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360th Stallings Crew
George V. Stallings, Jr., Pilot
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GEORGE V. STALLINGS, JR. CREW - 360th BS
B-17F Thumper Again #42-5393 (360BS) PU-G
(crew assigned 360BS: 20 Mar 1943 - photo: 20 July 1943)

(Back L-R) 1Lt James "Ford" Kelley (N)(WIA), Capt George V. Stallings (P),
1Lt Joseph E. Bradbury (CP), 1Lt Frank E. Kulesa (B)

(Front L-R) T/Sgt Meyer "Mike" Levin (WG/E), T/Sgt Arthur S. Stevens (T/Sgt),
Sgt Walter K. Pallage (R), S/Sgt John J. Stickler (WG), T/Sgt Lawrence C. Pierson (TG),
T/Sgt Robert H. Yattaw (WG)(WIA), T/Sgt James A. Watson (E)

Ranks and Grades at time of last combat mission


Twenty-seven dispatched (25 credited) combat missions flown by Capt George V. Stallings:
26 (28 Mar 1943), 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 43A, 44 (Bail Out), 51, 52, 53, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62 (Non credit Air Sea Rescue), 63, Non-credit Recall (9/2/43), 66, 67, 69 (19 Sept 1943).
For Mission dates, targets and Mission Reports, see Combat Missions.

Ten B-17Fs flown by Capt George V. Stallings on his 27 dispatched combat missions:

  • 41-24559 (P) Ooold Soljer (360BS) PU-C - Mission 26
  • 42-2973 (P) Iza Vailable (360BS) PU-G - Missions 28, 29
  • 42-5393 (P) Thumper Again aka Just for Laughs (360BS) PU-G - 30, 31, 33, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43
  • 42-5468 (P) Qui-Nine "The Bitter Dose" (360BS) PU-I - 42,43A (Recalled), 44 (Bailed out)
  • 42-5434 (P) Lady Luck (360BS) PU-J - Mission 51
  • 42-5854 (P) Alley Oop (360BS) PU-C - Missions 52, 53, 58, 59, 60, 66, 67
  • 42-5788 --- AOG Not-In-Stock aka Pluto's Revenge - Mission 61
  • 42-5483 --- Red Ass (360BS) PU-F - Mission 62 (Air Sea Rescue)
  • 42-5260 (P) Yardbird II (360BS) PU-A - Mission 63
  • 42-29931(P) Satan's Workshop (360BS) PU-L - Mission 69
    Note: Original crew B-17F (P) 42-5482 Cat O-9 Tails (359BS) BN-W was picked up at Bangor, Maine, named by the Stallings crew and flown to Molesworth but was never flown by the Stallings crew on a combat mission much to the distress of the crew. A crew bailed-out of this B-17 over England returning from the 14 October 1943 Schweinfurt, Germany mission.
    (P) See Nose Art Photos
Crew Notes (Crewmen in photo):
  • Capt George V. Stallings (P) - 27 credited mission flown. First mission (26) flown as an Observer with High Squadron Leader Capt Lewis E. Lyle. Second mission (28) flown as Copilot with Lt Louis M. Schulstad. All other missions flown as First Pilot. Awarded the USA and British DFC Medals on mission 44. Promoted from 1Lt to Capt following mission 53 on 15 July 1943. Combat tour completed on 9 September 1943 (Mission 69) and he was transferred to the 42nd Combat Wing on 11 September 1943. Was active in the 303rd BGA before he died. Led up the team that made copies of the 303rd BG (H) mission reports and other documents from the National Archives at Suitland, MD.

  • 1Lt Joseph E. Bradbury (CP-P) - 25 credited missions flown: 15 with Capt Stallings (29, 30, 31, 33, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 43A(Recalled), 44 (Bailed out), 51, 52); Upgraded from CoPilot to Pilot on orders dated 8 July 1943 and flew 10 missions as First Pilot with 1Lt Carl J. Fyler (CP) - (55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 64, 65 (Aborted), 66). Combat tour competed on 3 September 1943 (Mission 66).

  • 1Lt J. Ford Kelley (N)(WIA) - 28 credited missions flown: Initially assigned to 359th BS for 6 credited missions - 2 with Lt Jack Roller (15, 16), 5 with 1Lt Sanford T. Smith (17, 18, 19, 20, 21(Non-credited aborted mission); Transferred to 360th BS and flew 6 credited missions with Lt A.F. Bilek crew (23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29). Flew 16 credited combat missions with Capt George V. Stallings, Jr (30, 31, 33, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 43A (Recalled), 44 (WIA and Bailed out), 51, 52, 53, 58). Awarded the Silver Star Medal and Purple Heart Medal on mission 44. Kept firing his guns on mission 44 despite being wounded. from a 20mm shell that exploded under and destroyed his Navigation table and maps. Combat tour completed on 15 August 1944 (Mission 58).

  • 1Lt Frank E. Kulesa (B) - 29 credited missions flown: 20 with Capt Stallings (28, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 43A (Recalled), 44 (Bailed out), 51, 52, 53, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62 (Air-Sea Rescue), 63, 67); 9 missions with other Pilots (25, 26, 66, 69, 70, 71, 71A (Non-credited recall mission), 77, 78). Bailed-out on a 26 September 1943 non-credited recalled mission (71A) - his second bail-out mission - Lt Robert W. Cogswell, Pilot. Combat tour completed on 14 October 1943 (Mission 78).

  • T/Sgt James A. Watson (E) - 27 credited combat missions flown: 26 With Capt Stallings (28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 43A (Recalled), 44 (Bailed out), 51, 52, 53, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62 (Air-Sea Rescue), 63, 66, 67, 69); 1 missions with 1Lt William T, Baker (70). Credited with a FW 190 destroyed on mission 44. Combat Tour completed on 16 September 1944 (Mission 70).

  • T/Sgt Meyer "Mike" Levin (WG/E)) - 29 credited combat missions flown: 10 with Capt Stallings (As Observer - 53, As Left Waist Gunner - 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 66, 67, 69); 19 missions with other Pilots as Flight Engineer: 6 credited missions with 2Lt John A, Castle (1(Aborted), 2, 4, 5, 7, 11); 2 credited missions with Lt Willard H. Bergeron (79, 88); 9 credited missions with Lt John H. Parrott (99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 106, 109 (Aborted), 110, 111); 2 Credited missions with other Pilots (84, 93). Bailed out and wounded on 23 January 1943 (Mission 11) in B-17F Thumper (360BS) PU-F. Lt John A. Castle, Pilot. Combat tour completed on 22 February 1944 (Mission 111).

  • Sgt Walter K. Pallage (R) - 3 credited missions flown: With Capt Stallings (No missions); With Lt William T. Baker (3 missions - 49, 50, 51). Last mission on 17 July `1943. It is not known why he was in the Capt Stallings crew photo.

  • T/Sgt Arthur S. Stevens (BTG) - 27 credited missions flown: 18 with Capt Stallings (28, 29, 30, 31, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 43A (Recalled), 44 (Bailed out), 51, 52, 53, 63, 69); 9 with other Pilots - With 1Lt Robert J. Nolan - 358BS (26). With Lt Robert W. Cogswell (66 - Aborted), With Lt Leonard E. Jokerst (71, 72), With Lt William C. Baker (74, 75, 76, 77, 81, 82). Combat tour completed on 16 November 1943 (Mission 82).

  • S/Sgt Robert H. Yattaw (WG)(WIA) - 27 credited combat missions flown: 26 with Capt Stallings (28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 43A (Recalled), 44 (WIA and Bailed out), 51, 52, 53, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62 (Air Sea Rescue), 63, 66, 67, 69); 1 mission with 1Lt David S. Clifton (64). Credited with three enemy aircraft claims: Mission 41 - FW 190 damaged; Mission 44 - ME 109 damaged; Mission 60 ME-109 Possibly destroyed. Completed combat tour on 9 September 1943 (Mission 69).

  • T/Sgt Lawrence C. Pierson (TG,/LWG/TOG) - 26 credited combat missions flown: 5 with Capt Stallings (As Tail Gunner - 28, 29, As Left Waist Gunner - 51, 52, 53); 21 with other Pilots 8 with 1Lt William T. Baker (As Left Waist Gunner - 61, 64, 65-Aborted, 66, 67, 68-Aborted, 69, 74, 75, 76, 77-Aborted); 2 With Lt Willard H. Bergeron as Tail Gunner (78, 79); 3 with Lt Fred F. Wilson as Tail Gunner and Waist Gunner (88, 92, 96); 3 with Hershel R. DeWall as Togglier (106, 107, 109 (Aborted), 114), 6 with other Pilots: #49 (As TG); #84 (as TG -Aborted); #86 (As RWG); #93 (As RWG); #110 (As TOG); #111 (as TOG). Completed combat tour on 28 February 1944 (Mission 114).
Crew Notes - Substitute Crewmen:
  • T/Sgt Dick W. Jones (R)(KIA) - 14 credited combat missions flown: 14 with Capt Stallings (28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 43A (Recalled), 44). Was killed instantly on 25 June 1944 (Mission 44) after being hit in the chest with a 20 mm shell. Is buried in the Cambridge American Cemetery in England. Flew no missions with other Pilots.

  • T/Sgt Paul Kistulentz (R)/WG - 26 credited missions flown - 10 with Capt Stallings (As Radio Operator -51, 52, 53, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62 (Air Sea Rescue), 63, 66). 16 credited missions with other Pilots: 2 with 1Lt Carl J. Fyler (79, 81); 13 with 2Lt Jack W. Watson -358BS (106, 108, 109, 110, 111 (Aborted), 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 121). 2 with other 358BS crews (101, 105). Completed combat tour on 16 March 1944 (Mission 121).

  • Sgt Arthur B. Ayers (BTG) - 27 credited missions flown - 6 with Capt Stallings (58, 59, 60, 61, 62 (Air Sea Rescue), 67). 21 with other Pilots: Lt Leonard E. Jokerst (75, 76, 77, 78); Lt John A. Long (88, 92, 93, 94, 95, 97); 1Lt Hershall R. DeWall (106, 107, 109 (Aborted),112, 113, 114, 115); With five other Pilots (57, 70, 84, 85, 86). Completed combat tour on 21 March 1944 (Mission 115).

  • Sgt Joseph S. Klasnick (RWG)(WIA/POW). 16 credited missions flown: 9 with Capt Stallings 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 43A (Recalled), 44. Wounded and bailed out on mission 44 and credited with a FW 190 destroyed. 7 missions with other Pilots (9, 11, 23, 33, 35, 118, 119). Bailed out on mission 11, 23 January 1943, 2Lt John E. Castle, Pilot from B-17F 41-24579 Thumper (360BS) PU-F which then made a belly landing at Lulsgate Bottom, England. Became a POW on mission 119, on 8 March 1944 to Erkner, Germany in B-17F 42-31471 Doolittle's Destroyer (360BS) PU-F which was shot down by FW-190 fighters.

  • Passengers on Capt Stallings missions: Observers (Missions 26, 43, 44, 52, 53, 58, 60, 62; Photographers (missions 29, 59)
Mission Reports:
  • Mission 43A, 23 June 1943, to Villacoublay, France Airdrome: No bombs dropped The formation reached the target area to find sold overcast skies, making it impossible to locate the target. Limited visibility made formation flying difficult. The mission was recalled and the formation turned back to sea. At that time only seven B-17 remained in the 303rd formation and it was attacked by ME-109s and FW-109s fifteen minutes after turning back flak was encountered. No 303rd aircraft were lost.

  • Mission 44, 25 June 1944 to Hamburg, Germany in B-17F Quinine the Bitter Dose (360BS) PU-I B-17 came under intense fighter attack and developed limited fling control. Crossing the English coast 1Lt Stallings ordered his crew to bail-out. Sgt Watson (E) assisted the crewmen in departing the stricken B-17. 1Lt Stallings then headed the B-17 out to sea. so that it wouldn't crash in any populated area, and bailed out himself. He landed about one-half mile out to sea and swam back to shore. The B-17 crashed at sea. See Story below - 303rd BG's most decorated crew.

  • Mission 62, Air Sea Rescue Mission: Capt George Stalling, in B17F 42-5483 Red Ass, lead a composite group of six B-17s to search for an airborne lifeboat that had been dropped. The mission was flown at an altitude of 1,000 feet and was to be flown until a sighting was made or a shortage of gasoline compelled a return to Molesworth. Take off was at 10000 hours and a sighting was made at 1357 hours. The lifeboat was empty. On the trip home a German DO-24 was sighted on the water with it;s engine running. with the crew getting into dinghies. The aircraft was destroyed by formation gunners. The formation aircraft were also attached by a formation of three JUG-88s. One of the JU-88s was shot down.
Mission Remarks by Capt Stalling Crewmen:
  • Mission 51, 17 July 1943 to Hanover, Germany. 1Lt Stallings took over the Lead of a Composite Group formation after the mission was aborted by Maj Lewis E. Lyle nd his right wingman Lt Cogswell.

  • Mission 52, 24 July 1943 to Heroya, Norway. Lt Stallings remarked "A tedious trip but a good one. Best of all there were no enemy fighters menacing us."

  • Mission 53, 25 July 1943 to Hamburg, Germany. S/Sgt John J. Stickler (TG) commented - "There were about 200 fighters sitting up there waiting for us, but they didn't press their attacks. They were waiting for stragglers." T/Sgt Mike Levin (WG), making his first flight after being wounded on mission 11 on 23 January 1943, said, "Rough, but I've been on rougher. Saw about 75 enemy fighters myself, although I only shot about 300 rounds. I'm really glad to be flying again."

  • Mission 58, 15 August 1943 to Amies Iglisey France airdrome. Lt James (Ford) Kelley (N) said, "We bombed the hell out of the airdrome and saw no fighters. Just a ride for the flying time."

  • Mission 67, 9 Sept 1943 to Stuttgart, Germany. Capt George Stallings said, "The enemy fighters seemed like amateurs to me today. I guess they were scared or just weren't eager."
303rd BG's Most Decorated Crew
The Capt Stallings Crew's most memorable mission was on 25 June 1943 to Hamburg, Germany flying in 360th BS B17F #42-5468 Qui-Nine the Bitter Dose. The crew was leading the high squadron formation. While approaching the target, enemy fighters attacked the formation. Radio Operator, T/Sgt Dick W. Jones, caught a 20mm in the chest, killing him instantly. Waist Gunner, S/Sgt Joseph Klasnick was wounded in his knee and shoulder but kept on firing his guns. S/Sgt, R.H. Yattaw, the other Waist Gunner had shell fragments over his left eye. Shells hit in the nose wounding Navigator, Lt Ford Kelley, who kept firing his guns in between Navigation duties. With a badly damaged tail section the B-17 was crippled and difficult to fly. The Engineer, T/Sgt James Watson, continued to fire his top Turret Guns in between efforts to make damage repairs. Reaching the English Coast Capt Stallings order the crew to bail out. T/Sgt Watson helped the other injured crewmen to exit. Tail Gunner. T/Sgt J.J. Stickler had his lip torn open when his parachute opened. T/Sgt Halastala, an observer, suffered two cracked ribs. In an effort to avoid crashing the B-17 in a populated area Capt Stallings headed his B-17 out to sea where he bailed out about one-half mile from shore. He managed a difficult swim to shore through mine infested waters. The crew became the most decorated 303rd BG(H) crew for heroic mission actions. Silver Star Medals to Lt Kelley (N), S/Sgt Klasnick (WG) and T/Sgt Watson (E). British DFC Medal to Capt Stallings, American DFC Medals to Capt Stallings (P) and Lt Bradbury (CP). Purple Heart Medals to the six wounded crewmen.

[photo courtesy of Frank Kulesa]
[Researched by Harry D. Gobrecht, 303rdBGA Historian Emeritus]