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359th Walker Crew
Lewis M. Walker, Pilot
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LEWIS M. WALKER CREW - 359th BS
B-17G #42-97508 Scorchy II (359BS) BN-V
(crew assigned 359BS: 11 June 1944 - photo: 19 June 1944)

(Back L-R) 2Lt Donald B. Beers (B-POW), 1Lt Lewis M. Walker (P-KIA),
2Lt Joseph J. Doyle (CP-KIA), 2Lt William C. Koran (N)

(Front) T/Sgt James W. Sublett (E-POW)(2nd from right), T/Sgt Albert J. Lunday (R-POW),
S/Sgt Walter L. Hundley (BT-POW), S/Sgt Arthur C. Reckert (TG-POW),
S/Sgt Henry C. Mathis, Jr. (WG-KIA), S/Sgt Frank Naifeh (WG)

Enlisted crewmen are not in photo order

Thirty combat mission flow by 1Lt Lewis M. Walker:
As CoPilot with a Combat Orientation Crew, Lt Maurice C. Daum 185 (6/19/44) & 186 (6/20/44).
As a Combat crew Orientation Pilot, Flying as CoPilot with the Sidney L. Underdown Crew - 213 (7/28/44)
As the Walker Crew First Pilot (27 missions) 187 (6/21/44) ,190, 191, 193, 196, 197, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 207, 208, 212, 214, 215, 216, 222, 223, 224,225, 226, 229, 233, 235, 237, 242 (9/13/44). Crew had no abortive non-credit missions. For mission dates and targets see the Missions list.

(KIA-POW) Mission 242, 13 September 1944 to Eisenbach / Merseburg, Germany in B-17G 44-6076 Liberty Run 359BS) BN-Y. A prop was feathered after being hit by flak. Pulled off to the right and then into a vertical dive out-of-control. Six crewmen made successful parachute jumps. Five crewmen who parachuted hid in the mountains in which they landed and nearly starved and froze. Sgt Hundley later stated that they were like barbaric heathens. It got so bad that the crewmen decided that there was nothing to do but go to the nearest town and surrender. The German farmers, not Nazis, ignored the crewmen in the town. They were busy working slave labor for the Poles and Russians. The crewmen proceeded to the next town and were able to convince the Burgomeister that they were Americans. He put them in a barn, fed them barley soup (it tasted great) and notified the Nazis. They then became POWs. They were liberated on 2 May 1945 from their POW status by units of the British 2nd Army.

The three KIA crewmen were in Liberty Run when it crashed in a forest near Besse, Germany, not far from the village of Grossenritte, Germany, in a mass of flames. The villagers pulled the bodies from the B-17 and buried them in a nearby German cemetery. The German civilians in the area cared for these American graves and never knew who they were.

Crew Notes - Original ten Lt Walker crewmen:

  • S/Sgt Frank Naifeh (WG) - Was removed from the Lt Walker crew before their first combat mission. The second Waist Gunner position was deleted from combat crews. He flew no missions with the 303rd BG(H)
  • 1Lt Lewis M. Walker (P)(KIA) - Completed 27 missions as a First Pilot and 30 total combat missions.
  • 2Lt Joseph J. Doyle (CP)(KIA) - Flew on 26 missions with Lt Walker as First Pilot and five missions with other Pilots (186, 198, 210, 211, 213). Completed 31 combat missions.
  • 2Lt William C. Koran (N) - Flew on six missions with the Lt Walker Crew (187, 212, 214, 216, 224, 235). Substitute Navigators were used on the other Walker Crew missions. Lt Koran became a Lead Crew Navigator for 22 Lead Crew missions (248, 251, 256, 259, 263, 265, 266, 267, 270, 271, 272, 274, 276, 278, 281, 282, 289, 291, 292, 296, 299, 300). Completed 28 combat missions. See Lead Crew photos on missions 251, 263, 281 & 296.
  • 2Lt Donald B. Beers (B)(POW) - Did not fly on five of Lt Walker's First Pilot missions (207, 225, 226, 227, 229). Flew on three missions with other Pilots (211, 226, 236). Twenty three missions were flown with Lt. Walker as First Pilot. Completed 26 combat missions.
  • T/Sgt James W. Sublet (E)(POW) - Did not fly on five of Lt Walker's First Pilot missions (222, 223, 224, 225, 226). Flew on one mission with another Pilot (211). Twenty-two missions flown with the Lt Walker Crew. Completed 23 combat missions.
  • T/Sgt Albert J. Lunday (R)(POW) - Flew on one mission with another Pilot (211). Twenty eight missions flown with the Lt Walker as First Pilot. Completed 29 combat missions.
  • S/Sgt Walter L. Hundley (BTG)(POW) - Did not fly on four of Lt Walker's First Pilot missions (196, 197, 199, 200). Flew on one mission with another Pilot (211). Twenty-three missions flown with the Lt Walker as First Pilot. Completed 24 combat missions. Suffered a broken leg on his 13 September 1944 parachute jump.
  • S/Sgt Henry C. Mathis, Jr. (WG(KIA) and S/Sgt Arthur C. Reckert (TG)(POW) - Flew on one mission with another Pilot (211). Twenty-seven missions flown with the Lt Walker as First Pilot. Completed 28 combat missions.
Crew Note - Substitute Navigator on the 13 September 1944 mission:
1Lt Carl L. Nielsen (N)(POW). Mission 242 (9/13/44) was the only mission that he flew with the Lt Walker crew. Lt Nielsen was captured almost immediately. He landed in a tree in the Forest near Besse, Germany. He was a member of the Captain Robert Moreman crew and flew 16 missions with this crew. Flew on 8 missions with other pilots. Completed 25 combat missions.

[photo courtesy of Kurt Stauffer]
[Researched by 303rdBGA Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]