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Gaulke Crew 602
 Gaulke Crew 602
Back row, left to right...
Andrew Fry, engineer
Francis Baker, top turret gunner
Vernie Honberger, radio operator
Leon Sawyer, tail gunner
George Worthington, left waist gunner
Not in the photo...
Warren Branch, right waist gunner
Front row, left to right...
John Murdock, bombardier
Frederick Gaulke, pilot
Charles Easton, co-pilot
Robert Keehn, navigator
Gaulke Crew 602 Summary
The Gaulke Crew 602 was one of the original crews for the 492nd BG that trained in Alamogordo, New Mexico. They had come up as Crew 1024 from the 32nd CCT at Davis-Monthan Air Field in Tucson, Arizona. After arriving to the 492nd the crew had their bombardier and one gunner replaced. They were assigned to the 856th BS, designated as Crew 602.
Records show that 2nd Lt Fred Gaulke signed out for B-24J, 44-110134. However, no such number was ever manufactured. Further research shows it was 42-110134. To our knowledge their plane wasn't given a nickname.
In April 1944, they flew their assigned aircraft to North Pickenham, England, via the southern route. Their ground Crew Chief, S/Sgt Ed Nydam, flew with them, thus bumping their new gunner, Pfc Warren Branch onto the Queen Elizabeth.
Lt Gaulke flew as the aircraft commander for crew 602 for a total of 8 missions. We don't know if there were any personnel changes on any of their missions. But it is possible that their bombardier might had missed a couple of the pathfinder missions.
Crew 602 barely survived the air battle on 19 May 44, during a raid to Brunswick. Although the ship was heavily damaged they did manage to limp back to England. They landed at the first base they saw at Shipdham, home of the 44th BG.
Ten days later on their eighth and final mission, the Gaulke Crew 602 again cheated death during another battle with the Luftwaffe. This time they were bombing the well-defended oil refineries at Politz. The Luftwaffe didn't get them but the flak did. It had punctured their gas tanks. The engineer, Fry, was wounded. They knew their ship could not reach England. They had to attempt Sweden.
They made it to Sweden's southern coast where they found a small airstrip in the middle of the woods. But it was too short to land a B-24. Sgts Branch and Baker proposed tying their parachutes to the wasit guns and opening them just as soon as the plane touches down. Gaulke agreed to try it. Branch's side held but Baker's didn't. But it was enough for Gaulke to bring the plane to a halt with a 100 feet to spare.
Sgt Fry was rushed to the hospital by a Swedish rescue team. The crew's landing attracted a large civilian crowd at the end of the runway to see the Liberator. Then another B-24 from the 445th BG came in for an emergency landing. They weren't using any chutes to help them stop. Thanks to a shot up tire on one side, the plane did a ground loop when it landed. Otherwise, they would have run into the crowd.
Casualty figure: 10 interned in Sweden, MACR 5220.
More Info
Gaulke CCT 1024
Murray CCT 1662
Newspaper article
featuring Andy Fry's
"Wall of Honor"
Links to missions
flown by the
Gaulke Crew 602
are below in their
Mission Record
Original Roster for
Gaulke Crew 602
Position / MOS Name Rank Serial # Notes
MOS 1024
Gaulke, Frederick D 2nd Lt O-811064 Interned in Sweden, 29 May 44, MACR 5220
MOS 1024
Easton, Charles R 2nd Lt O-816270 Interned in Sweden, 29 May 44, MACR 5220
MOS 1034
Keehn, Robert L 2nd Lt O-700136 Interned in Sweden, 29 May 44, MACR 5220
MOS 1035
Murdock, John G 2nd Lt O-698591 Interned in Sweden, 29 May 44, MACR 5220
MOS 748
Fry, Andrew J S/Sgt 39271083 Interned in Sweden, 29 May 44, MACR 5220
MOS 757
Honberger, Vernie O S/Sgt 37495854 Interned in Sweden, 29 May 44, MACR 5220
MOS 612
Worthington, George G Sgt 11101225 Interned in Sweden, 29 May 44, MACR 5220
MOS 611
Baker, Francis X Sgt 12054369 Interned in Sweden, 29 May 44, MACR 5220
MOS 611
Sawyer, Leon J Sgt 14185233 Interned in Sweden, 29 May 44, MACR 5220
MOS 611
Branch, Warren G Pfc 13062826 Promoted to Cpl on 01 Mar 44
Promoted to Sgt on 27 Mar 44
Arrived to the UK via the Queen Elizabeth
Interned in Sweden, 29 May 44, MACR 5220
  Others Who Flew with Gaulke Crew 602
Crew Chief
MOS 750
Nydam, Edward S/Sgt 11050836 Flew to England with the crew
Promoted T/Sgt
Gaulke Crew 602
492nd BG Mission Record
856th Bomb Squadron
Primary Target Mission Notes
 Link to Mission 01 page 01
11 May 44 44-40134 Mulhouse, France Target: Marshalling yard
 Link to Mission 03 page 03
13 May 44   Tutow, Germany Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 05 page 05
19 May 44 44-40134 Brunswick, Germany Target: Marshalling yard
Ship damaged, landed at Shipdham
 Link to Mission 07 page 07
23 May 44   Avord, France Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 08 page 08
24 May 44 44-40227 Melun, France Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 09 page 09
25 May 44 44-40146 Belfort, France Target: Marshalling yard
 Link to Mission 10 page 10
27 May 44 42-95011 Saarbrucken, Germany Target: Marshalling yard
 Link to Mission 11 page 11
28 May 44 42-95011 Zeitz, Germany Target: Oil refinery
Don't know if aborted or failed to bombed, credit unconfirmed
 Link to Mission 12 page 12
29 May 44 42-95011 Politz, Germany Target: Oil refinery
Lost: 10 interned in Sweden
MACR 5220
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Page last modified Friday, March 8, 2013.