Dyer Crew – 753rd Squadron – Assigned September 11, 1944
Standing: Leopold Gloria – E, Don Krick – B, Geno Scariot – G, Jack Vandenover – G, Ben Marshall – CP, Chester Kieffer – RO
Kneeling: Stanley Drejer – N, Howard Richard – Pltg Nav, Ellsworth Hebb – G, Dale Dyer – P, Stanley Northrop – Nav, Thorsten Frohm – TG
Pictured in November 1944 – Richard & Northrop not part of original crew
(Photo: Del Schaffer)
|Capt||Dale H Dyer||0463802||Pilot||18-May-45||CT||Awards - Distinguished Flying Cross|
|1Lt||Benjamin D Marshall||0771237||Co-pilot||17-Apr-45||CT||Rest Home Leave|
|1Lt||Stanley Z Drejer||0688005||Navigator||17-May-45||CT||Transferred to 753rd Sqdn|
|1Lt||Donald E Krick||0772856||Bombardier||17-May-45||CT||Transferred to 753rd Sqdn|
|T/Sgt||Chester G Kieffer||35217255||Radio Operator||17-May-45||CT||Transferred to 753rd Sqdn|
|T/Sgt||Leopaldo Gloria||38459151||Flight Engineer||17-May-45||CT||Transferred to 753rd Sqdn|
|S/Sgt||Thorsten W Frohm||36610246||Armorer-Gunner||17-May-45||CT||Transferred to 753rd Sqdn|
|S/Sgt||Ellsworth A Hebb||33376308||Aerial Gunner||17-May-45||CT||Transferred to 753rd Sqdn|
|S/Sgt||Geno Scariot||38671907||Aerial Gunner/2E||17-May-45||CT||Transferred to 753rd Sqdn|
|Pfc||John S Vandenover||17142960||Aerial Gunner||02-May-45||RFS||Reclassified - Airplane Armorer|
1Lt Dale Dyer and crew were assigned to the 753rd Squadron in September 1944. They had arrived just as the 458th was coming off of combat operations in order to participate in ferrying gasoline to Patton’s Third Army in France. Dyer and part of his crew participated in four of these Truckin’ missions.
Their first combat mission on October 5, 1944 was to an airfield near Paderborn, Germany. They flew one more before October 23rd when they were transferred to the 755th Squadron to be a lead crew. Their first role as a lead came on December 12th when they were deputy lead in the second squadron. Two more missions, (one a lead) were flown in December; and in January the crew flew three missions, one of them an aborted effort to Brunswick on the 31st.
After this, throughout February and March, Dyer and crew were out front, flying as group lead or deputy lead for 11 of the remaining 14 missions they would fly. On April 4th they were awarded a Lead Crew Commendation for their efforts to place bombs on the target in extremely difficult weather conditions. Their last (26th) mission came four days later when they led the group to the marshaling yards at Unterschlauersbach. The crew were sent on rest home leave on April 17th.
Lead crews required extra navigators, and there were several crewmen that flew with Dyer in this capacity. F/O Howard Richard, assigned in August with the Lt Edward Doyle crew, is pictured with Dyer at some point in October or November 1944. 1Lt Stanley Northrop, originally assigned as navigator on the crew of 1Lt Ronald S. Beckstrom in the 753rd Squadron, is also pictured with the crew during the same period.
Sgt John S Vandenover must have gotten into a little trouble at the end of November, as he was reduced to Private and removed from flying status (RFS). He remained at Horsham until May 1945 and eventually attained the rank of Pfc as an Airplane Armorer.
|Date||Target||458th Msn||Pilot Msn||Cmd Pilot||Ld||Serial||RCL||Sqdn||A/C Msn||A/C Name||Comments|
|23-Sep-44||HSF to CLASTRES||TR07||--||42-109805||J||44BG||T4||DUSTY'S DOUBLE TROUBLE||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|25-Sep-44||HSF to LILLE||TR08-1||--||42-100404||S+||445BG||T2||THE GRIM REAPER||1ST FLIGHT w/TRACY?|
|28-Sep-44||HSF to LILLE||TR11||--||42-100311||P||752||T10||YOKUM BOY||DWYRE CROSSED OUT|
|30-Sep-44||HSF to LILLE||TR13||--||41-28705||X||753||T10||YE OLDE HELLGATE||TRUCKIN' MISSION|
|14-Oct-44||COLOGNE||133||2||42-50768||A||Z5||12||ARISE MY LOVE AND COME WITH ME|
|02-Nov-44||BIELEFELD||140||4||44-10487||B||J3||15||Girl on surfboard (no name)|
|05-Nov-44||KARLSRUHE||142||5||42-50499||K||J3||17||COOKIE/OPEN POST||BALL TURRET|
|16-Nov-44||ESCHWEILER||147||6||44-10487||R||J3||18||Girl on surfboard (no name)|
|26-Nov-44||BIELEFELD||150||7||44-10487||R||J3||19||Girl on surfboard (no name)|
|06-Dec-44||BIELEFELD||153||--||41-28697||Z||Z5||A34||SPOTTED APE||ASSEMBLY CREW|
|18-Dec-44||KOBLENZ||REC||--||42-50575||O||J3||--||UNKNOWN 020||RECALL DUTCH ISLE|
|31-Jan-45||BRUNSWICK||176||ABT||WILLIAMS||L3||42-95557||H||J3||--||LADY PEACE||ABORT? NO CREDIT|
|20-Feb-45||NUREMBURG TANK FACT||REC||--||BETZOLD||42-51936||I||J3||--||UNKNOWN 027||RECALL - WEATHER|
|26-Feb-45||BERLIN||190||18||GARDNER||D1||42-51939||G||J3||19||UNKNOWN 028||REPLACED 699|
|14-Mar-45||HOLZWICKEDE||203||22||KING||L2||44-49902||M||J3||2||UNKNOWN 043||CMD P - COL KING?|
Capt Dale H Dyer
Dyer Crew,flying B-24 Bombers in the 753 Sq. of the 458th Bomb Group, 2nd Air Division of the 8th Air Force, stationed at Horsham St Faith, Norwich, Eng.
I was awarded my flying wings in the class of 43F from the advanced training at Columbus, Mississippi. After checking out and finishing the B-24 course I was retained almost a year at Smyrna Air Force Base as an instructor. During that time I was assigned to teach B-24 maximal performance and emergency procedures to new B-24 students. Also I was assigned a number of pilots that had been on the Ploesti costly raid. Many were refusing to fly anymore. I trained, restoring their confidence in the plane where they were useful pilots for the continual war effort, and passed every pilot assigned to me.
Went over seas in summer of 1944 and assigned to the 458th Bomb Group. We crew officers were assigned living quarters in the kitchen of a former officers home of Horsham St Faith Air base, used for commissioned officer bomber crews of the rather new 458th Bomb Group. The other flying combat crews living in the house introduced themselves and said, “Hope you fellows have better luck than the other three former crews assigned to this room because the most of any of them new were 6 missions before they were shot down.”
Yes, it was such a nice welcome they were giving us. Wow! Our crew flew several gas hauls to France after the Normandy breakout when they had out distanced their gas supplies. With our plane rated for 56,000 pounds gross weight they were loading us up to 72,000 pounds by loading all the plane gas tanks and then filling the bomb bay with gas filled GI 5-gallon gas cans. First ship taking off in front of us crashed in Norwich with loss of crew and several civilians and about 5 houses, half mile beyond runway, causing a huge fire. [This was the crew of 2Lt Hubert H Humke]
Flak was heavy, we lost an engine as bombs were dropped on first mission, could not stay with formation at 22,000 feet. Lost altitude, expecting enemy fighters to hit us, thankfully none seemed to be in the area. We stayed under formation best we could till group began letting down over Holland and we were able to regain position in formation to return to Horsham St Faith.
After 6 missions, we were a lead crew and were up practice bombing when not assigned to a regular mission, it took longer to complete our required lead crew 30 missions.
On April 4th 1945, our 25th mission was a mission assigned to bomb Perleberg, Germany. The Dyer crew with Lt Col W. H. Williamson as Command Pilot was assigned to lead the Wing of the 458th Bomb Group. At that time in the war the Allies were driving toward Berlin from the west and the Russians were approaching Berlin from the east. It was reported that German Luftwaffe fighter planes had been congregated on the airfield at Perleberg, Germany, but due to the closeness of the Allied troops we were not to drop through the clouds, but only by visual sighting through the Norden bomb sight. The sky below us was cloud covered and the groups ahead of us had passed over the target and not seeing the ground were unable to drop their bombs. My crew navigators were dead on target using their dead reckoning and the GHQ new type of radar. In practice my navigator, Lt Stan Drejer could put me within 50 foot of the end of the runway in our landing pattern, without looking outside.
By pure luck and since I was flying on automatic pilot, Lt. Don Krick, my bombardier called on the plane intercom and said he spotted the target through a hole in the clouds. He immediately switched flight control to his bomb sight and almost unbelievable quick, adjusted his cross hairs and with hardly ten seconds elapsed; the bombs were released by our entire group by their plane toggler’s on our release.
None of our group could take pictures as we had passed the hole in the clouds before the bombs reached the ground. The group behind us took a picture of a direct hit upon the important target. The cloud hole had moved and no other group was able to bomb that target during the assigned mission. It was first denied that we had hit the target, but after further investigation the proof was positive. My navigator, bombardier and I were all three awarded the DFC for that most unusual bomb strike.
We completed one more mission and were on flak leave when the war ended.
755th Squadron Records
4 April 1945
Mission 350, Sortie 217. The A/F at Perleberg. 150- -1’s. Dyer, Minsker, Mitchell, McCartney, Johnson, Sharp, Hoffman and Hartswick. The Lead Squadron dropped visually on the A/F. SAV’s show MPI well covered with hits. The 2nd Squadron was attacked by one ME-262 while it was separated from the group formation after attempting to bomb Stendahl A/F as a second priority target. The attack occurred at 5230W – 0940E at 1020 hours. The ME-262 came in from five o’clock level and did not close to more than 800 yards behind the formation. Tail turret gunners immediately opened fire and the E/A pulled off to the right of the squadron. After flying alongside out of range for a few minutes, he was joined by two other ME-262’s and the three then dove down, out of sight as four P-51’s came along. No claims were made.
1Lt Benjamin D Marshall
“I was the co-pilot on the Dyer crew during training at Boise, ID. We completed training together and were sent by convoy of two weeks to England. After some training in Ireland and England, we were stationed at Horsham St. Faith as a crew in the 753 Bomb Squadron and proceeded to fly missions. Since I was co-pilot and sort of extra baggage, I tried to get my number of missions completed as riding with other crews or as an extra body on Dyer’s crew. His crew was made lead crew and didn’t need co-pilots because of Top Brass flying in co-pilot’s seat. Therefore, my mission list (below) differs from his and I sandbagged on a few missions.”
|18||21-Mar-45||Osnabruck - Hesepe|
“I think I should give you some information on “Truckin Missions” which I participated in before combat. These were hauling gas to France for Gen. Patton’s tanks. They put tanks in the Bomb Bay of a B-24 as well as a P-47 drop tank in the waist and also used the wing tip tanks known as the “Tokoyo Tanks”. Then the gas was pumped out with a jockey pump using a long hose to fill 5 gal. cans lined up in a row never turning off the pump so gasoline pretty much saturated the area.”
September 23, 1944 Lille, France – “We went into town and visited in a sort of night club. Suddenly a shot rings out and I reached for my 45 caliber pistol. Only time I carried a gun. It turned out some clown was comparing his .45 to a German Luger on the other side of the room and had shot himself in the foot. Whew! Slept under the wing until it started to rain, then slept in the plane. Next day I ate “C” rations from cans before they exploded. Food was good.”
Lead Crew – 1945
Standing: Richard C O’Brien – Mickey Nav, Dale Dyer, Ben Marshall, Donald Krick, Stan Drejer, Lester Katz – Pilotage Nav
Kneeling: Chester Kieffer, Ellsworth Hebb, Thorsten Frohm, Geno Scariot, Leopaldo Gloria
(Photo: Del Shaffer)
Distinguished Flying Cross
Col Allen Herzberg (Group CO) presents the DFC to Capt Dale Dyer at an awards ceremony at Horsham in May 1945.