LAWRENCE G. DUNNICA CREW - 358th BS
B-17F Spook #41-24541 (VK-B)
(original crew assigned 358BS: 15 Sep 1942 - photo: 13 Oct 1942)
1Lt Lawrence G. Dunnica (P)(KIA),
2Lt Orson E. Pacey (CP)(POW),
1Lt Leonard E. Thornton (N)(KIA),
2Lt James H. Montgomery (B)(KIA)
T/Sgt Harry W. Tucker (E)(POW),
S/Sgt Philip T. Cascio (BTG)(POW),
T/Sgt Bertis W. Holland (R)(KIA),
S/Sgt Robert L. Dew (RWG)(KIA),
S/Sgt Claude F. Taylor (TG)(KIA)
Not in Photo: Sgt Wayne E. Harker (LWG)(KIA) -- Crewmen Ranks and Grades at time of last combat mission.
Eleven dispatched (8 Credited) missions flown by 1Lt Lawrence G. Dunnica
(3) - 22 Nov 142 to Lorient, Fr., (4) - 23 Nov 42 to St. Nazaire, Fr., (5) - 6 Dec 42 to Lille, Fr.,
(6)(A) -12 Dec 42 to Rouen, Fr., (7) - 20 Dec 42 to Romilly-Sur Seine, Fr. (8)(A) - 30 Dec 42 to Lorient, Fr.,
(9)(A) - 3 Jan 43 to St. Nazaire, Fr.,(10) - 13 Jan 43 to Lille, Fr., (11) - 23 Jan 43 to Lorient, Fr.
(15) -14 Feb 43 to Hamm, Ger., (16) - 16 Feb 43 to St. Nazaire, Fr.
All 11 dispatched missions flown in B-17F 41-24541 Spook (358BS) VK-G
(A) Non-Credited aborted missions: (6) 12 Dec 42 - Gas was syphoning out of #3 engine [0:18 Min)
(8) 30 Dec 42 - Left waist gun frozen up [3:07 Hrs); (9) 2 Jan 43 - Lower ball turret inoperative
Overseas flight in B-17F 41-24541 Spook
B-17F was obtained and named at Kellogg Field, Battle Creek, MI during the period 03 September to
12 October 1942. It arrived at Molesworth on 24 October 1942.
Sgt Wayne P. Harker (LWG) was not on the overseas flight. Passengers were M/Sgt Paul B. McDermott [358BS Engineering Dept] and Col. James H. Wallace [Commanding Officer, 303rd BG(H)].
- 1Lt Lawrence G. Dunnica (P)(KIA) - Three missions (4 , 9, 11) flown as CoPilot with Major
Clemmens K. Wurzback as Pilot. Other missions flown as First Pilot. Completed 11 dispatched
(8 credited) missions.
- 2Lt Orson E. Pacey (CP)(POW) - Eight dispatched (6 credited) missions flown with 1Lt Dunnica
(3, 5, 6(A), 7, 8(A), 10, 15, 16). One mission (13) flown with Capt Irl E. Baldwin (P).
- 1Lt James H. Montgomery (B)(KIA) - Flew on nine dispatched (6 credited missions with 1Lt
Dunnica (3, 4, 5, 6(A), 7, 8(A), 9(A), 10, 11). Flew fifteen additional credited missions: With
1Lt James M. McDonald (P) - 12 missions (17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 24, 25, 29, 30, 31, 33, 42); 1Lt Dave L.
Rogan (P) - 1 mission (27); Capt Kirk R. Mitchell (P) and 1Lt Dave L. Rogan (CP) - 1 mission (28);
2Lt Ray W. Jess (P) - 1 mission (43). Completed 24 dispatched (21 credited) missions on 22 June
1943 (Mission 43).
Substitute Bombardiers were: 1Lt A.D. Fec (Mission 42) and 1Lt Robert L. Schiebel (POW)
1Lt Montgomery killed in action on 22 June 1943 (Mission 43) to Huls, Germany in B-17 F 42-5432
Hunting Club (358BS) VK-H), 1Lt Ray W. Jess (P) [MACR 3077]. B-17 was lost to anti-aircraft fire. Was last seen after it had passed over the target area and crashed at Berg Bossendorf, Germany (6 KIA and 4 POW).
- 1Lt Leonard E. Thornton (N)(KIA), T/Sgt Harry W. Tucker (E)(POW), T/Sgt Bertis W. Holland (R)(KIA), S/Sgt Philip T. Cascio (BTG)(POW), S/Sgt Claude F. Taylor (TG)(KIA)
Flew on all of the 11 dispatched (8 credited) 1Lt Dunnica missions.
1Lt Thornton flew on two additional missions with Capt Irl E. Baldwin (P)
S/Sgt Taylor flew on one additional aborted mission with 1Lt Robert J. Nolan
- Sgt Wayne P. Harker (WG)(KIA) - Stood down on one 1Lt Dunnica missions ( 4). Substitute
LWG was Sgt James K. Sadler. Flew on all of the other 1Lt Dunnica missions (5, 6(A), 7, 8(A),
9(A), 10, 11, 15, 16). Flew on one additional mission with Capt Irl E. Baldwin (P) - (14).
Completed 11 dispatched (8 credited) combat missions.
Article from the Madison Press, London, Ohio - 01 March 1943
[courtesy of Darrin Mason]
16 Feb 43 mission #16 to St. Nazaire, France in B-17F #41-24541 Spook 358th BS (VK-B)
After dropping bombs on the target, Spook
left the Group formation to go to the aid of a 306th BG(H) B-17 being attached by a few ME-109s. While circling the damaged B-17 at about 10,000 feet, fifteen ME-109s suddenly appeared. Some members of the 306th BG(H) B-17 then bailed out. Lt Dunnica
then started flying a course back to England. Spook
was shot down in the English Channel about 20 miles from the English coast. Upon crashing in the cold icy water the B-17 broke into parts. Tail Gunner, Sgt Taylor
, went down in the tail section. Waist Gunner, S/Sgt Dew
, was last seen floating in high waves. Pilot, Lt Dunnica
, failed to get out the Pilot's window and went down with his B-17. Radio Operator, T/Sgt Holland
, had been shot and couldn't exit the B-17. Lt Pacey
, T/Sgt Tucker
and S/Sgt Cascio
escaped through the radio hatch and reached an inflated rubber dinghy. They spent about fourteen hours in the dinghy, were strafed three times, flipped over many times in the high waves, and eventually reached the French coast near Brest in the early dark morning. They found a small shoreline hut and slept a short time. About 0600 they saw a distant French House. The French family gave them coffee, bread and a change of clothing and then asked the crewmen to leave since German soldiers were in the area. They were captured a few hours later and transported to a jail in Paris, then to Frankfurt, Germany and POW camps.
[photo from the 303rdBGA Archives]
[Researched by 303rdBGA Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]