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360th Fyler Crew
Carl J. Fyler, Pilot
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CARL J. FYLER CREW - 360th BS
B-17F #42-5483 Red Ass 360BS (PU-F)
(crew assigned 360BS: 21 June 1943 - photo: June 1943)
(Assigned 360th BS as Pilot. Flew 1st 15 missions as a CoPilot with two different combat
orientation Pilots. Resumed position as Pilot for 10 missions on 6 Sept 1943)


(Back L-R) 1Lt Robert C. Ward (CP)(POW)(6), 1Lt George Molnar (N)(POW)(2),
1Lt Arthur C. Way (Instructor Pilot)(*)(3), 2Lt Steve M. Gibson (B)(*)(7), 1Lt Carl J. Fyler (CP/P)(POW)(1)

(Front L-R) S/Sgt Bill J. Addison (E)(POW)(8), S/Sgt Gayther B. Crowder (R)(*)(9),
S/Sgt John S. "Jack" Jillson (RWG/R-(*)(11), S/Sgt Thomas F. Kelly (TG)(*)(5),
S/Sgt Martin G. Stachowiak (LW)(POW)(12), S/Sgt Ray D. Ford (BT))(KIA)(10)

Other substitute crewmen - not in photo: 1Lt Paul S. Tippet (CP)(KIA)(4),
S/Sgt Joseph R. Sawicki (TG)(KIA)(5), S/Sgt George C. Fisher (WG)(POW-WIA-Repr) (14)



CARL J. FYLER CREW - 360th BS
B-17F #42-5854 Alley Oop 360BS (PU-C)
(photo: August 1943)

(Back L-R) S/Sgt George C. Fisher (RWG)(POW-WIA-Repr)(14), S/Sgt Bill J. Addison (E)(POW)(8),
2Lt Steve M. Gibson (B)(*)(7), 1Lt Paul S. Tippet (CP)(KIA)(4), 1Lt Carl J. Fyler (P)(POW)(1)

(Front L-R) S/Sgt Joseph R. Sawicki (TG)(KIA)(5), S/Sgt Gather B. Crowder (R)(*)(9),
S/Sgt Ray D. Ford (BT)(KIA)(10), S/Sgt Martin G. Stachowiak (LWG)(POW)(12)

* Crewman completed his 25 mission combat tour and returned to the USA


Twenty-six dispatched (25 credited) combat missions of 1Lt Carl J. Fyler:
  • As CoPilot - Lt Arthur C. Way (P) (6 credited missions - 48, 49, 51(AS), 52, 53, 55)
  • As CoPilot - 1Lt Joseph E. Bradbury (P) (8 credited missions - 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 64, 65(A), 66)
  • As First Pilot (11 credited missions - 63, 67, 68, 70, 71, 72, 79(AS), 80, 81, 83, 84)
First mission - 4 July 1943 - Final mission 29 November 1943
Mission 62 (23 Aug 1943) - Credited Air Sea Rescue Mission
(A) Non-Credited aborted mission (mission 65)
(AS) Credited Abortive Sortie - No bombs dropped (missions 51 and 79)

29 Nov 43 mission #84 to Bremen, Germany - In B-17F (With Nose Turret) #42-29498 Dark Horse (PU-D). Several of the Crewmen were on their 25th and last combat mission (Fyler, Molnar, Addison and Ford). The Fyler Crew was flying as second flight leader of the Group's High Squadron. The B-17 of the High Squadron leader, 1Lt Pharis C. Brinkley, lost an engine as it was approaching the target. When Lt Brinkley was unable to keep up with the formation, he turned over the lead to his Deputy Squadron Leader. Dark Horse was hit by flak just after "Bombs Away" with the bomb bay doors still open. The right horizontal stabilizer, part of the right wing and two engines were lost. A third engine caught fire. The B-17 was also under attack by FW-190 German fighters. The B-17 Piloted by Lt Finis A. Brumbeloe was also hit and went down.

KIA-POW-WIA Crewmen 29 November 1943 - Nine Purple Hearts

  • 1Lt Carl J. Fyler (P)(POW) - Wounds in left forearm, left thigh and on both hands
  • 2Lt Robert C. Ward (CP)(POW) - Facial wounds. Lost an eye.
  • 1Lt George Molnar (N)(POW) - Hit in Back.
  • T/Sgt Bill Addison (E)(POW) - Hurled from his top turret tearing his leg apart.
  • Lt James S. Petrolino (B)(POW) - Was the only crewmen who was not wounded. Lt's Ward, Molnar and Petrolino and T/Sgt Addison parachuted from the nose hatch followed by Lt Fyler.
  • S/Sgt Ray D. Ford (BT)(KIA) - Was killed in his Ball Turret and was in the crashed B-17.
  • S/Sgt Joseph R. Sawicki (TG)(KIA), who had lost an arm and could no longer fire his guns, crawled to the waist and put parachutes on S/Sgt George C. Fisher (RWG)(POW) and Sgt Martin G. Stachowiak (LWG)(POW). Both had broken arms and were badly wounded. He then pushed them out of the B-17 waist door, hoping that they could open their parachutes with their one good arm. They became POWs. S/Sgt Fisher (RWG) was in German hospitals was repatriated on 01 October 1944. S/Sgt Sawicki was unable to exit the B-17 and died in the crash 25 Km southwest of Bremen. An attempt has been made to obtain the Medal of Honor Award for Sgt Sawicki for his Heroism on the 29 Nov 43 mission.
  • Sgt Raymond B. O'Connell (R)(KIA) and Sgt Nellings P.S. Egge (Photo)(KIA) both were wounded. They were believed to have been killed by German civilians after they had safely parachuted to the ground.
Substitute Crewmen on the 29 November 1943 mission:
2Lt Robert C. Ward (CP-POW) - Substituting for 1Lt Paul S. Tippet [See: Arthur C. Way Crew]
Lt James S. Petrolino (B-POW) [See: Brinkley Crew ] - Substituting for 2Lt Steve Gibson
Sgt Raymond B. O'Connell (R- KIA) - Substituting for S/Sgt Gayther B. Crowder
Sgt Nellings P.S. Egge (Photo-KIA) - (not in photo) Flew with the crew as a Photographer
Crewmen Notes:
  1. 1Lt Carl J. Fyler (CP/P)(POW) - Graduated from Single Engine Fighter School at Luke AFB, AZ in September 1942 (Class 42-I). Formed his crew in February 1943 with the 7th BS, 34th BG at Blythe, CA and was transferred to there 19th BG at Poyote, TX where his overseas orders were received. Obtained a B-17F at Smoky Hill AFB, Salina, KS, flew his crew to Goose Bay, Labrador on 31 May 1943, arrived at Meeks, Iceland on 22 June 1943 following a flight over the North Atlantic Ocean. Arrived at 303rd BG(H) at Molesworth, England on 22 June 1943 and was assigned to the 360th BS. Flew his first 15 missions as a Copilot with two different Combat Instructor Pilots. Moved to the left seat on 06 September 1943 and flew his next 10 missions as a First Pilot. 1Lt Fyler was leading the second element of the 360th BS formation on Mission #84, 29 Nov 1943 to Bremen, Germany when his B-17 was shot down. Was a POW for 510 days in Stalag Luft I at Barth, Germany. Was liberated by Russian troops on 30 April 1945. Was promoted to Captain, effective 29 Nov 1943 but was not told of his promotion until four years later. Received a promotion to Major effective 28 Dec 1945 after his return to the USA. Was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1982 for completing his 25 mission combat tour in 1982 - 39 years late, and the Silver Star Medal in 2003 for his actions on mission #84, 29 Nov 1943.
  2. 1Lt George Molnar (N)(POW) - Original Fyler Crew Navigator. Flew on 25 credited combat missions: With Lt Fyler (15 missions - 48, 49, 51, 52, 53, 55, 57, 58, 59, 60, 65(A), 79, 80, 81, 83, 84); With other Pilots (10 missions - 56, 61, 62, 63, 64, 66, 67, 71, 74, 75). POW on mission #84. Remained in the USAF after WWII. Received his Distinguished Flying Cross Medal 12 years later. POW on mission #84.
  3. 1Lt Arthur C. Way (P) - Was the original CoPilot for the Capt Jacob W. Fredericks Crew on 18 Nov 1943. Was upgraded from CoPilot to Pilot on 18 April 1943. Flew as the Fyler Crew Pilot, with Lt Fyler (CP), on the crews first 6 missions. Completed his 25 mission combat tour on 15 Aug 1943 (Mission #58).
  4. 1Lt Paul S. Tippet (CP)(KIA) - Was CoPilot on the Capt Jacob W. Fredericks Crew on 14 Nov 1943. Flew as a substitute CoPilot on the Fyler Crew on 3 missions (63, 67, 68). Was upgraded from CoPilot to Pilot on 26 Sept 1943. Became a member of the Goldfish Club on 30 July 1943 (Mission #56) while flying as CoPilot with the 1Lt Robert W. Cogswell Crew - all ten crewmen rescued. Was KIA, with his 10 other crewmen, on 01 Oct 1943 (Mission #73) to Emden, Germany when he ditched his B-17 in the North Sea.
  5. S/Sgt Joseph R. Sawicki (TG)(KIA) - Flew on 14 credited missions: With Lt Fyler (10 credited missions - 64, 65(A), 66, 67, 68, 72, 79, 80, 81, 83, 84); With other Pilots (4 missions (58, 59, 60, 61). Was KIA on mission #84,. 29 Nov 1943 - See Joseph Sawicki Story. Had flown 12 missions with the Polish RAF in 1942 and was awarded the Polish Cross of Honor Medal and the Legion of Merit Medal. KIA on mission #84.
  6. 2Lt Robert C. Ward (CP)(KIA). Original Fyler Crew CoPilot. Flew on 14 credited missions: With Lt Fyler (6 missions - 72, 79, 80, 81, 83, 84); With 1Lt George V. Stallings (7 missions - As Tail Gunner (58, 63, 69), As CoPilot (59, 60, 62, 67); With 1Lt Arthur C. Way (1 mission - 56). KIA on mission 84.
  7. 2Lt Steve Gibson (B). Original Fyler Crew Bombardier. Flew on 25 credited missions: With Lt Fyler - All Fyler missions except #84); With other Pilots (3 missions - 56, 74 & 83). Completed his 25 mission combat tour on 26 Nov 1943 (Mission #83).
  8. T/Sgt Bill J. Addison (E)(POW). Original Fyler Crew Engineer. Flew on 26 credited combat missions: With Lt Fyler (All of 25 Fyler credited missions); With 1Lt Arthur C. Way (1 mission - #56). POW on mission #84.
  9. T/Sgt Gayther B. Crowder (R). Original Fyler Crew Radio Operator - Flew on 25 credited combat missions: With Lt Fyler (4 missions - 48, 49, 51, 80); With Lt William T. Baker (6 missions - 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 64); With Lt Earl N. Thomas (9 missions - 105,106, 107, 110, 111, 112, 113, 115, 119); With six other Pilots (7 missions - 78, 79, 84, 86, 99, 100, 101). Completed his 25 mission combat tour on 8 March 1944 (Mission #119).
  10. S/Sgt Ray D. Ford (BTG)(KIA). Original Fyler Crew BTG, Flew on 25 credited combat missions: With 1Lt Fyler (24 missions - all Fyler missions except #57); With 1Lt Arthur C. Way (1 Mission - #56). KIA on mission #84.
  11. S/Sgt John K. "Jack" Jillson (WG/R). Original Fyler Crew Waist Gunner. Flew on 21 credited combat missions: With Lt Fyler (20 missions - All credited Fyler missions except #79, 80, 81, 83, 84. Missions 48, 49 & 51 as Right Waist Gunner - others as Radio Operator replacing S/Sgt Gayther B. Crowder); With 1Lt Arthur C. Way (1 mission - #56). Removed from combat duty after mission #72 on 17 Sept 1943. Transferred to 8th AF Headquarters at High Wycomb at the request of his pre-war Harvard University professor who was stationed at High Wycomb. Did studies on the best use of bomber machine guns and lectured at various Bomb Groups on gun sighting. Was at Molesworth on 30 Nov 1943 to give a gun sighting lecture when he learned that his Fyler crew has been shot down on the previous day. Substitute Radio Operators used on the final five Fyler crew missions.
  12. S/Sgt Martin G. Stachowiak (LWG)(POW). Original Fyler Crew Left Waist Gunner. Flew on 22 credited combat missions: With 1Lt Fyler (21 missions - all Fyler missions except 57, 58, 59, 64 - As Tail Gunner, missions 48, 49, 61 and other missions as Left or Right Waist Gunner); With 1Lt Arthur C. Way (1 mission - #56). POW on mission #84.
  13. T/Sgt Thomas E. Kelly (TG) . Original Fyler Crew Tail Gunner. Flew on 22 credited combat missions: With 1Lt Fyler (10 missions - 51, 52, 53, 55, 57, 58, 59, 62, 63); With other Pilots (12 missions - 23, 24, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 42, 44, 45, 47, 56). Last mission on 24 Aug 1943 (Mission #63).
  14. S/Sgt George C. Fisher (WG)(POW-WIA-Repr). Became Waist Gunner when S/Sgt Jillson became Radio Operator. Flew on 25 credited combat missions: With 1Lt Fyler (24 missions - all Fyler missions except #51); With 1Lt Arthur C. Way (1 mission - #56). Was repatriated as a POW as the result of his wounds on mission #84.
[photos courtesy of Dr. Carl J. Fyler]
[Researched by Harry D. Gobrecht, 303rdBGA Historian Emeritus]