398th Bomb Group

Attic Aberration: She Saw Into The Future

Allen Ostrom

He was the radio operator on the B-17 crew that was attacked over eastern Germany, and whose plane came to rest near Slany, Czechoslovakia.

This would be the Donald Christensen crew of the 603rd, taken down in an attack by FW-190’s on March 2, 1945. Of the nine aboard, eight were killed, including the radio operator, Elmer Gurba of Cleveland, Ohio. The lone survivor was the tail gunner, Selmer Haakenson, whose story has been told in previous issues of FLAK NEWS.

However, the night before the mission, in Cleveland, the mother of Elmer Gurba had a strange dream. She was in a darkened attic when she saw a shadowy figure. Coming closer, Mrs. Gurba saw a person wearing a patch over one eye. Then he disappeared.

Hours later, in Slany, the badly injured Haakenson, who had successfully bailed out, was captured by the Germans. Taken to a hospital in Prague, a German surgeon named ‘Doctor Shultz’ removed his right eye, damaged by a FW-190 20mm bullet.

Until a new eye was implanted years later, Haakenson wore a patch over his eye.

Printed in Flak News Volume 16, Number 3, Page(s) 9, July 2001

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