Lanquist Crew – Assigned 754th Squadron – December 19, 1944

Crew Photo Needed

Flying at the End of Hostilities

RankNameSerial #Crew PositionDateStatusComments
1LtEllis Lanquist0830624Pilot17-May-45FEHTransf to 754th Sqdn
1LtRobert J Smyth0718790Co-Pilot18-May-45FEHTransf to 754th Sqdn
2LtCharles S RyderT133005Navigator19-May-45FEHTransf to 754th Sqdn
2LtKermit Q GreeneT7044Bombardier20-May-45FEHTransf to 754th Sqdn
S/SgtFrank J Willy, Jr39920032Radio Operator-Gunner21-May-45FEHTransf to 754th Sqdn
T/SgtJohn R Stephenson, Jr34637487Flight Engineer22-May-45FEHTransf to 754th Sqdn
S/SgtChester R Davis, Jr39135785Airplane Armorer-Gunner23-May-45FEHTransf to 754th Sqdn
SgtJames L Hadley34830168Aerial Gunner24-May-45FEHTransf to 754th Sqdn
SgtWesley E Harper42027872Aerial Gunner25-May-45FEHTransf to 754th Sqdn
S/SgtWilliam A Howell33746058Aerial Gunner26-May-45FEHTransf to 754th Sqdn

The Lanquist crew was assigned to the 754th Bomb Squadron in mid-December 1944.  Pilot 2Lt Ellis Lanquist flew his first mission on January 31, 1945.  The crew flew five missions in February, including the raid on Peine/Hildesheim on the 22nd.  On this particular mission, the crew were flying an older B-24H named Old Doc’s Yacht on the aircraft’s 79th mission.  Two 458th aircraft were lost on this mission.  Lanquist’s crew witnessed the first, flown by 1Lt Joseph E. Szarko, take a direct flak hit between the No. 3 and No. 4 [engines], wing came off, plane rolled into clockwise position and went right down. No chutes seen.”  The other aircraft lost belonged to 1Lt William A. Duke of the 754BS, flying just to the left of Lanquist.  They were forced to drop out of formation and bail out.  Of the ten men crew members, one died of his injuries, six were captured and three were murdered by German police.

On February 28, 1945 the crew was transferred to the 755th Bomb Squadron to be a lead crew.  After a brief respite, ostensibly for training, they were back to combat flying, going out eight times in March, although the mission on the 14th was recalled and they did not receive credit.  Their first lead was on March 30th to Wilhelmshaven with Captain James Gardner as command pilot.

The crew flew a total of seven missions in April, two of them as squadron lead – one on the 9th to the airfield at Lechfeld, Germany.  Lanquist flew in the lead in the fourth squadron on this mission.  Group records note the following:  On the 9th we paid a visit to our old friend LECHFELD A/F which we had attacked way back in March 1944.  The field was an important jet repair and equipment center, training and testing field.  Our leaders, MAJOR RUE, CAPT GARDNER, and LT’S JOHNSON and LANQUIST enjoyed a visual mission, leading 35 A/C over the target, dropping 384×100 GP’s, 146×250 GP’s and 322×260 GP’s with the following results: 18 A/C of first two squadrons obtained excellent hits on MPI as shown by SAV’s.  17 A/C of second two squadrons had very poor results, SAV’s showing their hits to be 4,000 to 6,000 feet from MPI.

By April 16th, Lanquist had completed 20 missions.  Nine days later, the Eighth Air Force flew its final combat mission of the war.  The 458th’s target on this date was a railroad installation near Bad Reichenhall.  S/Sgt William A. Howell, newly reclassified as a Radar Crewman (MOS 514), flew this last mission with a crew from the 754th Squadron.

The war ended on May 8, 1945.  The entire crew were transferred back to the 754th Squadron on May 17th.  It is possible that they participated in the Trolley Missions during May, but records confirming this are currently unavailable.  The crew was slated to ferry a Liberator back to the States in June 1945.  They drew the war weary Old Doc’s Yacht, on which they had flown three missions.


DateTarget458th MsnPilot MsnSerialRCLSqdnA/C MsnA/C NameComments
14-Feb-45MAGDEBURG181342-95018JZ576OLD DOC'S YACHT
16-Feb-45OSNABRUCK183442-100425O7V54THE BIRDREPLACED 199
10-Mar-45ARNSBURG201742-50499UJ337COOKIE/OPEN POST
15-Mar-45ZOSSEN204844-10618TJ39UNKNOWN 038
21-Mar-45HESEPE209942-95557HJ338LADY PEACE
23-Mar-45OSNABRUCK2111042-51939GJ329UNKNOWN 028
24-Mar-45NORDHORN2121142-50740QJ329OUR BURMA
25-Mar-45HITZACKER2141244-48837LJ320UNKNOWN 041L3 - CmdP GARDNER
30-Mar-45WILHELMSHAVEN2151344-48837LJ321UNKNOWN 041L4
05-Apr-45PLAUEN2181442-95628KJ325UNKNOWN 038
06-Apr-45HALLE2191542-95628KJ326UNKNOWN 038
09-Apr-45LECHFELD2221742-51669JJ329UNKNOWN 026L4
11-Apr-45REGENSBURG2241844-49261AJ318UNKNOWN 042L2 - CmdP ANDERSON
14-Apr-45POINTE DE GRAVE2251942-95557HJ350LADY PEACEL4 - CmdP BLACK
16-Apr-45LANDSHUT2272042-51936IJ333UNKNOWN 027L3 - CmdP GARDNER

B-24H-20-FO 42-95018 Z5 J  Old Doc’s Yacht

The Lanquist crew would fly this aircraft on three combat missions in February.  In June 1945 they would ferry it back to the States.

1Lt Ellis Lanquist – Pilot

1Lt Robert J. Smyth – Co-pilot

1944: Robert Smyth (right) and his brother William, a Bombardier/Radioman/Gunner on Grumann TBFs in the Navy.

1943: Robert Smyth at S.A.A.C.C. during training; and at home in Cleveland with his father and brother.

(Photos courtesy: Dan Smyth)

June 1945

B-24H-20-FO 42-95018 Z5 J  Old Doc’s Yacht

Standing (from left): Robert Smyth – N, Ellis Lanquist – P, two unknown