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359th Moncur Crew
Vern L. Moncur, Pilot
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VERN L. MONCUR CREW - 359th BS
Original B-17G Thunderbird Crew - #42-38050 359BS BN-U

(crew assigned 359BS: 14 Nov 1943 - photo: Sep 1943, Dyersberg, TN)

(Back L-R) 1Lt Vern L. Moncur (P), 2Lt James Brooks (N),
2Lt Billy A. Cunningham (CP), 2Lt David K.S. Chang (B)

(Front L-R) T/Sgt Robert L. Rosier (E), T/Sgt James S. Andrus (R),
S/Sgt Thomas J. Dickman (WG), S/Sgt Walter E. Hein (BT),
S/Sgt Richard K. Baer (TG), S/Sgt Leonard L. Wike (WG)


VERN L. MONCUR CREW - 359th BS
B-17F '8' Ball Mk II #41-24635 (359BS) BN-O
(crew assigned 359BS: 14 Nov 1943 - photo: 4 Dec 1943)

(Back L-R) 1Lt Vern L. Moncur (P), 2Lt James Brooks (N),
2Lt Billy A. Cunningham (CP), 2Lt David K.S. Chang (B)

(Front L-R) T/Sgt Robert L. Rosier (E), T/Sgt James S. Andrus (R),
S/Sgt Thomas J. Dickman (WG), S/Sgt Walter E. Hein (BT),
S/Sgt Richard K. Baer (TG), S/Sgt Leonard L. Wike (WG)

The 359th BS Vern L. Moncur Crew was the first and only crew assigned to the famous B-17G Thunderbird #42-38050 (BN-U). They flew their 28 combat missions between 13 December 1943 and 10 April 1944. Much more information on the Crew and Thunderbird is on the Thunderbird Memorial Page.

Read the Mission Journal of Vern L. Moncur

Pilot Vern L. Moncur's AAF Officer Qualification Record


1Lt Vern L. Moncur
Twenty-nine dispatched (28 credited) combat missions
flown by 1Lt Vern L. Moncur:

88 (13 Dec 1943), 92 (AS), 94 (AS), 97, 98, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 107, 109, 110, 111, 115, 116, 117, 118, 120 (FTO), 122, 124, 125, 126, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133 (10 April 1944)
(FTO) - Non-credited Failed to take off mission - Tire blown before take-off
(AS) Credited abortive Sorties:

  • Mission #92 - 24 Dec 1943 - Completed trip but bombs brought back to Molesworth when target could not be located

  • Mission #94 - 31 Dec 1943 - Completed trip but bombs brought back to Molesworth. Overcast conditions (10/10th clouds) made it impossible to bomb visually.
For Mission dates, targets and Mission Reports, see Combat Missions.

Seven B-17s flown by 1Lt Vern L. Moncur on his 29 dispatched combat missions
  • 41-24561 (P) The Duchess (359BS) BN-T - Mission 88
  • 42-3029 (P) Wallaroo (359BS) BN-N - Missions 92 (AS), 98
  • 42-3131 (P) Flak Wolf (427BS) GN-U - Mission 94 (AS)
  • 42-5306 (P) (No name) (359BS) BN-Q - Mission 97
  • 42-29629 (P) Connecticut Yankee (358BS) VK-M - Mission 102
  • 42-31405 Wallaroo Mk II (359BS) BN-X - Missions 100, 107
  • 42-38050 (P) Thunderbird (359BS) BN-U - 20 missions (101, 103, 104, 109, 110, 111, 115, 116, 117, 118, 122, 124, 125, 126, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133
    (P) See Nose Art Photos.

Memorial to Moncur's Original Thunderbird Crew
Mighty Eighth AF Heritage Museum - Savannah, GA

Crew Notes:

  • 1Lt Vern L. Moncur (P) - 28 credited mission flown - All Missions flown as First Pilot. Completed combat tour on 10 April 1944 (Mission 133).

  • 2Lt Billy A. Cunningham (CP) - 27 credited missions flown: 24 with 1Lt Moncur (All Moncur missions except 130, 131, 132 and 133); 3 with other Pilots - 2Lt Elmer W. Young (113), 1Lt Howard D. Dahleen (119 and 121). Completed combat tour on 27 March 1944 (Mission 129).

  • 2Lt James Brooks (N) - 29 credited missions flown: 27 with 1Lt Moncur (All Moncur missions except 133); 2 with other Pilots - 1Lt Arthur J. Hybert (112), 2Lt Edwin H. Assenheimer (127). Completed combat tour on 9 April 1944 (Mission 132).

  • 2Lt David K.S. Chang (B), T/Sgt Robert L. Rosier (E), T/Sgt James S. Andrus (R), S/Sgt Thomas J. Dickman (WG) S/Sgt Richard K. Baer (TG) - 28 credited missions flown - All with 1Lt Moncur. No missions flown with other Pilots. Completed combat tours on 10 April 1944 (Mission 133).

  • S/Sgt Walter E. Hein (BTG) - 28 credited missions flown: 27 with 1Lt Moncur (All Moncur missions except 133); 1 with 2Lt Kenneth C. Edwards (113). Completed combat tour on 9 April 1944 (Mission 132).

  • S/Sgt Leonard L. Wike (WG) - 29 credited missions flown: 26 with 1Lt Moncur (All Moncur missions except 101 and 103); 3 with other Pilots - 1Lt Kenneth C. Edwards as Right Waist Gunner (136 and 137), 2Lt Maurice G. Daum as Top Turret Gunner (138). S/Sgt Wike was the assigned Moncur Crew Tail Gunner, but traded positions with S/Sgt Baer on all Moncur missions except the first (88). He is shown as Tail Gunner on all loading lists. Completed combat tour on 20 April 1944 (Mission 138).
Photographers who flew with 1Lt Moncur
  • T/Sgt William H. Green - Mission 101 - 29 Jan 1944 and 102 -26 March 1944
  • S/Sgt William D. Mahaffey - Mission 115 - 2 March 1944
Substitute crewmen who flew on 8 combat missions with 1Lt Moncur
  • 2Lt Edwin V. Peterson (CP) - Missions 130 and 131 - Substitute for 2Lt Billy A. Cunningham (CP)
  • 2Lt Victor Gorecki (CP) Missions 132 and 133 - Substitute for 2Lt Billy A. Cunningham (CP)
  • 1Lt Gerald M. Palmer (N) Mission 133 - Substitute for 2Lt James Brooks (N)
  • S/Sgt Charles R. Jaehne (BTG) - Mission 133 - Substitute for S/Sgt Walter E. Hein
  • S/Sgt John F. Newman (TG) - Mission 101 - Substitute for S/Sgt Leonard L. Wike
  • S/Sgt Robert A. Rettinghouse (TG) - Mission 103 - Substitute for S/Sgt Leonard L. Wike
Mission Notes (Mission flown in the "Thunderbird" B-17):
  • 24 January 1944 - Mission to Frankfurt, Germany recalled. Weather was closing in on all 8th AF Airfields
  • 11 March 1944 - Glide Bomb "Grapefruit" training mission

Memorial to Vern Moncur at the Hill Air Force Base Aerospace Museum, Ogden , Utah.

[photos courtesy of Gary L. Moncur]
[Researched by Harry D. Gobrecht, 303rdBGA Historian Emeritus]