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Arnett Crew 717
 Arnett Crew 717
Back row, left to right...
Charles Arnett, pilot
Lucian Stewart, co-pilot
Ernie Gavitt, navigator
Charlie Vergos, bombardier
Front row, left to right...
Arthur Oakes, nose gunner
Jack Burton, tail gunner
Jim Easley, engineer, right waist gunner
Bill Lindopp, ball turret gunner
Don Pierce, radio operator, left waist gunner
Uriel Robertson, top turret gunner
Arnett Crew 717 Summary
The Arnett crew was assembled in September 1943 at the assignment center in Salt Lake City, Utah. They immediately proceeded by rail to Tucson, Arizona, to the 32nd CCTS (Combat Crew Training School) at Davis-Monthan Air Field. They were designated as CCTS crew 1158 (see training link to the right). On 9 Jan 44 they were transferred to the 492nd BG in Alamogordo, New Mexico, where they were assigned to the 857th BS and designated as Crew 717.
Lt Arnett signed out for B-24J 44-40171 which was named the BOOMERANG by the crew. No nose art was ever painted. In April 1944, they flew the Boomerang to North Pickenham, England, via the southern route. Lt Byrne, the Squadron Operations Officer, accompanied them, thus bumping Sgt Oakes onto the Queen Elizabeth. They were delayed getting to England by a stick of chewing gum. While they were refueling in Brazil, a stick of gum fell out of S/Sgt Easley's shirt pocket right into one of the tanks. It took the better part of a week before the mechanics were able to get it out.
They were the last crew to arrive at North Pickenham, on 30 April 44. After they touched down, they were met with excitement as their arrival meant that the 492nd had become the first bomb group in history to fly over without losing any planes. That says a lot, since they were one of the last groups to arrive.
This crew flew a total of 3 missions. Lt Briggs flew with them on their first mission. Since their third mission was led by a Pathfinder plane, F/O Vergos, the crew's bombardier, was left behind.
As the crew was approaching their target over Brunswick, Germany, they were caught without fighter protection and were shot up by the GAF. They were forced to drop out of formation and try to return to England. The two engines they had lost couldn't be feathered, making the trip to base more difficult. Just as soon as they entered the channel, they lost a third engine, forcing them to return to the German occupied Dutch coast for an emergency landing, during which Sgt Robertson was killed. The rest of the crew were quickly taken prisoner. The officers were taken to Stalag Luft III, while the enlisted men all went to Stalag Luft IV.
In the aftermath, F/O Vergos was orphaned. Later he was given the job of Assistant Gunnery Officer. We don't know if he flew any more missions with the 492nd. When the Group disbanded he was transferred to the 445th BG. He was KIA on 27 Sep 44 with the Elder crew. MACR 9387.
The Arnett crew 717 was replaced by the Kuecker Crew, replacement crew number 7 for the 492nd.
More Info
7 pictures
9 pictures
Arnett CCT 1158
Charles Arnett
Uriel Robertson
Charles Arnett
Ernie Gavitt
Links to missions
flown by the
Arnett Crew 717
are below in their
Mission Record
Original Roster for
Arnett Crew 717
Position / MOS Name Rank Serial # Notes
MOS 1024
Arnett, Charles W 2nd Lt O-810985 POW, 19 May 44, MACR 5242, Stalag Luft III.
MOS 1022
Stewart, Lucian D 2nd Lt O-815010 POW, 19 May 44, MACR 5242, Stalag Luft III.
MOS 1034
Gavitt, Ernest M 2nd Lt O-700723 POW, 19 May 44, MACR 5242, Stalag Luft III.
MOS 1035
Vergos, Charles F/O T-123208 Orphaned, transferred to 445th BG.
Promoted to 2nd Lt.
KIA, 27 Sep 44, MACR 9387.
RW Gunner
MOS 748
Easley, James N S/Sgt 33530374 POW, 19 May 44, MACR 5242, Stalag Luft IV.
LW Gunner
MOS 757
Pierce, Donald C S/Sgt 17175795 POW, 19 May 44, MACR 5242, Stalag Luft IV.
Top Gunner
MOS 758
Robertson, Uriel F Sgt 34598778 KIA, 19 May 44, MACR 5242.
Ball Gunner
MOS 612
Lindopp, William J Sgt 31243035 POW, 19 May 44, MACR 5242, Stalag Luft IV.
Tail Gunner
MOS 611
Burton, Jack R Sgt 14003542 POW, 19 May 44, MACR 5242, Stalag Luft IV.
Nose Gunner
MOS 748
Oakes, Arthur D Sgt 39199225 Arrived in the UK via the Queen Elizabeth.
POW, 19 May 44, MACR 5242, Stalag Luft IV.
  Others Who Flew with Arnett Crew 717
MOS 2161
Byrne, Austin P 1st Lt O-025011 Flew to England w/crew
Promoted to Capt
KIA, 6 Aug 44, MACR 8081
Wall of the Missing, Netherlands
MOS 1035
Briggs, Jesse B 1st Lt O-669182 Flew 12 May mission w/crew
Arnett Crew 717
492nd BG Mission Record
857th Bomb Squadron
Primary Target Mission Notes
 Link to Mission 02 page 02
12 May 44 44-40088 Zeitz, Germany Target: industrial, oil.
Returning out of fuel, they were diverted to another base.
 Link to Mission 03 page 03
13 May 44 44-40171 Tutow, Germany Target: airfield.
 Link to Mission 05 page 05
19 May 44 44-40171 Brunswick, Germany Target: marshalling yard.
Lost: 1 KIA, 8 POW, MACR 5242.
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Page last modified Friday, February 15, 2013.