ERNEST C. PRICE CREW - 358th BS
(crew assigned 358BS: 23 Sep 1944 - photo: 06 Oct 1944)
1Lt Ernest C. Price (P-POW),
1Lt Frederick C. Hower (CP)(1),
2Lt Leonard S. Patillo (N-POW),
2Lt Fred B. Creel (B-POW)
Sgt Paul R. Bilchak (TG-POW),
Sgt William E. Noel (E-POW),
Sgt Michael T. Postek (R-POW),
Sgt Keith E. Day (R)(2),
Sgt John F. Reed (WG-POW),
Sgt Raymond L. Cole (BT-POW)
Two credited missions flown by the Ernest C. Price Crew:
- Mission 253 - 07 Oct 1944, to Dresden, Germany
- Mission 255 - 11 Oct 1944, to Wesseling, Germany
All crewmen listed above, except for 1Lt Frederick C. Hower
(CP) and Sgt Keith E. Day
flew on these two missions. Both missions in #42-31739 Pugnacious Peter (358BS)
- Hower (CP) - Was not on the 11 Oct 44 mission. Upgraded from CoPilot to Pilot on 18 Jan 45. Flew some missions as a Lead Crew Tail Gunner-Observer. Completed his 35 mission combat tour on 08 Mar 45.
- Day (R) - Not on 11 Oct 44 mission. Original crewman Postek (WG)
replaced Day as Crew Radio Operator. One of the Waist Gunner positions was deleted
when crew size changed from 10 to 9 men. Completed his 35 mission combat tour on
04 April 45.
Substitute CoPilots on the two 1Lt Ernest C. Price Crew missions:
- Mission 253 - 2Lt Harry S. Seidel on his eleventh mission. - CoPilot on the 358th BS Capt Hugh B. Johnson Crew. Flew on seven additional missions. Completed 18 dispatched missions on 21 Nov 1944 (Mission 275). Had been upgraded from CoPilot to Pilot on
orders dated 11 Nov 1944.
- Mission 255 - 2Lt Charles E. Thomas (POW) on his 30th dispatched mission. CoPilot on the 1Lt John McConnell Crew. Had been upgraded from CoPilot to Pilot on orders dated 25 Sept 1944. Flew three missions as a First Pilot (249, 250, 251).
On 11 Oct 44 mission to #255 to Wesseling, Germany in B-17G #42-31739 Pugnacious Peter
(358BS) VK-P. No fighter attacks. Intense and extremely accurate flak encountered at Wesseling with chaff having no effect on anti-aircraft fire. The 44 303rd BG(H) B-17s attacking target had 19 instances of major and 10 of minor damage and 10 crewmen wounded. Pugnacious Peter
was on her 85th combat mission. She received a direct hit on one of the starboard engines setting it on fire. She pulled off to the left, started down, blew up and crashed near Wesseling, Germany. All crewmen became POWs
[photo courtesy of George T. Mackin]
[Researched by 303rdBGA Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]