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|555th Bomb Squadron, 386th Bomb Group.
The original flight crew of , "THE YANKEE GUERRILLA" 134946 YA-L was headed by Lieutenant Homer Wentz. They flew the ship from the U.S. to Goose Bay, Labrador to Bluie West 1, Greenland to Keflavik, Iceland to Prestwick, Scotland - and finally to Boxted Air Base, located near Colchester, England. The Wentz crew took the ship on its first combat mission. It was the fourth bombing mission for the Group. The date was August 9, 1943.
Eventually the plane completed 130 combat missions - battling its way through flak filled skies, foul weather, and many enemy fighter attacks. Foul weather was to be the victor on one fateful day in France. This was the first scheduled bombing mission since the Group moved to the Continent from Great Dunmow, England on October 2, 1944. Our airdrome known as A-60, was located at Beaumount-sur-Oise, France, some fifteen miles or so northwest of Paris.
The target was a barracks area in Duren, Germany. Each of the thirty-six aircraft carried four 1,000 pound demolition bombs. The weather forecast was not optimistic - however the target was an obstacle to our ground forces, and had to be neutralized! The Group took off at 0845 hours on October 5, 1944.
While flying near Luxembourg, it became apparent to the formation leader Captain Tener; the mission had to be abandoned because altocumulus clouds were building from a base of 7,000 feet, and topping out at 13,000 feet. This condition would prevent sighting in the target area.
The Group made a 180 degree turn and headed back to base. Some twenty miles out, flights of six planes each began breaking formation and letting down into the heavy cloud cover in preparation for their landing sequence. The high flight leader, Captain Paul Bartolain flying "HELLS ANGELS" 131615 YA-W became aware that his number two man on his right wing was no longer with him!
It was later learned that Lieutenant William Flinn flying "THE YANKEE GUERRILLA" had crashed into an unoccupied farm house. The location was Rethondes, five miles east of Compiegne, France. Four crew members were killed. They were Lieutenants William Flinn, pilot - Everett G. Johnson, co-pilot, and W.D. Hicks, bombardier - and Staff Sergeant Daniel J Graff, engineer. Seriously injured in the crash, Staff Sergeants R.C. Naylor, radioman, and Robert G. Johnson, tail gunner. The aircraft was destroyed in the ensuing fire!
The three officers had been quartered in the same tent with their flight leader, Captain Bartolain. After recovering from his injuries, Robert Johnson was assigned to Paul Bartolains crew as his tail gunner.
Chester P. Klier
|Shortly after D-Day, "The Yankee Guerrilla" is on its way to hit the enemy once again!|
|A group of flight nurses stopped off at the 386th Bomb Group, they were given a tour of the base. They requested that they have a picture taken with, "The Yankee Guerrilla" 134-946, YA-L. The nurses were on their way to serve in France.|