Russ Currier Recollections of 21 November 1944
by Scott Welty
I went to my first 398th BG reunion in Cocoa Beach, Florida in September 2008. I met up with Russ Currier, the engineer on my dad's (Lt. Bob Welty) and Lt. Joe Tarr's aircraft on 21 November 1944. Russ and I sat next to each other during the dinners, had breakfast together, and sat down in my room for two hours or so talking about his memories of his experiences and what he remembered about my Dad.
Former T/Sgt. Russ Currier’s memory specific to that day is after landing. Back at Nuthampsted, a man came up behind an exhausted Russ and gave him a big hug. The man said something like, son, I am so happy to see you. Russ turned around and the man turned out to be Col. Hunter, the 398th Commanding Officer.
The other detail Russ provided was during the mission. Just prior to the fighter attack, Tail Gunner, Bill Fleming passed out from anoxia when he didn’t realize half the oxygen system was shot out. Joe Tarr, the pilot went back to check out what is going on in the back of the aircraft when no one responded his calls. By the time Bill was pulled into the waist he was turning blue. What Russ adds to this part of the story is that everyone in the back of the plane thought Bill was dead and they tell Joe this when he gets back to them. "Have you tried to resuscitate Bill", Joe asks. So they begin to resuscitate Bill at this point and Bill responds. Pretty soon after that the German fighters attacked.
The overall thing Russ Currier remembered about my dad in general was that he was always taking pictures. Russ, as engineer sat right behind co-pilot Bob Welty and pilot Joe Tarr. Russ said Bob would aim his camera out the co-pilot's window to take his pictures. When flak was outside, Bob would quickly hunker down in his seat as soon as he snapped his picture.
- Recollections of the Mission to Merseburg on 21 November 1944 by Bob Welty, Co-Pilot
- 398th Mission: 21 Nov 1944: Merseburg