ARTHUR J. HYBERT - 359th BS
(crew assigned 359BS: 04 Feb 1944 - photo: 15 Dec 1943)
1Lt Arthur J. Hybert (P)(2nd from left),
1Lt Weldon O. Harrison (CP),
Capt Frithjof M. Lunde (N),
2Lt James H. Kelly, Jr. (B)
T/Sgt George V. Broderick (E),
T/Sgt Edward V. Ratford (R),
Twenty-eight dispatched (26 credited missions) flown by 1Lt Arthur J. Hybert:
S/Sgt Paul J. Barmak (TG),
S/Sgt Charles R. Jaehne (BT),
S/Sgt Roland L. Gilcrease (RWG),
S/Sgt Ralph E. Neathery (LWG)
85 (1 Dec 1943), 87, 88, 93, 95, 98, 100, 101, 102,103, 104, 106, 104 (A), 108 (AS), 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 120, 126, 127 (Spare), 128, 129, 130 (28 March 1944).
For Mission dates, targets and Mission Reports, see Combat Missions
(A) Non-credited aborted mission (2:44 flight time) #2 Engine failure
(AS) Credited Abortive Sortie (4:43 flight time) - #1 and #2 engines failed, #3 producing half power.
Turned back over Belgium.
(Spare) - Non-Credited missions. Spare B-17 not required. Returned to Molesworth.
Ten B-17s flown by 1Lt Arthur J. Hybert on his 28 dispatched missions:
- B-17F 41-24561 (P) The Duchess aka Sure Stuff (359BS) BN-T - Missions 85, 102
- B-17G 41-31177 Lonesome Polecat (359BS) BN-L - Missions 87, 93, 98, 106, 107(A), 108 (AS)
- B-17G 42-31213 (P) Pistol Packin Mama (359BS) BN-Z - Mission 88
- B-17F 42-29894 Baltimore Bounce (359BS) BN-X - Mission 95
- B-17G 42-31314 (P) Scorchy (359BS) BN-M - Missions 100, 101
- B-17G 42-31386 (P) Sky Duster aka Woof (359BS) BN-W Missions 104, 111
- B-17G 42-31483 (P) Bonnie "B" (359BS) BN-P - Mission 103
- B-17G 42-38050 (P) Thunderbird (359BS) BN-U - Mission 112
- B-17G 42-31830 (P) Marie (359BS) BN-N - Missions 113, 114, 116, 117, 118, 120, 126, 127 (Spare), 128, 129, 130
- B-17G 42-38168 (P) Dear Mom (359BS) BN-M - Mission 114
(P) See Nose Art Photos
- 1Lt Arthur J. Hybert (P) -28 dispatched (26 credited) missions flown: First mission (85) flown
as CoPilot with combat Orientation Pilot 2Lt Thomas J. Quinn. All other missions flown as
First Pilot. Combat tour completed on 28 March 1944 (Mission 130).
- 1Lt Weldon O. Harrison (CP/(P) - 29 dispatched (28 credited) missions flown: 16 credited
missions with 1Lt Hybert (87, 88, 93, 95, 98, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 106, 107(A), 108, 111, 112, 113, 114); 6 credited missions as CoPilot with other Pilots (92, 97, 121, 124, 125, 131. Upgraded from CoPilot
to Pilot on orders dated 26 March 1944. Flew 6 credited missions as First Pilot (144, 146, 148,
149, 150, 151). Completed combat tour on 11 May 1944 (Mission 151).
- Capt Frithjof M. Lunde (N) - 32 dispatched (31 credited) mission flown: 11 credited missions
with 1Lt Hybert (87, 88, 93, 95, 98, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 106, 107 (A). Substitute Navigators used
on 1Lt Hybert missions after mission 107; Made a Lead Crew Navigator and later promoted to
Captain. 20 credited missions flown as a Lead Crew Navigator (94, 122, 126, 138, 139, 153, 159, 161,
164, 181, 186, 187, 198, 201, 209, 214, 221, 225, 229, 236).
Completed combat tour on 5 September 1944 (Mission 236).
- 2Lt James H. Kelly, Jr (B) - 27 dispatched (25 credited) missions flown: 23 credited missions
with 1Lt Hybert (All Hybert missions except 3 - 85, 129 and 130); 2 credited missions with other
Pilots (85, 119). Completed combat tour on 26 March 1944 (Mission 128).
- T/Sgt George V. Broderick (E) and T/Sgt Edward V. Ratford (R) - 28 dispatched (26 credited) missions flown: 25 credited missions with 1Lt Hybert (All Hybert missions except #85). 1 credited
mission with 1Lt William E. Eisenhart (131). Completed combat tours on 29 March 1944 (Mission 131).
- S/Sgt Charles R. Jaehne (BTG) - 31 dispatched (29 credited) missions flown: 22 credited missions with 1Lt Hybert (All Hybert missions except 85, 95, 101, 102); 7 credited missions with other
Pilots (131, 133, 136, 139, 140, 144, 146). Was slightly injured on 30 December 1943 (Mission 93).
Suffered from Anoxia (lack of oxygen) and burned feet and was hospitalized.
Completed combat tour on 7 May 1944 (Mission 146).
- S/Sgt Roland L. Gilcrease (RWG/BTG) - 31 dispatched (28 credited) missions flown: 21 credited
missions with 1Lt Hybert (All Hybert missions except 85, 87, 88, 93, 95, 101, 102). Missions 101 and
102 flown as Ball Turret Gunner. Other missions flown as Waist Gunner; 9 dispatched
(8 credited) missions with other Pilots - 5 credited missions with 1Lt John N. Savage (139, 140,
142, 146, 151 (Failed to Take off) and 152), 2 credited missions with other Pilots (131, 154).
Completed combat tour on 15 May 1944 (Mission 154).
- S/Sgt Ralph E. Neathery (LWG/TG) - 30 dispatched (28 credited) missions flown: 24 credited
missions with 1Lt Hybert (All Hybert missions except 83, 113) Mission 114 flown as Tail Gunner;
4 credited missions with other Pilots (131, 144, 146, 150).
Completed combat tour on 4 May 1944 (Mission 150).
- S/Sgt Paul J. Barmak (TG) - 29 dispatched (27 credited) missions flown: 23 credited missions
with 1Lt Hybert (All Hybert missions except 85, 104, 114); 4 credited missions with other Pilots
(114, 131, 139, 140). Completed combat tour on 24 April 1944 (Mission 140).
A Mothers Love
by David Bacon
On January 11, 1944, the infamous Oschersleben mission occurred and was recorded as one of the three most dangerous 303rd missions of the war. The forecast for the day didn't look good and they all thought they wouldn't fly. But, unfortunately, they got the go ahead.
My grandfather, Arthur J. Hybert, was flying in the lead group behind the leadership of General Travis. While en route to the target, the weather remained bad and was threatening England. Flak was intense and lasted for hours. Because of the weather, the group was ordered to turn around and abort the mission within minutes from the target. However, Lt. Hybert swears he did not receive this radio signal to return.
Only two wings continued on to face more flak and an attack of over 300 fighters. During the fight (with on fighter support) many B17s were destroyed at a horrifying rate. Every plane was shot at or took damage if it wasn't shot down. One ME-109 attacked my grandfather head on. Lt. Hybert believed the fighter would not turn away after firing, so he radioed to his tail gunner to watch for a fighter to come right out from underneath him.
The 109 did just that, almost ramming the B-17 Lonesome Polecat, and then Sgt. Paul Barmak destroyed the 109. After accurately dropping the bombs, Lt. Hybert turned around to go back through the whole mess again. Once again, fighters attacked and shot up the plane badly. The B-17 began to vibrate violently and was difficult to control.
The fighters kept attacking him, and he thought that he would be the next plane to go down. Suddenly, amongst the firing battle and unbelievable stress physically and mentally, Arthur J. Hybert felt a strange sense of calmness slowly fill his spirit. He felt, even SMELLED the presence of his mother, who had recently passed away. My grandfather felt her guiding his plane. He now knew he would be safe and live through this ordeal. And that's exactly what happened. With all his physical and mental strength that was left, he flew the plane and his crew back to Molesworth.
My grandfather never told anyone about this experience until his last years. He told me this story and his family; that's it! I gave a speech at a Junior High School assembly for Veterans' Day. I told his story like I am telling it now to the school, including my city council and the mayor. When I finished telling his story, my grandfather slowly stood up and the audience (the whole school) gave him a two minute standing ovation, most of them crying, including the mayor.
This story is a true one. My grandfather died in March of 1999, and throughout his life, he believed that on that horrible day over Germany, his everlasting mother's love saved his life and allowed my mother and me to exist. Arthur J. Hybert was a courageous and heroic man whose love exists once again eternally with his own mother.
[photos courtesy of David Bacon, Grandson of Arthur Hybert]
[Researched by Harry D. Gobrecht, 303rdBGA Historian Emeritus