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Munson Crew 814
 Munson Crew 814
Back row, left to right...
John Youngberg, navigator
Joseph Green, bombardier
Seymour Clark, co-pilot
Robert Munson, pilot
Front row, left to right...
John Eckstrom, radio operator
Robert McLaughlin, top turret gunner
Robert Ames, engineer
Adolph Roth, ball turret gunner
Robert McGough, tail gunner
Wilmer Jester, waist gunner
Munson Crew 814 Summary
The Munson Crew was one of the original crews for the 492nd BG that trained in Alamogordo, New Mexico. They transferred in as crew 116 from the 331st CCTS (Combat Crew Training School) in Casper, Wyoming, on 26 Jan 44. They had a couple of personnel changes while at Alamogordo. They were assigned to the 858th BS, designated as Crew 812.
1st Lt Robert Munson signed out for a B-24J, 44-40195. They gave it the nickname BOULDER BUFF. In April 1944, they flew their assigned aircraft to North Pickenham, England, via the southern route. Their Squadron Commander, Capt Hambaugh, flew with them, thus bumping Sgt Jester onto the Queen Elizabeth.
By our count Lt Munson (later Captain) flew as the aircraft commander for Crew 812 for a total of 12 missions. 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 the pathfinder-led missions.
Capt Hambaugh accompanied them again on the Group's first mission. This maiden run went to Mulhouse, France, to bomb a marshalling yard near the Swiss boarder. Since the target couldn't be located the Group went after their secondary target instead.
The radio operator earned himself the Distinguised Flying Cross for his actions on 28 May 44. The target for that day was the oil refineries at Zeitz. After the Group reached their IP (Initial Point, where the bomb run begins) their bomb bay doors wouldn't open. Sgt Eckstrom crawled back there and manually forced them open.
Aother close call was on the mission to to bomb an airfield at Bremerhaven. They were severely damaged by flak. With their gas tanks leaking they made it back to North Pickenham. They counted over a hundred new flak holes in their ship.
On 19 Jun 44 the 858th was dismantled. Its staff was reassigned to Cheddington as the 8th Composite Command for leaflet dropping. The air crews, ground personnel and planes were reassigned to the other three squadrons. Thus the 492nd became a three squadron group. Each squadron was allowed to have 24 crews instead of the traditional 18 crews. The Munson Crew 814 was reassigned to the 859th BS. On the following day, the Group suffered excessive casualties. Before the Munson Crew flew any missions with the 859th, they were quickly reassigned to the 856th.
Their last mission was just as scary. On 6 Jul 44 they were flying as the low deputy lead on an attack on a shipyard at Kiel. Just as they were releasing their bombs, they got hit. They immediately lost one engine. Their plane took a dive going right underneath the rest of the Group just as they were letting their bombs go. They were rained on by the falling bombs. Munson and his co-pilot managed to get control of the plane. The two pilots discovered that if they both stood up and put their weight on the right rudder control pedal, they could control the ship. They knew it couldn't make it back to England so they decided to try for Sweden.
They nursed "BOULDER BUFF" across the Baltic Sea to the town of Malmo. As they approached the Scandinavian coast, Swedish fighters came out to provide escort. Just as they were thinking they were safe, the Swedish flak guns opened fire at them. Perhaps it was just a demonstration to give some visiting Germans the illusion that they were trying to keep the Allies from finding refuge there. After all, none of the shots fired came close to hitting the B-24. After the short volley the Swedes let the Munson Crew land. MACR 7234.
Added note: There were 11 men on board, as they were carrying a pilotage navigator.
More Info
Munson CCT 108
Links to missions
flown by the
Munson Crew 814
are below in their
Mission Record
Original Roster for
Munson Crew 814
Position / MOS Name Rank Serial # Notes
MOS 1024
Munson, Robert M 1st Lt O-433882 Promoted Capt
Interned in Sweden, 6 Jul 44, MACR 7234
MOS 1024
Clark, Seymour R F/O T-122808 Interned in Sweden, 6 Jul 44, MACR 7234
MOS 1034
Youngberg, John E 2nd Lt O-691850 Interned in Sweden, 6 Jul 44, MACR 7234
MOS 1035
Green, Joseph J 2nd Lt O-684152 Interned in Sweden, 6 Jul 44, MACR 7234
Seen name as Greene and Breen
MOS 748
Ames, Robert M S/Sgt 37494536 Promoted T/Sgt
Interned in Sweden, 6 Jul 44, MACR 7234
MOS 757
Eckstrom, John E S/Sgt 16151983 Promoted T/Sgt
Interned in Sweden, 6 Jul 44, MACR 7234
Top Turret
MOS 612
McLaughlin, Robert M Sgt 35455683 Promoted S/Sgt
Interned in Sweden, 6 Jul 44, MACR 7234
Ball Turret
MOS 611
Roth, Adolph J Sgt 17160503 Promoted S/Sgt
Interned in Sweden, 6 Jul 44, MACR 7234
Seen name as Poth
Tail Gunner
MOS 611
McGough, Robert E Sgt 33569343 Promoted S/Sgt
Interned in Sweden, 6 Jul 44, MACR 7234
MOS 748
Jester, Wilmer H Sgt 13151979 Arrived to the UK via the Queen Elizabeth
Promoted S/Sgt
Interned in Sweden, 6 Jul 44, MACR 7234
  Others Who Flew with Munson Crew 814
MOS 1024
Hambaugh, Robert Capt O-421691 858th Squadron Commander
Flew to England with the crew
Flew on 1st mission
Promoted Major
MOS 1024
Turnbull, John I Maj O-399733 Group Operations Officer
MOS 1024
Jaques, Louis Jr Capt O-372868  
MOS 1035
Wikoff, James W 2nd Lt O-695394 From Doyle Crew 808
Flying as pilotage navigator
Interned in Sweden, 6 Jul 44, MACR 7234
Munson Crew 814
492nd BG Mission Record
858th Bomb Squadron
Primary Target Mission Notes
 Link to Mission 01 page 01
11 May 44 44-40151 Mulhouse, France Target: Marshalling yard
 Link to Mission 03 page 03
13 May 44   Tutow, Germany Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 07 page 07
23 May 44   Avord, France Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 11 page 11
28 May 44 44-40167 Zeitz, Germany Target: Oil refinery
Lead ship w/Turnbull
 Link to Mission 16 page 16
4 Jun 44 44-40159 Avord, France Target: Airfield
Led C Section w/Jaques
 Link to Mission 20 page 20
8 Jun 44 44-40195 Angers, France Target: Railroad junction
Led C section
Aborted, initially uncredited, got credit later
 Link to Mission 27 page 27
14 Jun 44 44-40195 Chateaudun, France Target: Airfield
Led B Section
 Link to Mission 29 page 29
17 Jun 44 42-110143 Melun, France Target: Airfield
Deputy Lead
A/C borrowed from 856th BS
 Link to Mission 31 page 31
18 Jun 44 44-40195 Luneburg, Germany Target: Airfield
Led C section
Bombed Nordenham
 Link to Mission 32 page 32
19 Jun 44 44-40169 Courbronne, France Target: Crossbow (V-1 rockets)
Mission Record with the 856th Bomb Squadron
 Link to Mission 45 page 45
6 Jul 44 44-40195 Kiel, Germany Target: Shipyard
Lost: 11 interned in Sweden,
MACR 7234
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Page last modified Tuesday, October 4, 2011.