Sgt Edward R. Etzel Jr. 36841015 92nd Bomb Group, 407th Squadron Ball Turret Gunner KIA 1-Jan-1945

Conflict Period:
World War II 1
Army Air Forces 1
Sergeant 1

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Personal Details

Burial Date: 03 Jan 1945 2
Burial Place: POW Cemetery Stendal, Germany 2

World War II 1

Army Air Forces 1
Sergeant 1
Combat Missions:
1/1/45 Magdeburg: KIA AC# 43-38932T AC# 43-37559 I'll Get By was also on this mission but experienced mechanical failure AC# 42-38279 in 3
11/25/44 Merseburg: AC# 43-37912Y 3
11/29/44 Misburg: AC# 43-37872S 3
11/30/44 Merseburg: FLACK SHACK AC# 42-32054R 3
11/6/44 Hamburg: AC# 43-38455k 3
11/8/44 Merseburg: AC# 43-37912Y 3
12/11/44 Frankfurt: SHOT DOWN METZ FRANCE AC# 43-37912Y 3
12/18/44 Kaiserslaten: AC# 42-35054R 3
12/23/44 Ehrang: AC# 42-31768L 3
12/24/44 Frankfurt: AC# 43-38449Z 3
12/4/44 Kassel: AC# 43-37872S 3
12/6/44 Merseburg: AC# 43-38449Z 3
12/9/44 Stuttgart: AC# 43-37912Y 3
Second Burial:
Netherlands American Cemetery, Margraten 1

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Mission to Kassel

Kassel, Germany

Kassell, Germany
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This was the 92nd Bomb Groups 240th mission since the beginning of operation in the ETO.

The Primary Target Was Magdeburg, Germany Tank Factory.

On this mission to bomb near Kassel Germany with the 92nd Bomb Group, 407th Bomb Squadron Sgt Etzel was flying as the Ball Turret Gunner in B-17 NO: 43-38932, when it dropped out of formation after being attacked by a Luftwaffe FW-190 Fighter.  The time was 1219 hours (12:19pm) as the aircraft dropped away about 1000 yards the aircraft exploded.  There were no parachutes, the entire crew was KIA.  No other losses of aircraft and only one crewmember wounded in other aircraft.

On the map to the left. The top marker is the location of the POW Cemetery located in Stendal. Etzel's body was dis-interred from Germany after the war and buried in a US Cemetery by direction of the War Department, that no US personnel interred in Germany should remain in that Country. Sgt Etzel's final resting place is the Netherlands American Cemetery, in Margarten, Holland The middle marker illustrates the target area. The bottom marker is Sgt Etzel's final resting place.

Mission to Magdeburg

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Born 1924 in Butler,Wisconsin.Arrived at Podington,England home to the 8th Air Force's 92nd Bomb Group 407th Squadron known as Fame's Favored Few on October 21,1944.Etzel was assigned as a ball turrett gunner on a B17G.He flew a total of 16 missions to various oil refinery and maufacturing targets within Germany's industrial regions.The Air Force required 25 missions before you were eligable for discharge back to the states.On mission number 14,on December 11,1944 on a mission to bomb railroad bridges in Frankfurt(a/c #43-37912Y) there ship was hit by flak and had lost 3 engines.They were still in enemy territory and pilot Ralph K. Rollins ordered the crew to throw out anything that had weight,,guns and equipment,to lighten the ship before ordering a bailout.Fortunately,they  ditched the plane in Allies territory in Metz, France and made it back to base safely.mission.This mission was in support was in support during the Battle of the Bulge.On the fateful 17th mission on January 1st,1945 the target was the dreaded Magdeburg oil refineries deep in German territory,along with tank factories in Kassel.This mission was considered ther 'MILK RUN' ,Carrying no bombs but chaf(Chritmas tree tinfoil) to confuse the enimies 1700 anti aircraft guns that protected the production plants.The P-51 MUSTANGS that were to rondeveau with them were late in arriving,hence they were strafed by German FW9190 fighters.Witnesses in another B17 reported thier plane exploded over Stendal,Germany.There were no survivors.



 My search began when I had come accross a letter that my Dad  had saved.It had been written by Carl Greene who had served as a radio/gunner  with my Uncle.Because he was injured on a previous mission,,he missed being on that fateful January 1st,1945 misson.Other than recieving a telegram from the government that her son was Missing In Action,Eddie's mother Catherine, had no idea of what had  really happened for some time to her son.As I write this story,,I can only imagine the torment that my Grandmother and the rest of the family must have been going through.

The first two letters here , were in response to to a letter that Catherine had written to Carl Greene asking to find out some facts as to what had happened to her son.The first time I read this letter I was astounded as I am sure my Grandmother was,,and,,when I read about the War Time diary I became obsessed with not only trying to find out if I could find it,,but learning more about my Uncle and his time spent in the war.I had to track down John Metzinger or his siblings.

I did find  a person by  the name of Richard Metzinger,,,and wrote him a letter hoping he could help me in someway about this diary,,NOT knowing at that time HE WAS the son of John Metzinger.Weeks passed as I waited for a reply,,a reply that at this point I was giving up hope on.Then,,I recieved a letter marked with a return address that told me my prayers had been answered.The letter that I read was not the response I had hoped for so "highly".I could not beleive that this was to be my closure!If I had only became interested in my Uncle's heroism earlier I may have been able to obtain that diary which would have been priceless to me.I cannot  understand how this could have happened,,, and ask ,,,Why Lord?









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I am fortunate that I have many,many letters that freinds and family had written back and forth to my Uncle JR.I have read almost all of them,,,,a series of letters talked about a "RING",,,,"Eddie,,did you get that ring back yet?"  "Eddie,,what happened to your ring?" "Eddie,,did you give Irene your ring?" It was very intrieging  reading.Irene was my Uncles sweetheart when he left for the war.

One of my quests was to see if I could find any relatives of  Irene Brandt"s,,,and I did,,and I did not have to go far,,about a mile from my house in Butler was a girl named Sue Goebel. Sue was related to a Wally Goebel that ended up marrying Irene Brandt after she had learned that Eddie was not coming back home.She put me in touch with Irene's only daughter,Barb,,who lived in Minnesota.I called here and explained who I was and what I was intersted in finding out.She acknowleged that her mother did talk about those day's with Eddie,and that she would look around to see if she had anything.She also mentioned she was coming back to visit her relatives in the area and perhaps maybe we could meet.About 2 weeks later I am grilling out with my family and my grandaughter AVA,,bring me a package that came in the mail.I looked at the shipping label and knew instantly who it was from.It was from Barb,,Irene's daughter.I did not know what to expect,,upon opening it ,,I read a letter(diplayed here) saying that her time schedule coming back home was full and she doubted having any time to visit,,but the contents of this box was mine to keep.Each piece was wrapped seperately in tissue paper.The fist couple pieces contained some of my uncles "bomber wings"  and some pictures of him,,his crewmates,,,both of Eddie and Irene together,,,but the last tissue I opened floored me to tears,,,,,,,,IT WAS THE RING(diplayed here)...Oh thank you Lord!

 The ring is from Shorewood High school 1943


B-17 # 43-38932T COMMEMORATIVE


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Professionally built by Dan Whitelock (SOMEWHERE IN ENGLAND TOURS)

 In honor of my Uncle Jr. and his crew I had this spectacular replica built.

I give you "MISS IRENE"  (named after Irene Brandt,,the love of my Uncles short life) *start to finish*

Till I meet you in Heaven Uncle Jr.,,,this is for you,,.and the future generations of the  DANIEL M.ETZEL family

 From my heart,,a special thanks to Dan in making this dream a reality.


Josef "Jupp" Keil German Fighter Pilot


I beleive this was the German pilot who shot down my Uncle's crew that day ,,you can see on his record sheet and the date and place



Field Order #578 to bomb the railroad yards in Frankfurt was issued by Capt.Worth that called for (45)  B-17's and (3)PFF a/c. each carrying 12 144/500 GP  Bombs including some skymarkers.

I beleive my Uncles crew was in the Lead Group flying along with the 326Th Squadron.The B-17's listed below


44-8367H  " OUR BABY"





42-97335J   "GRIN N BEARIT"







No enemy aircraft was encountered,,but there was heavy flak that took out 3 on my Uncles planes engines.43-37912Y was loosing altitude fast as Pilot Ralph Rollins ordered everything to be thrown out,,machine guns,,ammo belts,,etc..He then gave the bail out order were they ditched the plane 4 miles inside allied territory in Metz,France(Bettanville).Everybody was ok.The crew met up with some French who gave the an old ambulance to get around in.They traveled to Paris and stayed in a hotel that took in allied crash crews and assisted them back to home.




The highly anticipated day had come,,,,the authentic model replica of the B-17 that my Uncle Jr. flew his last mission had arrived at my home,,,all the way from Dan Whitelock in England.I immediately called my Dad to tell him the news,,,I wanted to give my Dad the honor of opening the package.The pictures diplayed here show that special event.

Once in my hands I was exuberant,,my Dad,,a little choked up.But it was all good.As to be expected,,there was a little damage, from it's long journey ,but nothing major that I and a little superglue couldn't fix.

Miss Irene,,as I named the plane in memory of my Uncles romance with a Butler girl named Irene Brandt,,,will be proudly displayed in my house (the same house my Uncle grew up in) along with many other momentos,,until such time ,,to be passed on down my families line for generations to come.



It was by accident I came across DAVID AILS of AILS AVIATION ART. Upon entering his website and looking at his beautiful work,,I said to myself,,"I have to have one of these of Miss Irene!"So,,my journey began with David in creating a print that will proudly hang in my house,,the same and only house my Uncle grew up in,in Butler Wisconsin,,to be handed down to my 1 and only son,Mike,,and then hopefully to my newborn grandson,Charlie.The difficult decision for me was,what kind of "scene" I wanted,,,David put up with a lot of in-decision on my part which I was very grateful for,,after about 5 different scenarios and 2 months of going back and forth I finally made my decision,,,,,,they were all so spectacular looking,,I wish I could have afforded them all,,,one for each room in my house,,and of course some for my man-cave(garage)!!

Credit goes to Dave for selecting the titles of the prints,,,I may have him make one of my Uncles  plane that he flew the most missions on,and was shot down in France 43-37912 PY-Y

Uncle Jr.,,,,,,hope you are looking down at me!!!!!




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