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MELVIN SKERPON CREW - 360th BS
(Crew formed in Sep 1943 at Pyote, TX -
assigned 360BS: 05 Jan 1944 - photo: Pyote, TX, Sep 1943)
(Back L-R) Sgt John L. Brewster (E)(*)(3), Sgt Edgar W. Cole (RWG)(*),
Sgt Gaylord W. Geisman (R)(WIA)(4), Sgt Marion F. Fitko (LWG)(*),
Sgt Myrl E. Youngs (BT)(KIS), Sgt Marvin R. Edwards (TG)(*)
Lt Melvin Skerpon (P)(KIS),
Lt John E. Stevens (CP)(*)(2),
See book "Flying with the Hell's Angels" by Samuel P. Fleming. Book contains the story of the Skerpon Crew and the Skerpon Crew photo appears on the cover of the book.
(KIS) Killed in Service - Skerpon (P) & Youngs (BT): Upon completion of crew training at Pyote, AAF TX the crew was sent to Presque Isle, Maine on 29 November 1943 for overseas deployment via the Air Transport Command. The crew was divided into two groups for transport in separate aircraft. Group 1: Skerpon (P), Fleming (N), Youngs (BT), Geisman (R) & Brewster (E); Group 2: Stevens (CP), Finley (B), Cole (RWG), Fitko (LWG) & Edwards (TG). After several takeoff delays Lt Skerpon met one of his flight school friends who had two empty places in the B-17 that he was flying to England. Lt's Skerpon and Fleming decided to fly in this B-17 with the others in Group 1 to fly in another aircraft. At the last minute Lt Skerpon asked Sgt Youngs (BT) to fly with him instead of Lt Fleming (N). The B-17 with Lt Skerpon and Sgt Youngs ran out of fuel and crashed near the coast of northern Ireland. Seven of the eleven men on the aircraft were killed. Some others were severely injured. After arriving in England, the other eight Skerpon crewmen, were assigned to the 360th BS in early January 1944. See the MACR for the accident, courtesy of Dennis Burke.
Crew replacements: Lt John F. Coppom (P)(*)(1), replacing Lt Skerpon; Sgt John D. Deffinger (BT)(*)(5), replacing Sgt Youngs.
(*) Completed combat tours and returned to the USA
[Researched by 303rdBGA Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]