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303rd BG Original Crew
359th Eyster Crew
Ercil F. Eyster, Pilot
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ERCIL F. EYSTER CREW - 359th BS
B-17F Holy Mackerel #41-24609 (BN-Q)
(Original crew assigned 15 Sep 1942 - photo: 10 Oct 1942)

Original Crewmen - Flew overseas in B-17F Holy Mackerel in October 1942
arriving at Molesworth, England on 24 October 1942

(Back L-R) 1Lt Ercil F. Eyster (P)(KIA), 2Lt Jackson P. Gilliam (N),
2Lt Fred H. Hayward (CP)(KIA), 2Lt William D. Cargill (B),
M/Sgt Martin Brucher - 359th BS Line Chief (Passenger on overseas flight)

(Front - not in order) T/Sgt Harold J. Dunham (E)(KIA), T/Sgt Raymond K. Roberts (R)(POW),
S/Sgt Markus K. Davis (BTG)(KIA) (2nd from right in photo), S/Sgt Marvin F. Powell (WG/E)(POW),
S/Sgt Floyd E. Bauer (TG)(KIA)

Regular crewman, not on overseas flight and not on photo, assigned to crew at Molesworth:
T/Sgt Robert C. Altizer (WG, TG & Tog)(POW)

Ranks and grades at time of last combat mission


Fifteen dispatched combat missions flown by 1Lt Ercil F. Eyster:
Eleven Credited Missions: 3 (22 Nov 42), 4, 9, 11, 14, 20, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28 (4 Apr 1943).
Five non-credited aborted missions:
  (06) (1:57 flight time) #1 engine oil temperature regulator out
  (13) (2:54 flight time) All guns were wet and frozen
  (15) Failed to take off - Upper turret guns failed to feed
  (19) (2:53 flight time) Tail Gunners hands frost bitten
  (22) (2:25 flight time) #3 Supercharger failed at altitude. Engine overheated

Three B-17Fs flown on combat missions by 1Lt Ercil F. Eyster
  • 41-24609 Holy Mackerel (P) (359BS) BN-Q - Missions 2, 4, 6 (A), 9, 13 (A), 14, 15(FTO),19 (A), 20, 22(A), 25, 26, 27, 28
  • 41-24605 Knockout Dropper (P) (359BS) BN-R - Mission 11
  • 41-24635 The '8' Ball Mk II (P) (359BS) BN-O - Mission 23
    (P) - See Nose art photos
Crew Notes (Original Crewmen):
  • 1Lt Ercil F. Eyster (P)(KIA) - 11 credited Missions flown: Mission 4 flown as CoPilot with Maj. George L. Robinson, Other missions flown as First Pilot.
  • 2Lt Fred H. Hayward (CP)(KIA) - 12 credited missions flown: With 1Lt Eyster (3, 6, 9,11, 14, 20, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28); With 1Lt Ross C. Bales (18, 21).
  • 2Lt Jackson P. Gilliam (N) - 2 credited missions flown: All with 1Lt Eyster (3, 4).
  • 2Lt William P. Cargill (B) - 12 credited missions flown: With 1Lt Eyster (3, 9,11,14, 20, 22, 23, 25, 26); With Lead Crew Capt William R. Calhoun, Jr. (5, 21); With Capt Ross C. Bales (32, 33).
  • T/Sgt Harold J. Dunham (E-KIA) - 8 credited missions flown: With 1Lt Eyster (3, 4, 9, 20, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28); With 1Lt Stanford T. Smith (21)(Aborted).
  • T/Sgt Raymond K. Roberts (R-KIA) - 26 credited missions flown: With 1Lt Eyster (3, 4,9,11, 15); With 1Lt William J. Cline (43);With 1Lt Guy H. McClung (40, 42, 43A, 44, 47, 48, 49, 51, 52, 54, 55); With 1Lt Robert L. Phelps, Jr. (75,76,77): With other Pilots (7, 41, 50 (Lead Crew), 61 (Flown as photographer), 83). Killed in Action on mission 83, 26 Nov 1943, to Bremen, Germany in B-17F 42-5177 Fast Worker Mk II (359BS) BN-U. . Was shot and killed by ME-109 cannon fire. The damaged B-17 was flown back to Molesworth. T/Sgt Roberts is buried in the Cambridge American Cemetery.
  • S/Sgt Marcus K. Davis (BTG) - 7 credited missions flown: With 1Lt Eyster (3, 4, 6, 9, 11, 14, 19 (As Radio Operator); With 1Lt Hans C. Johnson (18).
  • S/Sgt Marvin F. Powell (WG/E) 27 credited missions flown: With 1Lt Eyster - As Waist Gunner (3, 9), As Engineer (11, 14); With Capt Sanford T. Smith (41, 43, 43A, 44), With Capt Jack Roller (45), With 1Lt James S. Nix (47, 58, 60), With 1Lt Guy H. McClung (52, 54, 55), With 1Lt Robert L. Phelps, Jr, - As Engineer (70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78), With 2Lt Harold S. Bolsover - As Engineer (82, 83), With Maj Mackin and 2Lt Bolsover - As Engineer (88). Completed combat tour on 13 Dec 1943 - The only original 1Lt Eyster crewman to complete a combat tour.
  • T/Sgt Robert C. Altizer (WG,TG,TOG- POW) - 11 credited missions flown: With 1Lt Eyster - As Waist Gunner (3, 4, 9, 11, 14, 20, 25, 26, 28), As Tail Gunner (23), As Togglier (27); With 1Lt Sanford T. Smith (21 - aborted).
  • S/Sgt Floyd E. Bauer (TG-KIA) - 8 credited missions flown: All with 1Lt Eyster (3, 4, 9, 14, 25, 26, 27, 28).
Mission Note:
Mission 28, 04 April 1943, in B-17F 41-24609 Holy Mackerel (359BS) BN-Q. Shot down by German fighters and crashed near Rouen, France (MACR 15609). Six original 1Lt Eyster crewmen on mission 28 - 1Lt Eyster (P-KIA)(*), 2Lt Hayward (CP-KIA), S/Sgt Davis (Tog-POW), T/Sgt Dunham (E)-KIA)(*), S/Sgt Altizer (RWG-POW) and S/Sgt Bauer (TG-KIA). Four substitute Crewmen on mission 28 - 2Lt John D. Shanks (N-KIA)(*), Sgt Edmund R. Thornton (R-POW), Sgt Eugene A. Nicosia (BTG-KIA), Sgt George T. Morton (LWG-POW).
(*) Three crewmen buried in the Normandy American Cemetery near Coleville-sur-Mer, France.

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