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Keeler Crew 918
 Keeler Crew 918
Back row, left to right...
Frank Benton, bombardier
Samuel Turner, navigator
Henry Meyer, co-pilot
William Keeler, pilot
Front row, left to right...
Vincent Brdecka, nose gunner 
Robert Kohout, ball turret gunner
Salvatore Stamerra, tail gunner
Glen Woods, radio operator
Robert Dixon, engineer
Keeler Crew 918 Summary
The Keeler Crew was one of the original crews for the 492nd BG that trained in Alamogordo, New Mexico. They transferred in as crew 1670 from the CCTS (Combat Crew Training School) in Biggs, Texas, on 3 Mar 44. Their crew remained intact with no personnel changes. They were assigned to the 859th BS, designated as Crew 918.
Lt William Keeler signed out for a B-24J, 44-40156. To our knowledge they didn't give their plane a nickname. In April 1944, as they were ready to leave for Europe, two men were replaced at the last minute. Sgt Dixon was replaced by Sgt Lawing. The ground crew chief was replaced by Sgt Ganders, due to a slipping accident. Sgt Taylor went to England on the Queen Elizabeth in order to make room for the Crew Chief.
We have read that the 489th BG had a Robert E Dixon with them. He was killed on 25 Jul 44, MACR 8237. We haven't been able to confirm that he's the same man that was on this crew.
Lt Keeler flew as the aircraft commander for Crew 918 for 11 missions and 1 aborted one. 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.
The Keeler Crew was in the Group's first air battle with the Luftwaffe. They were attacked by the "Abbeyville Kids," aka the "yellow noses" because they painted their propeller hubs yellow. They were Goering's pet fighter group. The Keeler Crew survived it, hoping never to see any of those guys again.
But Bill Keeler didn't get his wish. After the war, when Keeler was attending St Mary's University he was approached by his history professor. "Bill, we might have met before. I was a German pilot," he said. Turned out he was one of the Abbeyville Kids that attacked the 492nd on 19 May 44 on their mission to Brunswick.
They had to abort another mission because one of the crewmen had forgotten to bring along his parachute. The disciplinary action taken relieved 1st Lt Keeler as commander of the crew and he was transferred to the 44th BG. He was replaced by Lt Jacks, the co-pilot of the Johnson Crew 903. Lt Meyer was reassigned to the Newman Crew 913 and was replaced by Lt Hawkley, the co-pilot from the dismantled Jaques Crew 909. The Newman Crew needed another co-pilot, as theirs was promoted to pilot his own crew.
Jacks took the Crew on 9 more missions. Their story continues on the Jacks Crew 918 page.
More Info
plus 2 other photos
Keeler CCT 1670
Jacks Crew 918
from 1944
April 11, 2001
Links to missions
flown by the
Keeler Crew 918
are below in their
Mission Record
Original Roster for
Keeler Crew 918
Position / MOS Name Rank Serial # Notes
MOS 1024
Keeler, William J 2nd Lt O-805844 29 May, promoted to 1st Lt
Reassigned to Stanhope Crew 710
Replaced by Lt Jacks
10 Jun, transferred to 44th BG, 66th BS
MOS 1024
Meyer, Henry H 2nd Lt O-702311 Reassigned to Newman Crew 913
MOS 1034
Turner, Samuel L 2nd Lt O-705048 POW, 7 Jul 44, MACR 7232, Stalag VIIA w/Jacks
MOS 1035
Benton, Frank B F/O T-123092 POW, 7 Jul 44, MACR 7232, Stalag VIIA w/Jacks
MOS 748
Lawing, Talmadge H Sgt 14059830 Joined Crew at Kansas
15 May, promoted S/Sgt
Replaced Dixon while at Kansas
POW, 7 Jul 44, MACR 7232, Stalag Luft IV
RW Gunner
MOS 757
Woods, Glen D T/Sgt 06990408 POW, 7 Jul 44 w/Jacks, MACR 7232, Stalag Luft IV
Ball Gunner
MOS 612
Kohout, Robert T Sgt 17151663 15 May, promoted S/Sgt
POW, 7 Jul 44, MACR 7232, w/Jacks, Stalag Luft IV
Nose Gunner
MOS 748
Brdecka, Vincent J Sgt 18186703 15 May, promoted S/Sgt
KIA, 7 Jul 44, MACR 7232, w/Jacks
Top Gunner
MOS 611
Taylor, Joseph B Jr Sgt 13119981 Arrived in the UK via the Queen Elizabeth
15 May, promoted S/Sgt
POW, 7 Jul 44, MACR 7232, w/Jacks, Stalag Luft IV
Tail Gunner
MOS 611
Stamerra, Salvatore E Sgt 33422124 15 May, promoted S/Sgt
KIA, 7 Jul 44, MACR 7232, w/Jacks
Seen name as Stamera
  Others Who Flew with Keeler Crew 918
Crew Chief
MOS 750
Drieso, Angelo T Sgt 12093143 Replaced during layover in Kansas
Crew Chief
MOS 750
Ganders, Stanton H S/Sgt 19059683 Replaced Drieso and flew to England w/crew
Promoted M/Sgt
LW Gunner
MOS 748
Dixon, Robert E S/Sgt 33419829 Replaced during layover in Kansas
Keeler Crew 918
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 05 page 05
19 May 44 44-40156 Brunswick, Germany Target: Marshalling yard
 Link to Mission 06 page 06
21 May 44   Siracourt, France Target: Crossbow (V-1 rockets)
 Link to Mission 07 page 07
23 May 44   Avord, France Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 08 page 08
24 May 44 44-40156 Melun, France Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 10 page 10
27 May 44 42-110091 Saarbrucken, Germany Target: Marshalling yard
 Link to Mission 11 page 11
28 May 44 44-40156 Zeitz, Germany Target: Oil refinery
Don't know if aborted or failed to bombed, credit unconfirmed
 Link to Mission 15 page 15
2 Jun 44 44-40156 Berck-sur-Mer, France Target: Airfield
 Link to Mission 16 page 16
4 Jun 44 42-50370 Avord, France Target: Airfield
Aborted, uncredited, see Footnotes
 Link to Mission 18 page 18
6 Jun 44 44-40156 Caen, France Target: D-Day invasion coast
 Link to Mission 20 page 20
8 Jun 44 44-40156 Angers, France Target: Railroad junction
Aborted, initially uncredited, got credit later
 Link to Mission 21 page 21
10 Jun 44 44-40156 Boulogne, France Target: Airfield
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Page last modified Tuesday, October 4, 2011.