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427th Hewitt Crew
Donald I. Hewitt, Pilot
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DONALD I. HEWITT CREW - 427th BS
(Assigned 427BS: 12 November 1944)

1Lt Donald I. Hewitt (P), 2Lt Jack G. Wilson (CP),
2Lt William F. McMahon (N)(POW)

S/Sgt Harry D. Leas (TOG), Sgt Stephen R. Sabo (E)(WIA),
T/Sgt Elmer J. Schmidt (N), Sgt Garth G. Kohlmayer (BTG),
S/Sgt James L. Mussi, Jr. (WG)(WIA), S/Sgt Benjamin M. Agrifoglio (TG)(WIA)

Ranks and grades at time of last mission. The Hewitt Crew trained together at Dyersberg, TN (August to October 1944) and boarded the HMS Queen Mary for transport to Scotland.

Thirty-five credited mission flown by 1Lt Donald I. Hewitt:
As Combat Crew Pilot: Eighteen missions -277 (26 Nov 1944), 278(AS), 279, 281, 282, 283, 285, 287, 288, 289, 291, 294, 296, 298B, 299, 303, 304, 312 (6 February 1945)
As Lead crew CoPilot: Seven missions - 286, 310, 314, 318, 333, 347, 362
As Lead Crew Pilot: Ten missions - 323, 325, 327, 329, 337, 350, 354, 358, 361, 364 (25 April 1945)
(AS) Credited abortive sortie - no bombs dropped. For mission dates and targets see the missions list.

Crew Notes:

  • 1Lt Donald I. Hewitt (P) - All missions flown as a Combat Crew Pilot or Lead crew CoPilot or Pilot. Thirty-five mission combat tour completed on 3 April 1945.
  • 2Lt Jack G. Wilson (CP) - Few on all of 1Lt Hewitt's eighteen combat crew missions. Eight missions as a Lead Crew Tail Gunner/Observer - 310, 311, 313, 315, 317, 318, 319, 327; One missions as CoPilot with another Pilot (327). Upgraded from CoPilot to Pilot. Flew three missions as a 1st Pilot (337, 351 & 352). Completed combat tour (30 missions) on 5 April 1945.
  • 2Lt William F. McMahon (N)(POW) - Eleven missions with 1Lt Hewitt (277, 278, 279, 281, 282, 283, 285, 287, 288, 289, 291). Five missions with other Pilots (292, 295, 296, 299, 301). Became a POW on mission 301 (13 January 1945) to Mannheim, Germany in B-17G 44-6166 Red (427BS) GN-V, 1st Jack W. Rose Pilot. The entire crew evaded capture for seven days and were captured near Pirmasens close to the French border.
  • S/Sgt Harry D. Leas (Tog) - Flew on all of 1Lt Hewitt's eighteen combat crew missions as Togglier plus mission 333 as a Waist Gunner. Seventeen additional missions with other Pilots - 306, 309, 310, 311, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, 331. Combat tour completed (35 missions) on 10 March 1945.
  • Sgt Stephen R. Sabo (E)(WIA) - Flew on all of 1Lt Hewitt's eighteen combat crew missions as Engineer plus eight Lt Hewitt's Lead Crew missions (333, 337, 347, 350, 354, 358, 361, 364). Two missions with other Pilots (331, 347). Got shattered glass in his eye on mission 277 (26 November 1944). Last mission (twenty-eight) on 25 April 1945.
  • T/Sgt Elmer J. Schmidt (R) - Flew on all of 1Lt Hewitt's eighteen combat crew missions plus thirteen Lt Hewitt's Lead crew missions (312, 314 and 323 thru 361). Combat tour (thirty missions) completed on 16 April 1945.
  • Sgt Garth G. Kohlmayer (BTG) - Flew on twenty-three missions with 1Lt Hewitt: Twenty-one as Ball Turret Gunner (277 thru 285, 287 thru 304, 312, 333, 337, 347); One as Waist Gunner (354); One as Tail Gunner (358). Two missions with another Pilot (353, 357). Last mission (twenty-five) on 10 April 1945.
  • S/Sgt James L. Mussi, Jr. (WG)(WIA) - Flew on twenty missions with Lt. Hewitt (277 thru 285, 287, 288, 289, 291, 304, 312, 323, 327, 329, 347, 350, 358, 361). Seven missions with other Pilots (305, 306, 314, 317, 318, 319, 325). Sustained a flak hit in his arm on mission 291 (27 December 1944). Last mission (Twenty-seven) on 11 April 1945.
  • S/Sgt Benjamin M. Agrifoglio (TG)(WIA) - Flew on twenty-eight missions with Lt Hewitt: Twenty-Four as Tail Gunner (227 thru 285, 287 thru 299, 304, 312, 323, 325, 327, 350, 351, 354, 361, 364); Four as Waist Gunner (303, 314, 318, 337). Two missions with other Pilots (333, 363). Caught pieces of flak above his eye and on his parachute on mission 291 (27 December 1944). Last mission (Thirty) on 25 April 1945.

Mission incidents:

  • Mission 282 (4 December 1944) to Soest. Was short on gasoline. Landed at Laon, France airfield. Spent night and morning in town at Chateau D'Laon, France. Returned to Molesworth on 5 December 1944.
  • Mission 291 (27 December 1944) to Euskirchen Germany. Oxygen and interphone shot out. Sgt's Mussi and Agrifoglio sustained minor flak wounds. Over 400 flak holes on their B-17 - 150 in the tail section.
  • Mission 314 (14 February 1945) to Dresden, Germany. S/Sgt Agrifoglio (WG) passed out from lack of Oxygen. Oxygen hose became disconnected while he was checking on Lt Jack Wilson (CP).

[Researched by Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]