lt Miller. KIA on 28 September 1944 (Mission 248). Made successful parachute jump but was murdered after landing.

  • 1Lt Teddy A. Smith (B)(POW/KIA) - 9 credited missions flown: 6 with 1Lt Miller (241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 248); Three with other Pilots - 2Lt Philip L. McDavid (237), 1Lt George E. Baltes (238, 247). KIA on 28 September 1944 (Mission 248). Made successful parachute jump but was murdered after landing.

  • Sgt Leo F. Waldron (E)(POW/KIA)(*) and Sgt Anthony D. Zelnio (WG)(WIA/POW) - 7 credited combat missions flown - All with 2Lt Miller. Both made successful parachute jumps on 28 September 1944 (Mission 248). After landing Sgt Waldron gave first aid to his friend Sgt Zelnio's injured legs in a German farmhouse. The Germans took Sgt Waldron and Sgt Zelnio to a small town jail between Brunswick and Magdeburg. They stayed together for about one hour. Sgt Zelnio was placed in a hospital but Sgt Waldron was dragged away by some German farmers and was murdered.

  • Cpl Max Smolar (R)(WIA( and Cpl Johnny C. Hutson (TG)(WIA) - 6 credited combat missions flown - v all with 2Lt Miller. Both were grounded by the Flight Surgeon on 27 September 1944 (After mission 247) and flew no additional combat missions. Both were believed to have been wounded on mission 247.

  • Sgt Warren G. Ball (BTG)(KIA)(*) - 7 credited combat missions flown - All with 2Lt Miller. Sgt Ball failed to bail out with other crewmen on 28 September 1944 (Mission 248). His body was found in the crashed B-17.
Substitute Crewmen on Mission 248
  • Sgt Frank G. Posada (R)(KIA) - Substitute for Cpl Max Smolar (R) - 18 dispatched (15 credited) mission flown: Member of the 1Lt Sidney L. Underdown crew with whom he flew 15 dispatched (12 credited) missions (213, 214, 215 (Aborted), 219 (Failed to take-off), 223, 224, 229, 230, 231 (Aborted), 232, 233, 236, 238, 241, 244; Flew 2 missions with 1Lt Patrick W. Brabant (245, 246) and his last mission with 2Lt Miller (248) on which he was killed after being blown out of the stricken B-17.

  • S/Sgt Calvin G. Turkington (TG/BTG)(WIA/KIA)(*) - Substitute for Cpl Johnny C. Hutson (TG). 25 dispatched and credited mission flown: 18 missions with 1Lt Donald W. Stoulil crew as Tail Gunner (92, 93, 95, 98, 99, 100, 101, 103, 104, 107, 109, 110, 111, 112, 115, 121, 122, 136); 6 missions with 2Lt John W. Parker as Ball Turret Gunner (230, 233, 234, 236, 246, 247); Final mission (248) as Tail Gunner with 1Lt Miller on which he was Killed. Was badly injured and crawled out of the tail section and died after asking Sgt Zelnio (WG) to help him. His body was found in the crashed B-17.
    (*) Is buried in the Netherlands American Cemetery at Margraten, Netherlands.
    See: The Right Stuff, a tribute to S/Sgt Turkington by Hal Susskind.
Mission 248, 28 September 1944, in B-17G 42-97187 Miss Umbriago (360BS) PU-I. To Magdeburg, Germany on Miss Umbriago's 61st combat mission with two substitute crewman. The crew's regular B-17, 42-1-7306 Old Black Magic (359BS) BN-R, had been in the repair shops for several weeks for major repairs. After observing one B-17 explode and another leaving the formation Miss Umbriago had its #1 and #2 engines hit by a German FW-190. These engines were feathered, but the left wing was badly damaged with a stream of burning gasoline coming out of the ruptured fuel tanks. The bail-out alarm was turned on, the B-17 was put on auto-pilot and the crew was ordered to bail out. Lt Miller saw 2Lt Conn (N), 1Lt Smith (B) and Sgt Waldron (E) bail out from the nose hatch. They had on parachutes and the bomb bay doors were closed.. With the B-17 flying level 2Lt Miller (P) and 2Lt Hill (CP) bailed out of the same nose escape hatch and experienced no trouble. Sgt Zelnio (WG) bailed out of the waist escape hatch. Sgt Posada was blown out of the B-17 and was killed. Sgt Ball (BTG) failed to bail out. Sgt Turkington (TG) had died from his wounds and remained in the damaged B-17. The bodies of Sgt's Ball and Turkington were in the B-17 when it crashed. Three crewmen were murdered after making successful parachute jumps [2Lt Conn (N), 1Lt Smith (B) and Sgt Waldron (E) ]. The three survivors [2Lt Miller (P), 2Lt Hill (CP) and Sgt Zelnio WG) ] were made POWs and transported to prison camps. Miss Umbriago crashed at Witmar, Germany. Missing Aircrew Report 9410.

2Lt Miller found out, years later, that Miss Umbriago was shot down by Oberleutnant Horst Haase, a flight leader of IV Squadron Jagdeschwader 3. He was flying a Strum FW-190 that was armed with two 12.7 mm machine guns, two 20 mm cannons, plus a 30 mm cannon mounted in a pod under each wing. He had a total of 56 kills by the time that he was killed on 21 November 1944 on a scramble takeoff collision with his wingman. Lt Miller was able to obtain the gun camera films of Oberleutnant Haase which showed him shooting down Miss Umbriago.

[photo from the 303rdBGA Archives]
[researched by Harry D. Gobrecht, 303rdBGA Historian Emeritus]