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303rd BG Original Crew
360th Schulstad Crew
Louis M. Schulstad, Pilot
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B-17F Beats Me #41-24567 (PU-J)
(original crew assigned 360BS: 10 July 1942 - photo: 14 Oct 1942)

(Back L-R) 1Lt Louis M. "Mel Schulstad (P)(1), 2Lt Roy W. Christianson (CP)(KIA)(3)(*),
2Lt John H. Embach (N)(POW)(4), 2Lt Reinaldo J. Saiz (B)(2)

(Front L-R) T/Sgt Antone Pacheco (E)(KIA(3)(*), S/Sgt John Sherman (RWG)(KIA)(3)(*),
T/Sgt Charles L. Roth (R)(POW)(3)(*), S/Sgt Wayne O. Stevens (TG)(KIA(3)(*),
S/Sgt Peter Soria (BTG)(KIA)(3)(*)

(Original Crewman - not in photo) S/Sgt Jerry W. Dobbins (LWG)(KIA)(3)(*)

360th BS Lt Louis M. Schulstad Crew Enlisted Men
(L-R) T/Sgt Antone Pacheco (E), S/Sgt Jerry W. Dobbins (LWG),
S/Sgt Peter Soria (BTG), T/Sgt Charles L. Roth (R),
S/Sgt Wayne D. Stevens (TG), S/Sgt John H. Sherman (RWG)

Crew Comments:
("Beats Me" B-17F) Flew on seven combat missions - #4 Lt William H. Breed (P) & Lt Harry T. Sample, Jr. (CP); #5(A), 8(A) & 9 Lt Louis M. Schulstad, Jr. (P) & Lt Roy W. Christianson (CP); #7 Maj Richard D. Callaway (P) & Lt Louis M. Schulstad (CP); #10 LtCol Charles M. Marion (P) & Lt Roy W. Christianson (CP); #11 Lt Joseph E. Haas (P) & Lt Roy W. Christianson (CP).

Was original B-17F of the Schulstad Crew. Assigned USAAF 11 August 1942, Departed USA 23 October 1943 from Kellogg Field, Battle Creek, MI. Arrived Molesworth on 24 October 1942

Bombardier 2Lt Reinaldo Saiz related "I remember when Schulstad came over to me and asked my opinion as to what we should name our ship.. I recall that I said "Beats Me" and I suppose the rest of the crew had given the same reply -- so it was named "Beats Me." There was no fancy pin-up girl, etc. but a neat sign "Beats Me" on the right side of the ship beneath the Co-Pilot's window." (No aircraft photo available). Beat's Me was the 11th 303rd BG(H) B-17 lost on a combat mission. Click here to see 1997 Keith Hill painting of "Beats Me" entitled "Last Man Out."

On 23 January 1943 mission #11 to Lorient France, in B-17F #41-24567 "Beats Me" 360th BS (PU-J), Missing Aircrew Report #15571. "Beats Me" was downed after being hit from a bomb from another Group's B-17 flying above her. It turned the B-17 upside down, but was righted by Pilot 1Lt Joseph A. Haas (KIA)(*). The bomb hit tore off most of the tail section and killed the Tail Gunner.

A subsequent attack by German FW 190s occurred after the formation broke up to avoid being hit by bombs. The attacked killed Lt Haas (P) and Lt Christianson (CP). The plane nosed over and started down in a slow spin and crashed in a forest near Pluvigner, France. Three Crewmen managed to bail-out and became POW's. The others were killed. 1Lt Joseph E. Haas (KIA)(*), Pilot on the 23 January 1943 mission, was an original 358th BS Pilot on his 6th credited mission substituting for 1Lt Louis M. Schulstad, Jr. who had been hospitalized with the flu.

2Lt Ewell R. McCright (POW), Bombardier on the 23 January 1943 mission, was on his 4th credited mission. Was a member of the original 427th BS 1Lt Ralph S. Hayes Crew substituting for regular crew Bombardier 2Lt Reinaldo J. Saiz.

  1. Louis M. "Mel" Schulstad, Jr (P) - Not on the 23 January 1943 mission. Flew on 31 credited combat mission: Four credited missions (2, 3, 7 & 9) with his original crewmen prior to 23 January 1943. Next three missions as a crew CoPilot or Pilot (15, 16, 28). Next seven missions (39, 40, 42, 49, 60, 61 & 65) flown as a Lead Crew Tail Gunner/Observer, Final seventeen missions (92, 100, 102, 107, 112, 130, 135, 143, 156, 176, 207, 212, 214, 230, 284, 304 & 335) as a Squadron or Group Lead Crew CoPilot or Pilot Also flew on two non-credited aborted missions with his original crew (5 & 8). Combat tour was completed on 25 July 1944 (Mission #212) but flew five additional missions through 12 March 1945. Became the 303rd BG(H) Operations Officer on 25 January 1945. Promoted to Major in July 1944. Retired from USAF as a Colonel on 31 Dec 1965.
  2. Reinaldo J. Saiz (B) - Original Schulstad Crewman not on the 23 January 1943 mission. Flew three credited missions with the Schulstad Crew (3, 5(A), 7 & 9) Flew twenty-three missions as a Group or Squadron Lead Crew Bombardier. Combat mission tour completed on 31 December 1943. Had been promoted to Captain.
  3. Other original Schulstad Crewmen flew on the following combat missions:
    1. 2Lt Roy W. Christianson (CP)(KIA) 3+, 5(A), 8(A), 9+, 10# & 11
    2. 2Lt John H. Embach (N)(POW) 1, 2, 3, 5(A), 7+, 8(A)+, 9+,10#, 11
    3. T/Sgt Antone Pacheco (E)(KIA) 3+, 5(A), 7+, 8(A), 9+, 10# & 11
    4. T/Sgt Charles L. Roth (R)(POW) 1, 2+, 3+, 5(A), 7+, 8(A), 9+, 10# & 11
    5. S/Sgt Peter Soria (BTG)(KIA) 2, 3+, 5(A), 7+, 8(A), 9+, 10# & 11
    6. S/Sgt Jerry Dobbins (LWG)(KIA) 2, 3+, 5(A), 7+, 8(A), 9+, 10#, & 11
    7. S/Sgt John Sherman (RWG(KIA) 5(A), 7+, 8(A), 10# & 11
    8. S/Sgt Wayne O. Stevens (TG)(KIA) 3+, 5(A), 7+, 8(A), 9+, 10# & 11
      + - Pilot Lt Schulstad; # - Pilot LtCol Marion, CoPilot Lt Christianson; (A) - Mission aborted before reaching the French Coast for a non-credited mission
  4. 2Lt John H. Embach (N) was killed in Korea on 24 May 1952
(*) Seven crewmen on the 23 January 1943 mission are buried in a mass grave (Plot D-306B) in the Rock Island National Cemetery, Arsenal Island (Mississippi River) Rock Island County, Illinois. Includes: Lt's Haas & Christianson; T/Sgt Pacheco; S/Sgts Soria, Dobbins, Sherman & Stevens

Lt Haas Crew "Beats Me" Memorials - Pluvigner France:
Obelisk and plaque near City Hall Park
Crew & Aircraft plaque in City Hall
Dedication Ceremony on 05 November 1994 attended by "Mel" Schulstad and Charles L. Roth. For dedication story see Hell's Angel's Newsletter, February 1995 pages 1 & 10 and Might in Flight book, pages 123-127 & 802.

Powerful, touching interview from 2010 with Col L. Mel Schulstad:

[photo from the 303rdBGA Archives - identifications by Louis M. Schulstad]
[Researched by 303rdBGA Historian Harry D. Gobrecht]