398th Bomb Group

A Story of USAAF Class 44A
They Were Bound For Nuthampstead

Allen Ostrom

Hidden among the yellowing pages of “The Final Approach”, the graduation book of the USAAF Pilot Training Class 44-A, Stuttgart AAF, Arkansas, is a story about the 398th Bomb Group.

This story is hardly about flak and fighters, however. These young men were just out of advanced, twin-engine flight school and on their way to Chanute Field and B-17 transitional training.

Of the 279 graduates of that Class of 44A, 38 were selected for B-17 training, and 11 of these found their way to Nuthampstead and the 398th Bomb Group. They arrived at Station 131 in mid-July 1944, and were among the first who were to be called “replacement crews.”  This dozen minus one included Herb Newman, whose story and demise at the hands of his captors, was researched and written by Bill Frankhouser.

Newman was new to the Army Air Force, as he had risen to first lieutenant as an officer in the Infantry.   His fellow aviation cadet students in Class 44-A were Ray Armor (600), Wally Blackwell (601), Nigil Carter (601), Jack Lee (603), Roy Leukhardt (602), John MacArthur (603), Mark Magnan (603), Robert Campbell (601), William Evans (602), and Robert Brown (601).

Newman and Campbell were shot down and killed on November 2, 1944, on a mission to Merseburg.  Carter and MacArthur were shot down and killed on August 4, 1944 on a mission to Peenemunde.

Four out of eleven wasn’t very good odds, but they are remembered by those that “made it” and came home.

Printed in Flak News Volume 10, Number 3, Page(s) 11, July 1995

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