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Heber Crew 705
 Heber Crew 705
Back row, left to right...
Malcolm Heber, pilot
George Whitely, bombardier
Robert Nichols, navigator
Charles McLaughlin, co-pilot
Front row, left to right...
Richard Mallette, nose gunner
Jimmie Tate, gunner
Harry Rawls, engineer
Harold Johnson, tail gunner
Thais Castator, radio mechanic
Andrew Torres, radio operator
Heber Crew 705 Summary
The Heber Crew was one of the original crews for the 492nd BG that trained in Alamogordo, New Mexico. They transferred in as crew 1666 from the CCTS (Combat Crew Training School) in Biggs, Texas, on 3 Mar 44. The crew came to Alamogordo short a radio operator. Sgt Torres was assigned to fill the spot. Unconfirmed, we think Torres was from one of the crews that came in during Col Pierce's command. The Crew was assigned to the 857th BS, designated as Crew 705.
Lt Malcolm Heber signed out for a B-24J, 44-40071. They nicknamed their ship, SWEAT BOX. In April 1944, they flew their assigned aircraft to North Pickenham, England, via the southern route. One of the radio mechanics, Sgt Castator flew with them, thus bumping Sgt Webb onto the Queen Elizabeth.
By our count, Lt Malcolm Heber flew as the aircraft commander for Crew 705 for a total of 15 missions plus 2 aborted ones. We can't be positive of all of the personnel changes on some of their missions. It's always possible that the bombardier could have missed some of the earlier pathfinder missions.
According to the Group's records, the Heber Crew had to scrub one mission on 21 May 44 due to an accident while they were getting ready for take off. They were taxiing around in IRISHMAN'S SHANTY, 44-40166, when the brakes failed causing a collision with the parked WHAT'S NEXT DOC?, 44-40137. The IRISHMAN'S SHANTY was repaired within days, but WHAT'S NEXT DOC? never flew again.
One tough mission flown was on 18 Jun 44. After the primary target at Luneburg was scrubbed, the Group split up and went to secondary targets and other targets of opportunity. The Heber Crew caught some flak while bombing an airfield at Bremerhaven. The damage to the plane was fairly light but S/Sgt Webb was wounded in both legs.
S/Sgt Eagan from the Gaines Crew 715 replaced Webb while he was recovering from his wounds. Two days later, Webb would become orphaned from his crew when they failed to return from the Politz mission. After Webb was returned to combat duty, he took Eagan's place on Crew 715, taken over by Lt Tracey.
On 20 Jun 44, they flew their last mission in SAY WHEN, 44-40103. They flew short-handed as their navigator was flying with the Liggett Crew 701. Just as they released their bombs on an oil refinery at Politz, they lost one engine to flak. That caused the plane to pull itself underneath some of other planes in the formation. Their ship was hit twice by falling bombs. One through the nose gun turret and the other through the right wing.
The Luftwaffe tried adding insult to injury by attacking them again as they came out of the flak zone. Dispite the added damage from German pilots, SAY WHEN continued to stay aloft. Returning to England was out of the question. The Crew could only wonder if they would make it across the Baltic to Sweden. They did reach Sweden and landed at the Malmo-Bulltofta Airfield. Sgt Tate, who had been wounded in battle, was rushed to the hospital for treatment. Everyone survived.
In Sweden, the Heber Crew was reunited with their navigator. The Liggett Crew 701, along with two more 492nd crews, also landed at Malmo on that same day.
One crewman, Sgt Rawls, was interned for the remainder of the war. Since he was a trained aircraft mechanic, he was given a job repairing the crippled planes coming into Sweden. He returned to England in July 1945.
The rest of the crew was brought back early through a secret project called Operation Sonnie. The old 801st Provisional Squadron, which became the new 492nd BG, brought many internees in Sweden back to England with planes disguised as commercial airliners. The returned men weren't allowed to continue fighting in the European theater for fear the Nazis would execute them as spies should ever they get caught. Some of the former internees became instructors while others were re-assigned to fight the Pacific theater.
SAY WHEN was damaged beyond repair. It was salvaged for parts and eventually sold off for scrap.
More Info
plus another
Heber CCT 1666
Gaines Crew 715
Tracey Crew 715
Liggett Crew 701
Links to missions
flown by the
Heber Crew 705
are below in their
Mission Record
BG website
Original Roster for
Heber Crew 705
Position / MOS Name Rank Serial # Notes
MOS 1024
Heber, Malcolm M 2nd Lt O-737575 Promoted 1st Lt
Interned in Sweden, 20 Jun 44, MACR 7072
MOS 1024
McLaughlin, Charles P 2nd Lt O-702305 Interned in Sweden, 20 Jun 44, MACR 7072
MOS 1034
Nichols, Robert E 2nd Lt O-704045 Interned in Sweden, 20 Jun 44, MACR 7073, with the Liggett Crew 701
MOS 1035
Whiteley, George S III 2nd Lt O-697790 Interned in Sweden, 20 Jun 44, MACR 7072
Have seen name as Whitely
MOS 748
Rawls, Harry N S/Sgt 34375033 Promoted T/Sgt
Interned in Sweden, 20 Jun 44, MACR 7072
MOS 757
Torres, Andrew Sgt 39276752 Promoted S/Sgt
Promoted T/Sgt
Interned in Sweden, 20 Jun 44, MACR 7072
RW Gunner
MOS 748
Tate, Jimmie D Sgt 38394488 Promoted S/Sgt
Interned in Sweden, 20 Jun 44, MACR 7072
LW Gunner
MOS 611
Mallette, Richard J Sgt 12130659 Promoted S/Sgt
Interned in Sweden, 20 Jun 44, MACR 7072
Tail Gunner
MOS 612
Johnson, Harold E Sgt 35726256 Promoted S/Sgt
Interned in Sweden, 20 Jun 44, MACR 7072
MOS 611
Webb, Frank W Sgt 17055225 Arrived to the UK via the Queen Elizabeth
Promoted S/Sgt
WIA, 18 Jun 44
Reassigned to Tracey Crew 715
11 Jul 44, Interned in Switzerland,
MACR 6934
POW file has ASN as 17055224
  Others Who Flew with Heber Crew 705
MOS 754
Castator, Thais L Sgt 35764374 Flew to England with the crew
Promoted S/Sgt
MOS 748
Eagan, Charles G S/Sgt 19090968 From Gaines Crew 715
Interned in Sweden w/Heber Crew,
20 Jun 44, MACR 7072
Heber Crew 705
492nd BG Mission Record
857th Bomb Squadron
Primary Target Mission Notes
 Link to Mission 02 page 02
12 May 44 44-40071 Zeitz, Germany Target: Oil refinery
 Link to Mission 03 page 03
13 May 44   Tutow, Germany Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 04 page 04
15 May 44 44-40071 Siracourt, France Target: Crossbow (V-1 rockets)
 Link to Mission 09 page 09
25 May 44 42-50313 Belfort, France Target: Marshalling yard
 Link to Mission 10 page 10
27 May 44 44-40173 Saarbrucken, Germany Target: Marshalling yard
Aborted, sortie credit
 Link to Mission 11 page 11
28 May 44 42-50313 Zeitz, Germany Target: Oil refinery
 Link to Mission 12 page 12
29 May 44 44-40156 Politz, Germany Target: Oil refinery
A/C borrowed from 859th BS
Aborted due to a run-a-way prop, uncredited
 Link to Mission 13 page 13
30 May 44 42-50313 Rotenburg, Germany Target: Air depot
 Link to Mission 15 page 15
2 Jun 44 42-50313 Berck-sur-Mer, France Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 16 page 16
4 Jun 44 42-51171 Avord, France Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 19 page 19
6 Jun 44 42-51171 Vire, France Target: D-Day invasion coast
 Link to Mission 20 page 20
8 Jun 44 42-50313 Angers, France Target: Railroad junction
 Link to Mission 23 page 23
11 Jun 44 41-28978 La Possonniere, France Target: Marshalling yard
 Link to Mission 26 page 26
14 Jun 44 42-50313 Emmerich, Germany Target: Oil refinery
 Link to Mission 31 page 31
18 Jun 44 42-51171 Luneburg, Germany Target: Airfield
Bombed target of opportunity
 Link to Mission 32 page 32
19 Jun 44 42-51121 Courbronne, France Target: Crossbow (V-1 rockets)
Aborted, uncredited
 Link to Mission 34 page 34
20 Jun 44 44-40103 Politz, Germany Target: Oil refinery
Lost after target
9 interned in Sweden, MACR 7072
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Page last modified Sunday, March 3, 2013.