"Preserving the memory of their Sacrifices!"
Bob Dethlefsen (story) and Clyde Dyar (photos)
( 490th Bomb Squadron )
"Ole 768" has stirred up many memories, many members of the squadron witnessed "Wheel Up" landing in Hanchung and their memories are still fresh. Reg Buyle and Fred Bakker have offered their versions as follows: Reg wrote that he waited for the plane to land on the strip next to the runway. He was of the opinion that there were not enough parachutes for the double crew that was aboard. He grabbed a CO2 extinguisher and was one of the first to arrive at the plane. The fire extinguisher was not used. Fred related his story while at the reunion in Portland. He says he might have been the hottest person on the strip. He was wearing the Asbestos Fire suit with the hood in place used to get close to burning aircraft. There was no fire and Fred says he was hot enough without one. The following information comes from the Squadron History.
In one of the most sensational pieces of flying recorded in the squadron, Lt. Cook babied the crippled ship safely back to its home base. Later reconnaissance showed that the mission was very successful. The second and third span of the Sittang bridge had been blown to pieces. An airplane also suffers from combat fatigue and on 17 Sept. 1944, after flying over 724 hours, the old standby 768 was modified and made into an administrative aircraft for the squadron. After that time, the ship flew all types of non-combat missions. It was used to ferry supplies and carry troops to rest camps on passes.
In April 1945 the aircraft with the large skull and wings design on the nose made the trip to China with the squadron. On 2 July of that year, Captain Edward L. Tengler, Commanding Officer, took off in 768 to take a crew to the advanced echelon base at Slam. On arriving at the base, the wheels could not be lowered. They returned to the home base and circled, making preparations for a crash landing.
After circling the field several times, seven members of the crew parachuted to safety.
The following information was printed under the photos at the end of the document. The plane was a B-25-J #42-64768. Crash landed on 2 July, 1945 at Hanchung Air Base. The crew that brought the ship in were Captain Edward L. Tengler, Captain Gerald K. Hannnaford, Lt. William H. Aiken Jr., T/Sgt Warren A. Garrett, and Lt. Howard S. Weaver. No names for the seven who bailed out. The information came from Col. Erdin's files which were sent to Sig Krouste by Elyse Erdin. Sig received the files on a roll of micro film which he had through friends copied on 8 x 11 paper.
There is the story, was it a Commanding Officers Airplane? Who knows?
(The end of this story. But you can contact J. J. Barrett, editor of th '490th Flyer', about this story. Or, to subscribe to the 'Flyer'! Click here to send J. J. email. )