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Submissions of 303rd Bomb Group related stories and articles are most welcome.

July 15, 2012
Volume IV, Issue 7

Molesworth to Phoenix via Saigon, McCutchan's Crew
by Robert B. Green, Nephew to Alan Frey, 360th BS
This story, originally published in the August 2003 Hell's Angels Newsletter, is being rerun in honor of Gene McCutchan. Gene passed away June 24, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. At his request, no services were held and no obituary was written.
Living in a relatively small community at the entrance to the "Northern Neck" area of Virginia, I was surprised one morning to see a 303rd Bomb Group license plate frame on a car in the parking lot at our local post office. Knowing that the 303rd was Uncle Alan's (Frey) old outfit, I decided to wait in the parking lot for the owner of this vehicle to show up. I knew there couldn't be too many folks in our community that served in the 303rd with the "Hell's Angels". I didn't wait long when the owner appeared and I got out of my car to greet him. Well, the stranger turned out to be Uncle Alan! It seems he purchased a new car and I didn't recognize it, so much for the mystery.

Gene McCutchan proudly shows his Arizona license plate “2KV FLY”. He was a pilot in three wars. The 2 is for WW II, K for Korea and V for Vietnam.
Our conversation was somewhat brief with the usual "how's it going and how is everyone". Just as I was about to leave, Alan asked, "Bob, didn't you serve with the Forward Air Controllers in Vietnam?" I was somewhat surprised that he asked because most folks, even in our modern day Air Force, haven't a clue what a Forward Air Controller is. I responded proudly, "yes" and also mentioned that I was a Crew Chief assigned to the 19th Tactical Air Support Squadron (19 TASS) at Bien Hoa Air Base Vietnam and, Occasionally I flew with the FACs, but mostly on Functional Check Flights (FCF's).

It was then that Alan asked me if I knew a Colonel Gene McCutchan from my days in Vietnam. I was sorry to say that I didn't. Alan pointed out that Gene McCutchan was his B-17 Pilot during WWII and that they had completed all 35 missions together, Alan as his radio operator. I soon recognized the name "McCutchan" as Uncle Alan sometimes spoke of him on those rare occasions when we talked about his days with the 303rd. However, Alan usually referred to him as "Mac" and that may have caused my confusion?

I informed Alan that I would check with my group, the Forward Air Controllers Association, and try to locate Gene McCutchan. This turned out to be an unexpected revelation. When I inquired about Gene McCutchan over the Internet with my group, I was flooded with e-mails. Apparently I exposed my limited knowledge and felt somewhat foolish for not knowing about a true legend in my outfit.

LTC McCutchan at the Dalat base in South Vietnam in 1966. Next to him wearing the red beret, is Sgt Knaup.
Colonel McCutchan was referred to as "Redmarker" in the FAC community. He was instrumental in setting up the doctrine for close air support with the Vietnamese Airborne. One of the prerequisites for this assignment was to be "Jump qualified". Not to let a little thing like that deter him, Gene entered Vietnamese Airborne jump school at the tender age of 46. Upon completion of Jump school, he was awarded both his Vietnamese Parachute badge and his Red Beret.

I finally started communicating with Colonel McCutchan and over time, we developed a fine rapport'. I had told him on one occasion "had I known we were in country together, I would have requested a transfer to His outfit as his crew chief." I'm sure that would make for some interesting conversation at my family reunions.

I was soon to learn the 303rd was planning on having their reunion in Baltimore, not too far from my home in Virginia. I immediately contacted Colonel McCutchan and asked if he would be attending. He was sorry to inform me that because of some health problems he could not make this reunion. Fortunately, I have some friends in the Phoenix, Arizona area where Gene lives, and suggested to my wife that we take our vacation in Arizona this year. She agreed and the wheels were put into motion.

Bob Green with Gene McCutchan at their 2002 reunion in Phoenix. Gene proudly wears his red beret.
I notified Gene that my wife and I would be vacationing in Arizona and that I sure would like to meet him. He agreed and also informed me that there were numerous FACS and Crew Chiefs in the Phoenix area and "why don't we plan a small reunion" This was more than I hoped for. Not only was I presented the opportunity to meet My Uncle's pilot from his 8th Air Force days, but I now had the opportunity to reunite with my buddies from Vietnam.

All the planning and preparation for the "Big mini reunion" had been made and all that was left was counting down the days. Finally on October 8, 2002 I met Gene McCutchan for dinner. This wasn't the reunion dinner but a surprise gathering, the night before the reunion, to bestow honor upon one of our nations true heroes, a veteran of three wars, WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

Although Gene had completed Vietnamese Airborne Jump School and made numerous combat jumps, he was never awarded the U.S. Parachutist badge that he was now authorized. To correct this situation in attendance at this dinner party were Lt. Colonel William Shelton, United States Army Special Forces (retired) and Major Joe Granducci United States Air Force (retired). Joe also served as a "Redmarker FAC" in Vietnam with Colonel McCutchan. Although the official records of Gene's combat jumps are no longer available due to the collapse of the South Vietnamese Government. Colonel Shelton and Major Granducci presented Gene with an "Unofficial" certificate and the U.S. Parachutist Badge attesting to his accomplishments.

Finally I had the honor to meet Gene McCutchan and to thank him for his dedicated service to our Country. To all our Veterans, and especially our Veterans that served during WWII, I thank you for securing my Freedom and allowing me to live in the "Land of the Free". Let it be known that my generation is eternally grateful for your sacrifices.

Stockton Springs to Honor a Past Hero – Jerry Dobbins
By Dawn Furbush

Stockton Springs (ME) – Jerry Dobbins was born May 28, 1923. On January 23, 1943, he became the first of eight Stockton Springs residents to be killed in World War II, out of the 70 townsfolks who served in the military during those frightful years. The local American Legion Post 157 was subsequently named in his honor.

On June 16th, The Town of Stockton Springs will welcome the lone living survivor of the tragic World War II B-17 plane crash that took the life of Dobbins, representatives from Pluvigner, France where the plane crashed, Michael Noyes from Senator Susan Collins’ Office, and other special guests to a program honoring the hometown hero Jerry Walter Dobbins, who died in that crash over 69 years ago. In recognition of Sgt. Dobbins’ heroic actions on that fateful mission, documentation of the event has been submitted to the Secretary of Defense for a posthumous award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Dobbins was a member of the B-17F (“Beats Me!”) aircrew with the 360th Bomb Squadron attached to the 303rd Bomber Group (H) stationed in Molesworth, England. He was the Left Waist Gunner, manning one of two .50 cal machine guns that fired from each side of the aircraft. The mission on 1/23/1943 was the crew’s eleventh since deploying to England, and its target was the German U-Boat pens near Brest, France. Twenty-one B-17’s took off that morning and flew towards the target. Two planes had to turn back due to mechanical issues.

As they approached the target, the German Luftwaffe sent up 45 ME-190 fighters to engage the bombers. In the heat of the battle when the B-17’s were dropping their bomb loads, the entire tail section of “Beats Me!” was destroyed by a bomb dropped by a plane flying immediately above it, making it unstable to fly. The pilot kept it flying as best he could until the plane actually inverted and ultimately crashed in a field near Pluvigner. During those frightful moments before going down, a drama unfolded that had never been highlighted until June, 2011 when members of Legion Post 157 had a telephone interview with a surviving crewmember, Mr. Charles Roth of Grand Junction, CO.

As the Radio Operator, Roth was wearing a “fanny pack” parachute. The Waist Gunners did not have on their chutes, which were hanging on the fuselage inside the aircraft. The altitude for that bombing run was 21,000 feet – an altitude at which all crew members needed oxygen. In emergency situations, each crew member had defined duties. SSG Roth’s duty was to get the ball turret gunner out of the turret. That crew member was then to open the emergency hatch door so all could exit. The Waist Gunners were to continue to provide fire power against any enemy aircraft still in the area. During those moments, Roth next went to help the Right Waist Gunner but he was already dead and fell from the gun opening. Roth lost his oxygen tube while he was going to help the Waist Gunner. Jerry Dobbins saw this and went to retrieve a tube from another crew member who had died, so that Roth could get safely out of the plane. Dobbins provided the oxygen tube for his crewmate instead of getting his own parachute on so he could jump. At that moment, the plane inverted and went straight down. Roth had safely jumped before this, but seven including Dobbins went down with the plane. Roth and two other surviving crewmen were captured by the Germans that evening and spent the rest of the war as prisoners of war in Stalag Luft III.

The town of Pluvigner, France has erected a monument in the field where “Beats Me!” went down. The remains of the seven crew members who died in the crash were moved back to the U.S. in 1950 and are now buried in a mass grave at the National Veterans Cemetery in Rock Island, IL.

Roth, who will be 90 years old on 6/14/2012, will be attending the Stockton Springs commemorative event along with his son and daughter-in-law, members of the Dobbins family, and Jon Schulstad, son of the pilot of the “Beats Me!” B-17. Other special guests include Michele and Hubert Le Neillon representing Pluvigner and the French Remembrance Association. Le Neillon has obtained Jerry Dobbins’ dog tags from a Belgian collector and will present them to the Dobbins family.

Members of Legion Post 157 have been assisted by Mr. Roth, Senator Collins and Lt Col Peter Ogden of Maine Veteran Affairs in applying for the posthumous award to recognize Jerry Dobbins’ singular act of heroism on Jan. 23, 1943.

Research on these events and Jerry Dobbins’ life have been provided by Diane Coose Littlefield of the Stockton Springs Historical Society and Legion Post member Earl Trundy. A message posted on the 303rd Bomb Group’s website enabled the Legion Post’s Historian and Officers to locate and contact Mr. Roth.

Respectfully submitted by Russell S. Klingensmith

This is a very small story that was a part of the fabled story of the 303rd "Hell's Angels" Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force during WWII.

Six replacement crews joined the 359th Squadron in late 1943 to carve their places in history. These were led by Howard Dahleen, Billy Goolsby, Art Hybert, Vern Moncur, Noel Newell and Don Stoulil. These six crews flew many missions together, including the January 11, 1944 mission to Oschersleben, earning the Group's Presidential Unit Citation, and the March 6, 1944 trip to Berlin. All completed their combat tours, with only a few injuries.

Billy Goolsby went on to lead the Group's missions, flying with then Captain Mel Schulstad and then Lt. Col Richard Cole. In addition, Don Stoulil, flying a PFF aircraft, led missions with, among others, then Major Lew Lyle and our Colonel Kermit Stevens. Don's combat tour was extended due to his leading many missions in the PFF plane. His regular navigator was Hal Susskind, remembered as Editor of the 303rd newsletter.

The Vern Moncur crew has been immortalized in the "Thunderbird" painted on the wall in the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

During the same time, Edgar ‘Ed" Miller of the 360th Squadron, flew several missions with our six crews. Ed was well known in the 303rd Association. Ed and Vern were quoted many times as they described the action in the mission reports.

Recent deaths of those involved include Walter Hein, last remaining member of the Moncur crew, Mel Schulstad, Hal Susskind and Ed Miller.

I flew most missions as the original navigator in the Dahleen crew and was privileged to fly missions with the Goolsby, Hybert and Newell crews. In addition, I would have certainly flown with the Moncur and Stoulil crews if scheduled to do so.

"The Underdogs" 303rd BG Basketball Team. Do you recognize anyone?

Crowne Plaza Hotel – San Antonio, Texas
OCTOBER 3 – 8, 2012
Hotel Reservations Reunion Registration Form Program Schedule Reunion Highlights/Tour Information

— Historic Issues Revisited —
This Month:   November 1978

11-11: The Carl Fyler Story
by Karl Webb and Ann Norlin

Video Introduction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uabUfw5NNkQ

There seems to be a shortage of real heroes today. At least in the public eye, there seems to be a dearth of people who live their lives with integrity, true to their own ideals and the ideals of this country. Perhaps that is why we must learn to look at the stories of the real people who live nearby. It might be your dentist, your travel agent, or the person who lives next door. That is where the true heroes will be found.

11-11: The Carl Fyler Story, is one example of such a story.

Dr. Carl Fyler’s story is one of a true American. His roots run deep in this country, as his family is one of the founding families of the nation. The Fyler’s immigrated to this country in 1630, and have been history makers ever since. There is a long and proud line of Fylers that have defended and grown this country from the beginning.

Out of this stream came Major Carl Fyler, a well-known and respected B-17 bomber pilot from World War II. Carl flew with the Mighty Eighth Air Force’s Hell’s Angels. After 25 plus hazardous missions, Carl and his crew were shot down over Bremen, Germany on November 29th, 1943. Carl ended up as a prisoner of war in the infamous Stalag Luft 1, where he spent 510 days before returning to the United States, a changed man.

There are, of course, many men and women who shared in this story of courage, loyalty and heroism. Understandably, the war affected some in a negative way, but Carl’s strength, courage and beliefs did not waiver. He too struggled with the after affects of his experiences, but in the end, he chose to take his experience of war and let it make him stronger, rather than break him.

11-11: The Carl Fyler Story is the story of a man who let adversity, sorrow, betrayal and hardship form him into a man who fought for what was right. He believed in honor and sought to gain it for those who deserved it. He learned to mark time as needed, but to never, ever, ever give up.

This book is as authentic of a biography as one might find. It is based in its entirety on actual documents, oral interviews, and from the personal belongings of Carl J. Fyler. Much of the story is told in his own words.

It is a real-life drama that makes history come alive.

Robert N. Stauffer, age 87, a lifelong resident of Royal Oak, died July 7, 2012 at his home.

He was born February 23, 1925 in Royal Oak to the late Fred and Marjorie Stauffer. Mr. Stauffer worked as an editorial writer for the Society of Manufacturing Engineers until his retirement in 1990.

He was a World War II U.S. Air Force pilot, a member of the Flyboy's Group, and an Honor Flight Michigan volunteer for "The Legacy Project". He enjoyed his cabin up north, hunting, fishing, photography and music.

He is survived by his wife, Jean H. Stauffer, the couple married June 16, 1951 in Detroit; children, Kirk (Sandra) Stauffer and Susan (Jeffrey) Dunn; grandchildren, Lindsey (Marshall) Meyer, Megan Stauffer, Melissa (Brian) Teske, Jordan Dunn and Emily Dunn; and great grandchildren, Avery Meyer, Abby Meyer and Jackson Teske. He was preceded in death by his brother, Herb Stauffer.

The visitation will be Wednesday 2-8 p.m. at the Wm. Sullivan & Son Funeral Home, 705 W Eleven Mile Road (4 blks. E of Woodward), Royal Oak. Mr. Stauffer will lie in state Thursday 10 a.m. until the time of service 11 a.m. at Emmanuel Bethel Church in Royal Oak, with the Rev. Laurence Wood officiating. The burial will take place at Oakview Cemetery in Royal Oak. Memorials to Emmanuel Bethel, Honor Flight Michigan or Beaumont Hospice appreciated. Share your memories at www.sullivanfuneraldirectors.com.

Harry Subkowsky of Ashlar Village, husband of Alberta Braveman Subkowsky, died on Friday, June 22, 2012, at the Masonic Healthcare Center. Mr Subkowsky was born November 7, 1923, in Mount Vernon, NY. He was the son of Herman and Rose Zaczepinsky Subkowsky. He had been a Wallingford resident for over 50 years.

He received a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, as well as a Masters degree in Civil Engineering from the same school.

During World War II, he served as a Navigator on B-17s with the Eighth Air Force, 303rd Bomb Group (H), in England. He completed 17 missions and was retired as a 2nd Lieutenant following a combat injury.

Mr Subkowsky retired as a Vice-President of Cahn Engineers in December of 1978. He was a member of Beth Israel Synagogue and had served as Treasurer of that organization for three years. He also served on the Wallingford Library Board of Managers for three years. He was a long time Amateur Radio Operator and was interested in computers since 1966. While a resident of Ashlar Village, Mr. Subkowsky was elected president of the Ashlar Village Associaton during 2005/2006 and continued serving on many association committees.

Besides his wife, he is survived by his son and daughter-in-law Robert and Elizabeth Subkowsky of Chicago, IL, and his daughter and son-in-law, Donna and Gary Schaer of Passaic, NJ. He is also survived by three grandchildren, Jonathan Schaer (Lee), Jessica Leiblich (Gill), and Emma Schaer.

Services will be held at the B.C. Bailey Funeral Home, 273 South Elm Street on Monday, June 25, at 10:00 AM followed by burial in In Memoriam Cemetery in Wallingford. If desired, gifts in his memory may be made to the Masonic Charity Foundation, P.O. Box 757, Wallingford, CT, 06492. To leave a message of remembrance or to find directions, please visit www.BCBailey.com

Robert C. Umberger Sr., 91, formerly of W. Rockport and Bangor, passed away on June 18, 2012, at HOPE Hospice in Ft. Myers.

He was born on May 23, 1921, Pittsburgh, Pa. He grew up in Salem, Ohio, and graduated from Salem High School. He enlisted the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor and flew 30 combat missions, lead crew, with the renowned 8th AF, 303rd Bomb Group 'Hells Angels,' receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross. Later in life he was active with the 8th AF Association, the 303rd Group reunions, and was a member of DAV, American Legion and Maine Aviation Historical Society.

While briefly stationed at Dow Field, Bangor, before heading to the war front he met Jaye I. Sleight who volunteered at the Bangor USO. In 1945 they married in Salem but soon chose to make their home in Maine. Robert graduated from the Univ. of Maine with a B.S. in Forestry and served 36 years as a professional forester with the Maine Forest Service, retiring in 1987. In retirement he enjoyed family and travel.

Robert was predeceased by his wife, Jaye Sleight Umberger. He is survived by his sister; three sons and a daughter, Robert Jr., Susan, William, John and their families. Robert will be laid to rest with his wife at the Veteran's Memorial Cemetery in Augusta. Calling hours are from 5-7 p.m. on Monday, June 25, 2012, at Long Funeral Home, 9 Mountain St., Camden. A funeral Mass will be held at 9 a.m. on June 26, 2012, at Our Lady of Good Hope Catholic Church, Camden.

Memorial donations may be made to: The American Heart Assoc. 51 U.S Rt. 1, Suite M Scarborough, Maine 04074

Maurice Jerome Paulk, 91, also known as "Mountain Man", of Grand Island, formerly of Wood River, died Tuesday, June 19, 2012, at Grand Island Veterans Home.

Memorial services will be 10:30 a.m. Friday at First Presbyterian Church in Wood River, with Pastor Brad Jepsen officiating. Inurnment will be in the Wood River Cemetery. As per Mr. Paulk's request his body was cremated.

The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Apfel Funeral Home in Wood River.

Mr. Paulk was born Jan. 24, 1921, at Wood River to Thomas E. and Jessie Mae (Carter) Paulk.

He married Opal J. Mays on June 16, 1946, at Wood River.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Opal; and his son, Brent Paulk.

Survivors of the immediate family include a daughter and son-in-law, Marcia Ann and Rob Wortman of Curtis; a son and daughter-in-law, Robb M. and Marie Paulk of Tilden; seven grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

He grew up and attended school in Wood River, graduating from Wood River High School in 1938. He then attended college for three years. Maurice entered the U.S. Army on April 17, 1942, serving with the 8th Air Force 303rd Bomb Group also known as the "Hell's Angels" in Molsworth Air Force Base in England. He completed his final three months serving in North Africa, and was honorably discharged at the rank of Sergeant on Sept. 28, 1945.

Maurice operated and was a partner in Paulk's Super Service for 19 years. He also worked in an auto parts department in Grand Island for 14 years.

He enjoyed his family, fishing, hunting, collecting guns, Native American History, his computer and sharing stories of his military life.

Maurice was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Wood River, a member of the Masonic Lodge, the Shrine, VFW and American Legion, 303rd Bomb Group Association, Nebraska Muzzle Loading Rifle Association, United Nebraska Muzzle Loaders and Order of Eastern Star. He attended the first Hall County "Hero's Flight" to Washington, D.C. to see the WW II Memorial and many other sites in September of 2011. Where he and many others were honored by our great country.

In lieu of flowers memorials are suggested to the First Presbyterian Church in Wood River.

Hugh Beverley Johnson, son of the late Dr. Joseph Claiborne Johnson and Clara Giles Johnson, died Friday, June 15, 2012. Beverley was preceded in death by his loving wife of 72 years, Mary Virginia Johnson. He is survived by his daughters Ginny Johnson, Susan Morton and granddaughter Holland.

A life–long resident of Raleigh and graduate of Elon College, he joined the Air Force during WW II. Captain Johnson was leader of the Hell's Angels 358 Johnson Crew-303rd Bomb Group (H) and was credited with 26 combat missions. After his plane was shot down in Holland he was captured and transported to a POW camp in Germany where he remained until the war's end. During his business career he was executive sales manager and representative for Nelly Don Manufacturing and owner of Johnson's Cleaners, Ridgewood Shopping Center.

Beverley was a life long member of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, a member of the Carolina Country Club, the Sphinx Club and the Terpsichorean Club. He enjoyed golf, gin rummy, and spending time with his family and friends. In lieu of flowers, contribution may be made to Wounded Warriors or charity of one's choice .

A graveside service will be June 21, 2012 at 11:00 A.M. at Montlawn Mwmorial Park, Raleigh, NC. The family will receive friends after the graveside service.

George Frederic Hoffman II, age 86, was born in Leon Iowa on November 15, 1925 to George Frederic and Katharin [Horn] Hoffman.

He died in Green Valley Arizona on Thursday, February 23, 2012.

G.F., as he was known grew up in Leon and graduated from Leon High School in 1943. He then joined the United States Army Air Corps where he flew 35 missions over Germany as a B-17 tail gunner in WWII with the 359 Squadron of the 303rd Bomb Group, known as the Hell's Angels. G.F. played football, basketball, and received his undergraduate degree from Simpson College. He graduated from the Univeristy of Iowa Law School in 1950 and then began practicing law in Leon, Iowa for the next 55 years at the same firm his grandfather started in 1878. At the time of his retirement Hoffman Law Firm was the oldest continuous family law firm in Iowa. He was a lifetime member of the Iowa Academy of Trial Lawyers.

As a young man, G.F. worked as a lifeguard on the shores of Lake Michigan and helped Edgar Hansel pilot a boat from the Great Lakes down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. G.F. was an avid fisherman, hunter, golfer, and Iowa Hawkeye fan. In the days before refrigeration he worked delivering ice to the cabins along Long Lake. He often hitchhiked or rode his Indian motorcycle to get to the lake that he loved. He spent 80 memorable summers with family and friends at the cabin on Long Lake at Park Rapids, Minnesota.

G.F. was preceded in death in 2006 by both his granddaughter, Abigail Nicole "Abby" Hoffman and his loving wife of 55 years, Betty Marie [Adamson] Hoffman; in 2009, by his son, George Frederic "Jeff" Hoffman III; and sisters, Katharin "Kit Sue" Dixon and Mamie Nell Viner and husband Dr. Thomas Viner.

He is survived by his loving companion, Phyllis Westberg of Forest Lake, Minnesota; sons, Michael Andrew Hoffman of Blair, NE and Todd Eric Hoffman and wife Janet of Omaha, NE; grandchildren, Ryan Michael Hoffman and wife April of Omaha, Elizabeth Marie Hoffman of Philadelphia, PA, Scott Eric Hoffman, and twins, Sarah Elizabeth Hoffman and Katherine Patricia "Katie" Hoffman, all of Omaha; great grandchildren, Jaidyn Michael Hoffman, Elle Kate Hoffman, and Lily Abigail Hoffman, all of Omaha; foreign exchange son, Atsuro "Atz" Endo of Japan; and other relatives and many friends.

I just was getting on the Web Page to see how to notify you folks of my dad’s passing. And to my surprise, his name was already listed among those who have recently departed.

I want to share with you some thoughts that come to mind about my father; Maurice Paulk. First of all, he was a great dad and husband. My mom, Opal, died a year ago on May 31st of Alzheimer's Disease. Dad cared for her at home for many years with love and commitment. He sacrificed his own needs to make sure she received what she needed. There then came the time in which he could not meet her needs and they both moved to the Grand Island Veterans Home in Grand Island Nebraska. After about 18 months, mom won her battle with this horrible disease and went to the place she was promised by the Lord. Dad continued to live at the Vets Home and thrive. On his computer daily, writing an article for the Wood River News Paper, doing all the things he loved, and celebrating his time with all of you.

Secondly I want to share about his life centered around the 303 Bomb Group “Hell’s Angels”!!!!!! This my friend was something he was very proud of. In 1941 after Pearl Harbor, dad enlisted in the Army/Air Force. To be blunt, he was pissed off at what had happened to his country. He flunked his physical due to a couple of health issues. But he talked the person in charge of the physical to “please change the paper work so I can help my country”. So his duty began and he served his Country well. Dad’s room was full of memorabilia from the 303 and he was happy to share with everyone he met what this meant to him. He wore a cap everyday with the 303 logo and pins on it. My dad was a part of a great group of people that defended and protected our Great Country. And he was grateful to be a part of it with all the others that served with him.

As a young man living with my father, Maurice PauIk, I knew very little of his military experience. He didn’t talk about it. Then came a day at a local eatery in Wood River, Nebraska when he was sitting with some of his long time friends. They were all sharing about experiences in WWII. There was laughter, intense feeling and many tears. Dad’s story was about what it was like to stand by the run-ways at Molesworth and watch the B-17’s take to the air. “It was a beautiful and exciting site”. “To watch those beautiful planes take off”. “ They would circle and the sound was deafening”! “Then they left to do their job”. “We would all go back to work and keep busy and try not to think about what was going to happen later that day”. “Hours later the 17’s began to return, and you know, they didn’t all come back.” “It was very sad to see that some of my friends would not come home”. “And then there were some of the 17’s that were shot to hell and everyone inside was the same”. “Then there were the 17’s that crashed on the run-way and we lost more people from our Group”. And then there was silence.

On the way home from coffee that day, I told my dad that the stories were amazing and very sad. I also told him that I knew nothing of his experience and asked him a favor. My request was if he would write some of his experiences down for me so I could learn more about the 303rd. He said he would think about it.

After this time, there were the Reunion’s that he attended. It all came together to both of our advantage. Dad had always thought his contribution to his Service for this Country was “not that important”. Maurice worked in Supply and was in charge of the Oil and Fuel for the 17’s. “Also parts and other stuff”. But at the Reunions, many Pilots, flight crew members, gunners, and other folks shared with dad, that without his help, “Those Birds would never have got off the ground. And we couldn’t have done our job”. “We needed everyone to complete our missions”. Dad finally felt good about his part. And he became a very proud member of your Web Page!!

After his Reunion’s he began to write about his time in the 8th Air Force. In fact these memories turned into over 40 pages of hard copy. And for our family, it is amazing. The story starts when he left his parents house, until the day he returned. Dad was a stickler for detail, and so was this writing. For anyone who wants to read this story of Maurice Paulk, the simple man from Wood River, Nebraska; he is a part of the “Library of Congress” project that interviewed WWII Vets. Just GOOGLE his name and the web-page will come up.

In the past years, my father has represented and held proud the 303rd. He shared his stories and the stories of a great group of guys. His room at the Vet’s Home in Grand Island Nebraska was full of 303rd pictures and B-17’s hung from the ceiling. He took his scrapbooks everywhere to share your story!!!

So the story ends with Maurice J. Paulk. But the memory's will live on through stories from my sister (Marcia) and I, the 303rd “Hell’s Angels” web page and countless people Maurice has come in contact with. Thanks again for your support in honoring these great men of this important part of American history. And thank you for not forgetting my father. May the wind be at you tail and your landing be smooth.

Thank you so much for your support over the years for my father and the others who served. And thank you for listing his name among those on the “Taps” list. He loved his Bomb Group and he loved his Country. May God Bless all of you and keep your head down.

Robb Paulk...........Son of Maurice J. (Slim) Paulk

Hello, Gary….

Just thought you would like to know that we had a Commemoration ceremony for Sgt Jerry W. Dobbins, Left Waist Gunner on the “Beats Me?!” in Stockton Springs, ME on 6/16/12. Among other things, his family was awarded the State of Maine Gold Star Medal. We were fortunate in having Chuck Roth attend from Colorado, Jon Schulstad (Mel Schulstad’s son) from Virginia and Hubert Le Neillon from Pluvigner, France.

Hubert presented a plaque to the Town of Stockton Springs showing the connection between the two communities (the crash site of the “Beats Me?!”) and he also presented the family with Jerry Dobbins’ identity tag which he found in the hands of a Belgian collector. He also presented the Legion Post 157 with a small wooden box containing pieces of the B-17 from the crash site in Pluvigner.

Jon Schulstad and Chuck Roth did a 30-minute presentation on the 303rd BG, and especially Mission 11 to the family and Legionnaires which really gave everyone a good picture of what took place on 23 Jan 43. One of the Dobbins’ family members recorded the presentation and uploaded it to You Tube. Here’s the link to the Playlist (it’s broken into 7 segments)…. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6019C54E9550CF25

We also had a TV crew there from the local CBS affiliate WABI-TV and they gave us a one minute spot on their evening news… http://www.wabi.tv/news/31010/young-man-killed-in-wwii-honored-by-stockton-springs-69-years-later .

All in all it was a great day, both for the family of Jerry Dobbins who assembled from all over the US and for Chuck who came to a closure with them. Chuck was made an honorary member of our Legion Post 157 and was awarded a certificate and medal by the State of Maine.

Thanks for helping us when we needed information over the past year. There is still an active Recommendation for Award floating through the Pentagon for a posthumous award of the Distinguished Flying Cross for Jerry Dobbins based upon the eye witness testimony of Chuck Roth. Unfortunately the wheels of the bureaucracy move slow.

Ed Burns
Past Commander, Post 157

Keeping the Legacy Alive,

Gary L. Moncur
Molesworth Pilot Editor
303rd Bomb Group Historian
copyright © 2009 - 2012 Gary L. Moncur

Previous Issues

Submissions of 303rd Bomb Group related stories and articles are most welcome.