Dantler Crew – Assigned 753rd Squadron – February 13, 1945

Standing: Emerson Ishmael – RO, William Morris – G, William Register – E, Phillip Thompson – G/2E, Raymond Romine – G, John Dowd – G
Kneeling: Donald Bowman – CP, Edward Dantler – P, Joe Gay – N, Richard Hearne – B
(Photo: Phillip Thompson)

Flying at the End of Hostilities

RankNameSerial #Crew PositionDateStatusComments
2LtEdward K Dantler02059990PilotJun-45FEHFerry Crew 555
F/ODonald K BowmanT64223Co-pilotJun-45FEHFerry Crew 555
2LtJoe T Gay0926418NavigatorJun-45FEHFerry Crew 555
F/ORichard O HearneBombardierFeb-45UNKRemained in Casper, WY
S/SgtEmerson Y Ishmael35224333Radio OperatorJun-45FEHFerry Crew 555
S/SgtWilliam B Register14176484Flight EngineerJun-45FEHFerry Crew 555
SgtJohn V Dowd31214357Armorer-GunnerJun-45FEHFerry Crew 555
SgtWilliam V Morris, Jr39923115Aerial GunnerJun-45FEHFerry Crew 555
SgtRaymond R Romine17181462Aerial GunnerJun-45FEHFerry Crew 555
S/SgtPhillip F Thompson15114646Aerial Gunner/2EJun-45FEHFerry Crew 555

2Lt Edward Dantler and crew were assigned to the 458BG on February 13, 1945.  They flew their first combat mission 24 days later, on March 8th to hit the marshaling yards near Dillenburg, Germany.  On this mission, they were assigned a 753BS aircraft named Baby Shoes. Their second mission was cut short before they even boarded their aircraft.

On March 14th, as ground crews were making final preparations to the aircraft, some air crew had arrived to get their stations and guns ready for the day’s flight.  On one of the 753BS hardstands, a waist gunner with 32 missions to his credit had a momentary lapse in judgment.  According to the accident report, “The waist gunner, S/Sgt Jack L. Pettyjohn, 37521828, of aircraft B-24J, 42-50555 [Baby Shoes] carelessly failed to check closely for ammunition in his gun before pulling the trigger.  Several rounds went off which ricocheted into the bomb bay and left wing tank, of a nearby airplane, igniting an incendiary bomb and gas tanks, which set the airplane afire, exploding the bomb [load] which completely destroyed the airplane and caused various degrees of damage to nine other aircraft.  When smoke and fire appeared from the airplane, the fire truck proceeded immediately to the scene and attempted to extinguish the fire for about two minutes, whereupon the bomb disposal officer stated that the time limit had expired and that all personnel should abandon the area because of danger of the bombs exploding.”

The entire 753rd Bomb Squadron was stood down for this mission.  The aircraft that Dantler was assigned, Table Stuff, received major damage, as did Baby Shoes.

The very next day, March 15th, the group was assigned as its target the Headquarters of the German General Staff in Zossen, Germany.  Dantler and crew managed to drop on the primary target, but either suffered battle damage or a mechanical issue severe enough to force them to land at one of the AAF bases in France.  They were back at Horsham in time to participate in the March 19th mission to Leipheim, the crew’s third mission.  Three addition missions rounded out the month of March, giving the crew six to their credit.

April saw them flying Baby Shoes on all five of what would be their final combat flights in the war.  Their last, to Regensburg on April 11 came two days after the entire crew were awarded the Air Medal for completing their first five missions.

June the crew were assigned to fly none other than Baby Shoes back to the U.S.


DateTarget458th MsnPilot MsnLdSerialRCLSqdnA/C MsnA/C NameComments
08-Mar-45DILLENBURG199142-50555AJ428BABY SHOESRCM (K28?)
19-Mar-45LEIPHEIM207341-28980VJ425UNKNOWN 009BOMBED WITH 93BG
24-Mar-45NORDHORN212442-110163MJ476TIME'S A WASTIN
04-Apr-45PERLEBERG217742-50555AJ435BABY SHOES
06-Apr-45HALLE219842-50555AJ437BABY SHOES
09-Apr-45LECHFELD2221042-50555AJ440BABY SHOES
11-Apr-45REGENSBURG2241142-50555AJ442BABY SHOES

B-24J-1-FO 42-50555 J3 A  Baby Shoes

March 8, 1945: The crew after their first combat mission.  They would fly Baby Shoes on six of their eleven missions. 
In June 1945, they would ferry this bomber back to the U.S.
March 14, 1945: An officer points to damage to Baby Shoes when an adjacent aircraft’s bomb load exploded after being set on fire due to carelessness.  No one was injured in the explosion, but one aircraft was totally destroyed and eight others suffered various degrees of damage.
(Photo: Anthony Reccia)

June 1945

Standing: Don Bowman, Ed Dantler, Joe Gay
Sitting 3rd from left: John Dowd
If you can ID anyone in this photo, please contact me.