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On 25 July 1943 mission 53 to Hamburg, Germany in B-17F #42-29606 Butch aka Toots (360BS) PU-M.

B-17 lost to enemy fighters. Was on fire and burning from the bomb bay to wing roots and 3 engine. Exploded and crashed near Hamburg, Germany.



The bodies of 1Lt John A. Van Wie (P) and T/Sgt Albert Hlebasko (E) were found in the wreckage of Butch.


2Lt Bernard Rice, regular Bombardier, KIA on 02 October 43 mission 73 to Emden, Germany with 1Lt Paul S. Tippet crew in B-17 42-5260 Yardbird II (360BS) PU-A


2Lt James D. Walsh had been upgraded from CoPilot to Pilot on 09 July 43.


S/Sgt Benjamin F. Spring (LWG) was repatriated with severe head trauma on 26  October 1943. He is believed to have been the first 303rd BG(H) POW to have been repatriated from a POW camp hospital.

ID: O-727286
Entered the Service From: California
Rank: Captain

Service: U.S. Army Air Forces, 360th Bomber Squadron, 303rd Bomber Group, Heavy

Died: Sunday, July 25, 1943
Buried at: Ardennes American Cemetery
Location: Neupre (Neuville-en-Condroz), Belgium
Plot: C Row: 6 Grave: 6

Awards: Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart

Capt John A Van Wie

(crew assigned 360BS: 05 Apr 1943 - photo: 16 July 1943)

(Back L-R) 1Lt Paul Blank (N-POW);
2Lt Bernard Rice (B)(2); 1Lt John A. Van Wie (P-KIA)(1);
2Lt James D. Walsh (CP-POW)(3); T/Sgt Albert Hlebasko (E-KIA)(1)

(Front L-R) S/Sgt Robert C. Bridges (TG-POW)(5A);
S/Sgt Theodore G. Swanson (RWG-POW/DOW)(5E);
S/Sgt Eugene L. Morton (BTG-POW/DOW)(5B);
T/Sgt Robert W. Noll (R-POW)(5C)