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358th Troppman Crew
Walter W. Troppman, Pilot
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(Assigned 358BS: 26 Nov 1943)

(Back L-R) Capt Calder L. Wise (P)(orientation pilot), 1Lt Walter W. Troppman (P)(1),
2Lt Damon C. Elder (CP)(POW)(2)(A), Capt Charles C. Armstrong (B)(4),
1Lt Samuel Minkowitz (N)(INT)(3)

(Front L-R) S/Sgt David L. Wilson (E)(KIA)(5)(A), Sgt Nathan Sweed (LWG)(WIA)(7),
S/Sgt Daniel F. Gilmore (R)(POW)(6)(A), Sgt Mario D. Garcia (RWG)(POW)(5)(A),
Sgt Frank J. Mirenda (BTG)(POW)(5)(A), Sgt Verden D. Swank (TG)(POW)(5)(A)

Troppman Crew combat missions:
#83 (26 Nov 43), 84, 85(A), 87, 88, 89 (A)(Spare), 90 (A)(Spare), 91 (AS), 93, 95, 98, 101, 102 (30 Jan 44)
(A) Non Credit aborted mission - (AS) Credited Abortive Sortie, bombs not dropped - (Spare) Spare B-17 - returned to Molesworth when not needed

Crew Notes:

  1. 1Lt Walter W. Troppman (P) Mission #83 & 84 were flown as CoPilot with combat Orientation Pilot Capt Calder L. Wise. Last mission #102. Transferred to 126th Replacement Crew Depot for return to the USA on 06 Sept 1944

  2. 2Lt Damon C. Elder (CP)(A) - Mission #84 was flown as Tail Gunner/Observer with Lead Crew Maj Kirk R. Mitchell, Pilot. Mission #115, 2 March 1944, flown as Pilot with the Troppman Crew Enlisted Men and a substitute CoPilot, Navigator, Bombardier and Left Waist Gunner. (See the Damon Elder Crew)

  3. 1Lt Samuel Minkowitz (N)(Int) - Flew on all of the Troppman crew missions. Flew 13 additional missions 10 as a Lead Crew Navigator (114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 121, 122, 125, 129, 131, 137, 138, 139, 140). Last mission #140, 24 April 1944, in B-17F #42-31669 Shoo Shoo Baby (358BS) VK-J with the 1Lt Raymond Hofmann Crew. Lost one engine in fighter attack before reaching target. Flak damaged another engine. Realizing that they were badly damaged and low on gasoline the crew opted to head for Switzerland and landed at Zurich with twelve flak holes in their B-17 (MACR 4270). The Crew was interned.

  4. Capt Charles C. Armstrong (B) - Flew on all of the Troppman crew missions. Missions 108 and 109 with the Lt Arnold S. Litman Crew. Flew 18 missions as a Lead Crew Bombardier (111, 119, 123, 127, 134, 137, 141, 145, 147, 152, 158, 160, 163, 165, 169, 172, 178, 187) - 8 lead crew missions with Capt Jack W. Watson as Pilot.

  5. S/Sgt David L. Wilson (E)(A), Sgt Frank R. Mirenda (BTG)(A), Sgt Mario D. Garcia (RWG)(A), Sgt Verden D. Swank (TG)(A) - Flew on all of the Troppman crew missions.

  6. S/Sgt Daniel F. Gilmore (R)(A) - Flew on all Troppman Crew missions except #101 where a substitute Radio Operator was used.

  7. Sgt Nathan Sweed (LWG)(WIA) - Mission #83 was the only mission flown. He suffered severe frostbite and lost three fingers on his right hand. He was removed from flying status. The Troppman Crew used substitute Left Waist Gunners for their other missions.

  8. Sgt Mario D. Garcia - Flew on Mission #115, 02 March 1944, to Frankfurt, Germany in B-17G #42-97509 Old Hickory (358BS) VK-A. For mission details see the Damon C. Elder Crew page.

  9. Capt Calder L. Wise (Orientation Pilot) - 1st Mission on 30 July 1943. Flew 15 credited missions as CoPilot with the 1Lt John W. Hendry, Jr. Crew. (56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 71 (Aborted), 72, 73, 74). Upgraded from CoPilot to Pilot on orders dated 10 October 1943 and flew his first mission as 1st Pilot on 8 October 1943. Flew ten missions as 1st Pilot: Seven missions with 2Lt William C. Fort, Jr. as CoPilot (75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81); Two missions with 2Lt Walter W. Troppman as CoPilot (83, 84); One mission with 2Lt Robert W. Snyder as CoPilot (118).

[Researched by Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]