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Smiley Crew 910
 Smiley Crew 910
Back row, left to right...
Robert Janton, crew chief
Darrell Andrews, radio operator
William Sheely, tail gunner
Wirt Young, waist gunner
Donald Brown, engineer
Front row, left to right...
Melvin Kernis, navigator
Lyle Day, bombardier
Leroy Ochs, co-pilot
Elmer Smiley, pilot
Smiley Crew 910 Summary
The Smiley Crew was one of the original crews for the 492nd BG that trained in Alamogordo, New Mexico. They transferred in as crew 1674 from the 330th CCTS (Combat Crew Training School) in Biggs, Texas, on 3 Mar 44. They were assigned to the 859th BG, designated as Crew 910.
Lt Elmer Smiley signed out for a B-24J, 44-40050. The ship was given the nickname SUPER WOLF. In April 1944, they flew their assigned aircraft to North Pickenham, England, via the southern route. Their ground Crew Chief Sgt Janton flew with them, thus bumping Cpl Matzen onto the Queen Elizabeth.
After they left Florida with their sealed orders and instructions for the southern route, they lost an engine and diverted to Cuba. It was a good thing they had their crew chief with them. Sgt Janton, along with Lt Kernis, returned to Florida and brought back another engine. The Crew spent most of the month in Cuba before they could get on their way again.
Meanwhile, the Group in North Pickenham were beginning to think they had gone down in the Atlantic. Amazingly, every plane in the Group had made it to England. The 492nd became the first group to make the journey to England completely intact. The Army Air Force had expected the 492nd to lose one or two on the flyover.
By our count, Smiley flew as the aircraft commander for Crew 910 for 19 missions. Another source says they flew 22, so we'll still be investigating. We're not sure of what personnel changes were made on some of their missions.
We do know that on the Crew's last mission they went without a navigator. Kernis flew with the Harding Crew 902 to serve as the Lead Navigator for the low left section (squadron). Their target that day (7 Jul 44) was an aircraft manufacturing plant at Bernburg, Germany. The Group got caught without fighter protection by about 125 enemy fighters. Smiley's ship took some punishing hits that caused a fire in the bomb bay. Only two crewmen were able to escape before the plane exploded. 7 KIA, 2 POW, MACR 7228.
The SUPER WOLF crashed near Egeln, Germany, which is about 27 kilometers west and northwest of Bernburg. The bodies of the scattered dead were buried locally. After the war, they were reburied in American cemeteries. Two of them could not be identified individually and became a part of a group burial in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at St Louis, Missouri. Buried with them were the bodies of Vincent Brdecka and Salvatore Stamerra, both from the Jacks Crew 918. Also buried with them was Lt Frank A Fisher from another bomb group.
Kernis, who was flying with the Harding Crew, as well as the whole 492nd had about the same hard luck. Of the 23 ships dispatched that day by the Group, 12 were lost. The 859th BS lost all 8 of its ships and crews sent out, including the Harding Crew 902. Kernis and the rest of Crew 902 were able to bail out, only to be mauled up by an angry mob of German civilians. One crewman was beaten to death before the German Army could come to their rescue. The casualty count for Crew 902 was 1 KIA, 11 POW, MACR 7229.
More Info
4 photos
Smiley CCT 1674
Billy Sheely Johnson
Links to missions
flown by the
Smiley Crew 910
are below in their
Mission Record
Original Roster for
Smiley Crew 910
Position / MOS Name Rank Serial # Notes
MOS 1024
Smiley, Elmer J
2nd Lt O-808600 29 May; promoted 1st Lt
KIA, 7 Jul 44, MACR 7228
Buried in the USA
MOS 1024
Ochs, Leroy L 2nd Lt O-702323 KIA, 7 Jul 44, MACR 7228
Buried in the USA
MOS 1034
Kernis, Melvin
2nd Lt O-704008 POW, 7 Jul 44, w/Harding 902
MACR 7229, Stalag VIIA
MOS 1035
Day, Lyle E 2nd Lt O-696222 POW, 7 Jul 44, MACR 7228
MOS 748
Brown, Donald W S/Sgt 39278285 1 Jun; promoted T/Sgt
KIA, 7 Jul 44, MACR 7228
Buried in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
MOS 757
Andrews, Daryl B S/Sgt 39276787 1 Jun; promoted T/Sgt
KIA, 7 Jul 44, MACR 7228
Buried in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
Seen name as Darrel, Darrell
R Waist
MOS 612
Bullinger, Albert O Sgt 20723918 1 Jun; promoted S/Sgt
KIA, 7 Jul 44, MACR 7228
Buried in Ardennes, C-15-20
L Waist
MOS 612
Young, Wirt M Sgt 39129884 1 Jun; promoted S/Sgt
POW, 7 Jul 44, MACR 7228
NARA AAD POW file has ASN as 39129784
Ball Turret
MOS 611
Matzen, Clifford W Cpl 19024665 Arrived to the UK via the Queen Elizabeth
Promoted Sgt
1 Jun; promoted S/Sgt
KIA, 7 Jul 44, MACR 7228
Buried in the USA
Some records have Mitzen or Matson
Tail Gunner
MOS 748
Sheely, William F Sgt 14084971 1 Jun; promoted S/Sgt
KIA, 7 Jul 44, MACR 7228
Buried in Ardennes, A-20-17
Seen middle initial as M
  Others Who Flew with Smiley Crew 910
Crew Chief
MOS 750
Janton, Robert C Sgt 15125312 Flew to England with the crew
15 May; promoted S/Sgt
15 Jul; promoted T/Sgt
Transferred to the 467th BG
Smiley Crew 910
492nd BG Mission Record
859th Bomb Squadron
Primary Target Mission Notes
 Link to Mission 03 page 03
13 May 44   Tutow, Germany Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 04 page 04
15 May 44 42-110141 Siracourt, France Target: Crossbow (V-1 rockets)
 Link to Mission 08 page 08
24 May 44 44-40130 Melun, France Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 09 page 09
25 May 44 44-40050 Belfort, France Target: Marshalling yard
 Link to Mission 10 page 10
27 May 44 44-40050 Saarbrucken, Germany Target: Marshalling yard
 Link to Mission 13 page 13
30 May 44 44-40130 Rotenburg, Germany Target: Air depot
 Link to Mission 14 page 14
31 May 44 44-40290 Brussels, Belgium Target: Marshalling yard
 Link to Mission 16 page 16
4 Jun 44 44-40050 Avord, France Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 17 page 17
6 Jun 44 44-40050 Normandy, France Target: D-Day invasion coast
 Link to Mission 19 page 19
6 Jun 44 44-40050 Vire, France Target: D-Day invasion coast
Bombed with a B-17 group
 Link to Mission 21 page 21
10 Jun 44 44-40050 Boulogne, France Target: Airfield
Flew with the 44th BG
 Link to Mission 25 page 25
12 Jun 44 44-40050 Dreux, France Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 26 page 26
14 Jun 44 44-40050 Emmerich, Germany Target: Oil refinery
 Link to Mission 31 page 31
18 Jun 44 42-95005 Luneburg, Germany Target: Airfield
Bombed Nordenham
 Link to Mission 39 page 39
23 Jun 44 44-40050 Juvincourt, France Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 40a page 40a
25 Jun 44 44-40050 La Vaupeliere, France Target: Tactical
 Link to Mission 41 page 41
27 Jun 44 44-40050 Creil, France Target: Marshalling yard
 Link to Mission 43 page 43
29 Jun 44 44-40050 Magdeburg, Germany Target: Aircraft Industry
 Link to Mission 46 page 46
7 Jul 44 44-40050 Bernburg, Germany Target: Aircraft manufacturing
Lost: 7 KIA, 2 POW, MACR 7228
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Page last modified Tuesday, October 4, 2011.