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359th Roller Crew
Jack Roller, Pilot
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JACK ROLLER CREW - 359th BS
B-17F Knockout Dropper #41-24605 (BN-R)
(original crew assigned 359BS: 23 June 1942)

(Back L-R) 1Lt Jack Roller (P), 1Lt Herbert E. Kalhoefer (Ops Officer),
2Lt William J. Cline (CP), 2Lt Walter C. Henson (N), 2Lt John R. Shoup, Jr. (B)

(Front L-R) T/Sgt Lemuel R. Williams (R), S/Sgt Frank M. Ketron (Top Turret),
S/Sgt John L. Beringer (BT), S/Sgt Arthur L. Burnham (TG)

(Ranks and Grades at time photo was taken in the USA, October 1942)



ROLLER CREW - 359th BS
B-17F Knockout Dropper #41-24605 (BN-R)
(photo: 22 June 1943)

(Back L-R) S/Sgt Arthur L. Burnham (TG), S/Sgt John D. Gonsalves (WG),
S/Sgt Frank M. Ketron (WG), T/Sgt Lemuel R. Williams (R), T/Sgt Joseph G. Marcelonis (E)

(Front L-R) 1Lt Walter C. Henson (N), 1Lt William J. Cline (CP/P),
2Lt John R. Shoup, Jr. (B), Capt Jack Roller (P)

(Ranks and Grades at time of last combat mission)


Thirty-three dispatched (25 credited) combat missions flown by Capt Jack Roller:
1 (17 Nov 1942) - Failed to take off, 2 (18 Nov 1942), 3, 5, 7 (A), 8(A), 10, 12(A), 13(A), 15, 16(A), 18(A), 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 26(LC), 28(AS), 31, 34, 35, 36, 37(AS), 38(A), 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 43A(R), 44, 45, 46(LC)(28 June 1943) -- For Mission dates, targets and Mission Reports, see Combat Missions.
(LC) Two Lead Crew CoPilot missions (26 and 46)
(A) Seven Non Credited aborted missions:
   (#07) (2:05 flight hours) Mechanical - Bucket wheel of #2 supercharger was out
   (#08) (3:17 flight hours) 2Lt Walter C. Henson (N) - Had gas pains and cramps at altitude
   (#12) (2:33 flight hours) Mechanical - Interphone system was out
   (#13) (1:53 flight hours) Delayed take-off. Could not catch up with formation
   (#16) (2:20 flight hours) Mechanical -No. 2 Engine supercharger was lagging
   (#18) (1:36 flight hours) Mechanical - No. 2 engine rough at altitude. Returned with prop feathered
   (#38) (4:12 flight hours) Mechanical Interphone system was out
(AS) Two credited abortive sorties:
   (#28) (2:37 flight hours) 1Lt Jack Roller (P) - Ill with gas pains and cramps at altitude
   (#37) (3:55 flight hours) S/Sgt Frank M. Ketron (TG) - Left knee became frozen
(FTO) One Failed to take-off , not dispatched and non credited mission:
   (#01) - Ammunition had not been not loaded
(R) One non-credited mission - Mission recalled:
   (#43A) - No bombs dropped

Seven B-17Fs flown by Capt Jack Roller on his thirty-three dispatched missions:

  • 41-24605 (P) Knockout Dropper (359BS) BN-R 20 credited missions (2, 3, 5, 7(A), 8(A), 10, 12(A), 13(A), 15, 18(A), 19, 22, 24, 26(LC), 28(AS), 31, 33, 34, 35, 36, 38(A), 39, 40, 41, 43, 46(LC)
  • 41-24635 (P) The '8' Ball Mk II (359BS) BN-O - Mission 16(A)
  • 42-5243 (P) FDR's Potato Peeler Kids (359BS) BN-P - Missions 20, 23
  • 42-5221 --- Son (427BS) GN-Z - Mission 37(AS)
  • 41-24561 (P) The Duchess (359BS) BN-T - Mission 42
  • 42-5257 (P) Miss Behavin (359BS) BN-S - Mission 43A (R) - Mission recalled
  • 42-5482 (P) Cat-O-Nine Tails (359BS) BN-W - Missions 44, 45
    (P) See the Nose Art photos
Crew Notes:
  • Capt Jack Roller (P) - Flew on 33 dispatched (25 credited) missions. Two missions (26, 46) flown as CoPilot with a Lead Crew. All other missions flown as a First Pilot. Promoted to Captain following mission #16 on 16 February 1943. 25 mission combat tour completed on 28 June 1943 (Mission 46). All missions flown without crew injuries on some of the most dangerous of the early 303rd BG(H) combat missions.
  • 1Lt William J. Cline (CP/ P) - Dispatched on 17 missions (11 credited) with Capt Roller (2, 3, 5, 7(A), 8(A), 10, 12(A), 13(A), 15, 16(A), 18(A), 20, 22, 23, 24, 28(AS), 31. Up graded from CoPilot to Pilot on orders dated 22 March 1943. Flew on one mission (#17) as CoPilot with 1Lt Sanford Smith (P) and 14 dispatched (13 credited) missions as First Pilot (33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38(A), 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 43A, 44, 45). 25 mission combat tour completed on 26 June 1943 (Mission 45).
  • 1Lt Walter C. Henson (N) - Dispatched on 27 mission (21 credited) with Capt Roller (All Roller missions except four - 15, 26, 28, 31) and on four missions with other Pilots (9, 25, 32, 37) 25 mission combat tour completed on 29 June 1943 (Mission 47).
  • 2Lt John R. Shoup, Jr. (B) - Dispatched on 30 missions (27 credited) with Capt Roller (All Roller missions except three - 26, 45, 46) and four credited missions with other Pilots (9, 17, 25, 29). 25 mission combat tour completed on 25 June 1943 (Mission 44).
  • T/Sgt Joseph E. Marcelonis (E) - Dispatched on 29 missions (22 credited) with Capt Roller (All Roller missions except four - 10, 31, 45, 46) and on three missions with other Pilots (9, 17, 29). Mission #29 as a Right Waist Gunner. 25 mission combat tour completed on 25 June 1943 (Mission 44).
  • T/Sgt Lemuel R. Williams (R) - Dispatched on 27 missions (21 credited) with Capt Roller (All Roller missions except four credited - 3, 12(A), 18(A), 19, 20, 31) and four missions with other Pilot (32, 48, 49, 50). 25 mission combat tour completed on 14 July 1943 (Mission 50).
  • S/Sgt John L. Beringer (BTG/WG) - Dispatched on 28 missions (22 credited) with Capt Roller (All Roller missions except five credited - 12(A), 37, 38(A), 39, 40, 45, 46) and five missions with other Pilots (9, 17, 25, 29, 32). Missions 2, 3, 12(A) flown as Waist Gunner. 25 mission combat tour completed on 25 June 1943 (Mission 44).
  • S/Sgt Frank M. Ketron (WG/BTG/E/TG) - Dispatched on 30 missions (23 credited) with Capt Roller (All Roller missions except two credited - 45, 46) and two missions with other Pilots (17, 32). Missions 2, 3, 12(A) flown as Ball Turret Gunner. Mission 10, 31 flown as Engineer. Mission 38(A) flown as Tail Gunner. Other mission flown as Waist Gunner and Top Turret Gunner. 25 mission combat tour completed on 25 June 1943 (Mission 44).
  • S/Sgt John D. Gonsalves (WG/TG)- Dispatched on 27 missions (21 credited) with Capt Roller (All Roller missions except 6 credited - 12(A), 25, 40, 41, 42, 45, 46) and 4 credited missions with other Pilots (6(A), 17, 25, 29, 32). Mission #15 flown as Tail Gunner. 25 mission combat tour completed on 25 June 1943 (Mission 44).
  • S/Sgt Arthur L. Burnham (TG) - Dispatched on 25 missions (21 credited) with Capt Roller (All Roller missions except five credited - 5, 12(A), 15, 16(A), 31, 38(A), 39). Lead Crew Mission 46 flown as a Passenger. Four credited mission flown with other Pilots (17, 32, 47, 48). 25 mission combat tour completed on 4 July 1943 (Mission 48).

B-17F #41-24605 Knockout Dropper 359BS (BN-R)

Favorite B-17: 41-24605 Knockout Dropper (359BS) BN-R: The Roller crew gave this B-17F its name at Kellogg Field, Battle Creek. MI in early October 1942 and flew it to Molesworth arriving on 21 October 1942. Knockout Dropper was the first 8th Air Force B-17 to fly 50 mission on 16 November 1943 (Mission 82) and 75 combat missions on 27 March 1944 (Mission 129) and returned to the USA. She was scrapped at Stillwater, OK in July 1945. Crew Chief was M/Sgt Buford C. Pafford who was awarded the Legion of Merit Medal for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as Crew Chief.

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