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360th Bennett Crew
Paul K. Bennett, Pilot
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PAUL K. BENNETT CREW - 360th BS
B-17G 42-97187 Miss Umbriago (360BS) PU-I
(crew assigned 360BS: 15 July 1944 - photo: 26 Aug 1944)

Original 1Lt Paul K. Bennett crew when assigned to 427th BS
1Lt Paul K. Bennett (P)(KIA), 2Lt Lloyd E. Goff (CP)(POW),
2Lt Elwin A. Lane (N)(KIA), 2Lt William H. Singular (B)(POW)

T/Sgt Edmund A. Gonshor (E)(POW), T/Sgt Gerald M. Shulan (R)(POW),
S/Sgt Charles E. Jones (BTG)(KIA), S/Sgt Leroy N. Marucco (WG)(POW),
Sgt Chester J. Bulkowski (WG), S/Sgt Charles G. Essig (TG)(POW)

Ranks and grades at time of last combat mission
crewmen are not in order

Twenty Dispatched (19 credited) Combat missions of the 1Lt Bennett Crew:
213 (28 July 44), 214, 216, 220, 221, 223, 224, 225, 226, 230, 233, 234(AS), 235, 236(A), 238, 240, 242(AS), 243, 244, 246 (26 Sept 1944)

Crew Note: With the exception of mission #213 and Sgt Bulkowski, all members of the 1Lt Bennett crew flew together on all of their nineteen credited combat missions - A rarity among 303rd BG(H) combat crews.

  • 1Lt Paul K. Bennett (P) - Flew his first mission (213) with a combat orientation CoPilot 1Lt Jules R. Cohl. 2Lt Lloyd E. Goff (CP) stood down on mission 213.
  • 2Lt Elwin A. Lane (N) - Was promoted from Flight Officer to 2nd Lieutenant just prior to mission #246.
  • Sgt Chester J. Bulkowski (WG) - Second Waist Gunner position deleted from the 1Lt Bennett crew before their first combat mission. Sgt Bulkowski flew no combat missions with the 303rd BG(H).

Last Mission (MACR 9403):
Mission 246, 26 September 1944, to Osnabruck, Germany in B-17G 44-6124 (No name)(360BS) PU-B. B-17 received a direct flak hit between the #3 and #4 engines. Returning crewmen reported that it slid down under the formation, peeled off, went down in a glide, and blew up. Seven parachutes were reported soon after the B-17 was hit at 25,000 feet. Some crewmen were believed to have delayed opening their parachutes. 2Lt Lloyd E. Goff (CP) later related that the B-17 caught fire immediately after being hit and blew up at 25,000 feet after he veered the B-17 to the right. He landed with holes in his parachute caused by ground fire at him while he was descending. He believed that 1Lt Paul K. Bennett (P), 2Lt Elwin A. Lane (N) and S/Sgt Charles E. Jones (BTG) were killed from shots from the ground while they were still descending in their parachutes. Lt Lane is buried in the American Cemetery at Margraten, Netherlands. The crewmen who parachuted safely were captured after landing and became POWs. The B-17 crashed near Osnabruck, Germany

[photo from the 303rdBGA Archives]
[Researched by Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]