Recollections of Thomas L. Guice, Jr. for April 8, 1945
Pilot 398th BG, 603rd Squadron
Thanks to articles in the 398th Bomb Group Memorial Association Flak News, and diligent efforts of an unnamed associate member, I have learned many details of 398th Mission #184, the oil storage yards at Derben, Germany on April 8, 1945.
The Group Leader had to make a 360-degree turn before he could drop. In the process of two additional 360s by the Low and High Squadrons, Lt. W. K. Wells of the 600th Squadron was flying outside right of Low Squadron that day in B-17 Aircraft 44-83276 N when he was hit by flak between engines No. 1 & 2; no chutes were seen after plane lost control.
Later I learned that Sgt. Lamar Coleman, Ball Turret Gunner and my high school classmate was a member of this crew. I participated in burial of his remains when they were returned to Homer, Louisiana.
My crew as Lead of the High Squadron that day in Aircraft 44-8044 N7-X experienced control cables cut by flak when leaving the target. We were able to control the plane by autopilot. When attempting a landing at our home Station 131 Nuthampstead, England, a decision was made by the Nuthampstead Control Tower that we should proceed to the English Base at Woodbridge for an auto-pilot landing. Needless to say, the landing was made without trouble, but with much trepidation on the part of the crew.
Thanks for the great job of recording 398th BG history.
My crew for 8 April 1945 was:
- CA - Commander of Aircrarft: 1st Lt. Hanauer, J.A.
- Pilot: 1st Lt. Guice, T.L.
- 1st Navigator: Lt. Burkhart, R.J.
- 2nd Navigator: Lt. Weymer, H.J.
- Bombardier: 1st Lt. Caselton, P.N.
- LTG: T/Sgt Martin, R.L.
- Radio Operator-T/Sgt. Awsiukiewicz, L.A.
- Gunner: S/Sgt. Molesworth
- Tail Gunner-S/Sgt. Lucey, H.
- PFF: 1st Lt. Hancock, J.K.
Thomas L. Guice, Jr.
1st Lt 603rd Squadron
Feb 1945- June 1945
Personal History Information
- Veteran: Thomas L. Guice, Jr.
- Position: Pilot
- Squadron: 603rd
- Date of Personal History: September 2008
- Author: Thomas L. Guice, Jr.